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The Best Big Cities to Move to After Graduation

As much uncertainty as you may experience as senior year comes to a close, most collegiettes know one thing for sure: they do not want to move back home after graduation. But there are so many places to consider for that first job, it can be overwhelming!

Many collegiettes dream of moving to a big city and exploring all it has to offer. “Big cities typically offer more opportunities both professionally and personally for connections on the whole,” says Vicki Salemi, who runs Career Boot Camp for College Grads and is the author of Big Career in the Big City. The combination of job prospects, social life, and a wide variety of ways to explore hobbies and interests make big cities a great place to land after graduation.

To help you narrow down your choices, some collegiettes and post-collegiettes share what makes their chosen city so special and why they think it’s a great place to move!

Washington, D.C.

The nation’s capitol provides plenty of opportunities in public policy, governmental organizations, nonprofits and more. Almost 30% of the city’s residents are between ages 20-34, according to the US Census thanks to the large number of universities there like Georgetown, George Washington University and American University.

“It’s filled with young people that just moved and are trying to meet other young people and are from all over the country,” says recent UC Irvine grad and current DC resident, Resham Parikh. “I lived [in DC] for 3 months because I networked my way to a job offer within a few days at the #1 PR firm in the world. Within those 3 months, I made friendships that will last a lifetime”.

College graduates from all over the world to move to Washington, D.C. for their first job. Shape magazine listed it in their 10 Best Cities for Single Women, citing the fact that it has the smallest gender pay gap with women earning 91% of what men do.

Washington, D.C. is also a great place for networking! “If you’re trying to get into government/nonprofit/international affairs work, doing yoga, joining a sports league or even looking for apartments is like networking,” says Resham. “I met people from IMF and World Bank left and right, and would meet politicians at sports bars!”

New York City, NY

Living in New York might not be exactly like Sex in the City, however, many collegiettes flock there because of everything the city has to offer. Even with the convenient subway system, many people choose to walk anywhere they need to go, so daily exercise is built in. Health-conscious collegiettes can also celebrate the fact that there is plenty of access to healthy food (New Yorkers eat an average of 35 servings of fruits and veggies a week!).

Between the five boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx) there are plenty of options when looking for housing, which makes the apartment search much easier. And when work is finally done for the week, there is no shortage of things to do on the weekends, from farmers markets to museums to free outdoor concerts and more.

“New York is an incredible place to live if you like an energetic atmosphere,” says NYU sophomore Hannah Orenstein. “It feels like people here are always doing interesting things and going to cool places. The culture can’t be beat. If you like cities, you should definitely try living in New York at least once in your life, and it’s so much easier to do it now when you’re young!”

New York City is also home to a bustling nightlife, with bars on every corner in neighborhoods like the Lower East Side and Tribeca. This allows you to barhop and explore a few different places in one night, giving you plenty of opportunities to meet new people.

“Nightlife here is very centered around going to bars and clubs, both during college and post-grad,” says Hannah. “Of course, it depends on what sort of scene you’re into, but you tend to meet people in their twenties working in finance, social media, and start-ups.”

New York is also the home to many really fun and exciting industries. “If you’re dying to make a name for yourself in fashion, finance, PR, media, then New York City is definitely your vice!” says Salemi.

Los Angeles, CA

Collegiettes looking for jobs in entertainment and media should look no further than Los Angeles. Home to the movie, television, and music industries, it is the place to be for anyone pursuing a career in these fields. Other perks of Los Angeles include the unbeatable weather, the high concentration of hiking and running trails and the nightlife scene. Scores of young people with dreams of making it big (especially in the entertainment industry!) head to Los Angeles after graduation, which makes it a great place to meet new people.

“There are a LOT of young people in LA trying to make it, just like a lot of other big cities,” says 2012 Emerson College grad and LA resident Krista Firkins. “But since LA is so populous, you meet a wide variety of people doing a wide variety of things.

Another great thing about the Los Angeles area is the variety of options for places to live. Collegiettes can choose to locate in the heart of Downtown LA, nearer to the coast in areas like Santa Monica or Venice Beach, or in towns in the Valley like Burbank, Studio City and North Hollywood. It is also a city that is easy to move around in if circumstances or jobs change.

“One good thing about LA is that a lot of leases are very flexible since people are constantly moving here and a lot of schedules revolve around short-term jobs in the entertainment industry,” says Krista. “There’s also a wide range of apartments and houses available because the city is huge and there are so many smaller neighborhoods.”

San Francisco, CA

Ranked as one of Shape magazine’s “Top 10 Cities for Single Women,” San Francisco is ranked number two on the American Human Development Index, which measures women’s education, life expectancy, and income. This means that women in San Fran are smart, live long, and make a lot of money. What more do you need?

San Francisco also boasts a wide variety of jobs thanks to some booming new industries. “Anyone looking for a career in the tech industry should consider moving to San Francisco,” says 2012 Central Michigan University graduate Laura Szatowski. “Collegiettes should also keep in mind that the tech industry may be more broad than they think.  Working in tech doesn’t mean they have to be an engineer or be prepared to work at a huge company like Google.  There are many start-ups and PR agencies that work with tech companies and need people with all types of skills.”

San Francisco is also an easy place to meet new people, as it has become a popular destination for recent college grads.

“For making new friends and meeting guys, San Francisco makes it relatively easy for those who make the move on their own,” says Szatowski.  There are so many activities and groups that young women can get involved with to meet people with similar interests.  Also, since so many people in San Francisco are transplants, everyone is very nice and welcoming to newcomers.  San Francisco has a neighborhood for everyone, every person is likely to find an area where they fit in whether it’s for where they live or for where they go out at night.”

Chicago, IL

If you’re looking to meet some new guys, Chicago is the place for you! Ranked as the seventh manliest city in the US, going to a Chicago Cubs, Bears or White Sox game is sure to provide some serious eye candy! Collegiettes rave about everything that Chicago has to offer, such as fun things to do on the weekend and ways to meet new people.

“Concerts throughout the year are a great place to meet people, every year Lollapalooza is held in Chicago,” says University of Illinois senior Caroline Finnegan. “The best place to meet a bunch of cute guys is a Chicago Cubs game in the summer. Some people call it the biggest singles bar in Chicago.”

Simmone Seymour, a collegiette at Tufts University, raves about the “awesome nightlife… great bar scene, music scene, art museums, architecture and shopping”.

Aside from all the fun there is to be had in Chicago, there are also plenty of job prospects.

“There are job opportunities for all different types of majors,” says Caroline. “The Sun Times and the Chicago Tribune are world-renowned newspapers, we have some of the best hospitals in the world including the new state of the art Lurie Children’s hospital, and we have amazing grad and medical schools like Northwestern.”

Another plus? Getting to these jobs and around the city is made easy by the city’s public transportation system, considered one of the best in the country.

Boston, MA

Boston is an incredibly popular place for young people, in part due to the large number of universities in the city. It has the highest proportion of 20-34 year-olds among the 25 major cities in the United States thanks in part to its 100+ colleges. The fact that Boston is a short trip away from New York City and Washington, DC also make it an attractive location to live, as well as its public transportation system which is ranked third in the country And there are plenty of job opportunities at really cool companies that are headquartered there, including Her Campus!

“I interned for HC in Boston last summer, and I can say that it’s full of young professionals, which I really liked,” says Michelle Lewis, a senior at UNC Chapel Hill. “The fact that there are SO many colleges and universities (and great ones) means that Boston is full of college-aged people and recent grads to meet and hang out with.”

Boston can also be a great place for collegiettes who want the big-city experience but are overwhelmed by cities like New York and Los Angeles.

“I love that it has a city atmosphere, but isn’t overwhelming like NYC,” says Michelle.

Boston is also ranked third on the ADHI scale which measures education, life expectancy, and median earnings for women. Salaries overall in Boston are very attractive, sitting at 34% above the nation’s average.

These cities are just a few of all the great places you could move to post-grad! Making a choice about where to live is a big decision, so it’s important to think it through carefully.

“Moving to a city involves networking in its quintessential form,” says Salemi. “Before you move to a city or even decide where to move, you may want to post a status update on Facebook, ask around to friends and inquire if someone knows someone in the top two or three cities you’re thinking about. Do they like it? Is it hard to live there?”

It is also important to think about what industries you are interested in for a career and researching where these industries thrive.

“As for job prospects, this is a big one since you’ll want to again do research and network prior to moving to the city you’re vying for. What industry are you passionate about? What companies are there?”

 

Now that you know what things to look for and what factors to consider, you can start researching and find the best city for you!

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