Thursday, February 11, 2010

Info Post #8: Gaining School Support for Your CP

I have yet to officially accept my invitation to participate in the Disney College Program, because I want to make sure everything is a-ok with my college before giving Disney $100. If you have been following this blog or read through previous posts, you know I had quite a time figuring out if I'd be able to do the program.

If you go to a school that supports the CP (Montclair and Central Michigan come to mind), then you probably don't need to pay attention to this post. And of course I don't know everyone's situation, so I'm just kind of going to go through my needlessly complicated process and then provide some general tips and advice if you would like to do the College Program but are having difficulties communicating with your college.

First I emailed someone in the Center for Career and Professional Development, since they handle internships and whatnot. Seemed like the logical thing to do, right? The woman who contacted me in response was super-nice about it, but said that the registrar actually handles CP stuff. It seemed weird to me, but I e-mailed the registrar anyway. Here's what I got back:
I'm sorry, but we have no information on the Disney Program.  You might have to contact Disney.
Career Development may have some info.
Useful, right? So I replied and tried to clarify what I was asking:
I've researched the program itself quite a bit, actually, but I'm unsure of how it works here since it takes place during the school year. When I talked to Heather at the Career Center about it, she said people who have done it before have gone through the registrar to work out classes/enrollment/etc, since it goes through the fall quarter... that's more along the lines of what I'm looking for. Do you have any information about that? And if not, do you know who I might discuss it with?
Then they proceeded to not reply for over two weeks. I tried to get in contact with some other students who had just come back from the Fall 2009 program, and it was mostly dead ends. One was actually rather negative about her experience with getting the school to agree, which worried me greatly. Luckily, when the registrar finally e-mailed me back they steered me in the right direction. Finally! I was talking to the wrong people all along.

I arranged a meeting with our Associate Dean of Students to talk about withdrawing for the Fall Quarter in order to do the program. I was actually incredibly nervous going into this meeting - what if she were super against the program and forbade me from doing it? That's how one past participant certainly made it sound.

But that wasn't the case at all! She was super excited and kept saying what a great opportunity this is going to be for me. (She was also thrilled that I wanted to withdraw and come back, and not just leave the college for good.) I won't be getting any credit for the program, but she wants to make this process as smooth as possible, which is such a relief. Not getting credit isn't actually an issue for me - yay AP credits! The only thing I have left to do before I can officially accept my offer is talk to Financial Aid about my scholarships and whatnot.

So here's what my dean is doing for me - a withdrawal with planned reinstatement for winter quarter, which will allow me to still keep an active email and keep in touch on campus. That way I can register for classes and apply for study abroad (probably) and all that good stuff. I guess it's kind of like a leave of absence. She also gave me the names of the three people who did it last quarter and told me to definitely get in touch with them. (Interestingly, the girl I talked to about this whole thing was not one of them.)

So, if you're having trouble figuring out who you need to talk to before you can start packing for Florida, what are some steps you can take?
  • I would start with your Center for Career Development (or whatever that happens to be called on your campus) to see if getting credit for the program is possible.
  • Hunt down any past participants who have done the program and try and find out how they worked everything out.
  • If you end up having to withdraw, find out if your college has an option where you withdraw with a planned reinstatement at the end of the semester. It's so much nicer to know they'll welcome you back and you don't have to worry about applying for reinstatement or anything.
  • If you would like to get credit for the program but your school won't offer it, sometimes you can transfer it in from schools like Central Michigan University or Purdue University. More information about this can be found here. This is a good option if you need to be a full-time student for insurance reasons, too.
  • Make sure you talk to your financial aid office about your particular aid package before skipping off to Disney World - you don't want to come back and find that you have to start paying loans or that some of your scholarships have disappeared! 
That's all I can think of right now, but I would love to hear other people's tips, advice, and stories about this topic!


Anna said...

I hope it all works out quickly, Abby!

I know several people from my school have done the CP, but since I'm graduating I don't know if I even need to talk to them about it. :-/ I'll probably contact my friend who is a campus rep and ask if the school needs to get involved in any way since I won't even be a student there anymore when the program starts.

Take care!

Anonymous said...

I can't leave without getting credit - it makes it too complicated. So, another tip is take a class down there and get the internship credit through your school. The advantage program is worth 9 credits and a class can be worth three, and twelve is all I need to stay enrolled so that's all I need to do!
I hope everything works well for you! <3

Amanda said...

Hey, I'm interested in the doing the CP, and I was just wondering how you found people from your school that did the program. I'd love to contact someone from my school and ask them about the program. Thanks!

Abigail Nora said...

Amanda: At first it was word of mouth, but then the associate dean of students gave me their contact info. I would try your Career Center or whoever handles the CP, I'm sure they know who did it before. Hope that helps! :)

Amanda said...

Okay, thanks a lot!

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