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On Your Mark, ASAP, Go!

In the spring of 2019, Jonathan Schmidt had recently moved to North Carolina after working as an accounting clerk for two different charitable organizations in Canada. Schmidt’s undergraduate degree was in business administration, but he quickly saw first-hand how essential accounting is for individuals and organizations and decided to pursue a long-term career in accounting.

Schmidt and his wife moved to North Carolina, where he was admitted to Poole College of Management’s Jenkins Master of Accounting (MAC) Program. But before he could begin his MAC coursework, he needed to complete some prerequisite courses – which he did through the ASAP Program.

ASAP was specifically designed for non-accounting majors who have been admitted to the Jenkins MAC Program. The program covers a variety of accounting fundamentals – from financial accounting to business law – that undergraduate students who did not have accounting coursework need to grasp in order to be successful in the master’s program.

“The ASAP program was attractive to me because it was very efficient from a cost and time perspective. The program enabled me to focus on my day job and work through the MAC application process without having to juggle additional online prerequisite courses,” Schmidt explains. “As part of my undergraduate degree, I had taken several accounting courses and had the practical experience of working in an accounting role but I had gaps in my understanding. The ASAP program helped reinforce the information I knew and filled in the areas where I had gaps. It provided me with a solid foundation, enabling me to enter the MAC program with confidence.”

Originally designed as an accelerated summer program, ASAP quickly proved to be helpful for a variety of students looking to save time and money in passing the prerequisites needed to begin the Jenkins MAC program. Starting in spring 2020, Poole College elected to move the ASAP Program fully online to provide even greater convenience and flexibility for its students.

“We aim to attract students into our Jenkins MAC program who, like Jonathan, don’t have an undergraduate accounting background. It could take 18 months to two years for them to fulfill their prerequisites if they had to take traditional courses,” explains Jessica Moran, Poole College MAC Online program coordinator. “That’s a lot of time for anyone – especially considering many students in our master’s program are professionals with families who can’t afford to take an extended amount of time to get this additional degree.”

The advantage of ASAP, Moran explains, is that students can work through their courses fully online, and at their own pace.

 “We offer five sections that students can work through and complete in approximately three to four weeks,” Moran says. “After each section, they take a proficiency exam, and once they pass, they’re considered fully enrolled.”

Jay Arrington, associate director of admissions, hears from many students that they appreciate the flexibility the ASAP program provides.

“A student could decide they want to focus on one module per week for five weeks – or they might find one section easier and breeze through it in a couple days, and then spend a bit longer on a subject they aren’t as comfortable with,” he explains.

 The total cost of the ASAP Program is $4,750, however students who don’t need all five modules – such as a business administration major who may only need the Income Taxation section – can enroll in an individual module at a prorated cost.

Beyond the time savings, ASAP provides monetary savings to our students as well because the ASAP allows them the freedom to keep their current employment.”

The feedback from students has been exceptional, Arrington says.

“I talk with the students who come out of the ASAP Program and I regularly hear that the quality of the program helps them feel prepared to flourish in our master’s program. It creates an opportunity for them to build confidence before jumping back into the academic environment.”

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