Top Tips: Best Cities for New Grads

Thinking about moving to a new city upon graduation may bring a range of feelings from excitement to anxiety. You may plan on basing your decision on family, job opportunities, weather, or cost of living, and with such a variety of factors to consider it can be difficult to sort through the many options. Luckily, there are many ranking systems out there that look at these factors and suggest top cities for you to live and work in.

Several such rankings include:
Business Week’s Top Cities for New College Grads (#1 Houston, TX) and’s Best Cities for New Grads (#1 Atlanta, GA)
Money Magazine’s Best Places to Live (#1 Eden Prairie, MN)
US News and World Report’s Best Places to Live (#1 Albuquerque, NM; #2 Auburn, AL)

If you notice, no survey ranks the same city as #1 and this can make any new grad confused, so how can you use these rankings as a starting point to narrow down your city search?

1. Keep an open mind: Consider cities that you may have never thought of living in. Think about your priorities and search for cities that meet your lifestyle and interests. If you are very active and enjoy the outdoors, look for cities that offer camping, hiking, or have many parks. Also think about the type of climate you enjoy being outdoors in. Do you prefer warmer weather to freezing temps? If you don’t know much about a potential city, do your homework and learn the pros and cons of living there. Always remember, if you don’t end up in your dream city at first, you have the potential to move there after strengthening skills and experience at another job.

2. Talk to people: Look for alums that live in your city of interest and ask questions about what they like and dislike about living there. The Auburn Alumni Association and Auburn clubs can be a great place to start connecting with Auburn grads that live and work in other cities. This can also be an excellent networking opportunity in locating and obtaining a job. Once you move to a new city, join the local Auburn club so you can meet new people.

3. Visit potential cities: Plan trips to visit cities on your short list (think 3-5) to learn more about the culture, job opportunities, and other items on your list of priorities. Avoid traditionally touristy spots and instead try to feel out of the locals live. Take note of the traffic patterns and commute times, opportunities for recreation, and housing prices and locations. Also plan some time to meet with potential employers to conduct informational interviews and to network. Tell employers in your cover letter that you plan to be in their city on a certain date and see if there might be a time you could meet.

Moving to a new place can be both exciting and scary, but you can feel confident in your decision after putting a little thought into your priorities and doing some research. Just know that your first job isn’t permanent.

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