Today’s college graduates expect to receive a starting salary at their first job that’s nearly double the actual average entry-level salary — and these unrealistic expectations extend to everything from their mid-career prospects to the financial value of their degree.
Notably, the survey found that nearly half of respondents believe college isn’t worth the cost. And if given a chance for a do-over, 40% of them would make different choices about what or where they studied.
Graduates know the job market is hot, but they overestimate how hot it is. According to a report by education analysts at ThinkImpact, the average salary for a college graduate today is $55,260. Meanwhile, undergraduates now expect to earn $103,880 in their first job after college.
Those unrealistic expectations extend to mid-career earnings, too. Students today think they’ll be making just over $200,000 10 years after graduating — though the average mid-career salary is $132,497, according to Glassdoor.
Part of the explanation could be the ease with which many college graduates are getting jobs. As they enter a job market with many openings, recruiters have been forced to compete for candidates, often sweetening offers with enhanced benefits or salary bumps.