Moving to a New City After Graduation
Posted by March 16, 2016in Life Transitionson
Some college students graduate with the same dream they had when they first received their acceptance letters in the mail- to receive a job offer in a faraway state so they can pack up their things and begin their lives somewhere else. Others are perfectly content to remain in their college town, surrounded by friends (and maybe even family), but the reality of the job market forces them to start submitting applications across city and state lines.
Whether or not moving to a new city after graduation has long been part of the plan- and whether or not you’ve already landed a job- the experience of packing up your life and moving away from your home or college town can be exciting, unpredictable, and completely overwhelming.
Since this is such a drastic transition, it’s important that you put in the research, do some serious soul searching, and exhaust all the possibilities. To aid you in the process of moving after graduation, we’ve laid out some of the most important things to consider, from reasons to move away to steps for finding your ideal apartment.
4 guilt-free reasons to move away after graduation
1 - Job Offer
With graduation comes the time-consuming task of securing a job. If you’ve received a job offer from a company located outside of your native city, congratulations!
Landing a job is one of the toughest obstacles new graduates face- but it can be one of the best reasons to pick up and move.
Before accepting a job offer in another city or state, however, be sure to ask yourself the following questions, as noted in this article from Business Insider:
- Do I fully understand the job description?
- Does the position allow room for growth?
- Is the salary desirable and conducive to the cost of living?
- Do I understand the company culture?
- Do I have a firm understanding of the company’s track record, financial status, and growth outlook?
- Will the company pay for my moving expenses?
2 - Employment Opportunities
If you’re having difficulty landing a job within your home city or state, you may consider moving to a location with more opportunities for recent graduates or professionals in your chosen field.
Citi Foundation’s 2015 Accelerating Pathways study, which evaluated the economic environment for youth (ages 13-25) in 35 cities across the world, gave Toronto the highest score, followed by New York, Chicago, Singapore, and Honk Kong, consecutively.
If you’re interested in remaining in or moving to the United States, make note of these top 5 U.S. cities for recent graduates, as listed in Forbes:
1. Washington, D.C.
Millennial population: 29%
2. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Millennial population: 31%
3. Denver, Colorado
Millennial population: 26%
4. San Francisco, California
Millennial population: 26%
5. Boston, Massachusetts
Millennial population: 33%
Be sure to check out this interactive chart from Lifehacker.com- it shows the most prominent job by state and salary!
3 - Graduate School
Another reason to move after graduation is to pursue your graduate degree. While graduate school can be expensive, it can also bolster your resume and your potential as a job candidate, therefore increasing your job market value. A directory site like GradSchools.com can help you find your ideal school- simply input your category of study and your desired subject to be matched to graduate degree programs!
You might also consider applying to graduate schools abroad. Tuition fees at international universities are often significantly lower than at American colleges, and they tend to be shorter (a year, typically, as opposed to 2+ years in the U.S.).
If you’re planning to move for graduate school, whether that means crossing state lines or international borders, be sure to consider funding, housing, and insurance before you go.
4 - Family
It’s not uncommon to experience difficulty with the transitional period that follows graduation.
If you’re experiencing homesickness, having financial difficulties, or are simply looking for additional support in your search for a job, it may be a good idea to move to a location with family, whether that means moving back in with your parents or relocating to an area where your favorite aunts and uncles reside.
Choosing the right city for you: 7 things to consider
When it comes to your potential new city, be sure to consider whether or not the community and its surrounding areas are the right fit for you. Do plenty of research before you go, and if you’re able to visit the city prior to your big move, be sure to check out the following:
- Job opportunities
- Housing options
- Shopping centers
- Grocery stores
- Post office
- Traffic patterns at different times of the day
1 - Your Budget
If you don’t have a job lined up, you’ll need money to tide you over until you can secure something more permanent. And if you’ve already accepted a job offer, remember that you won’t receive your first paycheck right away.
So before making any solid plans, be sure you’ve created a budget and taken the following expenses into account:
- Moving expenses
- The cost of rent, utilities (water, heating and air conditioning, internet, cable, etc.), and additional bills
- Grocery costs
- Public transportation costs and/or gas prices, your car payment, and your auto insurance costs
- Health insurance
- Cash for entertainment and emergencies
2 - Cost of Living
In that same vein, it’s vital that you consider your financial situation in accordance with average housing costs and the city’s general cost of living.
According to Forbes, these were 5 of America's most affordable cities in 2015:
- Birmingham, Alabama
- Knoxville, Tennessee
- Buffalo, New York
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- Cincinnati, Ohio
Check out this map from TaxFoundation.org to discover the real value of $100 in metropolitan areas across the U.S.
The United States isn’t the only country offering affordable living costs to recent graduates. According to Forbes’ “The World’s Most Inexpensive Cities You Might Actually Want to Live In,” some affordable cities outside the U.S. include Vilnius, Lithuania; Warsaw, Poland; Budapest, Hungary; Joberg, South Africa; and Riga, Latvia.
3 - Safety
Don’t forget to take into account the general safety of your potential new city and its surrounding areas. Alan Henry of Lifehacker.com recommends taking a Google Street View tour to “help you determine whether a neighborhood looks a little rough or… a little too clean for your tastes.” However, he also notes that “there’s no replacement for real, public crime data,” which you can find here.
According to “The Safe Cities Index 2015,” an Economist Intelligence Unit report sponsored by the National Economic Council, these are the 5 safest cities in North America:
- Toronto, Canada
- New York, New York
- San Francisco, California
- Montreal, Canada
- Chicago, Illinois
For the safest cities in Europe, Latin America, the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa, click here.
4 - Public Transportation
If you don’t own your own car, or if you’d like to avoid the frustration of navigating rush hour traffic, be sure to check out your public transportation options prior to settling on a city. While larger cities may have extensive public transit networks (bus, subway, trolley, or train systems), smaller towns and suburban regions may have more limited options.
Make sure you’ve considered how you plan to travel between work and home and how far you’re willing to commute in addition to understanding routes, schedules, and fares.
Luckily, when it comes to getting around in a bustling city, there are plenty of helpful apps to assist you:
- HopStop features transit, walking, biking, taxi, and car rental info all in one place
- Roadify provides real-time data about delays and transit systems in major American cities
- ParkMobile locates private and public parking within the city of your choice
Before you make the move, be sure to download these other “Transportation Apps to Keep You Moving” from Mashable.com.
5 - Climate and Weather
Before packing up and leaving your hometown, make sure you’ve considered the year-round climate and local weather patterns of any cities in which you may want to live.
If you’re not willing to deal with humidity, for example, you may want to rethink that job you applied for in Orlando.
If it’s natural disaster you’re most worried about, be sure to consult this map of natural disaster risk for 379 American metro areas, provided by The New York Times.
6 - Local Culture
Whether this is a temporary move or you’re determined to lay down your roots, you’ll want to be sure the local culture and atmosphere is in line with your expectations.
For example, if the local cuisine is important to you, Lifehacker author Alan Henry recommends that you “ask yourself what the city is known for, cuisine-wise, and check Foursquare, Yelp, and Google Local for reviews and recommendations.” He then suggests repeating this process with your other interests, “whether it’s live music, nightlife, museums, [or] local festivals.”
And if you’re looking for a town that’s in line with your political beliefs, you can take this “What Town Matches My Politics?” quiz form Clarity Campaigns.
7 - Friends and Family
Finally, consider whether you will have any friends or family members in your new location- and whether or not you are equipped to deal with possible homesickness.
Use social media to reach out to any friends who have moved to your desired city and be sure to check out local groups and events that you can join and attend.
Finding a place to live: 4 steps to locking down your ideal apartment
Once you’ve figured out where you’re interested in moving, the next step is to secure your housing. Consider whether your best option is to buy or rent, whether you’re interested in having a roommate or living on your own, and what type of housing is best suited to your wants and needs. If you’ve already accepted a job offer, be sure to take into consideration the length of your commute.
Step One: Narrow Down a List of Housing Options
Home Finder, Trulia, and Zillow all have options for buying, renting, and selling property. They allow you to search by location, property type, number of beds/ baths, and minimum/maximum price. You’ll receive photos of active listings instantaneously, along with asking prices, estimated mortgages, and additional details- you may even be able to take a virtual tour!
Renters can find additional rental listings on sites like Apartment Finder, My Apartment Map, and Apartments.com. If you’re interested in renting a sublet while you look for something more permanent, check out Sublet.com.
Haven’t acquired a lot of stuff? No problem! My New Place can help you discover furnished apartments available for rent all over the U.S.
Step Two: Research Your Potential Neighborhood
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential housing options, it’s time to do some research. Sites like City Data can provide you with everything from crime rates and cost of living to weather patterns and local attractions. Be sure to check out Street Advisor, which provides thousands of street, neighborhood, and city reviews.
Your safety should be a vital factor in determining where you might live, so be sure to check out sites like NeighborhoodScout.com- simply type your potential city into the search bar and check out its crime index number, the number of annual crimes by type, and the number of crimes per square mile. Family Watchdog can make you aware of registered sex offenders in the area, and Spot Crime allows you to sign up for crime alerts within 5 miles of a certain location.
And, according to Lifehacker, “if you want to get a good idea of what it’s like to live in a particular apartment building, you need to speak to the people that already live there.”
Step Three: Revisit Your Budget
Most likely, one of your biggest determining factors is price. Before signing any rental or housing agreements, make sure you’ve created a budget and have a thorough understanding of your funds.
Shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal and visit the residence in person- if you can- before signing anything.
And if you want something, it doesn’t hurt to ask! While your rent may not be negotiable, you may be able to receive discounts in other areas.
Step Four: Sign the Housing or Rental Agreement
Before signing, be sure to ask questions to figure out exactly what’s included in your agreement- does your new apartment come with guaranteed parking?- and if anything is unclear (or if your landlord promises to do any renovations) be sure to get it in writing. It’s also smart to document your move and take pictures of any pre-existing damage so you can’t be blamed for it later.