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Here’s the No. 1 College for Average Americans That Has the Highest Starting Salary Among Graduates

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Deanna Ritchie

Deanna Ritchie is a managing editor at Due. She has a degree in English Literature. She has written 2000+ articles on getting out of debt and mastering your finances. She has edited over 60,000 articles in her life. She has a passion for helping writers inspire others through their words. Deanna has also been an editor at Entrepreneur Magazine and ReadWrite.... Read More

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Highest Starting Salary Among Graduates

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.

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.

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