They might be called something different depending on the college you’re at, but an RA (or a Resident Assistant) is the most common term.
RA’s have an array of different responsibilities, but their main job is to facilitate the social, academic, and personal adjustment of students in the Residence Halls. Acting as a leader, the RA helps develop a sense of community among the students in their hall or on their floor. In a sense, they help school be more than just about homework, tests, and quizzes.
Being an RA comes with a lot of responsibility, but there can also be a lot of fun and perks that come with the job as well. We’ve put together a list of benefits that come with being an RA at your school.
1. There’s (usually) compensation
Being an RA is (almost) never a volunteer position: you’ll actually get paid for your work! At some schools, the compensation comes in the form of free room and board or a discount on tuition. Whatever the way the wages come to you, it’s a great way to work a job into your everyday life.
Sure, you’ll more than likely have to plan events for the students in your hall or depending on how your university is structured, you might have to perform room checks to ensure cleanliness, but by and large, being an RA is easily woven into your everyday life.
Do the math and see if the time commitment is worth it to you!
2. It looks great on a resume
Having your time as a Resident Assistant featured on your resume can say a lot about the type of person you are. A hiring manager will see that and can rest assured that you’re more than likely a leader, good at managing multiple responsibilities, have good character, and are overall a trustworthy person.
No matter what your career you’re going for, these soft skills are really important to have under your belt. They pull you from the category of good and put you in the category of great.
3. You’ll learn a lot
Having a high EQ (emotional quotient) is a must for being an RA, but you’ll also grow a lot in that department as well. Depending on the community in your hall, you might end up being a listening ear to a freshman who just broke up with her boyfriend, or you may end up helping two roommates mediate a dispute about cleanliness. You might have to help a student realize he needs to see a counselor, or you might walk with a student who is grieving a death or struggling with adjusting to college.
You’ll probably also learn a lot about the processes that make residence halls run. From check-out time in the Spring to Christmas break to maintaining school rules, you’ll be right in the thick of it all.
4. You’ll grow in your confrontation skills
This might be a scarier perk to confront (haha) but one that will truly serve you well throughout the rest of your life. Confrontation is a skill that can be tough to develop without practice, and you’ll more than likely get an ample amount of time to practice as an RA.
Many colleges rely on RA’s to help maintain Residence Hall rules, so you’ll probably be in charge of enforcing rules like visiting hours, deadlines, or other types of restrictions that help keep everyone safe. Instead of feeling scared about this element, know that you’ll have a staff of other RA’s and Resident Directors to support you and help you do these confrontations well.
5. Your community will grow
Not only will you be helping other students’ community grow, but your own network of friendships and connections will also blossom. Most RA’s are on a staff with other RA’s in their building and will have a Resident Director overseeing them. Weekly staff meetings are usually a required element of the job, as are mandatory events and activities.
Not only will you grow closer with your staff, but being a safe place for residents can also lead to friendships with your hall mates as well. You’ll meet so many different types of people while you’re an RA, and you never know what relationships will last beyond graduation and into your later adult years.