Although the increased use of information and communications technology (ICT) in undergraduate degree courses has been signalled as one of the defining features of higher education over the next decade, students' use of computers whilst in university remains inconsistent. Using focus group interviews with 77 accounting undergraduates in two higher education institutions, this article explores the rationales and motivations underlying students' engagement with ICT during their degree programmes. These were seen by students from three perspectives: short-term factors (i.e. students' immediate concerns with coursework assignments, examinations and other forms of degree work and assessment), medium-term factors (i.e. course-related concerns culminating in their final degree classification), and long-term factors (i.e. the need and usefulness of ICT in relation to future life and employment prospects). The article then discusses how and why ICT has only partially succeeded in permeating students' conceptualisations of all three of these stages; arguing that low levels of ICT use in university should not be seen as a deficiency or inability on the part of students, rather a pragmatic and strategic choice in the face of prevailing academic and employment demands.