When I participated in the Disney College Program (DCP) last year, I used the DCP website to guide me through a lot of my program-related questions about packing, check-in and housing. That was great; I really needed guidance for that sort of stuff. But I had a really hard time figuring out what I needed to work out with my own university before I left. There’s no guidebook for those sorts of things, so I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get everything ready.
I thought I’d share with you some of the things I had to think about and work out before I left for the DCP.
If your college offers information sessions about the DCP, make sure you attend! Not only are you able to hear from DCP alumni at your university, you are also able to meet an actual Disney recruiter. If you haven’t applied yet, it’s a great opportunity to pick the recruiter’s brain about what he or she looks for in a DCP hopeful. If you have applied and have been accepted, it’s a great opportunity to ask alumni for any packing, housing and transitioning tips.
I am at Kent State University on scholarship, and I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t lose that money when I did the DCP. I went in and talked to my financial aid advisor several times both before and after I applied. My university’s financial aid policy says that students must attend school full time for an entire academic year in order to keep their scholarships. For me, that meant I had to take at least 24 credit hours a year. I took some summer classes to supplement my fall classes to reach that number before I left. If you receive financial aid, make sure you have this discussion with your financial aid advisor so you don’t lose your scholarships.
Disney offers a wide variety of collegiate courses, and I really recommend taking at least one of them during your DCP. Before you sign up for a Disney class willy-nilly, do a little research. Chances are, if people from your university have done the DCP before, your university may have a list of transient credits you can earn. Transient credits are classes you take at another learning institution that are equivalent to classes at your home university. For example, Kent State allows students to take Disney Communications in the place of Introduction to Human Communications. Make sure you double check that transient credit list first, though. I accidentally took Disney Corporate Communications instead of Disney Communications, and it caused a mini crisis I could have avoided if I was more careful when registering.
Here’s the kicker: Disney classes are only $10, and you are provided with a binder, notebook, pens and any other learning materials your professor decides to hand out. Let me repeat: A class at Disney – something you could get credit toward graduation for at your own university – only costs $10. Let’s break down the math here: According to the Kent State website, one undergraduate in-state credit hour costs $447. Introduction to Human Communications is a three-credit-hour class. If you took Introduction to Human Communication at Kent State, it would cost you $1,341. If you take Disney Communication during your DCP instead, you’ll only pay $10. That’s less than one percent of the price at Kent State. So what am I saying? Take a class at Disney!
Additional Credit Opportunities
Sometimes your university will give you credit for participating in the DCP without taking classes. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to count the DCP as my official internship for my major, but I found a loop hole so that I could still receive credit; I asked my Honors College advisor if I could count my experience as an honors credit. Sure, I had to write a three-page paper about my work, but it was well worth it for a much-needed opportunity for credit.