Deciding where to live after graduating college is a decision that should be made with care and thoughtful research. You want to earn enough money to repay your student loans while establishing a solid foundation for future success.
When choosing the best places to live after college, the criteria that are on many young adults’ lists includes professional and social opportunities, affordable housing, quality of life, and pay potential as determining factors in aiding their decision of where to live. Based on this areas, here are 10 of the best cities in the United States to start a career as a new graduate.
The best places to live after college
1. Salt Lake City, Utah
It’s no surprise that Salt Lake City is number one on WalletHub’s list of the best cities for college grads to start a career, due to the fact that it has a healthy offering of entry-level jobs and economic growth opportunities for young professionals. Other key metrics include the city’s reasonable median starting salary and very affordable housing market. In addition, there are an unlimited amount of things to do outdoors and a vibrant social scene, both of which make for a high-ranking quality of life.
2. Austin, Texas
As one of the top technology hubs in the country, Austin is home to top employers like Google, Blizzard Entertainment, eBay, Apple, Facebook, and hundreds of startups. The city plays host to annual SXSW events, nightly music events, food trucks, and an endless cultural scene, helping it rank well in the quality of life and social arenas. As determined by PayScale, Austin has a relatively low cost of living compared to most other cities within the United States—and we all know how your housing options can affect your budget.
3. Denver, Colorado
Denver and the surrounding areas boast a plethora of jobs related to business services, finance, education and health industries, as well as gorgeous scenery that makes the city a great place for young adults to live after college. With a ton of outdoor and social activities available, you’ll never want for meeting new people or connecting at networking events. In addition, Denver and Boulder are home to many young tech companies and startups like Ibotta, Kapost, and Rafflecopter.
Multiple co-working spaces and hundreds of local coffee shops are the perfect fostering grounds for monthly meetups, hosted by other entrepreneurs and business owners who live in the area. The city also has annual events like spring’s Boulder Startup Week and fall’s Denver Startup Week, both of which are free for attendees.
4. Boston, Massachusetts
Boston has been, and will continue to be, a great choice for new graduates looking to jumpstart their careers. The city offers some of the best career advancements and highest ranking salaries in the country. According to WalletHub’s study, the city has the highest percentage of young adults ranging in age from 25 to 34 years old. With over 100 colleges and universities in the greater metro area, there’s no shortage of other recent grads nearby. There are also plenty of social opportunities, from Red Sox games to volunteer opportunities with the Boston Rotaract Club, that will help increase your quality of life.
5. San Jose, California
Located at the southern end of Silicon Valley, San Jose boasts beautiful surroundings, great weather, and a variety of state parks, all of which contribute to an increased level of quality of life and social opportunities. According to CNBC, San Jose takes the top spot for job pay potential. The city also offers thousands of jobs in the management, tech, business, science, and art industries.
6. Raleigh, North Carolina
While Raleigh may not be the largest city on this list, it does have one of the best tech research and development centers in the United States. Companies like Cisco, Microsoft, GE Aviation, and the Environmental Protection Agency all have offices in the area known as the Research Triangle Park, making this one of the best cities for college graduates. The city has become the go-to choice for young professionals who are interested in finding jobs in the software, financial services, and energy fields. Better yet, a study by Wells Fargo found that over 70 percent percent of Raleigh’s homes are considered affordable to medium-income earners.
7. Dallas, Texas
Dallas and its surrounding cities continue to rank within top 10 lists in studies done by Bankrate, WalletHub, and even CNBC, excelling in areas of social opportunities and affordable housing. In fact, one of the main reasons it made this list is for having several suburbs with the most budget-friendly housing rates in the country, with the median home price coming in at $141,000. It also has some of the highest starting salaries for executive assistants, engineers, financial analysts, and office managers, positions which offer career advancement opportunities for new graduates.
8. Minneapolis, Minnesota
In 2015, Minneapolis ranked number nine on Fortune’s top cities for finding a job, and its popularity continues to grow thanks to a thriving job market, landing 8th on ZipRecruiter’s list for the best job markets for 2016. Recent college grads can look for jobs related to business, agriculture, technology, and financial services. The city also boasts a healthy quality of life and social opportunities, with more than 94 percent of all residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park.
9. Seattle, Washington
The birthplace of Starbucks not only draws coffee lovers, but young adults and recent college grads alike. Seattle is making way for an up-and-coming tech scene and ranks first in the country for proximity to tech companies (just ask Microsoft and Amazon, both of which are headquartered there). The city has one of the highest rates for job growth and also offers beautiful surroundings like mountains and the ocean, as well as a highly coveted food and social scene. All of that adds up to one of the best places to live for college graduates.
10. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
You may not think of Oklahoma City as one of the best places to live after college, but don’t discount it just yet. The city has a strong job market and super affordable housing, with other costs of living coming in at 10 percent cheaper than the national average. New grads will be able to find a variety of jobs within industries like aerospace, energy, biotech, transportation, healthcare, and more. The surrounding scenery and historical significance also cater to a high quality of life.
As a new graduate, you’ll need to be able to fully understand how the place you live will impact your post-college career and finances. With this list of the top cities for college grads, you can be prepared to choose a place to live based on its job market and other important factors that matter most to you.
To learn more about the best places to live for college graduates, check out the top states to live in for paying off student loans.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2020!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.99% – 5.64%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 5.90%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.25% – 6.09%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 6.77%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.39% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|1.99% – 5.41%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews! |
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.79% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.64% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of July 31, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 7/31/2020. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2020 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.
Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.
Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.
Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.
Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of September 9, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.
The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.
To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of September 10, 2020.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.16% effective August 10, 2020.