The best cities in Virginia for new grads

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Graduation is an exciting time – you’re leaving school, you can start earning real money, you can finally apply all that you’ve learned at school, etc. It’s also a terrifying time, for much of the same reasons. For many, it’s the first time they are on their own. The stress of applying to jobs often tops that of applying to schools – instead of thousands of people competing for a few less thousands of spots, it’s possibly a hundred people competing for one job.

There are also so many jobs out there that you could be interested in, how do you narrow it down to a logical amount to begin applying to? One factor that a lot of people focus on first when looking for jobs is location – where do you want to live and what jobs are available there? You will spend a lot of time at work, but you will also spend a lot of time in the town/city that you settle in and you want to make sure it’s somewhere you want to be – somewhere where you can enjoy yourself outside of your job.

With such a large transition as that from school to a career, many find that it is helpful to experience this transition in an environment they are comfortable in. Armed with this knowledge, a recent study was conducted on the best college towns for starting a career. Out of college towns in Virginia, Blacksburg and Fairfax made the top 50 best college towns for starting a career in the United States, with Blacksburg going so far as to make the top 15.

What makes these two towns ideal locations for beginning your post-grad life? Each has its own unique benefits. Fairfax, for example, is the 6th highest paying college town for tech careers and the 4th highest paying college town for finance careers. If either of these fields is in your area of interest, it may be the more ideal location for you. Besides finances, other factors that were considered were the amount of the population that was in a similar stage of their life (you’ve never not been surrounded by your peers, starting during such a pivotal time could be tough), the climate, the culture, and the city infrastructure.

In addition, neither of the cities are short of exciting activities to do when you are not engaged in work. For starters, you can always frequent the sporting events of both of the towns’ colleges. Additionally, Blacksburg is home to the Hahn Horticulture Garden, Smithfield Plantation, the Moss Arts Center, Beliveau Estate, the Alexander Black House and Cultural Center, as well as plenty of cool breweries to frequent. Alternatively, Fairfax offers a Zoofari, Great Falls Park, Wolftrap National Park for the Performing Arts, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum, Mount Vernon (George Washington’s home) and an abundance of breweries as well. Whether you are looking to grab a quick drink with friends or explore a neat testament to history and culture or take a stroll through nature, both these towns can satisfy your extracurricular needs.

Being college towns and being that often people stick around after college in the towns where they attended school, there are more than likely a ton of people in both locations who are going through the same stage of life that you. This gives you a whole network of people with whom you can connect with and befriend. It’s always nice to have a support system when you are going through a big change, not to mention a support system who is going through the same transition you are.



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