12 answers

Does it matter which college you go to?

Asked Hanover, Minnesota

I'm asking because I was accepted into my dream college but it is over $50,000 and I cannot afford that. I want to find somewhere cheaper, but I also want to try and make it into this school because I fell in love with it and it has a good accounting program. To simplify this, does it matter which college I end up choosing as long as it has a good program? #accounting #college-advice

12 answers

Samantha’s Answer

Updated Raleigh, North Carolina
Hi Faith! Congratulations on being accepted to your dream school! I'm sure you've worked very hard to get where you are. The biggest consideration when thinking about financing your education is how much student loan debt you will owe when you're done, and how much your salary will be once you start your career. If you will end up owing a large amount of student loan debt but the career path you choose offers a relatively low salary, it might not be a good "investment" to go to a very expensive school. The website linked below has a calculator that helps you calculate the "return on investment" of your education, based on tuition and future salary. I encourage you to check it out! http://www.juniorachievement.org/s3/apps/ja-byf/#/career I was lucky enough to graduate from college with no student loan debt, and since graduating, it has been much easier for me than for some of my peers to afford to do things I enjoy, such as buying my own car, renting a more expensive apartment, travelling to new places, etc. Also, reflect about what specifically you like about your dream college. There are lots of schools with strong business/accounting programs that might have similar offerings to what your dream school has in terms of location, student body, etc. Was there something else that you loved about your college that might be offered elsewhere as well? Keeping an open mind will help make sure you make the best decision for your financial future!

Salvador’s Answer

Updated San Jose, California

Hi Faith,

Congrats on getting into your dream school! I was faced with the same dilemma not to long ago and I ultimately ended up choosing a school that was more affordable. I went to a small state college that most people outside of the bay area would not know exists. In my opinion this school had a great accounting program and although it was not widely known I was able to network my way into the one of the big 4. During my internship I quickly learned that all my peers, regardless of college, were studying the same accounting topics. While I will admit that some colleges are more rigorous than others we ultimately end up learning the same things. Just remember that networking during your college years is extremely important and that is what will ultimately gets your foot in the door at most firms. Good luck!

Jacob’s Answer

Updated Cleveland, Ohio

Hi, Faith! Getting into your dream school is a tremendous accomplishment and something you should be very proud of. I think Samantha made a lot of great points in her answer so I'll just add a little bit more based on my experience. I did not get into my dream school. In fact, I didn't get into my top three college choices. As you can imagine, I was pretty devastated about it at the time. However, I ended up loving the school I attended. Your college experience is entirely what you make of it. If you go to your dream school but don't try to have new experiences, make new friends, and spend your tenure there worrying about the cost of your education, you're probably not going to have a very positive experience. There are a lot of reasonably priced schools out there that have strong accounting programs. Also, accounting firms do not exclusively hire from marquee schools known for their outstanding accounting programs. A lot of firms want to see more qualitative factors like your willingness to take constructive feedback, how well you work in a team, and your leadership potential. Obviously strong academic performance is important too, but the name of the school on your degree probably doesn't matter as much as it might seem.

I am certainly not trying to dissuade you from going to your dream school - I'm just offering an alternate point of view. If you do ultimately decide to go there, a lot of accounting firms offer tuition reimbursement programs that help their employees repay student loans. A simple google search can help spell out the specifics of these programs - I would definitely recommend doing a little research to get the full picture.

I hope this helps - good luck in your decision!

Catherine’s Answer


My Son went to a community college and then transferred to University and received his Bachelor's. The community college gave him the flexibility to be able to participate in his volunteer Firefighter activities.

My other Son went to a 4 year expensive school majoring in Illustration. He was lucky to obtain a scholarship to cover 50% of costs.

Catherine recommends the following next steps:

  • Research for Scholarships. talk to relatives, if their employers have any scholarship programs you can apply to
  • Sign up for as many Scholarships as you can
  • If you opt for higher cost school - start searching for work anywhere you can, volunteer to be a resident assistant at your dorm, a lot of times that includes free living expense
  • Never give up, keep moving toward your goal
  • Good Luck

Mikayla’s Answer

Updated Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Hi Faith,

As long as your college has a good program, it shouldn't matter whether it's ivy league or a state school. With that being said, if you choose to go to a lesser-known state school, it may be more difficult to get a job with certain firms, but definitely not impossible. I went to a state university with a fantastic accounting program, but Big 4 don't recruit on my campus. For this reason, I was hired with only one other person from my school and there are only about 15 alum currently working at my firm. My advise, if you do go to a smaller program, is to try to branch out into different internships and opportunities to differentiate yourself.

Mitch’s Answer

I would suggest that at the end of the day the college you go to does not matter. I believe it it depends more on applying yourself and wanting to continuously learn on your own. I believe you get out of college what you put into it and we now live in a day where you can hop on the internet and learn just about anything you would like. However, I would suggest doing your best to attend to a well known and accredited college as it could present better opportunities along with more experienced and insightful teachers. Where you go to college will not define you; apply yourself and find something you are passionate about and go after it. Hope this helps.

Michael’s Answer

What matters is developing relationships with potential employers early on during college....send emails, attend job fairs, apply online, leverage friends, etc to get your name to the firms and then continue to build that relationship....honestly, you want to work with people you like and enjoy being around - that's what matters.

Carly’s Answer

Just to add on to what others have responded... this is a very personal choice. I got into what I thought was my dream school but then realized I didn't want to take on excessive student loans in order to attend. I went to a state school that had a great accounting program and got a job right out of school so things worked out for me. Weighing your options and thinking through what makes sense for you is an important first step that you're doing in the college decision process.

Kelly’s Answer

Ultimately, no, I do not think it matters what college you go to as long as you work hard and apply yourself in school. When it comes to getting a career, some schools might have bigger recruiting opportunities. However, where you get your college degree from should not impact a company's decision to hire you.

Manjunath’s Answer

Updated Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

It does matter but not getting into your dream college is not the end of your journey.

Joseph’s Answer

Updated New York, New York

Some people believe that graduating from a top college will allow them to have a more prosperous future. After graduating, you will need to consider obtaining certification such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA) no matter what school you went to. You’ll make 10-15% more if you have your CPA license. 

Brenda’s Answer

Updated Rowlett, Texas

I don’t think it matters as much as it used to. Some of the most affordable options are community colleges and then you don’t graduate with a lot of debt.