The 25 best colleges for landing a high-paying job right out of school
It's great to land a job right out of college — but it's even more exciting when that job pays well.
The Princeton Review recently compiled a list of the 25 colleges with the best career placement in the country, featured in the book "Colleges That Pay You Back: 2016 Edition," published in February, based on students' ratings of career services at their school. The ratings also took into account median starting and mid-career salaries for alumni, using data from PayScale.
Several of these schools, including the top three, focus strongly on engineering, technology, and other STEM-related fields, which typically earn higher than average salaries.
Read on to see the 25 best colleges for landing a high-paying job right out of school.
25. Tufts University
Location: Medford, Massachusetts
Median starting salary: $53,800
Median mid-career salary: $119,700
No matter what students hope to do after graduation, the Tufts career center wants to help them get there. The center partners with students to develop the skills and contacts needed to start their careers through LinkedIn seminars, internship workshops, and information on alternative types of jobs and career paths.
24. University of California at Berkeley
Location: Berkeley, California
Median starting salary: $60,200
Median mid-career salary: $119,100
"Berkeley's greatest strengths are the amount of resources and opportunities it provides to students not only to allow them to explore numerous academic fields but to engage them in the community, in the country, and in the world," one student told the Princeton Review.
23. Lehigh University
Location: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Median starting salary: $61,000
Median mid-career salary: $108,800
Students cite Lehigh's extensive career services, which include internship, externship, and co-op programs that help students gain real-world experience, as a major factor that drew them to the school, according to the Princeton Review.
The school's career services office offers industry-specific advice for finding jobs and internships, as well as helpful links and resources for every major at the university.
22. Duke University
Location: Durham, North Carolina
Median starting salary: $62,000
Median mid-career salary: $113,000
In the spring, Duke hosts a "Just-in-Time" career fair featuring employers with immediate openings for jobs and internships. To prepare for it — as well as Duke's several other career fairs and internship events — students can sign up for one-on-one career counseling or a 15-minute drop-in advising session to get on-the-spot feedback on all their career-related questions.
21. Santa Clara University
Location: Santa Clara, California
Median starting salary: $60,200
Median mid-career salary: $114,900
Students rave about Santa Clara's career center and its ability to help students land top-notch internships. "They have so many connections [that] there is no reason why anyone should not have a job or internship because of all the resources they provide," one student told the Princeton Review.
These resources include résumé critiques, interviewing guidance, and tips on how to build a LinkedIn profile that gets you noticed.
20. Georgia Institute of Technology
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Median starting salary: $62,300
Median mid-career salary: $112,600
Located in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia Tech's prime urban location puts a host of jobs and internships right at students' fingertips.
The school boosts students' career prospects even further through programs like CareerBuzz, an online job board that connects students directly with prospective employers, and workshops on everything from writing first-rate cover letters to applying for international internships.
19. University of Pennsylvania
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Median starting salary: $59,900
Median mid-career salary: $115,900
Penn's career services department provides several exceptional perks to students, including career fairs where students can network with big-name companies like Amazon and Bloomberg, an annual hackathon featuring sponsorships from tech giants such as Apple and Microsoft, and an online job board brimming with more than 13,000 postings.
18. Colgate University
Location: Hamilton, New York
Median starting salary: $54,000
Median mid-career salary: $122,000
Colgate University wants every student to be able to complete an internship, research venture, or long-term community service project, and the school offers "Summer Funding" grants to help students take on unpaid or underpaid positions.
Even starting sophomore year, Colgate's SophoMORE Connections program brings successful alumni to campus to meet with underclassmen and discuss life after graduation and how to get a head-start on the job search.
17. Yale University
Location: New Haven, Connecticut
Median starting salary: $62,400
Median mid-career salary: $124,600
Students interested in networking can take advantage of the Yale Career Network, a database of alumni willing to connect with current students to discuss career objectives and share experiences. Yale also has several career advisors on-hand to talk students through the job search process and help polish their résumés and cover letters.
16. Cornell University
Location: Ithaca, New York
Median starting salary: $59,600
Median mid-career salary: $114,500
From developing career goals early on to locking down internships to starting the post-grad job search, Cornell's career services office helps students every step of the way through on-campus recruiting, a database of employer information, meetings with career counselors, and more.
Not only does Cornell have a central career center for all students, but also each of the school's seven undergraduate colleges have their own career offices bursting with resources specifically tailored to those majors.
15. The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
Location: New York, New York
Median starting salary: $61,100
Median mid-career salary: $131,800
The school hosts separate art and engineering career fairs, as well as on-campus recruiting events, to give students even more chances to connect with organizations and potential employers.
14. Clarkson University
Location: Potsdam, New York
Median starting salary: $63,000
Median mid-career salary: $117,400
Clarkson University pushes for every student to complete an internship, co-op, or research project before graduation, and the career center offers numerous resources for making that happen. Students can test out their skills during mock interviews and then put them to the test at the spring career fair, which features on-campus recruiting from companies like IBM, General Electric, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
13. Princeton University
Location: Princeton, New Jersey
Median starting salary: $62,600
Median mid-career salary: $119,000
From the moment students arrive on campus as freshmen, Princeton's career services office wants to help them work toward their dream careers. "Princeton is a place that prepares you for anything and everything, providing you with a strong network every step of the way," one student commented.
Through careers services, students can shadow an alumnus in the field they're interested in, schedule résumé and cover letter critiques, and land on-campus interviews through the HireTigers database.
12. Rice University
Location: Houston, Texas
Median starting salary: $65,500
Median mid-career salary: $119,300
At Rice's career center, students can take advantage of a myriad of services, including peer advisors, one-on-one career counseling, career development workshops, job fairs, and information sessions with employers.
Outside of the center, several other Rice institutions offer career development opportunities, such as the School of Social Sciences' Gateway program. One of Gateway's perks is the summer fellows program that connects students with alumni mentors and helps bolster their internship experiences.
11. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Location: Troy, New York
Median starting salary: $62,700
Median mid-career salary: $112,500
RPI maintains strong ties within the science and tech industries, giving students a leg up when it comes time to start the job search. The school's career center provides several perks as well, such as JobLink, an online recruiting and job posting forum, and on-campus informational meetings with employers.
10. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Location: Worcester, Massachusetts
Median starting salary: $63,400
Median mid-career salary: $110,300
Worcester Polytechnic Institute's careers department helps students find ways to apply the practical knowledge they learn in class through jobs, internships, and co-ops. Students can discover these opportunities at the school's many career fairs, company presentations, and networking nights.
In the past few years, WPI graduates have been hired by notable companies, including Amazon, IBM, ExxonMobil, and Boeing.
9. Carnegie Mellon University
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Median starting salary: $64,000
Median mid-career salary: $117,000
A Carnegie Mellon education prepares students to tackle problems in the real world — and employers take notice. "People will hire you because they know you can work since you have been doing nothing but working the past four years of your life," one student told the Princeton Review.
The university's career center offers several resources to help students along the way as well, including one-on-one meetings with career consultants and TartanTRAK, an in-house recruiting system.
8. Babson College
Location: Babson Park, Massachusetts
Median starting salary: $61,500
Median mid-career salary: $121,700
Babson's careers department hosts employers-in-residence, including representatives from elite companies such as EY and Fidelity, who meet with students and offer résumé critiques, mock interviews, and career advice.
Babson also holds several industry panels throughout the year where students can hear from and network with top executives in their field.
7. State University of New York Maritime College
Location: Throggs Neck, New York
Median starting salary: $62,100
Median mid-career salary: $129,60
SUNY Maritime's curriculum is highly specific — it trains students for careers in the maritime industry through majors like marine environmental science and naval architecture — but it works. The school boasts a near-perfect job placement rate within three months of graduation and the career center runs a job postings board featuring both internship and full-time employment opportunities.
6. Stevens Institute of Technology
Location: Hoboken, New Jersey
Median starting salary: $67,100
Median mid-career salary: $114,400
The Stevens Institute of Technology's robust co-op program lets students alternate between semesters in class and working full-time jobs alongside real engineers and scientists at places like Colgate, Exxon Mobil, and Panasonic, gaining hands-on experience and making valuable contacts in their fields.
Students can also make connections through externships, where they're matched with a sponsor in their industry to shadow for two weeks.
5. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Location: Terre Haute, Indiana
Median starting salary: $67,300
Median mid-career salary: $115,700
A highly rated engineering school, Rose-Hulman sends 97% of graduates into STEM positions. The school's career services office helps students land these jobs through peer advisors, mock interviews, and opportunities to network with alumni.
Rose-Hulman encourages students to pursue internships and co-ops as well, and the school sponsors two of its own internship programs — specializing in entrepreneurship and biomedical engineering — that match students with companies across Indiana.
4. Stanford University
Location: Stanford, California
Median starting salary: $65,800
Median mid-career salary: $133,700
In addition to services like career counseling, job fairs, and résumé workshops, Stanford's career center organizes "career communities" in certain fields. Through these communities, faculty members help students explore different career paths and connect with professionals in industries they're interested in.
Students can also go on a "Career Exploration Trek," during which they spend a couple of days immersed in a certain city or industry through company visits and professional meet ups.
3. California Institute of Technology
Location: Pasadena, California
Median starting salary: $82,200
Median mid-career salary: $126,200
In addition to preparing students well for high-paying STEM jobs, Caltech's career center offers a series of workshops to get them ready for the job search, including sessions on networking, using social media effectively, and how to connect with recruiters. The center also gives students step-by-step tips for landing summer internships and gaining valuable hands-on experience in their fields.
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Median starting salary: $72,300
Median mid-career salary: $131,700
MIT's careers department prepares students to navigate the job market long before they're in the thick of it through mock interviews, graduate school advising, career fairs, and résumé help. The school also boasts a powerful alumni network that includes people like billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch and astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
MIT's Boston-adjacent location proves advantageous for students seeking positions in the city and surrounding area, which is filled with tech startups and research opportunities.
1. Harvey Mudd College
Location: Claremont, California
Median starting salary: $76, 300
Median mid-career salary: $137,800
Both Harvey Mudd's career services office and its individual professors go out of the way to help students lock down summer internships and job leads. Students can also take advantage of the school's bi-annual career fairs and extensive resources on networking, résumé building, and job applications.
Harvey Mudd even has a global job search guide, developed by experts in cities across the world, to help students navigate the intricacies of finding jobs internationally.
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