THE BLOG
12/19/2014 08:58 am ET Updated Feb 18, 2015

Ivy Leagues Are Not an Instant Payoff for Graduates

Ivy League schools are prestigious, with many students vying for acceptance and few actually earning a spot as an attendee. However, for people seeking the cushiest early-career salaries, the Ivy Leagues aren't paying off instantly.

Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Columbia don't make it into the top 30 universities for starting salaries. University of Chicago, a tie for fourth, doesn't make the top 200.

The top three schools? The U.S. Naval Academy, Harvey Mudd and West Point.

The list of schools that prepare students for a career with a high starting salary post-graduation day include many other elite military and tech schools, according to a report by PayScale that surveyed 1.5 million employees with degrees from over 1,000 colleges.

Graduates of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis earn a median annual salary of over $80,000 over their first five years post-graduation, earning the school the top number of surveyed schools.

The PayScale survey tells us that Princeton, the highest performing Ivy League school offers its graduates a median starting salary of $60,000 - earning is the 34th highest in the country.

The nation's traditionally elite schools distinguish themselves with a salary growth near graduates' mid-career. Graduates from Ivy League and like schools see their pay jump significantly when they are more than ten years past graduation.

I find it really interesting that Ivy League schools don't prove an instant payoff for their graduates. However, I still think they are worth the price tag for students who really want to attend these elite schools. The study encourages young adults to consider schools that focus on technical abilities that allow students to earn more specialized skills, and not feel pressure to attend only Ivy League colleges.