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The 5 Best Party Schools By Salary Potential


Just because students love to party, doesn’t mean they’re trading keggers today for career opportunities tomorrow. PayScale uses The Princeton Review‘s list of party schools as a jumping-off place, and then ranks them according to the median pay of their graduates at early and mid-career. To make Princeton’s list, schools must have a high percentage of students who report seeing frequent drug and alcohol use at their schools, a very active Greek system, not too many hours per day devoted to study.


(Photo Credit: JD Hancock/Flickr)

The full list is here, but these are the top five party schools, if you want a good time during college and the potential for a big paycheck after graduation:

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1. Colgate University

Early Career Pay: $53,700

Mid-Career Pay: $115,000

% High Meaning: 47 percent

% STEM Degrees: 16 percent

2. Lehigh University

Early Career Pay: $60,400

Mid-Career Pay: $108,000

% High Meaning: 43 percent

% STEM Degrees: 37 percent

3. Bucknell University

Early Career Pay: $57,100

Mid-Career Pay: $99,600

% High Meaning: 46 percent

% STEM Degrees: 30 percent

4. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Early Career Pay: $56,400

Mid-Career Pay: $97,700

% High Meaning: 49 percent

% STEM Degrees: 26 percent

5. University of California – Santa Barbara

Early Career Pay: $49,400

Mid-Career Pay: $96,300

% High Meaning: 49 percent

% STEM Degrees: 16 percent

What can we learn from this ranking? Well, for one thing, PayScale’s highest-paying party schools also tended to have a Division 1 sports team, making them good schools for sports fans, too. (Although if that’s your main focus, may we direct your attention to the schools for sports fans whose graduates go on to earn high salaries.)

Perhaps more significantly, the schools that made the top of the list tended to have a relatively high percentage of graduates who earned degrees in STEM, proving once again that for students who love science and math, those majors might be the quickest way to a big paycheck.

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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Graduated from UCSB. When people learn I went to UCSB, their immediate reaction is, “PARTY SCHOOL!!!!” Then I tell them College of Engineering and it changes to “I’m so sorry.” People who know the school know liberal arts kids party, STEM students live in the labs those last 2 years. I was accepted to UCLA and UCSB. Regardless of which I chose, I would have to commute due to work and a family. UCSB won because driving up the coast… Read more »

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