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100 colleges whose grads go on to earn the most

  • 100 colleges whose grads go on to earn the most

    College seniors will be entering a job market seemingly unlike any other next spring. Still, that doesn’t mean that colleges and universities aren’t preparing students for life after midterms and dissertations. Plenty of schools across the country are setting up virtual job fairs, providing online office hours for career development, and reaching out to companies to create co-op programs for potential student hires. And while finding high-paying jobs might be harder than in years past, there are plenty of schools that have a history of placing their graduates into big companies.

    Stacker compiled a list of the colleges whose graduates earn the most, using 2020 data from PayScale. Colleges are ranked by the highest mid-career earnings, with ties broken by early career earnings. Mid-career earnings are median salary for alumni with 10+ years of experience, and early career earnings are for alumni with 0-5 years of experience. Slides also include the percentage of students earning degrees in STEM—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

    Many schools produce yearly reports of graduated students’ placement, which usually includes if they are employed, attending graduate school, applying to graduate school, in a fellowship program, serving in the military, or searching for jobs. While some fields dictate some kind of prerequisite before full-time employment—like a paid internship or mentor program—it’s not uncommon for new graduates to be thrown right into the fire and land jobs with major industry players like Amazon, Citi, and Google.

    Did your school make the list? Read on to find out and learn other morsels of information, like the non-aquatic environments where Coast Guard trainees go on to work, which schools employ “micro internship” programs, and the surprising #1 on the list. And be sure to check out related Stacker topics, such as college majors that make the most money.

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  • #100. Saint Mary's College of California

    - Mid-career pay: $118,900
    - Early career pay: $59,600
    - Percent high meaning: 51%
    - Percent STEM degrees: 5%

    This small school in the Bay Area has produced its fair share of notable alumni. Mahershala Ali, who graduated from Saint Mary’s in 1996, has won two Oscars and an Emmy Award and makes millions as one of Hollywood’s most notable actors. The business administration program places graduates at Bay Area powerhouses like AT&T, Amazon, and the San Francisco Giants.

  • #99. Texas A&M University-College Station

    - Mid-career pay: $119,000
    - Early career pay: $61,200
    - Percent high meaning: 53%
    - Percent STEM degrees: 30%

    Texas A&M graduates contributed over $15 million to the university in 2019. Many former Aggies go on to have distinguished military careers, while graduates of the engineering school have a reputation for quickly jumping into research and education jobs.

  • #98. Case Western Reserve University

    - Mid-career pay: $119,000
    - Early career pay: $68,100
    - Percent high meaning: 48%
    - Percent STEM degrees: 37%

    Case Western’s law school churns out scores of lawyers ready to enter the workforce, and the medical school is regularly ranked among the best in the country. Alumni in other programs include Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist.

  • #97. United States Coast Guard Academy

    - Mid-career pay: $119,200
    - Early career pay: $72,600
    - Percent high meaning: 70%
    - Percent STEM degrees: 69%

    Coast guard officers hold a variety of steady jobs like responding to disasters, stopping illegal drug trafficking, protecting endangered species, and exploring the Arctic. Many Coast Guard Academy graduates enjoy perks such as military pensions, medical benefits, and tax-free housing allowances.

  • #96. Wabash College

    - Mid-career pay: $119,300
    - Early career pay: $62,300
    - Percent high meaning: 36%
    - Percent STEM degrees: 34%

    An impressive 31% of Wabash graduates enter the business field. Just two years ago, 100% of the graduating class “were settled in their first destinations within six months of graduation,” according to the school. Wabash has produced many politicians like Thomas Riley Marshall, the 28th U.S. vice president.

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  • #95. Bentley University

    - Mid-career pay: $119,300
    - Early career pay: $68,400
    - Percent high meaning: 37%
    - Percent STEM degrees: 7%

    Bentley touts a 98% job placement rate, and according to The Princeton Review, it’s #1 in career services. The school has special websites dedicated to internship preparation, and alums include Jay Leno (who joked that he was unfocused in college).

  • #94. Hobart and William Smith Colleges

    - Mid-career pay: $119,600
    - Early career pay: $56,500
    - Percent high meaning: 48%
    - Percent STEM degrees: 18%

    Hobart and William Smith Colleges are top producers of Fulbright scholars. The colleges are quickly rising on lists of best return on investment, and beginning in 2014, the colleges guaranteed internships to students.

  • #93. Boston College

    - Mid-career pay: $119,700
    - Early career pay: $64,500
    - Percent high meaning: 43%
    - Percent STEM degrees: 13%

    Economics, finance, biology, and political science number among the most popular majors at Boston College. Alumni have gone on to hold top leadership positions at companies like Goldman Sachs, Google, and Condé Nast. Members of the class of 2019 from the school of management had an average starting salary of $71,018.

  • #92. Missouri University of Science and Technology

    - Mid-career pay: $119,700
    - Early career pay: $69,200
    - Percent high meaning: 51%
    - Percent STEM degrees: 80%

    The Missouri University of Science and Technology has traditionally placed 90-100% of their graduates with a SAP Certificate of Excellence. Students go on to work at SAP, BMW, Boeing, Deloitte, and many other top companies.

  • #91. Barnard College

    - Mid-career pay: $119,900
    - Early career pay: $60,000
    - Percent high meaning: 59%
    - Percent STEM degrees: 19%

    At Barnard, 90% of the class of 2019 were working or in graduate school six months after graduation. A majority of students went on to work in financial services, tech, education, nonprofits, and journalism. The most common graduate school attended for recent graduates was Columbia University, located next door, which boasts top business, law, and medical schools.

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