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Should I look at 'median alumni earnings after xxx years' data before applying?

GillBatesGillBates Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
edited February 15 in College Search & Selection
Okay. So, do I need to worry about the median alumni earnings of college graduates of a particular school? How significant is this data in my college search?
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Replies to: Should I look at 'median alumni earnings after xxx years' data before applying?

  • merc81merc81 Registered User Posts: 9,264 Senior Member
    For generally similar colleges with, particularly, comparable curricula, you might want to consider this among other factors. U.S. News favors the figures for early career earnings, which it publishes with its individual college entries.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 31,141 Senior Member
    I've got two who graduated from the same college. One earns an enviable salary (not a stem major) and the other much less. Which do you want to use for your figures? Both highly educated and able.

    You may benefit more from assessing your kid's drives, qualifications, and how he/she sets and reaches goals, not how many grads get jobs in banking, high tech, medicine versus those happily working at lower paying, fulfilling, equally meaningful careers that just don't have as high a salary.
  • OttermaOtterma Registered User Posts: 1,443 Senior Member
    I agree that this is meaningless unless the school graduates virtually all students in the same type of field...eg STEM or arts.

    In lieu of that, look at the strength of the departments where you think you are likely to major. Look at the career placement services. Look at the internship placement programs. If your likely field typically involves graduate school, then try to find grad school placement numbers. These are the things that will position you to get the best possible start in your career.
  • warblersrulewarblersrule Super Moderator Posts: 10,019 Super Moderator
    edited February 15
    I think that median income for an entire school often depends on how many engineering, math, and professional programs, such as business, the school may offer.
    It also depends on where the school places its graduates; $60K goes a lot further in Tennessee than in NYC.

    It's no surprise that only one southern school is in Payscale's top 25 (Rice at #25), nor is it surprising to see a school like Santa Clara - where the vast majority of graduates take jobs in the Bay Area - at #13.
  • donnaleighgdonnaleighg Registered User Posts: 1,531 Senior Member
    It also depends on where students *are* X years out. I was in grad school earning a pittance as a PhD candidate for 7 years. Then I had a PhD in Electrical Engineering and a very nice salary and career from then on. If a large proportion of students from a college are in law school, med school, or PhD programs, their salary might not be a meaningful thing to pay attention to.
  • badgolferbadgolfer Registered User Posts: 215 Junior Member
    do I need to worry about the median alumni earnings of college graduates of a particular school?
    Absolutely!! It is the critical measure. You are virtually guaranteed to earn that amount, because of course you are idential to the median alumni.
  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 40,966 Super Moderator
    You are virtually guaranteed to earn that amount
    As the OP is an international applicant, getting sponsored for a work visa, let alone earning the median income, is far from "virtually guaranteed."
  • merc81merc81 Registered User Posts: 9,264 Senior Member
    The OP has asked "[h]ow significant (emphasis added) is [earnings] data in my college search?" This question requires some nuance for a proper response, rather than a rejection of the validity of the inquiry itself. No one here who asserts that your choice of college cannot influence your post-graduation opportunities will be supporting you financially, @GillBates.
  • damon30damon30 Registered User Posts: 543 Member
    edited February 15
    Not really knowing how important median alumni earnings numbers are for someone like @GillBates, I personally notice the WSJ rankings "Salary after 10 years" numbers. Although it may be skewed by specific majors, it probably does serve as some kind of proxy for how much industry values an education from that school.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 28,849 Senior Member
    If you are an international applicant, what matters is what people in your own country (or another country where you have work permission) think about the college/university. It is extremely difficult for international graduates to find permanent jobs in the US. You need to study at a place that can help you get a job when you leave the US.
  • GillBatesGillBates Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    Thank you all for your feedback
  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 2,059 Senior Member
    Worry may be too strong a word, I'd review them for sure, esp if you're going into a STEM major, but take the numbers with some context as posters have already mentioned. You should definitely look at outcomes, salary, grad placement among others, when deciding a college, most people in the US do.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,683 Forum Champion
    Median income reports are misleading...

    A school with a larger eng’g dept will have higher reported earnings. But does that help someone seeking a Communications degree? No.

    A school in a high rent area may report higher incomes, but the incomes are eaten up with rent.
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