Do graduates’ salaries matter when choosing a college?

Posted on September 23rd, 2013

With college graduates entering a still-shaky economy, graduates’ salaries are becoming an increasingly important metric in the college ranking game.

But is there too much of a focus on future pay and not enough on the quality of education colleges offer? The New York Times explored this debate in a recent article.

Like U.S. News and World Report, PayScale also recently¬†released its latest rankings¬†of colleges and universities. Unlike U.S. News, however, PayScale’s list is solely based on incomes and jobs, ranking over a thousand institutions by the average earnings of their graduates.

As one would expect, graduates of Ivy League and other selective colleges make more on average than graduates of less selective universities. However, this does not seem to hold true for selective liberal arts colleges, most likely do to the fact that these schools graduate fewer students who enter high-paying fields in the sciences.

While return on investment and future earnings should certainly be considered when choosing to invest your money in a college education, they are far from the only metrics. Salary is highly subjective, depending on factors such as where the graduate chooses to live and work, their major, and job field. It’s certainly not worth going into thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt just because a rankings list says you’ll earn more graduating from one college than another.

We advise you to refrain from evaluating colleges based on one metric alone. When choosing a college, it’s best to take a well-rounded approach, assessing your needs and a college’s fit within the context of your budget and future plans.


Category: Choosing a College

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