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College students' beginning salaries: Expectations vs. reality

Jade Scipioni

Recent college graduates with high salary expectations for their first job may be a little disappointed when that first paycheck arrives.

According to a new study released Tuesday by personal finance website LendEdu, most current college students expect to make around $60,000 in their first job out of school, but in reality most are averaging around $48,400.

Using data from College Pulse, the website analyzed responses from more than 7,000 current college students upon graduating and then compared the responses to average salary statistics from PayScale with workers who have zero to five years experience. The study looked at 62 different colleges and universities throughout the country.

While the final results revealed that most students could be in for disappointment, some may be surprised.

Students at Princeton University anticipated to make around $72,500 out of college, but in reality they make around $72,700, a $200 increase.

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University of Pennsylvania students saw an even bigger increase. They expected to make around $62,500 out of college, but are actually making $70,100, a 12 percent increase.

Here's a link to the full list of schools LendEdu polled and their expected versus actual average salaries.

Here are five schools where students underestimated their first job salaries.

University of Minnesota

Actual Early Career Pay (0-5 years experience): $55,800

Expected Median Salary (0 years experience): $45,000

Percent Difference: 124 percent

Rice University

Actual Early Career Pay (0-5 years experience): $69,200

Expected Median Salary (0 years experience): $60,000

Percent Difference: 115 percent

University of California, Berkeley

Actual Early Career Pay (0-5 years experience): $68,300

Expected Median Salary (0 years experience): $60,000

Percent Difference: 114 percent

Washington University in St. Louis

Actual Early Career Pay (0-5 years experience): $62,700

Expected Median Salary (0 years experience): $55,500

Percent Difference: 113 percent

Syracuse University 

Actual Early Career Pay (0-5 years experience): $56,200

Expected Median Salary (0 years experience): $50,000

Percent Difference: 112 percent

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