You’ve endured Acc 200 and 310, you’ve been plugging through the other pre-reqs, and you’re seriously thinking about applying – but now you’re wondering to yourself “just what is this program really like?” You’ve heard some horror stories, or you’ve had a roommate that disappeared for a year during the program, and you’re a little concerned. “Does anyone make it out of the Accounting program alive?” you wonder to yourself. Have no fear! There is a light at the other end of this tunnel – and no serious danger in the middle. With a little advice from those who went before, you can rest assured that you can survive and thrive in the Accounting program. There are plenty of students who came through (relatively) unscathed. To allay your fears, we bring you now a road-map – aka “what-the-accounting-program-is-really-likeJunior Core Oh, the Core. You love it and hate it at the same time – it’s intense, but you are better off for having done it. The Junior Core is a a 2-semester, Fall-Winter program of intensive study. You take three 4-credit classes each semester, going to class Monday-Friday for 3 hours a day. The classes are coordinated – all the professors know exactly what you are learning in your other classes and time their subjects to line up with each other. And the professors come to you – you just stay in the same classroom for that 3-hour block. When you are in the Core, you are assigned into groups of 4-5 people. The groups are random, and they change the groups up between Fall and Winter semesters. Almost ALL of your homework ends up being group work – so you get really close to your group (think BFFs for the rest of college). Because of the amount of group work required, it’s recommended that you don’t have a job while in the Core (it’s doable, but it just makes life a lot harder trying to coordinate with everyone and get the assignments done). The homework load is pretty intense. You start out the semester with a 60-hour project called “The Warren Case” (where you review everything you’ve learned about Accounting up to that point), and it just keeps going from there. The easiest times of the semester are mid-term weeks: you get class off, have no homework, and spend all day prepping for the exams (it’s actually a reprieve in the work load). The classes you take are as follows: Fall = Financial Accounting 1 (essentially advanced Acc 310), Accounting Information Systems (IS 201 on steroids), and Auditing (kind-of like Accounting detective work). Winter = Financial Accounting 2 (…self-explanatory…), Taxation (…also self-explanatory…), and Managerial Accounting (aka “how to actually use Accounting information rather than just record it”). The schedule is set, it’s been perfected over the course of many years, and the professors are incredible. They cram so much information into your head that you’ll feel like you drank out of a fire hose – but you actually retain information. Can you take other classes during the Core? Possible, but not recommended. Honestly, those 12 credits feel like 16 – so if you do take another class, it should probably be religion. That means that you should plan to have your generals done before entering the program. In the end, everyone who goes through the Core looks back and says “NOTHING can be as hard as that!” – which is good news! Because for the rest of your life, when things get hard, you can look back and say “I survived the Accounting Junior Core – I’m pretty sure I can make it through this.” But seriously, although the homework load is pretty heavy, if you learn to manage your time properly you will do just fine. (And for those of us who didn’t manage our time well, we still survived despite our loss of sleep). Senior Year/MAcc During the second semester of the Core, you will have the chance to apply for the Master’s program. If you are accepted, the school will drop your Senior year of classes and you’ll start right into 2 years of Master’s work. What that means is that you can get 2 years of Master’s classes done in only one extra year of school (which is a pretty sweet gig). There are two “stems” in the MAcc – “Tax” and “Professional” (commonly referred to as “Audit”). The one you choose will determine in large part the trajectory of your career in Accounting. Most students feel like the MAcc is a continuation of the Core – a little lighter, but not by much (it is a Master’s program, after all). Once you are in the MAcc you can customize a lot of the classes you take and focus on the subjects that interest you the most. If you choose to not do the MAcc, then you’ll take the Senior-year core business classes, and finish up any general classes you might have remaining. Most students in the Bachelor’s program tend to say that it’s 100 times easier than the Core (again, EVERYTHING is easy after the Core). Some students even finish the Senior year in one semester! Why would you pick one over the other? Well, if you want to practice as a CPA, a MAcc is almost mandatory (it’s required in Utah, and other states require 150 credit hours with upper division Accounting classes – which basically equates to a Master’s degree). If you just wanted to get a solid business education, or want to work in “industry” as an internal Accountant for a company, then a Bachelor’s is not a bad choice. Either way, the education you get will make you invaluable as an employee. And that’s it! It’s really not that complicated or scary. The Accounting program is extremely well-structured, and designed to help you succeed. There is help every step along the way, and a long history of successful students who went before you. No need to fear: you’ll survive and thrive in this program – you can account on it 🙂

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