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5 Tips for Applying to an Accounting Degree Program

Successfully earning an accounting degree can help land a great job and jumpstart a career in business. Individuals who complete an accounting degree program from an accredited institution automatically qualify to sit for the CPA exam in most states. Passing this exam licenses individuals to use the CPA designation next to their name and legally practice as a professional accountant. Whether seeking to work as an accountant or looking to open new career possibilities through additional credibility, getting accepted into a great degree program is a critical prerequisite for future achievement. Using the right approach when applying can greatly increase the chances of being accepted into a prestigious program.

Resource: Top 10 Online Accounting Degree Programs 2014

1. Explain Why Accounting Is a Good Match

Many individuals make the mistake of assuming that knowledge of accounting is an important prerequisite to being admitted into a good degree program. In contrast, knowledge sets that complement an accounting specialty are generally perceived as far more valuable. The program itself will teach everything that an individual needs to know about the accounting field, but knowledge from other areas of study will not be taught in the classroom. Candidates who wish to differentiate themselves from other applicants, therefore, should explain what unique knowledge they possess that will allow them to have a distinctive advantage over others in the field upon graduation.

2. Demonstrate Professionalism

Practicing accountants must be capable of honoring deadlines, keeping appointments, and communicating effectively. Candidates applying for an accounting degree program, therefore, should ensure that they demonstrate these capabilities during the admissions process. Applications should be submitted well before the deadline, and candidates should ensure that they arrive on time for admissions interviews. If a certain dress code is expected, candidates should follow it with precision. Furthermore, in today’s interconnected world, institutions might want to check that candidates can answer phone calls and emails in a timely manner. Demonstrating professionalism can help candidates earn an advantage during the admissions process.

3. Showcase Accomplishments

Admissions officers try to conduct as much research about a candidate as possible, but they never have enough time to learn everything about an applicant. Ensure that information about past accomplishments is made apparent on required and optional submissions to admissions personnel. In some cases, simply mentioning an accomplishment on a submitted resume can be sufficient. However, unique accomplishments might require more detailed information. Contact a prospective institution’s admissions department to learn what options they might have available to showcase information about unique accomplishments through more effective mediums.

4. Optimize Online Profiles

Online research has become a core element of the background research admissions officers conduct before accepting a candidate into any program. Individuals considering an accounting degree should review their social media activity and work to remove publicly visible information that contains unprofessional language or subject matter. Candidates should also update their profiles on professional social networks, and post new information that demonstrates the skills highlighted on materials submitted to admissions officers.

5. Demonstrate a Clear Path Forward

Many individuals enter an accounting degree program because they are compelled to pick something or do not know what else to do with their lives. Unfortunately, individuals who are indifferent or uncertain about their future rarely possess the passion necessary to lead a successful career as an accountant. Admissions officers, therefore, are generally less interested in candidates who cannot clearly explain what they plan to do with their accounting degree. Candidates should use every possible opportunity to explain to admissions officers how an accounting degree will be key to their future success. Essays and admissions interviews are generally the best opportunities to convey future plans to a prospective institution.

Getting through the admissions process successfully is one of the most important aspects of starting a successful career. Candidates applying for an accounting degree program, therefore, should make sure that they plan ahead for important deadlines and possible rejections. Adequate planning can improve the chances of being admitted and prevent having to wait for next year’s application deadline.