These 5 US cities are the best for life after college, according to study: How to succeed as a new graduate

As college graduates look toward the next steps in their lives, one study ranked the top five cities in which to live that will help set them up for success. (iStock)

After college graduation, students typically begin looking at their next steps. Should they move back to their home town? Is there another metro area that provides more opportunities job? Where will recent college grads have the best chance of working in the field they studied, and where can they find economic opportunity? 

Housing search portal Point2 Homes sought to answer these questions, and conducted a study that analyzed the top 100 most successful universities based on 15 factors across four primary dimensions: human capital, housing, economic activity, and earning power and equity.

"The benefits of a great university town do indeed extend beyond the youthful energy and myriad social opportunities a campus provides," the study states. "In fact, the vibrant, on-campus life is underscored by the entire area’s focus on education, research and development — which can be translated into business opportunities, new jobs and economic growth. Educational institutions can strengthen local economies, making university towns the perfect choice not just for student life, but also for life after graduation."

Setting up for success after earning your degree is more than just choosing the right town. For example, the burden of student loans has held many debtholders back from significant life decisions like starting a family or buying a home. To reduce this burden, private student loan borrowers can take advantage of today’s low interest rates to refinance their student loans and significantly lower monthly payments. Visit Credible to find your rate and see how much you could save.


Setting up for success after college

When looking at succeeding after college, there are several factors graduates should weigh to set themselves up for the best future. Here are a few:

Economic activity

The state of an area’s economy will influence the type of job opportunities available for graduates. This will play a part in housing availability and the cost of living in that region.

"Keeping a finger on a college town’s economic activity means researching the number of successful businesses and the area’s unemployment rates — but also the number of jobs available and housing affordability," the study states.

Human capital

Increasing age and a decreased median age group shows sustainability and growth within a population and demonstrates a higher probability for new projects, pioneering research, and a growing number of startups and local businesses, the study shows. 


Just as important as the jobs front is housing. It is important not only for a city to have housing supply available but also for graduates to find a city with the right price range of houses. Graduates should seek out cities with more first-time homes available for sale, and higher levels of rent options. 

After graduation and landing a job, a graduate's next step may likely be to find a place to live. Ideally, they should search for a city within a suitable price range that offers first-time homes and rental options. 

Earning power and equity

While a graduate’s individual starting salary at their job after college is important, it is also important to look at the earning potential of the city by comparing average salaries in their fields. Graduates can do this by checking out a city’s median earnings, ensuring it doesn’t have a low unemployment rate as well as looking at how many in that area are below the poverty line. 

A graduate should compare the average salaries of their field to the earning potential of the city in which they reside. Graduates can do this by checking out a city’s median earnings, ensuring it doesn’t have a low unemployment rate.

Refinance student loans

Refinancing your private student loans to keep interest rates, and therefore monthly payments, low can set recent college graduates on a path to success and enable you to have more freedom for future purchases or job paths. Visit Credible to compare multiple lenders at once and see which one works best for you.


Top 5 towns after college

Using the previously mentioned factors, Point2 Homes analyzed the best towns and metros for people to live after college graduation. Here are the top five: 

  1. Austin, Texas
  2. Seattle, Washington
  3. Denver, Colorado
  4. Raleigh, North Carolina
  5. Fort Worth, Texas

"Whether they’re from the area or coming to college from other cities and states, students are the engine behind the success of a university, as well as the city as a whole," the study states. "Consequently, access to top-notch courses and research projects – coupled with the infusion of new and young people – create a positive feedback loop that keeps these cities and towns on an upward path."

Refinancing your private student loans to keep interest rates and monthly payments low can help set college graduates on a path to success to financial freedom. Visit Credible to compare multiple lenders at once and see which one works best for you.

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