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What to Expect

Don't expect accounting to be impersonal and dull. Accounting students are not just bean counters. "It's a very hands-on program," says former accounting student Kim Drever. "We do a lot of role-playing and problem solving. It's not at all what you would expect."

Drever says she found the program fairly difficult and intense in the beginning. There's plenty of homework. "There was a lot of reading to do and it was easy to get behind," she says.

But the homework got easier in her final year. That left her with time to prepare for her certification exams.

"It is a very tough major -- one of, if not the toughest," says Bill Beauchesne. He is a product of the accounting program at Boston College. "You really have to stay on top of things, whether it's doing homework, going to class or whatever."

Beauchesne's most difficult moments came early in the program while taking his first major accounting course. "I was so discouraged by low quiz grades that I was ready to change majors. After I talked with the professors and saw that they had faith in me and after I restored the faith in myself, I found that I could not only pass the courses, but I could do really well in them."

How to Prepare

Taking an accounting class in high school helped Drever in her first-year courses. "I did some tutoring, and I was just amazed to find some of the younger students were confused by things that made more sense to me because I took that class in high school. That was the best preparation ever. I would strongly recommend it."