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Fairfax vs Durham for post grad job?

akmom124akmom124 Registered User Posts: 477 Member
DD is setting up an interview with a company with offices in both Fairfax and Durham and they want her to pick which city she would prefer before she interviews. She doesn’t know enough about the Fairfax area for young college grads to be able to really decide. Any thoughts or suggestions? It’s at a very early stage of interviewing right now and she really doesn’t have a preference or know anybody in either place as her friends are all in Boston or NYC. One plus would be that UNC has a very good grad program for what she’d need a masters in so apending two years in NC could possibly. help her for grad school. Thanks!
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Replies to: Fairfax vs Durham for post grad job?

  • Mom22039Mom22039 Registered User Posts: 610 Member
    Fairfax, Virginia? And what type of grad program would she be looking for? What is her field? engineering? Tech?
  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger Registered User Posts: 2,626 Senior Member
    Everything else equal, I would go with the lower cost of living.
  • akmom124akmom124 Registered User Posts: 477 Member
    @Mom22039 - Yes - Fairfax, VA. Grad program would be an MPH in a couple of years.

    Does Raleigh/Durham area have a much lower cost of living than Fairfax? (Assuming both are lower than Boston!). She’s wondering if young professionals live and work in Fairfax or are mostly in DC itself.
  • ChaosParent23ChaosParent23 Registered User Posts: 416 Member
    Fairfax is $$$$$$$$$. Ok, maybe not San Jose pricey but it's not even in the same ballpark as Durham. Apex is maybe 20-ish minutes from Durham & I'm looking at a nearly 4000sq ft house in pristine condition w/ just about every high end amenity you can think of... $530k. You're going to pay way more than that in Fairfax. Chapel Hill is a little more expensive than Apex, but still more affordable than VA.
    Traffic in the Triangle also sucks alot less. There are multiple ways to travel in NC whereas NoVa there's just 95. We rarely went anywhere in NoVa b/c the traffic was always so bad. And you can't rely on DCMetro b/c it breaks down alot.
  • ChaosParent23ChaosParent23 Registered User Posts: 416 Member
    My DH says the population in NC seemed very young to him. Obviously not everyone there is young but he said b/c you have UNC-CH, Duke, NC State, WF, and a handful of other smaller schools all w/in spitting distance the whole area skews younger, cooler...
  • CountingDownCountingDown Registered User Posts: 13,338 Senior Member
    My son's best HS bud grew up in the DC area, attended grad school in Durham and LOVED it. Is doing a post-doc now but hopes to return to the area. Never even considered staying in the DC area after UG. Found apartment prices much more affordable in Durham, plus there are lots of great schools in the area. I don't know MPH programs in NC, but if she can become a NC resident, there's a) in-state rates and b) easier admission.

    VA can be picky about establishing residency -- we've heard about this because there are some popular programs in VA and MD residents think they can get an apartment and go to grad school there as in-state residents. http://www.schev.edu/index/tuition-aid/in-state-residency
    https://registrar.gmu.edu/students/domicile/

    If your D is looking at public schools for her MPH (at least in NC and VA where there are clear preferences for in-state students, limited OOS seats, and very specific requirements about in-state status), I would check this out thoroughly first.
  • noname87noname87 Registered User Posts: 1,212 Senior Member
    edited May 15
    My daughter graduated from UNC-CH and now lives in Durham. Durham covers a large area. Her rent for a a 1 bedroom luxury (at least by my standards) is about 1200/month. You can find cheaper apatments without all the bells and whistles or a more expensive one in heart of the city. They are building like crazy. She will have a broad selection to choose from. The rush hour traffic can be heavy but depending on your budget you can minimumize it. My daughter commute is about 10 minutes but her rent is slightly higher.

    Your DH is right. There are a lot of young professionals in the area. Part of it is the colleges but a lot has to do with the strong job market in the area.

    Overall there seems to be a lot to do in the area. Good access to the outdoors. Some museums but pales compared to the DC area. Great climate unless you like snow. However spring allegries can be brutal. Not as many opportunies for day trips and long weekends that you would find in the DC area.

    Overall, I feels it's not a bad area to start a career. Doesn't have the excitment of the DC area but you can live well and possibally avoid living paycheck to paycheck.

    I am not familar with the Fairfax area but my daughter was looking at both areas. They both have pro and cons. What I stressed with her was what was best for her career and also pays enough to have a decent work/life balance.
  • chaphillmomchaphillmom Registered User Posts: 37 Junior Member
    I had a great time living in the DC area as a grad student, but came out of it swimming in debt. (partly just my own poor choices with budgeting, but also because of the cost of living). I live near Durham now, and can say that between the two I would choose Durham in a heart beat. When we get the itch for a museum weekend, we just head up to DC for the weekend. (Caveat- grad school was >20 years ago for me, so I experienced them at different phases of life).
  • ChaosParent23ChaosParent23 Registered User Posts: 416 Member
    Raleigh Wegmans opens late Sept w/ stores planned for Cary (2), WF, and CH... just saying :smiley:
  • airway1airway1 Registered User Posts: 605 Member
    In fairfax, very expensive and I compare it to my son who now attends college in Michigan. Fairfax is developing areas for young professionals which are amazing and close to the metro. Yes we have wegmans here too! Lol
  • 1214mom1214mom Registered User Posts: 4,499 Senior Member
    I think it’s really personal preference. Will the salary be different? Can she say she’s interested in either?
    I heard recently that Arlington, VA was voted one of the happiest places for 20-somethings. My son is currently living in Clarendon, and he’s very happy there. He also gave up his car and relies on metro, and he hasn’t had any problems with metro.
  • akmom124akmom124 Registered User Posts: 477 Member
    Thanks for all the information! I think she’s leaning towards Durham but also saying she’s interested in either. She really likes the outdoors and smaller cities and has spent the past year in tropical climate so both places would be cooler than where she is now. We’ll see what happens with the interviews. She’s also joined Facebook housing groups for information. I didn’t even know they existed!
  • NCKrisNCKris Registered User Posts: 140 Junior Member
    Durham all the way!
    It’s cheaper, hip, lot of young people and UNC is top in Public Health
  • fendergirlfendergirl Registered User Posts: 4,735 Senior Member
    edited May 16
    Fairfax is $$$$$$. My ex used to live there when I was in college and I was not impressed. Fyi, he worked in DC. Many people lived there and commuted..
  • Singersmom07Singersmom07 Registered User Posts: 4,151 Senior Member
    We live in Fairfax. It is a big county and a lot would depend on where in the county you are located. Does she like the big city or smaller towns? My DD would not be interested in Durham having grown up near the city. She even selected a city university.
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