Where do the Most Successful New College Grads Come From?

There are many different things to base a college decision on. For some, location is key. It might be important to stay close to home or to gain independence by venturing out.

For the lucky few who actually know what they want to be when they grow up, the decision may be based on the need to find a school that offers a certain program.

And then there are those who make a decision based on the likelihood of success they’ll have after attending a school.

But success means different things to different people. So we set out to determine where the most successful new college grads are coming from based on three different areas:

    • Schools where new grads earn the highest starting salaries
    • Schools that offer the best career placement programs
    • Cities with the happiest young professionals

Where do the most successful new grads come from? by Katy Tripses

Schools with the Highest Starting Salary

To determine where the most successful college grads came from, we started by taking a look at starting salaries. Whether we want to admit it or not, a high salary is a definite indicator of success, especially when you’re just starting out. We found the top 50 schools where graduates earn the most right after graduation using rankings from Business Insider.

Not surprising, schools that specialized in programs like engineering, science, and math ranked at the top. What was surprising to us? None of the eight ivy league universities made it into the top five! More than that, two out of the top three schools are military institutions.

Check the full list out here:

Rank University Median Starting Salary
1 US Naval Academy $80,700
2 Harvey Mudd College $75,600
3 US Military Academy $75,100
4 California Institute of Technology $74,800
5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology $70,300
6 Stanford University $62,900
7 (TIE) Carnegie Mellon $62,300
7 (TIE) Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute $62,300
9 Georgia Institute of Technology $61,700
10 Babson College $61,300
11 Cooper Union $61,100
12 Lehigh University $60,400
13 (TIE) Princeton University $60,000
13 (TIE) Rice University $60,000
15 (TIE) Duke University $59,500
15 (TIE) University of California at Berkeley $59,500
17 University of Pennsylvania $59,300
18 Columbia University $59,200
19 Johns Hopkins University $58,700
20 Yale University $58,500
21 Cornell University $58,200
22 Case Western Reserve University $58,000
23 Harvard University $57,700
24 Hamilton College $57,600
25 Lafayette College $57,000
26 (TIE) University of Michigan at Ann Arbor $56,800
26 (TIE) Bucknell University $56,800
28 Vanderbilt University $56,300
29 Dartmouth College $55,500
30 Purdue University $55,400
31 University of Notre Dame $55,200
32 Brown University $55,100
33 (TIE) Washington University at STL $55,000
33 (TIE) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign $55,000
35 Northwestern University $54,200
36 (TIE) University of Virginia $54,100
36 (TIE) Northeastern University $54,100
38 Colgate University $54,000
39 (TIE) Wake Forest University $53,300
39 (TIE) Villanova University $53,300
41 University of Washington $52,400
42 University of Texas Austin $52,200
43 (TIE) Middlebury College $51,900
43 (TIE) Tufts College $51,900
43 (TIE) Boston College $51,900
46 Brigham Young University $51,800
47 (TIE) University of Southern California $51,700
47 (TIE) University of Connecticut $51,700
49 Penn State $51,500
50 Clemson University $51,400

Schools with the Best Career Placement

Next, we took a look at which U.S. schools had the best career placement records. Because to earn that high starting salary and to be considered successful, you definitely need a job after graduating– and pronto.

We took a look at rankings from the Princeton Review showing the schools with the best career placement. These colleges and universities are exceptional when it comes to helping their grads find jobs! They turn lost college students who have no clue what they want to do with their lives and turn them into focused, goal-oriented, and successful professionals.

Schools with top career placement programs include:

Rank University
1 Harvey Mudd College
2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
3 California Institute of Technology
4 Stanford University
5 Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
6 Stevens Institute of Technology
7 State University of New York- Maritime College
8 Babson College
9 Carnegie Mellon University
10 Worcester Polytechnic Institute
11 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
12 Rice University
13 Princeton University
14 Clarkson University
15 Cooper Union
16 Cornell University
17 Yale University
18 Colgate University
19 University of Pennsylvania
20 Georgia Institute of Technology
21 Santa Clara University
22 Duke University
23 Lehigh University
24 University of California Berkeley
25 Tufts University

Cities with Happiest Young Professionals

And last but not least, in order to find where the most successful college grads were, we decided to get out of the campuses and look at which cities they were happiest in.

Because happiness = success too!

We took at look at the list of cities with the happiest young professionals by CareerBliss. According to their data, these cities rocked it when it came to important job satisfaction factors like high pay, career advancement opportunities, and a work-life balance.

Cities like New York and San Francisco are generally known as cities for the young and hip. But this list was actually mostly comprised of mid-sized cities like Orlando and Charlotte!

Here’s their full list:

Rank City State
1 Redmond Washington
2 Fort Lauderdale Florida
3 Orlando Florida
4 Charlotte North Carolina
5 Cambridge Massachusetts
6 Detroit Michigan
7 Sacramento California
8 Boston Massachusetts
9 Long Beach California
10 Minneapolis Minnesota
11 Dallas Texas
12 Bronx New York
13 Chicago Illinois
14 San Francisco California
15 Richmond Virginia
16 Brooklyn New York
17 Irvine California
18 (TIE) Atlanta Georgia
18 (TIE) Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
19 Los Angeles California
20 Philadelphia Pennsylvania

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Success is determined by
way more than just salaries, career service offices, and the city you live in. We couldn’t agree more! But setting yourself up by attending one of these schools or living in one of these cities can’t hurt either.

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