Weighing the Pros and Cons
Life is full of important decisions, and choosing the right accounting school is no exception. You may feel some anxiety as you consider your options, but life’s big questions can be made less daunting by mulling over a few smaller questions. If asking yourself “Which accounting school should I attend?” is too daunting, consider some smaller, more specific questions. Identify which questions are most important to you and let the answers to those questions guide you.
There is a host of data on all the 9000+ accounting programs’ websites; take the data and transform them into a usable set of information to make your decision: Consider it your first Accounting homework assignment!
Academic Concentration – Does the school offer the type of program and branch of accounting you want to study?
Accreditation – Will your degree be accredited? Accreditation ensures that your education meets certain standards for quality. If you are unsure whether or not a school you are considering is accredited, you can ask an admissions counselor for more information.
Admissions Requirements – Do you meet the school’s standards for acceptance? Some schools set minimum high school GPA requirements or require a minimum score on standardized tests like the ACT or SAT.
Faculty Interaction – How important will individual attention be to you? An accounting school’s student to professor ratio can help you estimate the level of personal attention you will receive from a university’s faculty and support staff.
Flexibility of Schedule – Are the accounting classes you need to take offered at times that are convenient to you? Evening and online coursework options are popular choices for students who need a flexible schedule.
Job Placement – What percentage of graduates get internships during their program and/or are employed within their field after completing the accounting program?
Location – Where do you need to be? For some, a school within daily commuting distance is a necessity. Your time is a valuable resource. Consider the amount of time will you spend commuting to and from classes. Do you need to be close to work? If you have a job, this is a no-brainer. You need a college close by. But if you know you will need to find work, ask yourself about the job market in the areas surrounding your potential accounting school.
Price – How much will your education cost? Are scholarships available? Without a doubt, tuition will be a major factor in your decision-making process. But don’t forget to calculate the costs of things like transportation, housing, and books. If you attend school far away from home, should think about the cost of moving your possessions across the country and those holiday trips home.
Professional Organizations – Will you be able to network with and learn from other current and future professionals in your field?
Reputation – Is a big name important to you? Some schools are instantly recognized for their accounting programs, but lesser known schools can still offer a quality education.
Size – Do you want an accounting school with a small campus and intimate classes or a bustling institution with huge lecture halls?
Socializing and Extracurricular Activities – Do you plan to spend a lot of time participating in and attending campus clubs, sports and social events?
Support Services – Does the school offer guidance counselors, academic advisers, mentors or career placement services to help you as you progress through the program?
Work Opportunities – Are there jobs on- or near-campus for you to earn money while you study?