Do Elite Schools Matter in High Paying Jobs?

Companies that are school selective in hiring employees are not common, but do elite schools really lead to higher salaries?

It is a common formula that studying in more prestigious schools brings more opportunities and positions with high salaries. For all we know, families choose the best possible school they can afford to invest on quality education and maximize their earnings in the future.

However, based on a survey of thousands of college graduates looking at their jobs a decade after their graduation, the formula is said not to always hold true. It was found out that graduates from prestigious schools only get high earnings in selected fields, while the others simple make no difference.

Liberal arts and business majors usually have the major impact on their salary expectations while other fields like science, technology and education, whether from prestigious schools or low-priced ones, make no variation in the salary expectations.


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In the study, careers in STEM-related majors do not vary on average earnings among college classification. There is only a marginal significance between selective colleges. This may be due to standardized curriculums that the skills students learn is more valuable than prestige according to potential employers.

However, the value of future pay and prestige may be varied based on the choice of the students whether they actually get their desired major at a prestigious school. They may take longer acquiring units in another major or they may not have graduated after all, thus limiting salary advantage.

It is still important for families to understand that choosing such careers in prestigious schools may leave students in burden even after getting out of school. Getting an engineering degree, for instance, in University of Pennsylvania instead of Texas A&M, will bring an average salary of only less than $1,000 where the tuition difference would be over $167,000. Imagine how much and how long these graduates and their families will pay for loans just to attend to these schools. It is just wasteful and not practical.

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It is time that people must be aware of pragmatic measures on investing in education and career, else they would be working for a lifetime paying dues, not well thought of.


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Do Elite Schools Matter in High Paying Jobs?

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