3 Reasons to Become a Resident Advisor

When I transferred to college as a junior, I was lucky to receive housing. At some institutions your odds of obtaining an on-campus place diminish depending on how many credits you have. This can be stressful for students who wish to live in a secure campus building or for those who are unfamiliar with a busy city area. For these kinds of students, there is an option that can also help to address financial concerns. A resident advisor, also known as an RA, is a trained peer leader who lives in a residence hall and supervises other students living in the area. Resident advisors can be found at colleges, universities or residential facilities for mental health and substance abuse. For the purpose of this post, I will focus mostly on resident mentors that work at the college level.

Here are three great reasons to sign up as a resident advisor at your school:

1. You could live for free!

What I wouldn’t give to go back in time and save a few bucks. My loans have started to roll in, and part of what I’m paying for is my rent from living on campus. If financial concerns of the future are badgering you, then applying to become a resident advisor might be the perfect option for you. Though college RAs do not usually receive hourly pay, they are certainly compensated in other ways. Housing can be free or price-adjusted. I saw some dorms that my resident advisors lived in, and they were of a good size and private. Of course this is from my experience. Your school will likely have a unique situation. Aside from saving living expenses, you may also be able to receive free meals or stipends for food.

2. You can become a leader.

Do you know what looks great on a resume? Experience, skills, and training. These are all things that you can receive by working as a resident advisor. Students typically start at entry-level jobs, but becoming a resident advisor puts you in a high position immediately. You will be supervising students, resolving conflicts, and enforcing rules. The training is free, and I’m sure the experience is invaluable. Here is a funny and informative video clip from Emerson College that discusses the responsibilities of being an RA. Remember, becoming an RA is work. You must be able to manage your time and priorities and balance any other commitments you have with training. Also, part of your job will be to act as an example for other students by living by the rules and upholding a professional and responsible reputation.

3. You can have an active social life.

This job is great for someone who loves people. Believe me, you will have your share of hitting the social scene. From planning floor parties to contests and group activities, resident advisors can keep their hands busy. While I was in college, the RAs I knew were responsible for decorating the halls with relevant and fun information and crafts. I recently stumbled upon a website dedicated to fun ideas and all things RA related. My peer advisors also made sure to update students on any hall-related events and mandatory meetings. However, not all social events will be as enjoyable. Resident advisors are also responsible for handling disputes and addressing any broken rules or misconduct that takes place.

If you hope to live on-campus next semester and these five reasons didn’t send running for the hills, then call your school’s department of housing and residence life and get the details. The earlier you inquire the better. Remember being a resident advisor requires training and the ability to interact well with others. You never know where one opportunity can lead you. If this sounds like something you’re interested in, don’t hesitate. Good luck!

For more posts by Sara Kosmyna.

Do you have a funny story from your dorm room days? Were you a resident advisor? Share your insights below.

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  1. Mary
    Posted May 30, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like a great opportunity for the mature student.

  2. Joe
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    I was never a resident advisor. I never lived with one either. I did see some when I visited my frat brothers.
    There is a lot of responsibility in taking that position especially because some residents can be real knuckleheads.
    Non residents can be that way too.

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