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Princeton Prof: Success Is About the Student, Not the School

When you made the selection of what college to attend for your undergraduate degree, you might have considered how the institution on your diploma could affect your salary potential. PayScale released data that ranks schools in terms of the salaries graduates command after 10 years in the workforce, and the results are similar to last year's rankings with Dartmouth grads earning the highest median salary.

The rankings lead to some interesting conclusions about the effect graduating from an elite school can have on your professional salary and which majors are bound to make the most money. It's mostly repetitive of last year's findings and their PayScale's medians don't tell the whole story, but one statement from a couple of outside researchers stood out as something different. To see what they concluded,


Alan B. Krueger, a Princeton professor and Treasury official, and Stacey B. Dale at Mathematica Policy Research, have done research that concludes success is more about the student than the particular school. Their bottom line: "Hard-working, ambitious students will do well wherever they go. The opposite applies to mediocre or lazy students. The one exception was lower-income students. For them, the college mattered more."

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
margokhal margokhal 8 years
I agree with syako. It really depends on what you want to do, and where you want to do it. Certain schools in different areas may be the "go-to" school when companies are looking for new employees for their profession. But I don't agree with this article. Most people get internships and jobs by networking and through contacts. This does depend in some part on how ambitious you are, but also who you know. The "lazy" student with one really good contact could land the same job as an ambitious student with many good contacts. The more influential people you have access to, the better your prospects of finding a "dream" job or at least getting your foot in the door in your profession. The influential people in various professions tend to accumulate in certain areas and at certain schools, so yes, the college does matter quite a lot. It's a little funny a Princeton professor is making this assertion. They have some of the best people and greatest contacts for networking in the country.
syako syako 8 years
I think it really depends on the major/profession. Also this data is based only on people with bachelor's so any salaries for master's, doctor's etc. are not included in this data set, which could make a huge difference.
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