Until recently the issues of transition to university have been largely ignored in educational research. However, in recent years economic factors have meant that Governments require universities to be more publicly accountable and efficient than in the past. As a result, increased emphasis has been placed on the retention and transition of university students. Students new to tertiary study face a range of challenges in making the adjustment from school to university. They are expected to learn challenging material and to develop independent thought while adjusting to different teaching and expanded social environments (McInnis and James, with Mc Naught, 1995). In the context of first year accounting studies, the importance of the first year experience has been emphasised in the United States by the Accounting Education Change Commission (AECC) (1992). The AECC (1992, p.1) states that "the [first] course shapes [potential accounting majors'] perceptions of (1) the profession, (2) the aptitudes and skills needed for successful careers in accounting, and (3) the nature of career opportunities in accounting." Adams et al. (1994) and Cohen and Hanno (1993) provide empirical support for the importance of a positive experience in the first accounting course.
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