Nicolas Tan/Creative Services/George Mason University
Major Universities: George Mason University, Virginia International University, Northern Virginia Community College
7. Fairfax, VA
Compared to some of the college towns on this list, Fairfax is small, with only around 24,000 residents. But Fairfax is just outside the Washington D.C. beltway, so it's also very much a part of our capital’s metro area. Because of that proximity, any college grad will have an almost unlimited number of employment options. Government jobs are the obvious choice, but over the years D.C. has developed into a hub of entrepreneurship, and Fairfax is no exception. From finance to biotech to manufacturing, if an industry exists, it probably has a presence in the D.C. area.
While George Mason is the best known area college, the Northern Virginia Community College is the second-largest multi-campus community college in the US. And while its Annandale campus is technically outside the city limits, it still has a big presence both in cultural opportunities for residents and students, and in the type of graduate it’s adding to the Fairfax workforce.
For college students in the D.C. metro area, there are more leisure activities than would ever be necessary. From music, art and culture in the city, to professional sports (MLS’ D.C. United, MLB’s Nationals, NHL’s Capitals, and NBA’s Wizards) D.C. is chock full of reasons to get off campus or out of the house. And with 2,144 restaurants in the city, including several James Beard Award winners, you’ll be well-fed when you do.