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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ivy vs. Ivy

There have been several articles lately concerning the rising number of applications to Ivies such as Harvard and Princeton. Janet Frankston Lorin's Bloomberg article says, "More students are seeking admission to top-ranked universities because they think a degree from these schools can help them land a job after graduation, particularly during a time of economic uncertainty." While this seems like a smart and obviously good choice, there are other options out there.

New Ivies

The rising tide in terms of qualified applicants to Ivy and other elite schools has created a bumber crop of “Sub-Ivy” category colleges. These new elite include some of the nation’s best liberal arts colleges and universities with that have experienced skyrocketing application rates including, on the West Coast, The Claremont Colleges (Pomona, Claremont, Scripps and Pitzer colleges) and Occidental, Reed and Whitman colleges, In the South ,Vanderbilt University, Univeristy of Richmond and Washington and Lee University, and Davidson College; In the Northeast these new ivies include: Sarah Lawrance, Hamilton College and Colgate University and in the Mid-West Carleton, Colorado, Macalester, and Washington University have all benefitted greatly from this increased competition to become a new defacto group of Sub-Ivies.

The rise of West Coast colleges can now be measured in terms of both the quality and quantity of applicants. West Coast universities and liberal arts colleges now feature more prominently in the admission picture and often overlap increasingly with Ivy League and Little Ivy (Amherst, Wesleyan and Williams) applications. “West Coast Ivies” include: Caltech, Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Occidental, Pomona, Reed, Scripps, Stanford, USC, and Whitman.

Which College Grads Earn the Most?

Most data show that attending certain elite liberal arts colleges may give applicants to graduate school better preparation thus resulting in better access to premium jobs like consulting and investment banking, etc. But now a very interesting Business Week article tells us just how much these graduates may expert to earn versus those from top research universities. For example, among the Ivies, the leading earner is Dartmouth College-- not Cornell or Harvard as we might expect. "Interestingly, median starting salaries for alumni of MIT, California Institute of Technology, and Harvey Mudd College, which have strong engineering programs, are the highest in the country ($75,500, $72,200, and $71,800). But the salaries do not get as high for midcareer professionals from those schools as they do for graduates of the elite liberal arts schools."

It may surprise parents to learn that Bucknell University’s mid-career grads often earn more than MIT’s or that Dartmouth grads earn, on average, more at mid-career than any other school in the country. According to a recent survey published in Business Week, where you go to school matters because “a strong network of well-positioned alumni can lay the foundation for a high-paying job”. This is a network you buy with your tuition dollars. (Source: Which College Grads Earn the Most, Newsweek, 2008)