8 Colleges With the Highest-Earning Graduates

If you want to make at least $56,000 in annual salary for your first job out of college, check out these colleges with high-earning grads.

Students at Harvey Mudd get the benefits of a small liberal arts college while also having access to all the resources of the other four Claremont colleges. Photo: Wikimedia.org

Where you go to school will most certainly affect what you end up doing afterwards, so it’s important to consider your post-grad goals when performing your college search. If your main priority is making big bucks after you graduate (hey, there’s no shame in that!), take a look at these eight colleges, listed from highest- to lowest-paid grads, whose alum boast excellent starting and mid-career salaries according to Payscale. (Sorry to squash the suspense, but even the “lowest paid” grads are making an absolute killing.)

1. United States Naval Academy

Average Starting Salary: $77,100
Average Mid-Career Salary: $131,000
Fifty-two astronauts, 24 members of Congress, and one President of the United States: these are the kinds of grads that have spent five years putting blood, sweat and tears into their education at the United States Naval Academy. Whether they choose to serve in public office or pursue a career in a private industry, their hard work pays off (literally.)

Take a look at these eight colleges, whose alum are known for having large salaries.

2. United States Military Academy at West Point

Average Starting Salary: $74,000
Average Mid-Career Salary: $120,000

Education at the United States Military Academy isn’t all about military-oriented skills – academics play a large roll, too. The school is ranked one of the best in the Northeast by the Princeton Review, who also placed it on their Most Accessible Professors and Best Colleges Libraries lists. West Point grads are required to serve in the military for five years after graduation, but they see big bucks afterwards – those who don’t choose to continue serving often become doctors, CEOs and civil engineers.

3. Harvey Mudd College

Average Starting Salary: $73,300
Average Mid-Career Salary: $143,000

Princeton Review ranked Harvey Mudd College fifth on their list of schools where students study the most, and it looks like their hard work is paying off – graduates from this school earn the most of any in the country. It’s not really a mystery how they manage this, either – the highly selective school specializes in science, math and engineering, all majors that garner high salaries according to Payscale.

4. California Institute of Technology

Average Starting Salary: $68,400
Average Mid-Career Salary: $124,000
California Institute of Technology is known for having one of the best science programs in the country – it ranked number one on Princeton Review’s list of schools with the best lab facilities – and most of its alumni go on to pursue grad degrees in physics, biology and chemistry. Those who enter the job market right away score positions at companies that recruit on campus like GE, Yahoo or Goldman Sachs.

5. Stevens Institute of Technology

Average Starting Salary: $64,900
Average Mid-Career Salary: $124,000

Students at the Hoboken, NJ-based Stevens Institute of Technology receive a research-heavy education in engineering, physics and other sciences. These programs have proved to be heavy on the return, too, landing grads in third place when it comes to high earnings. The school is especially known for sending students off to medical school – an impressive 90 percent of Stevens students who apply to med school gain admission.

Students at Stevens Institute of Technology have top science programs and a killer view of NYC. Photo: Stevens.edu

6. Stanford University

Average Starting Salary: $61,300
Average Mid-Career Salary: $119,000

Stanford University’s location in the tech-heavy Silicon Valley is a godsend for math and science majors, many of whom get offered lucrative positions as computer scientists, software designers and engineers at nearby firms. The school’s widely respected name and extensive Cardinal Recruiting program mean that even those who major in the humanities have a solid shot at gaining high-paying employment.

7. Babson College

Average Starting Salary: $59,700
Average Mid-Career Salary: $123,000

This private business school means, well, business – their program heavily emphasizes management and entrepreneurship (Princeton Review named their entrepreneurship program the best in the country), and many Babson College graduates have gone on to start their own successful (read: lucrative) companies like Home Depot and Accenture.

8. Princeton University

Average Starting Salary: $56,100
Average Mid-Career Salary: $121,000

As if the prestigious liberal arts and research programs at Princeton University needed any more cred to bolster this institution’s good name, hugely successful graduates include Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Google’s Eric Schmidt, and first lady Michelle Obama. We highly doubt any of these people are surviving off of peanut butter sandwiches and ramen noodles – just saying.

Seeing dollar signs already? We can’t say we blame you…

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