The applications have just been released for the Spring/Spring Advantage 2018 Disney College Programs! If you’re interested in applying and looking for any and all tips for the application process, you’re in the right place! Click here to apply!
Do you qualify?
Before you can even consider applying to the Disney College Program, you should know if you qualify to apply. According to the Disney Programs Blog you must meet the following requirements:
- Candidates must be currently enrolled and taking classes at an accredited program or institution and have completed at least one semester OR have graduated within the past six months.
- Candidates must meet their school’s requirements for participation (G.P.A., grade level, credit hours earned, etc.). This varies by school, so please check with a faculty member to see if you are eligible to participate in the program.
- Candidates must be at least 18 years old by the time the program begins.
- Candidates must also have unrestricted work authorization in the United States.
If you do meet these requirements, you’re ready to apply. The first step to getting in to the Disney College Program is the online application. This is the very first form you’ll see when you click “Apply Now.” This section will take between 10 and 15 minutes to complete and covers what you would expect from a basic application: contact information, previous work experience, your school details, etc. If you have any volunteer experience, include them with your work experience. Nothing is too small. I included my participation in the Read Houston Read program and working for my church’s bookstore and cafe.
You’ll also rank your preferred roles. Roles are the jobs you could be working within the parks. There’s so much more than attractions, merchandise, and characters. Take time to research all of the roles and search for blogs from DCP alumni to learn more about your preferred roles. No role is too small and you may not get your top choice, so keep an open mind. Learn more about the roles here.
After you’ve submitted your online application, you’ll receive an email from recruiting thanking you for your application and assuring you that you’ll hear from them soon. I applied on March 9 for the Fall program and received my next email less than an hour later with information about the Web-Based Interview.
The Web-Based Interview is the next step in joining the Disney fam. I received my email about my Web-Based Interview on March 9 and I had 3 days from the receipt of the email to complete the interview. This section will take about 40 minutes to complete. The Web-Based Interview is structured like a personality quiz. Each of the 2 sections is timed, but not unreasonably so. Take your time and choose the answer you most agree with. You can always pause your interview and return later, but I recommend you allow yourself enough time to finish the entire interview in 1 sitting. You will not be able to return to a previous question and change/update your answer, so choose carefully. You’ll be presented with a series of personality questions and scenario questions. Some will be multiple choice and others will be a rank from 1 to 5.
This is where it’s super important to be honest while still promoting yourself. You’ve got to find that balance between selling yourself to the program and not lying to them. However, if you’re presented with a question where your knee jerk reaction is “I don’t really like people/children/heat/hard work,” then maybe the DCP is not for you. I, being the exceptional procrastinator I am, left my Web-Based Interview until March 12.
The final step of the application process is the Phone Interview. This is easily the most nerve-wracking part of the application. I got my next email on March 12 telling me that I had 3 days to schedule my phone interview. I scheduled my interview for March 14.
These are my top 6 tips for the phone interview portion of your application process:
- Quarantine yourself. Section yourself off in a quiet space free of distractions and with good reception. The last thing you want to happen in an interview of any kind is be distracted or for the call to drop. I set up shop in my bedroom with no one else home. When scheduling your phone interview time, allow for an hour and a half. Your interview could begin 15 min before or after your scheduled time, so be prepared for either possibility. The actual interview could take up to an hour, so that extra 15 minutes could be useful to get yourself situated and calmed before your interview begins. Also, be aware that the call may come from a “blocked” or “unknown caller” and that your chosen time will be presented in the Eastern time zone.
- Smile and write down your interviewer’s name. A smile comes across over the phone. It’s difficult to sound happy when you’re frowning and bland when you’re smiling. Try it, it’s pretty funny. Your interviewer will try to use your name, so it’s a good idea to try and use his/hers. Will it be the tip in the scale between you and another candidate? Maybe, maybe not, but it couldn’t hurt and it shows your interviewer that you’re just as interested in them as they are in you.
- Be yourself. Let your personality shine through! Don’t just worry about your experience and role preferences. Tell your recruiter about yourself. Why did you apply to the DCP? How could you be a good addition to the team? What sets you apart from the other candidates? I mentioned to my interviewer about a “fact” I found on Pinterest where Disney sat in the parks and noticed there was a certain amount of steps a guest took before throwing trash on the ground and that’s why there are trash cans situated every X amount of steps, and that it’s these small details that complete the magic in the parks. It’s these small things that people normally overlook that put the cherry on top. I didn’t know if it was true, but it’s an interesting “fact” anyway.
- Plan ahead. Don’t try to improvise. I scoured Pinterest for as many tips as I could find and ended up with more than a few blogs for resources. I particularly liked Lindsey‘s tip about saying your interviewer’s name. Check out her blog for more tips. I also loved Leah‘s note taking method and adopted it into my own interview. This site is an excellent resource for possible interview questions. It’s definitely worth a read plenty of time beforehand to plan out your responses.
- Ask questions. A great way to show your interest in not just the program but also your interviewer is to ask questions. I asked 3 questions: What is your favorite part about working for Disney? Do you have any advice for what happens next? Have you ever participated in the Disney College Program? These questions can spark a simple conversation. If they have done the DCP, ask about their experiences. What role did they have? What was their favorite part? What were some things they learned in their program? Also, don’t forget to ask the interviewer if there’s a way to send him/her a thank you email. The art of the interview thank you is all but lost, but it’s never a bad idea and it can only help you.
- Don’t worry. In the words of the great Walt Disney himself “Why worry? If you’ve done the very best you can, worrying won’t make it any better.”
After the Application
Immediately after your interview, you’ll receive an email thanking you for taking the time to interview. They let me know I’d hear their final decision by April 14.
The next email you’ll receive will either be your acceptance or rejection. I received my acceptance email on March 24, just 2 weeks after my initial application. If you’re lucky enough to have been accepted, congratulations! You have 7 days to accept your position with Disney. There are 3 steps to accepting:
Step 1: Review Offer and Indicate Acceptance In your acceptance email, you’ll be sen a link to accept.
Step 2: Submit your Program Fees My program assessment and housing and administration fees were about $350. This was kind of a shock to me, so be prepared.
Step 3: Select your Program Dates You will be able to pick your arrival and departure dates. Arrival dates are first come first serve, so pick yours fast to get your top choice. If you’re hoping to room with someone you know, you’ll need to both pick the same arrival and departure dates. As with everything, there is no guarantee you’ll get the date you want.
If you are not accepted, remember there are roughly 50,000 people who apply to the DCP in Walt Disney World each year and only about 7,000 applicants are accepted. The DCP in Disneyland is even more exclusive. Since the parks are smaller, only about 300 people are accepted. Don’t freak out and don’t give up. Reapply for the next program and keep up to date with Disney’s social media so you know exactly when the applications are released.
Now that you’re equipped with some tips about the interview process and a wealth of resources, go out and apply! Do your best and good luck!