The 50 best colleges where students earn high starting salaries

USNA studentsUnited States Naval Academy/FacebookGraduates of the US Naval Academy earn a median annual starting salary of more than $US80,000.

We recently published our list of the 50 best colleges in America.

The list ranks colleges by median starting salary, average SAT score, and a survey that asked over 1,000 Business Insider readers to choose the colleges that best prepare their students for success after graduation.

Respondents chose from a pool of what we perceived to be the top 100 schools in the US. Read our full methodology here.

We re-ranked the schools by pay here to find the top US schools whose graduates earn the highest starting salaries.

Interestingly, two of the top three schools on this list are elite military institutions. And being that technical degrees often earn college grads higher starting salaries than degrees in humanities or social sciences, schools that are heavy on STEM programming tended to rank more favourably here.

Keep reading to see which colleges came out on top.

Find out how your salary stacks up on PayScale.

50. Clemson University


Median starting salary: $US51,400

The 2016 Princeton Review ranked Clemson's career services program No. 1 in the country. The career center also runs a Cooperative Education Program, in which students can alternate semesters of academic work with 'paid, career-related, engaged-learning experience,' according to the Clemson website. The 2015 Princeton Review also ranks the school No. 1 for the best alumni network.

49. Penn State

Median starting salary: $US51,500

Pennsylvania's only land-grant university, Penn State has an extensive alumni network of more than 645,000 Nittany Lions around the world. The school's alumni association connects everyone through an advanced online network that enables alumni to make professional connections, hire fellow Penn Staters, and more.

47 (TIE). University of Connecticut

Median starting salary: $US51,700

UConn has a built-out career services office, with resources both on campus and online. The online portal features a number of internship, co-op, and full-time job opportunities with companies like Pepperidge Farm, JetBlue, Unilever, and UBS, as well as a number of resources to help students apply and place there.

46. Brigham Young University

Median starting salary: $US51,800

BYU has multiple career fairs a year, and separate ones for general careers and STEM-related careers. The majority of students study business or biology, and include alumni like Utah senator Orrin Hatch, JetBlue chairman Joel Peterson, and former US presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Sponsored by the Church of Latter Day Saints, BYU offers an affordable education for all students, but especially for members of the Church, whose tuitions are subsidized by tithes from other members.

43 (TIE). Boston College

Median starting salary: $US51,900

A Jesuit school, Boston College is committed to its liberal arts core and to 'the continual process of intellectual inquiry and student formation.'

'Jesuit institutions provide the most well-rounded education and prepare you for the real world,' one survey participant commented.

The most popular undergraduate majors include economics, finance, and communication, but all students complete a certain number of liberal arts courses. Boston College was tied with USC at No. 36 on our main list.

43 (TIE). Tufts University

Scott Tingley for Tufts/Tufts University/Facebook

Median starting salary: $US51,900

Just outside Boston, Tufts blends liberal arts and research, giving students access to the best of both worlds. The No. 30 school on our main list offers research opportunities to students both while in school and after they finish their degrees.

Students can also spend a semester, a year, or a summer abroad, including at Tufts' own European Center in Talloires, France.

43 (TIE). Middlebury College

Median starting salary: $US51,900

Middlebury (No. 38 on our main list) may be in the middle of rural Vermont, but it's not shut off from the world; in fact, the school is a leader in language instruction and international studies, and offers 10 different foreign language tracks. An emphasis on writing in all classes broadens students' ability for critical thinking and expression for experiences that extend far after graduation.

42. University of Texas at Austin

Median starting salary: $US52,200

Ranked No. 17 for top public universities in the country by US News and Money magazine, UT has nearly half a billion alumni all toting Longhorn pride, including award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, filmmaker Wes Anderson, journalist Walter Cronkite, and many members of the Bush family.

Students at the No. 41 school on our list benefit from a massive online and offline recruitment portal composed of companies, alumni, and current students seeking to network and make business connections.

41. University of Washington,_Spring_2007.jpg

Median starting salary: $US52,400

University of Washington students go far from one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country. Six Nobel Prize winners, 15 MacArthur Fellows, over 240 members of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, and 167 fellows in the American Association for the Advancement of Science make up a sample of alumni at the school.

39 (TIE). Villanova University


Median starting salary: $US53,300

Founded in 1842 just outside Philadelphia by the Order of Saint Augustine, Villanova (No. 50 on our main list) grants a liberal arts-based education in a large university setting. Among graduates of the class of 2014, 97% were employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation, and 60% held at least one internship.

39 (TIE). Wake Forest University


Median starting salary: $US53,300

Tied with UT at No. 41 on our main list, Wake Forest gives students first-hand experience in networking in the fields of banking, politics, and real estate during a summer program hosted by the school in Washington, D.C. Current students meet and get advice from dozens of Wake Forest alumni who guide them on the path to living and working in the nation's capital.

'Wake Forest University provides true depth of learning that allows their graduates to succeed across industries,' one survey respondent said.

38. Colgate University

Median starting salary: $US54,000

Colgate (No. 44 on the main list) has an impressive track record of sending grads to top graduate schools (Columbia, NYU, Harvard, Cornell, and UPenn rank in the top five) as well as top employment positions.

'For work in finance, and especially on Wall Street, Colgate has a solid reputation for sending very successful and well-prepared graduates,' one Colgate alum who took our survey noted. 'My classmate recently retired as the CEO of the NYSE. We have an extensive network of graduates in the industry.'

36 (TIE). Northeastern University

Median starting salary: $US54,100

Northeastern was ranked No. 34 on our main list, and No. 42 in this year's ranking by US News -- up 56 spots from the publication's 2007 list. Experiential learning opportunities ensure that students are exposed to real-world work, research, and study opportunities that will further them in their chosen fields far beyond life at Northeastern.

35. Northwestern University

Median starting salary: $US54,200

Thirteenth on our main list, Northwestern doesn't just focus on students' time during college; it helps them look to the future as well. The most popular majors among 2013 graduates at the Evanston, Illinois-based school were economics, journalism, and psychology, and within six months of graduation 81% of the class were employed or in graduate school full-time.

33 (TIE). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Median starting salary: $US55,000

Last year, 72 of of the 100 Fortune 100 companies recruited on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's campus. More than 5,000 companies came to recruit in total, and conducted over 14,000 interviews. UIUC, No. 45 on the main list, is known for its engineering program, which is ranked No. 6 in the country.

33 (TIE). Washington University in St. Louis

Median starting salary: $US55,000

Ranked the seventh-most selective university by US News, WashU (ranked No. 27 on the main list) says more than 90% of its students rank in the top 10% of their graduating high-school classes. WashU makes it a priority to help students succeed not only as employees, but as employers, giving them a substantial background in entrepreneurial studies and executive education.

32. Brown University

Median starting salary: $US55,100

The seventh-oldest college in the US, Brown (No. 18 on our main list) is a leading research university with more than 40 specific centres of study, creating a plethora of opportunities for students to get involved with research projects. That is, if you can get in. The selective school in Providence, Rhode Island, accepts only 8.7% of applicants.

31. University of Notre Dame

Median starting salary: $US55,200

Within six months of graduation, 86% of Notre Dame's class of 2013 were employed full-time or enrolled in graduate school. Graduates from the No. 24 ranked college on our main list, the South Bend, Indiana-based school end up at top companies including NBC Universal, Ernst & Young, and Deloitte.

30. Purdue University

Median starting salary: $US55,400

Indiana's land grant university has a stellar track record of students pursuing their dreams after graduation: 85% of students surveyed from the class of 2013 found themselves employed full-time or in graduate school. Purdue alumni employers range from large corporations like Amazon, PepsiCo, and Disney to government entities to universities.

29. Dartmouth College


Median starting salary: $US55,500

At Dartmouth, students learn from the best -- the school is ranked No. 4 on US News' list of colleges with the best undergraduate teaching. Our main list's tenth-best school, Dartmouth, located in Hanover, New Hampshire, also offers a flexible academic calendar that allows students to easily fit in time for internships, work experience, and studying abroad.

28. Vanderbilt University

Median starting salary: $US56,300

Vanderbilt was ranked the 16th-best college in the country on our main list. The Nashville, Tennessee-based school abides by an honour code that it says makes its graduates citizens with integrity.

'Students from Vanderbilt ... have always impressed me with their high level of intelligence, but low level of entitlement,' one survey taker wrote. 'They are not ostentatious about how much they know, but they are very personable -- at least in my experiences -- and have always been interesting people to be around.'

26 (TIE). Bucknell University

Median starting salary: $US56,800

A whopping 97% of Bucknell students report being employed, in graduate school, volunteering, or some combination thereof within nine months of graduation.

And if you think the median starting salary for Bucknell grads is high, it's important to note that the alumni median lifetime earnings are equally high; the Lewisburg, Pennsylvania-based school ranks No. 5 among liberal-arts colleges surveyed by PayScale, and ranks No. 48 on our main list of colleges.

25. Lafayette College


Median starting salary: $US57,000

For the fifth year in a row, the Princeton Review ranked Lafayette College in the top 20 higher-education career services offices, based on student feedback. Seventy-eight per cent of students have internship or fieldwork experience under their belts by graduation, and 95% of Lafayette grads are employed, continuing their education, or conducting internships or volunteer work six months after graduation.

24. Hamilton College

Median starting salary: $US57,600

The small, liberal-arts college in Clinton, New York, takes only top talent -- 75% of the class of 2018 were in the top 10% of their graduating high school classes, and 94% were in the top 20%. Hamilton grads have a great track record of earning prestigious awards; 92 were granted Fulbright Scholarships and 18 took Goldwater Scholarships in the last 15 years.

Not only do graduates earn great salaries, they also earn great bonuses -- more than $US10,000, with five to 19 years of experience.

22. Case Western Reserve University

Median starting salary: $US58,000

Case Western is known for its top-rated engineering and science programs; nearly 30% of students major in an engineering field, and another 13% major in biology. Students are exposed to an endless number of research opportunities at a school that's consistently ranked in the top 20 private research institutes in the country.

21. Cornell University

Median starting salary: $US58,200

Cornell strives to contribute to the world's knowledge in a way that 'prioritises public engagement to help improve the quality of life in our state, the nation, the world.' The Ithaca, New York-based school (No. 11 on the main list) offers 80 fields of study and an active career-services office, which connects students with alumni for mentoring, networking, jobs, and internships.

20. Yale University

No. Median starting salary: $US58,500

Yale's undergraduate curriculum aims to provide a comprehensive liberal-arts education, and it allows students to choose from more than 65 different areas of study, including everything from anthropology to chemistry to modern Middle East studies. Not only that, but the New Haven, Connecticut-based school is a great deal for the money -- it's ranked the third-best-value undergraduate program in the country by US News, and No. 6 on our main colleges list.

19. Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University/Facebook

Median starting salary: $US58,700

With nine schools and more than 240 programs, America's first research university, No. 12 on our main list, offers students unbeatable variety when it comes to choosing a field of study. JHU's biomedical and environmental engineering programs are exceptionally notable, and students have the opportunity to work alongside Nobel laureates and other award and medal winners who introduce them to real-life applications of their work.

18. Columbia University

Columbia University in the City of New York/Facebook

Median starting salary: $US59,200

Columbia counts 82 Nobel Laureates among its esteemed alumni and faculty, including two US presidents. The New York City-based Ivy League school, which was eighth on our main college list, also features several prestigious graduate programs for students planning to continue their education. The highest-earning graduates from Columbia end up in Seattle, Washington, and earn a median salary of $US95,000.

17. University of Pennsylvania

Median starting salary: $US59,300

The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School is routinely considered the best in the country at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. US News ranked it the No. 1 undergraduate business program overall, as well as naming it the best school for marketing, finance, management, and real estate. Many undergrads go on from Wharton to work in finance, consulting, tech, or to start their own companies. UPenn ranked ninth on the main list.

15 (TIE). University of California at Berkeley

Median starting salary: $US59,500

Berkeley is ranked the No. 1 public university in the country by US News, and No. 15 on our overall list of colleges. Berkeley helps its students develop a number of workplace-applicable skills, like clear and effective writing, critical thinking, quantitative skills, and international understanding -- students report a marked improvement in these skills between freshman and senior year.

15 (TIE). Duke University

Median starting salary: $US59,500

Duke is the fifth-largest research university in the nation, and ranked No. 7 on our main list. Half of all undergraduates participate in a faculty research project, and receive ample opportunities to study abroad and gain an international perspective on the world.

Of all the schools in the 'Triangle' -- Duke, North Carolina State, and UNC Chapel Hill -- Duke is the only school whose graduates will break the six-figure mark after at least 10 years in the workforce, with a median mid-career salary of $US102,000.

13 (TIE). Rice University


Median starting salary: $US60,000

Houston's Rice University is a research university with a small-college feel. A median class size of 14 students and a six-to-one student-to-faculty ratio means a focus on individualized learning.

The median starting salary for all Rice graduates is $US60,000, but the number varied based on industry, ranging from $US35,000 for architecture grads to $US72,500 for engineering grads.

13 (TIE). Princeton University

Median starting salary: $US60,000

Princeton students can choose between 34 majors and more than 30 interdepartmental programs. Research is important across all departments, and the school provides students with ample opportunities for both mentorships with professors and independent research projects.

The school had a 100% placement rate for summer internships in 2015, and more than 95% of the class graduated with an offer of full-time employment. Princeton ranked fourth on our overall list of colleges.

11. Cooper Union


Median starting salary: $US61,100

Cooper Union was ranked the No. 1 best-value school and second-best overall undergraduate school in the north by US News. With a 15% admission rate, it's one of the most selective schools in the country, known for its excellent architecture, fine arts, and engineering programs that lead to lucrative, technical careers.

10. Babson College

Median starting salary: $US61,300

Babson College (No. 42 on the main list) has a top-notch reputation for fostering entrepreneurship on its Massachusetts campus and in the real world. It also has a partnership with the F.W. Olin College of Engineering and Wellesley College to which enables students to get involved in joint research and curricular projects, conferences and programs, and other services with the two other colleges. The school is ranked fifth nationally for alumni earnings.

9. Georgia Institute of Technology

Median starting salary: $US61,700

Considered the smartest public college in America, Georgia Tech -- No. 25 on our main list of colleges -- is known for its top-rated engineering, industrial design, and architecture programs. Students from the class of 2014 alone reported earning a median salary of $US64,000.

'Atlanta is the technological hub of the South, and Georgia Tech is a major reason for this, attracting among the best technology students from around the world,' one survey respondent said.

7 (TIE). Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute/Facebook

Median starting salary: $US62,300

RPI recently ranked 12th on our list of the best computer science and engineering schools in America, and 39th on our overall colleges list. Accordingly, 53% of students opt for an engineering-related major, while another 10% major in computer and information sciences. The median starting salary for RPI grads is $US62,300, but alumni with 10 to 20 years of experience earn a median $US110,000 annually, according to Forbes.

7 (TIE). Carnegie Mellon University

Median starting salary: $US62,300

Within three months of graduation, 77% of Carnegie Mellon's 2014 graduates were employed or enrolled in graduate school. On top of that, 2014 grads from the Pittsburgh-based university -- which ranked fourteenth on our main list -- landed jobs at top-paying companies including Google, Deloitte, and ExxonMobil.

4. California Institute of Technology

Median starting salary: $US74,800

The Pasadena-based Caltech earned the No. 4 spot on US News' list of the best undergraduate engineering programs, No. 8 on its list of the best value schools, and No. 5 on our main list. The university follows through on its reputation, too: Caltech has produced 32 Nobel laureates, 57 National Medal of Science recipients, and 13 National Medal of Technology winners. The majority of Caltech grads go into high-earning STEM-related positions when they graduate.

3. US Military Academy

West Point - The US Military Academy/Facebook

Median starting salary: $US75,100

Getting into the Military Academy at West Point, located in the eponymous New York town, is no small feat: The Academy (No. 29 on the main list) accepts only about 9% of applicants. For accepted students, each major -- ranging from American politics to nuclear engineering -- is specifically tailored to train 'officer-leaders of character to serve the Army and the Nation.'

2. Harvey Mudd College


Median starting salary: $US75,600

Harvey Mudd graduates earn the second-highest median starting salary on our list, primarily due to the fact that a large number of students go into STEM fields when they graduate. The school also took a respectable 17th spot on our main list. Harvey Mudd is best known for its engineering and computer-science programs, the Claremont, California-based school is also a member of the Claremont Colleges consortium and a liberal-arts college.

The school makes sure its students learn in all areas with a solid core curriculum that incorporates humanities and social sciences in with maths and science.

1. US Naval Academy

Median starting salary: $US80,700

As a military school, US Naval Academy (No. 26 on our main list of colleges) rigorously prepares students for a career in the Navy -- and beyond -- with a focus on military education, professional training, character development, and physical fitness. The Academy boasts a trove of notable alumni, including 52 astronauts, 48 Rhodes Scholars, and President Jimmy Carter.

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