American universities continue to rank among the most revered academic institutions across the world. The industry-oriented curriculum and sophisticated academic infrastructures in these institutions generate some of the highest-paid graduates. It’s logical to compare the median salary of graduates in the first place before delving into other particulars.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the average starting salary of recent college graduates was $55,260. So, it makes sense to settle for something above the national average, right?
International students in the US shell out around $99,417 throughout their degree courses. For American students, this value might be marginally less. Graduating from one of the esteemed institutions in the US brings you the prospect of bagging a lucrative salary package. Naturally, you would wonder which college or university can deliver you the true value for your money.
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Top colleges in the US based on graduates’ salaries
Let’s take a look at some of the leading colleges in the US specializing in different streams. We have shortlisted only those institutions that recorded above-the-average graduate salaries.
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Fresh graduates from MIT have an impressive median salary of around $76,900. This institute specializes in STEM subjects. The QS World University Rankings reveal that MIT continues to be one of the top international institutes offering quality education in Engineering and Technology. Besides, it emerged as the topmost global university as per the QS World University Rankings 2023.
Studying at MIT requires students to shell out a sizable fee, and that’s well-justified by the superior academic infrastructure and salary packages graduates enjoy. The acceptance rate of this institution is just 4%. Well, that tells a lot about the maturity students need to qualify for a berth here.
Besides, MIT regularly hosts events such as the Polymer Day, a European career fair, and an analytics career fair. Students here have an 88% chance of completing their graduation in 4 years. The student-faculty ratio looks very healthy at 3:1. 70% of the classes at MIT have fewer than 20 students.
31% of the students at MIT graduate with Computer Science. The average starting salary of these students is $104,600. 11% and 9% of the students graduate with mechanical engineering and mathematics. Their average starting salaries are $80,400 and $82,900, respectively.
2. Princeton University
The median starting salary at this leading Ivy League University in the US is $66,700. The versatility of its academic infrastructure makes it a top choice for students across all disciplines. As per the QS World University Rankings 2023, Princeton University emerged in the 16th position. Some disciplines that make Princeton University highly sought-after include engineering, social sciences, biology, and computer science.
One of the prime reasons for the popularity of this university is its tactical location. Students from Philadelphia and New York City can seamlessly navigate to the institute.
Princeton University has as many as 37 sports clubs and 300 student organizations. Besides, the students here enjoy a vibrant campus life with 15 chaplaincies. Being one of the leading national universities in the US, Princeton University accepts just 4% of its applicants.
The student-faculty ratio at Princeton University is 5:1. Around 76% of the classrooms have fewer than 20 students. This demonstrates that the aspirants get personalized attention from the faculty.
20% of the graduates from Princeton University specialize in social sciences and enjoy an average starting salary of $70,200. 16% and 13% of students graduate in Engineering and Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services. Their starting salaries are $76,000 and $99,400, respectively.
3. Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)
Aspiring to specialize in engineering, business administration, or computer science? Carnegie Mellon University will be a good choice if you are likely to establish a career in any of these streams. With a median annual salary of $69,700, graduates from CMU are flying high in their respective careers.
CMU ranks first for their Undergraduate Computer Science and Graduate Information Systems courses as per the US News and World Report. Overall, it is ranked fourth among engineering colleges in the US in 2021.
The Oakland campus of CMU grants its students excellent exposure to small business entrepreneurs, tech companies, and startups.
In terms of acceptance, CMU is a bit more generous compared to the other colleges we listed in this article. The average acceptance rate of this institute is 14%. The student-faculty ratio of 6:1 looks pretty good.
13% of CMU students graduate with Computer Science and enjoy an average annual salary of $102,500. Another 9% study Electrical and Electronics Engineering, while 10% go for Business Administration and Management. These two groups of students bag salary packages of $78,100 and $68,500 on average. Those majoring in Systems Science and Theory get even more, around $103,700 a year.
4. Thomas Jefferson University (TJU)
Graduates passing out from Thomas Jefferson University bag impressive salary packages, with the median close to $66,300 a year. The inter-professional approach to education is what this institute is known for. Students majoring in exercise science, nursing, health, midwifery, and physical therapy usually go for this esteemed institution.
The university specializes in designing masters and certificate programs in emerging healthcare fields. Some of the comparatively newer courses offered by TJU include cardiovascular perfusion, integrative health, telehealth, and connected care.
Thomas Jefferson University is generous with its acceptance rate, accepting 78% of its applicants. The student-faculty ratio stands at 13:1. Also, 60% of the classes at this institute have less than 20 students. Therefore, the aspirants can expect the much-needed individual care necessary to specialize in healthcare fields.
5. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
With a median starting salary of $66,000 and tuition fees around $58,526, studying at this polytechnic college seems to be a good bargain.
Located in New York, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is known for its industry-oriented programs in engineering technology, computer science, engineering, mathematics, and business and management. This college offers research opportunities in experimental media, performing arts, and biochemical solar energy.
Among the national universities, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute ranks 51st. However, graduates from this college have consistently bagged impressive salary packages at reputed organizations. What’s good to know about this institute is that it accepts around 53% of its applicants.
55% of the classes at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have less than 20 students. The average student-faculty ratio at this institution is 13:1. The 4-year graduation rate stands at 70%.
51% of the students studying at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute choose the engineering field. The starting salary of the alumni is $72,300 annually. Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services is another popular domain, attracting 19% of the students. Graduates in this field earn even higher, around $84,800 a year.
6. Stevens Institute of Technology
When you consider anything above the average annual salary as impressive, Stevens Institute of Technology makes its way into our list. This college, located in New Jersey, boasts an impressive median annual salary of $67,000.
New Jersey, as you know, is the hub of technology. The strategic location of the college gives its students direct exposure to the industry. Whether you want to specialize in welding and laser cutting or 3D printing, the industry-oriented curriculum of Stevens Institute of Technology makes it happen.
Apart from mechanical engineering, students attend computer engineering, computer science, business administration, and chemical engineering courses at the Stevens Institute of Technology.
The college has a decent ranking, and its acceptance rate looks great, at 53%. Around 39% of the classes have fewer than 20 students. At Stevens Institute of Technology, the student-faculty ratio is 12:1.
Among the graduates, 16% come from the mechanical Engineering Stream, while 14% come from the Computer Science domain. Their annual starting salary stands at $70,000 and $ 77,400, respectively. 12% of the graduates specializing in Business Administration and Management enjoy annual salaries of around $71,800. Besides, Computer Engineering and Chemical Engineering account for 8% of the graduates each. The annual salary of these graduates also lies in a similar range.
7. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester Polytechnic Institute is a popular college for engineering students, given that the average graduate earns $67,300 as the starting salary. This Institute won’t disappoint you if you are keen to specialize in engineering domains such as mechatronics, electrical, biomedical, and mechanical engineering.
Apart from the modern infrastructure, this polytechnic college is known for its career outlook information and career fairs. Besides, students also specialize in other fields, such as physics, civil engineering, professional writing, and psychology at this institute.
The acceptance rate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute is 60%. This implies that getting an admission at this revered polytechnic college wouldn’t be too challenging. The college boasts a healthy 4-year graduation rate of 81%. Besides, 67% of its classes have fewer than 20 students. The student-faculty ratio at Worcester Polytechnic Institute is 14:1.
Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science are two of the most sought courses in this college. While 19% go for Mechanical Engineering, 16% go for Computer Science, bagging an average annual salary of $72,500 and $83,900, respectively. Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering graduates make around $69,900 annually, while Electrical and Electronics Engineering graduates earn $78,400. Students graduating in fields like Mechatronics, Robotics, and Automation Engineering earn well above $71,000 a year.
8. Colorado School of Mines
Colorado School of Mines has a decent annual ranking in the US. With a median annual salary of around $68,000, this is yet another reputed college to enroll in. Every February and March, students can attend career fairs hosted by the institute. This exposes them to hundreds of government agencies and companies. Engineering fields such as petroleum, mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineering are the most popular streams in this college.
At Colorado School of Mines, the acceptance rate is around 57%. So, you stand a fair chance to get yourself through. Around 28% of its classes have fewer than 60 students. The student-faculty ratio is 16:1, while the 4-year graduation rate of this educational institute is 67%.
Mechanical Engineering is the most-sought course at Colorado School of Mines, with 28% of its students enrolling in this course. The average starting annual salary of its alumni is $68,900. Computer Science and Chemical Engineering are two of the other popular programs at the Colorado School of Mines, accounting for 14% of the student population each.
Graduates in these streams earn around $73,200 and $76,900 annually. Even Electrical and Electronics Engineering graduates make $ 76,500 a year, while Civil Engineering graduates earn an annual salary of $67,700.
We have recommended some of the topmost institutes in the US based on the average annual salaries of their alumni for your convenience. As you note, all these graduates make much more than the national average. Moreover, we have included colleges and polytechnic institutions in our list to cover different fields of expertise. So, whether you wish to venture into business administration, engineering, or healthcare, you can choose the best institution.
Are US colleges good for engineering courses?
Yes, the US has some of the best global colleges specializing in engineering courses. The world-class infrastructure, practical modes of training students, and industry exposure make these programs ideal for aspirants.
How to choose the best college in the US?
Depending on your field of interest, you need to choose the best college in the US. You can use parameters like cost-effectiveness and infrastructure while selecting the best college in the US. A university with a decent acceptance rate and a median salary above the national average is a good choice in any scenario.
Do I get placement from US colleges?
Yes, most colleges in the US offer placement facilities to deserving students. These institutions have partnership programs and tie-ups with reputed companies in their respective fields. This opens up lucrative job opportunities for their students.
How difficult is it to get into top US colleges?
The admission criteria largely vary among the top colleges in the US. The field of your interest and the corresponding demand for the program also determines the acceptance rate. In general, reputed US colleges have an acceptance rate of more than 50%. However, some institutes, like Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Princeton University, have an acceptance rate below 5%.
Why are US colleges so expensive?
Most of the reputed US colleges are expensive as students can enjoy quality education. Right from the campus to the academic infrastructure, the facilities look outstanding. Besides, graduates enjoy lucrative salary packages in their respective industries. These perks justify the high fees at US colleges.
Here’s the No. 1 College for Average Americans That Has the Highest Starting Salary Among Graduates - Due? ›
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Fresh graduates from MIT have an impressive median salary of around $76,900.What college graduate has the highest average salary? ›
|Major||Average Salary for Employee with Zero to Five Years of Experience|
|Nuclear Engineering Technology||$83,500|
|Computer Science & Business||$81,100|
|Electronic Systems Technology||$81,000|
|S.No||Highest paying majors in the US||Average yearly salary|
|1||Health and Medical Preparatory||$165,000|
Average Annual Total Compensation is $177k
Employees who graduate from Harvard University earn an average of $177k, mostly ranging from $142k to $350k based on 452 profiles.
Here's What Ivy League Grads Make the Most
According to data from the U.S. Department of Education, as published on CNBC, a degree from the University of Pennsylvania translates into an annual salary of $103, 246 after 10 years of work. That's the largest average salary among Ivy League schools.
Harvard also ranks first in the number of ultra-high net worth alumni with assets greater than $30 million. Harvard's total number of ultra-high net worth alumni is more than twice that of the next highest ranking institution, Stanford. These figures have not been adjusted for the relative size of these institutions.Which college major has the highest median annual starting salary? ›
- Engineering. Average Salary: $64,292. ...
- Computer and Information Sciences. Average Salary: $58,789. ...
- Engineering Technologies. ...
- Health Professions. ...
- Transportation. ...
- Mathematics and Statistics. ...
- Architecture. ...
- Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Services.
Harvard University, with a $50.9 billion endowment as of 2022, is the wealthiest university in the world.What is the hardest degree to earn in the US? ›
- Environmental Economics and Policy.
- Environmental Earth Science.
- American Studies.
- Nuclear Engineering.
- Energy Engineering.
- Applied Mathematics.
One study said happiness peaked at $75,000 in income.
MIT and Harvard are equally prestigious universities based in Cambridge, a nearby city of Boston. While MIT focuses primarily on science, math, and technology, Harvard offers a broader variety of liberal arts and sciences programs.How much does a Harvard professor get paid? ›
The middle 57% of Harvard Professors makes between $122,252 and $303,816, with the top 86% making $668,858.What is the average GPA for a graduate at Harvard? ›
The average GPA at Harvard is 4.18. This makes Harvard Extremely Competitive for GPAs. (Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.What is the easiest Ivy League to get? ›
Cornell is considered the "easiest" Ivy League to get into because it has the highest Ivy League acceptance rate. While it's easier, statistically speaking, to get into Cornell, it's still challenging. It's also important to remember that students apply directly to one of Cornell's eight undergraduate colleges.What is the easiest Ivy League to get into ranked? ›
Cornell is the easiest and youngest Ivy League school. It was established in 1865 and is situated in Ithaca, New York. Out of 49,114 candidates, Cornell accepted 5,330, for an admission percentage of around 10.9%.
While all Ivy League schools are incredibly difficult to get into, Cornell University would likely be considered the easiest since it has the highest acceptance rate of all Ivies.Which high school sends the most students to Harvard? ›
In total, one out of every 20 Harvard freshmen attended one of the seven high schools most represented in the class of 2017—Boston Latin, Phillips Academy in Andover, Stuyvesant High School, Noble and Greenough School, Phillips Exeter Academy, Trinity School in New York City, and Lexington High School.Where do the top 1% send their kids to college? ›
According to research from the New York Times, several colleges on this list — Washington and Lee University, Bucknell University, Kenyon College, Elon University, Boston College, Muhlenberg College, Lafayette College, and the University of Notre Dame — have more students enrolled from the top 1% of wealthy families ...Who is the richest person without college degree? ›
- Bill Gates. Richest man in the world, Bill Gates, dropped out of Harvard to focus on Microsoft full-time. ...
- Mark Zuckerberg. ...
- Lady GAGA. ...
- Steve Jobs. ...
- Ellen De Generes. ...
- Oprah. ...
- Steven Spielberg.
- Mining engineering. ...
- Computer systems engineering. ...
- Metallurgical engineering. ...
- Nuclear engineering technology. ...
- Operations research and industrial engineering. ...
- Petroleum engineering. ...
- Physician Assistant Studies. ...
- Electrical engineering and computer science.
- Engineering. Starting salary: $70,000 – 95,000 depending on specialty. ...
- Computer Science. Starting salary: $67,000. ...
- Mathematics. ...
- Business Operations Research. ...
- Political Economics. ...
- Business Analytics. ...
- Pharmacist. ...
On average, a physician makes $246,142 per year . Specializations, like cardiologists, make $284,694 per year on average. Salaries can depend on factors like location and experience. An engineer makes a national average salary of $68,746 per year .What is #1 college USA? ›
This Ivy League school is the oldest higher education institution in the country and has the largest endowment of any school in the world. Harvard University is a private institution in Cambridge, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston.
STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) degrees dominate the list of collegiate programs that lead to top-paying careers. While some bachelor's degrees in the humanities and social sciences don't typically offer high salaries, they can provide a foundation for a graduate degree and a more lucrative career.What University gives the most scholarships? ›
Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts
Amherst College awards $50 million in scholarships each year. This help students pay for college while relying less on student loans.
- #1: Psychology. Psychology majors study the inner workings of the human psyche. ...
- #2: Criminal Justice. ...
- #3: English. ...
- #4: Education. ...
- #5: Social Work. ...
- #6: Sociology. ...
- #7: Communications. ...
- #8: History.
- Business Administration. Business administration is one major that is usually considered “easy.” Some programs will also only take 3 years to finish! ...
- English. ...
- Human Resources. ...
- Criminal Justice. ...
- Marketing. ...
- Supply Chain Management. ...
- Psychology. ...
According to the average Grade Point Average of students in the program, Chemistry wins the prize title hardest major. A Chemistry major overlaps somewhat with biology, but chemistry extends beyond living things.
Agriculture, logging and forestry have the highest levels of self-reported happiness — and lowest levels of self-reported stress — of any major industry category, according to our analysis of thousands of time journals from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey.How much money does a single person need to live comfortably? ›
The data used in the study analyzed the cost of living in each city as of 2022. For California cities like Los Angeles, Berkeley and San Diego, a single person must make more than $76,000 to “live comfortably,” the data shows.
- Physical Therapist. Physical therapists are experts in movement and the human body that often help to rehabilitate people with injuries or disabilities. ...
- Firefighter. ...
- Teacher. ...
- Teaching Assistant. ...
- Quality Assurance Analyst.
Harvard, Stanford and Princeton, unsurprisingly, are America's toughest colleges to get into in 2023, according to Niche's most recent rankings.What is the hardest school to get into in the world? ›
Topping the list of the hardest school to get into in the world is Stanford. It has been featured top of this list for several years and no other university anywhere in the world has managed to replace it yet.
Harvard is ranked #2 in National Universities and #1 in Global Universities by U.S. News, and #1 by the Round University Ranking. Oxford is ranked #1 in Best Global Universities in Europe and #5 in Best Global Universities by U.S. News, and #2 by the QS World University Rankings.How much do Harvard janitors make? ›
The average Janitor II salary in Harvard, MA is $41,274 as of March 28, 2023, but the range typically falls between $36,549 and $47,364. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.How much does a PhD from Harvard make? ›
The estimated total pay for a PhD Student at Harvard University is $42,947 per year. This number represents the median, which is the midpoint of the ranges from our proprietary Total Pay Estimate model and based on salaries collected from our users. The estimated base pay is $42,947 per year.What type of professors make the most money? ›
Average Professor Salary by Subject
In general, the average pay is between roughly $64,000 and $123,000 per year. Education professors are at the low end of the salary range, typically earning less than $65,000 a year. The highest-paid are those who teach law; their expertise can net an annual salary of over $120,000.
After being admitted with a 3.0 or higher grade-point average (GPA), you must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 to be considered in good academic standing. If your GPA falls below 2.0, you are in poor academic standing.What is the lowest SAT score for Harvard? ›
There's no absolute SAT requirement at Harvard, but they really want to see at least a 1460 to have a chance at being considered.What is the highest GPA ever? ›
Normally, you would expect the highest score to be the 'perfect' 4.0 score, however, there are several things that a student can do to receive an even higher score. For example, one student actually managed to get a 10.03 GPA score. He did this by taking 17 advanced classes at his school, which awarded him many points.
Princeton. Princeton is commonly regarded as the “cheapest Ivy” thanks to its extensive financial aid offerings.What is a hidden Ivy school? ›
The Hidden Ivies are colleges and universities considered to rival the eight Ivy League schools without being part of that prestigious group. These schools offer similar academic opportunities to students but might get overlooked because of their lack of popularity when compared to the famous Ivies.Who is least applied to Ivy League? ›
Dartmouth University is the Ivy League school that receives the least amount of applications.What is the lowest GPA ever accepted Ivy League? ›
And maybe, you can get into a top tier college with a low GPA. We've always stated that the lowest GPA student we've ever helped get into an Ivy League school had a 3.3 unweighted GPA. And we're not saying that we could get anyone in with a 3.3 GPA. But it has happened before – and the student was Asian American too.What is the smartest Ivy League? ›
|Ivies||Crimson Ranking||QS World Ranking|
1. Harvard University — 3.19% With a record-low admission rate of just 3.19% for the class of 2026, Harvard currently ranks as the most difficult school to get into. This rate reflects admission into Harvard College, the Ivy League university's undergraduate school.Which Ivy League has the prettiest campus? ›
The Ivy League with the best campus is Princeton. It's reputed as having the prettiest campus.What kind of students do Ivy Leagues want? ›
A competitive application shows that the applicant has taken the most challenging curriculum available to him or her, and that student has achieved high grades on top of that. In other words, they have both a high GPA and many AP, IB, or Honors classes. For the Ivy League, a high GPA is, on average, a weighted 4.0.Which Ivy League is the most accepted? ›
Cornell University is the Ivy League school that receives the most applications each year, and it's not surprising since they also have the highest acceptance rate. They received 67,380 applications for their class of 2025.What major has the highest average salary? ›
Engineering majors also earn the highest median wages mid-career. Chemical engineering graduates ages 35 to 45 make a median wage of $111,000. However, other STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) majors, like pharmacy and computer science, also see six-figure or higher median wages mid-career.
The lowest-paying college majors are in such areas as early childhood education, elementary education, theology and religion, general education and social services, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.Is a 4 year college degree worth the cost? ›
Bachelor's degree holders generally earn 75% more than those with just a high school diploma, according to “The College Payoff,” a report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce — and the higher the level of educational attainment, the larger the payoff.What percent of people make 100k? ›
18% of individual Americans make over $100k per year. 34.4% of US households make over $100k per year. 37% of White Households make over $100k, compared to only 22% of Black households. 9% more men earn $100k per year than women in the US.What income is upper middle class? ›
Many have graduate degrees with educational attainment serving as the main distinguishing feature of this class. Household incomes commonly exceed $100,000, with some smaller one-income earners household having incomes in the high 5-figure range.What percent of men make 100k? ›
And because of racial and gender wage gaps, women are less likely to reach the six-figure threshold compared with men. Just 11% of women make $100,000 or more on a national level, whereas 21% of men do.What is the most regretted major? ›
Regret is heavily influenced by salary.
The top three regretted majors, according to ZipRecruiter, are journalism (87%), sociology (72%), and liberal arts and general studies (72%). The top three regret-free majors, all above 70%, are computer and information sciences, criminology, and engineering.
Least-regretted college majors.
|Computer + information sciences||72% 72% 72%|
|Engineering||71% 71% 71%|
|Nursing||69% 69% 69%|
|Health||67% 67% 67%|
- Environmental Economics and Policy.
- Environmental Earth Science.
- American Studies.
- Nuclear Engineering.
- Energy Engineering.
- Applied Mathematics.
Yes, college classes are typically harder than high school classes because the course work, topics, and depth of materials are more complex, set at a faster pace, and require more studying.
Colleges and universities primarily differ in program offerings and degree types. "University" refers to larger institutions offering both undergraduate and graduate programs. "College" refers to community colleges, technical schools, and liberal arts colleges.What is the best paying 4 year degree? ›
- Petroleum Engineering. Early career salary: $96,742. ...
- Operations Research. Early career salary: $74,114. ...
- Marine Engineering. Early career salary: $70,837. ...
- Computer Engineering. Early career salary: $80,587. ...
- Systems Engineering. ...
- Chemical Engineering. ...
- Electrical Engineering. ...
- Computer Science.