Graduate school is competitive, the job market is scarce and salaries are less than ideal, but according to a ranking by PayScale.com, all those long nights are paying off. The College of William and Mary is now ranked ninth in Payscale’s Top State Universities By Salary list.
The College beat out other institutions from around the state; Virginia Tech ranked at 17, the University of Virginia at 25 and George Mason University at 30. According to the rankings, which are based on data collected from alumni who complete a PayScale survey, the starting median salary for College alumni is $45,000, and mid-career salary is $96,500. For Virginia Tech, the numbers are $51,600 and $92,500, for U.Va., $49,500 and $90,300, and GMU, $48,800 and $88,600.
Additionally, the study found that graduates from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) earned the highest salaries compared to all other subdivisions of the NCAA Football Bowl and ranked first for both average starting salaries and mid-career salaries. A number of factors may contribute to this success, such as the efforts of the Sherman and Gloria H. Cohen Career Center.
“The Cohen Career Center provides services and resources to build competence, confidence and the ability to manage lifelong career development,” Assistant Director Holly Meyer said.
The Alumni Association also provides a number of services to help graduates in the job market.
“William and Mary alumni are a proud and active community,” Brooke Harrison, alumni programs director, said. “The Alumni Association helps bridge the gap between academic and professional development and real-world mentorship with tools and networks to succeed, not the least of which are alumni chapters and city guides.”
Alumni Association Board of Directors President Peter Nance attributed the graduates’ success to the quality of education they received at the College and the school’s reputation.
“Having worked for a company that employed a number of William and Mary graduates, I think that William and Mary has really earned the reputation of graduating students who communicate and think logically about outcomes,” Nance said. “And I think that’s a direct outcome of our liberal arts education. The ranking is also a reflection of those who have come before, those who have graduated, by their performance [they’ve] really created a legacy that gives new graduates a head start, so I think that’s something really to celebrate.”
Nance also considered the bigger picture.
“Salary Potential Ranking is perhaps one measure of success,” he said. “I think that what we’ve really learned at the College is that grades aren’t the only thing; it’s really the totality of that you’ve done at the school.”
According to Harrison, the combined efforts of these groups successfully serve alumni.
“Connecting the breadth and wealth of alumni experience both to each other and to students is an essential partnership between academic programs, students, alumni, the Career Center and the Alumni Association,” she said.