by Billy Latta
Well, I think it’s safe to say there typically is a variety of contributing motives that kick-start and lead someone to step forward in entering a new role, job, or phase of life. Nevertheless, when it more specifically comes to work-related endeavors, filling out an application is generally a primary starting point.
Looking to continue my post-graduate journey with The Walt Disney Company in the spring of 2014, I have been submitting a number of applications for Disney Professional Internships. The time flies by amidst filling out information, preparing for interviews, and having the opportunity to share some of my own story with particular leaders from across property. It’s fast paced and exciting! It’s also important to slow down and reflect though. That’s what’s brought me to share this part of my story with you. None of this, my involvement with The Walt Disney Company, would have ever happened hadn’t I taken the first step in filling out an application.
My first time applying went something like this: “The College Program was meant to be a part of my life! At the end of my sophomore year, I applied. And… I failed (lovely).” I wasn’t accepted my first time applying. How though? I was passionate! I was ready! A number of things could have factored into why I wasn’t accepted at the time, but that’s neither here nor there because there’s always another opportunity (even if it means taking that one credit course at a community college to be declared a “College Student” in which you are then eligible to apply—no, I did not have to do this, but it happens and I say more power to you!).
I want to share a few pointers I think are helpful knowing ahead of time:
1) Disneycollegeprogram.com is your friend. Check it ;-). Become familiar with the site, explore others’ stories, discover the program components (Living, Learning, and Earning), and frequently check when you can Apply Now.
2) In addition to frequently checking the main website, keep up-to-date with the latest application news via the Disney College Program’s Twitter (@DisneyCPInterns), Facebook (facebook.com/DisneyCollegeProgram), or blog (disneyprogramblog.com).
3) Search for what others have written about the process in regards to creating a login, providing your general information, knowing what to expect in the web-based interview, and preparing for a phone interview. Rather than posting yet another summary of the process, I have included a few summaries I have found useful and accurate: http://addictedtomickey.blogspot.com/2013/02/disney-college-program-part-2.html, http://addictedtomickey.blogspot.com/2013/02/disney-college-program-part-3.html, http://disneyden.blogspot.com/2013/09/dcp-web-based-interview-advice.html
4) Apply early. Don’t wait a few weeks after Applications open because there are only so many participant positions available. There are about six to seven thousand participants per program, but before that number is decided there can be anywhere from fifty to sixty thousand applicants from around the world.
5) Get connected with a Campus Representative if your school is already associated with the Disney College Program. If your college/university is not connected with Disney, don’t let that hinder your ambition. My small university was not associated with the program at all so it was up to me to take charge in doing some additional homework ;-). Talk to your advisor, director of off-campus programs, Business Office, and Registrar. Have fun with it. You’ll be amazed at how much you learn about your school in the process.
6) Lastly, enjoy the journey. Share with friends and family that you are applying.
Naturally, my hope is for each person to receive that Congratulations! e-mail. It takes a lot to say, “I’m going to leave the comfort of my college/university, move to either Walt Disney World or Disneyland for five or six months, and experience a whole new side of Disney like never before.” It takes even more to go to the next step and actually fill out that application. You can do it though!
My ‘Ah-ha!’ Moment is simply this—whether you’re accepted or not, always stay positive. There may very well be another chance if you are not accepted that first time and there is always a silver lining even if you can’t initially see it. Continue pursuing your dreams and allow those dreams to transform, expand, and develop.
Image copyright Disney.
Billy is a recent graduate of Malone University in Canton, OH. He participated in the Fall 2012 Disney College Program as a lifeguard at Disney’s Old Key West and Saratoga Springs resorts. Billy has returned as a Walt Disney World lifeguard in the same locations for the Fall 2013 Disney College Program. Billy enjoys keeping in touch with family from up north, spending time with friends in the parks, running, traveling, listening to podcasts, and keeping up-to-date on the latest Disney and entertainment news.