Why Calvin's CPA exam pass rate is in the top 4%

Accounting firms want to hire CPAs. At Calvin, you’ll be among the best when it comes to passing the CPA exam—first try.


  •   Author: Connor Bechler
  •   Published: October 2, 2019
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If you take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam, there’s about a 50 percent chance you won’t pass the first time. That’s the national average.

If you are in Calvin’s outstanding accounting program, your chances are significantly higher. In fact, Calvin ranks in the top 4 percent of all institutions for CPA exam pass rates.

With experienced faculty and highly motivated peers, you'll have all the tools for success.

“Studying while still at school, I’ve seen how much of the class materials overlap with the CPA exam content,” said Davinia Peterson, a Calvin accounting student studying for the CPA exam. “Whenever I don’t understand a lecture in my CPA review course, I look up my intermediate accounting notes for further explanation!”

Calvin’s business department started offering both a four-year bachelor of science in accounting program and a nine-month master of accounting program in 2017. And it has a history of nationally competitive CPA exam pass rates.

“Calvin students have been successful on the CPA exam for many years,” said Julie Voskuil, an associate professor of business at Calvin. “We are typically in the top 25 medium-sized institutions with our CPA exam passing rates.”

Students take the exam their final year or after graduation and must pass to receive certification in accounting. The exam has four sections:

  1. auditing and attestation,
  2. business environment and concepts,
  3. financial accounting and reporting, and
  4. regulation.

In 2017, the regulation section of the exam had the second lowest cumulative pass rate at 47 percent. But Calvin students and alumni passed it at a rate of 80 percent. That's 10 percent higher than the next highest Michigan institution and 33 percent higher than the national average.

Professor Voskuil attributes all this success to a combination of factors: “I see our students grow a lot during their time at Calvin, and many of them are highly motivated.

“I also think that students get a great education from our faculty. Most have been teaching for 10 years or more, and all have taken the CPA exam.”

And Calvin students like Davinia agree with her, “Calvin’s business program has done an excellent job at equipping me for success on the exam.”

  •   Author: Connor Bechler
  •   Published: October 2, 2019

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