The numbers look a bit intimidating: By far, most GW graduates stay in D.C.
But if your job search leads you elsewhere, you’ll still have Colonial company. The other top seven cities most populated with GW alumni are up and down the East and West coasts, and include some of the top cities for young professionals overall.
So what’s it like to live in one of these cities after graduation?
New York City
Average monthly rent (1 bedroom in city center): $2,500 to $3,250
Best nightlife spot: Meat Packing District/Broadway
Despite the reputation that precedes it, 2012 graduate Liz Sinyavsky said New York City’s glamorous, “Sex-in-the-City” stereotype is dead wrong.
“The city, the people, the drive is all about becoming successful at your job. It’s not about being social and enjoying life. Even people who party, party for a reason,” said Sinyavsky, who graduated with a bachelor’s in international business.
Sinyavski left the District to pursue a master’s degree in public relations at New York University and “eventually find a job,” and sees the choice to move to the Big Apple as obvious. She’s not alone: about 17,200 other GW grads are estimated to live in New York City, making it the second most popular choice for GW graduates.
But even in a city with a projected 8 million jobs being added to the economy over the next decade, Sinyavsky found it difficult to establish a career.
So she turned to the GW Alumni Association’s online career search program, calling the regional Alumni Association events held in New York popular among her friends. Sinyavsky currently works as a real estate sales associate at Miami VIP Properties.
The drawback to living in Manhattan? Unsurprisingly, the cost of living: Sinyavsky calls it affordable dependent on income. “I know [a GW grad] who makes $4,000 a month, so for her it’s affordable.”
Average monthly rent: $800 to $1,200
Best night spot: Cozy restaurants in Ellicott City and the Waterfront
Rachel Johnson, who graduated last year, doesn’t think Baltimore’s bad reputation is well-deserved. “It used to be kind of a shady place to live, but it’s definitely not anymore.”
And while she only moved to Baltimore after being accepted to Johns Hopkins’ pre-med post-baccalaureate program, she said the city “has a huge personality because it’s smaller and more compact.” Johnson noted that the good bar scene makes living in the city fun.
The third largest concentrated area of GW alum, Baltimore is home to about 7,900 graduates. Although it’s only about an hour away from D.C. by car, its costs of living are about 9 percent lower than the District’s, offering access to D.C.’s wealth of cultural activities without the sticker shock of living in the city.
“It’s so accessible to D.C.,” Johnson said. “It’s very easy for me to travel back and forth to visit friends that are still in the District and go to GW.”
Forbes also ranks it as the 32nd best place in the country to develop a business and career, crediting the growth to its “proximity to midwestern markets.”
Average monthly rent: $2,000 to $3,000
Best night spot: Polk Street
While he moved back to San Francisco to be closer to family and attend law school at the University of San Francisco, 2011 graduate Joe Goldman stayed for what he calls the “non-judgmental, liberal lifestyle not offered in the Sunbelt or even by L.A.”
As the seventh-largest GW alumni spot (just 100 graduates behind Los Angeles at 5,200), San Francisco boasts a wealth of “diverse and robust nightlife,” from neighborhoods like the Marina (“like your Adams Morgan or Georgetown prepsters”) to the Mission (“the hipster section”).
He late dropped out of law school, instead taking a job as the program associate for legislative affairs at the city’s Jewish Community Relations Council.
Goldman said people living in the Bay Area are “much more open and laid back.” If you can stomach the pricey housing, Goldman said, “you have to find a way to move here.”
“After living four blocks away from the White House for four years and essentially having everything at my fingertips, I wanted to have the same environment wherever I lived next,” Goldman said.