September 15, 2019

What Accounting Program Would Jesus Do?

Are you the parent of a future accounting student looking for guidance as you sort through hundreds of brochures in the search for the perfect accounting program for your future CPA? You probably shouldn't email us, we're a bad influence. But if you still want to, go ahead and get in touch and we'll try to respect your views by at least putting down the beer while we write up the answer to your question.
I am a mom of a high school Senior, looking for a good accounting program in a small Christian college setting.  I've never seen a top list of Christian colleges etc. But, she is looking into Messiah College in Grantham PA.  I have been combing your website, and we will be visiting Calvin College in Michigan.  We would like to be in the Northeast.  Any tips would be appreciated.
 
Thanks,
[Mrs Cleaver]
Um… did you take a wrong left turn at AccountingWEB to end up at Going Concern's door looking for this answer? I'm guessing you didn't look around much or you would have been too horrified by our language and attitude to reach out. Oh well, just to prove we aren't a bunch of Godless heathens (I can neither confirm nor deny but FWIW, I have a verse from the book of Matthew tattooed on my shoulder if that counts for anything), we'll take the question.
 
We admit to having a lack of intel in this area. We can tell you which schools have the highest CPA exam pass rates, which schools are the kiss of death (hint: it starts with De and ends in Vry) and which top the U.S. News lists but when it comes to a good wholesome Christian education, we're sort of out of our league here. Not because we're Hitchens/Dawkins/Harris types, but because most prospective accounting students value CPA exam performance and caliber of accounting education over the "other" stuff, be that campus maintenance, social opportunities or, you know, the Risen Lord.
 
Anyhoo, while we're here, let me break down CPA exam performance for the schools you're considering for your kid, Mom.
 
Messiah College in Pennsylvania had a 55% pass rate in 2011. That's pretty good, compared to the national average. They sent 42 candidates to sit for the exam last year, which tells me they're cozy but not so small that your kid won't be given the opportunity to socialize and make lifelong connections.
 
Calvin College in Michigan had a 59.4% pass rate in 2011 and sent 46 candidates, which tells me it's comparable to Messiah in size. Both pass rates are pretty good and that's something you need to keep in mind as you scour the country for the perfect school for your little angel. Not saying CPA exam pass rates are the be all end all but they are certainly worth considering.
 
While we're on the subject of CPA exam pass rates (since I don't have much else to go on here, sorry), Trinity Christian College in Illinois boasts one of the highest pass rates in the nation – coming in #12 among small programs last year (66.7%) so they may be worth checking out. It's worth noting Trinity cleared the Top 5 in the nation in 2010.
 
I assume because you did not specifically say Catholic you're not looking for that specifically but if you are, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University absolutely killed it on the CPA exam in 2011.
 
You might also consider Grace College in Indiana, which came in 4th nationally for small programs on CPA exam performance in 2011 (78.5%).
 
I asked Going Concern Twitter followers if any of our little accountants out there had gone to Christian schools and was surprised to hear back from several people almost immediately.
 
One graduated from Oklahoma Baptist and when asked if he would recommend to others told me, "Absolutely. The group I graduated with did very well on the exam and has had success throughout various accounting career paths." One thing to note, though, which this person so astutely pointed out: Christian schools are not recruited as hard as the big schools – so before you send your child off to learn about God's work AND debits and credits, make sure you are prepared for this reality. Getting a job won't be impossible but it will take a lot more than it would for someone who goes to a major Big 4 school like Penn State…oops, maybe that's a bad example.
 
Other schools thrown out by our Twitter followers were Boston College, Hope College (MI), St. Norbert (WI), Duquesne University (PA) and Creighton University (NE). I'll also throw in Marquette in Milwaukee only because I dated a Marquette boy years ago when I still lived in Milwaukee… you know, on second thought, let's scratch Marquette, he was kind of a jerk and had a feathery mullet (in his defense, it was the 90s and he probably didn't know any better). Obviously some of these are Catholic but since we'll probably never write about this subject again, we're throwing them in anyway.
 
Hope this gives you a place to start and sorry we can't help you out further here. Perhaps the peanut gallery would like to chime in via comments and help you out?

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