Choosing a college major is never easy and there are a lot of factors to consider before doing so. Some say that pursuing a passion is the best strategy while others argue that a decent salary both after graduation and later on in a career is more important. Ideally, prospective students will get to enjoy the best of both world's. If salary is an important factor, however, there is a noticeable dfference in early career pay between schools with institutions focusing on STEM tending to come out ahead.
That's according to a Payscale analysis which shows that Samuel Merritt University has the highest salary for bachelor graduates during the early part of their career where they can expect to bring home $93,900 annually halfway through their first five years. SMU is located in Oakland, California, and it is a private university specializing in health sciences with courses such as nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy and podiatric medicine offered. Another private intitution - Harvey Mudd College - comes second with bachelor graduates earning $91,400 during the early part of their career on average. Harvey Mudd College is located in Claremont, California, and it has a heavy focus on science and engineering.
With an average salary of $88,300 for bachelor graduates, Massachusetts Institute of Technology comes third on the list. While it is assumed that the best starting salaries go to degree holders from Ivy League schools like Harvard or Princeton, the highest median salaries more often to to students who attend small colleges with strong engineering programs, according to Payscale. Most institutions high on Payscale's list have one thing in common: they produce a lot of engineers and other workers with valuable STEM qualifications.