How hard is it to become a resident advisor?

<p>is this a super hard job to get, or is it easy?</p>

<p>Mind if I ask why you're interested? Don't worry, I'm sure its the fact that your room/board and meals are paid for as compensation (note: not "free"). </p>

<p>I'll say this plainly. I am currently an RA, so I can give you a good bit of info. Typically about half the people who apply get the job. Last year there were ~ 200 applicants and ~100 RA spots. There do pick a few backup RAs, called "CAs," to replace RAs who quit/get fired, but they don't pick many of these. Still, some RA's got off the "CA/waitlist" category even before this school year started.</p>

<p>So the job is fairly hard to get, but I personally think it is much easier to get if you're male. The application pool is largely female and student housing is one of those discriminatory places that looks at the "whole applicant" (aka, they try to get more minorities and males since we are underrepresented here).</p>

<p>As far as the job itself, an RA will never tell you since we're not supposed to (thank goodness for some anonymity here), but it is rough as hell. I actually have considered quitting a lot recently, or at least not reapplying for next year. I know of at least one RA who was already fired, and another who was either fired or quit. </p>

<p>Your schedule becomes hell because student housing owns your ass, you deal with floor/staff/area drama on a constant basis, and you live where you work. Some deal with it better than others and some don't have as much **** with this going on, but for me its a lot of stress. </p>

<p>My serious, honest to god opinion is that the pay (food/housing) isn't worth the work. Keep it as an option, but if I had known this last year, I would have probably not taken the job. </p>

<p>If you want more specifics on the responsibilities let me know.</p>

<p>Hey Shoyon, thanks for taking the time to respond, i really appreciate your input ^_^. as far as why i am interested, i thought that free room/board would be nice, and also thought it would be a great time to get work experience. so they don't really give RA's free room/board and meals, or how does that actually work? is there an age limit/year limit, i'm going to be a senior next year. I will also only be taking 12 units each quarter so i wouldn't be THAT busy with school. are RA's pretty much on call 24/7, or how do hours work? This definitely seems like a lot more work that i thought it would be, thanks again for answering my questions i really do appreciate it.</p>

<p>Np PerfectSky,</p>

<p>RA's do get room/board and meals, but that is basically your wage or salary, so it really isn't free. And trust me, you do work for that compensation... Frankly I thought my RA last year didn't do **** for such a nice package deal, but they/we do.</p>

<p>There is no age/year limit except that you can't be a 5th year as an RA or grad student of course, you can definitely be a 1st year RA as a senior. I know of at least a few RAs who are.</p>

<p>RA's are typically only on-call one day a week, either as primary or secondary. On-call RAs will do two rounds in the evening they are on-call. Primary has the phone and technically goes on call after 5 pm, and secondary just does rounds. The primary will call the secondary if there is a big situation they need help with. But for every time I've been secondary I just sleep through the night, so that usually doesn't happen. There are certain times you have to be in the area by and cannot leave when on-call. </p>

<p>Also, RA's are only on call for two weekends a quarter. A weekend is Fri and Sat night. However, just because you aren't on-call doesn't mean you can necessarily leave for the weekend. RA's get 6 weekend days off (Fri+Sat would be 2 days) the whole quarter.</p>

<p>Here are a few of the more concrete responsibilities so you have a better idea:</p>

<p>-I have 9 bulletin boards, there are 8 that you have to do and you get 1 optional. 3 are changed twice per quarter and the others must be updated regularly. Bulletin boards, like programs, will go into an online program called OPUS. </p>

<p>-Every quarter you are given a "specialty assignment." The three are leadership, citizenship, or sustainability. You may be required to staff an event for these, even Fri night, or just have a weekly commitment to a leadership council to attend the meetings.</p>

<p>-If accepted, in spring you will have a 1 unit RA class that you must pass to be an RA (its p/np). Also, you will have another 1 unit RA class in the fall that you take while working as an RA. Again, you must pass in order to remain an RA the rest of the year. Missing class even once gets a warning, second time you may be fired.</p>

<p>-After doing quiet hours rounds, you'll put any policy violations (or if you encounter a violation when you're not on-call) into a program called CRIS with a detailed 3rd person story narrative of what happened. If it happened on rounds or another RA calls to report an incident, you'll include it in the rounds report sent afterwards.</p>

<p>-Your programming, per quarter, requires: 3 RHATS (the first is scheduled for you though), 2 neighborhood meetings with a social event, 3 social events JUST for your community, 2 transitional programs, and 1 faculty program as a staff.</p>

<p>-For neighborhoods and community socials you are given a budget to pay for food and stuff for them. The amount differs depending on where you're staffed, but you must keep track of your expenses and you have to add a purchase order onto any event you need to buy stuff for.</p>

<p>-You are not required to have an IM team, however you must provide the opportunity and organize it if enough people are interested. The most successful IM teams have a fair amount of their community's RA involvement. </p>

<p>-Every week you send in a weekly report to your supervisor with resident highlights, concerns, and things you've noticed. Some SRA's are more relaxed about this than others.</p>

<p>-Every week you have a 1:1 with your SRA, which they try to make personal. If you don't like mixing work and personal life, I don't recommend the job. From day 1 of training they try to find out your life story and living where you work doesn't help. </p>

<p>-Every week you have a staff meeting with your entire staff, which always seems to include check-in, a diversity discussion, specialty updates, talking about area programming like the faculty program, feedback and questions, and a team builder. Frankly the diversity discussion seems to be a progressively driven agenda, and I say this as a progressive-political leaning person.</p>

<p>This is a basic rundown. It leaves out the general sociability you need to have with residents and some of the finer aspects of the job like making sure people have the right resources, getting food if your residents have dietary restrictions, and using CRIS to report illness and roommate conflict instead of just policy violations.</p>

<p>I'm not saying this to scare you, just to be straightforward because I really wish someone had told me this last year. And I have 12 units (13 with RA class) and the time isn't the problem, its the stress level. So that should play into your decision as well.</p>

<p>Oh yeah, I left out occupancy reports (due every month) and facility checks (due every 2 months)</p>

<p>thank you, this really gives me a more clear idea of what being an RA is really about!</p>

<p>I would just be an RA and any time anyone was loud, I'd knock and say to shut the **** up or I'll call the cops. Are you telling me this is irresponsible?</p>

<p>Also, I remember that I was really contemplating trying to be an RA as well. I really like the DC food and stuff, but I knew that I would probably have gotten fired after the first few weeks because I would start screaming at people. Also, I'm a short skinny guy so I figured they would be looking for bigger guys to possibly handle any issues. And I wanted to get experience really living on my own</p>

<p>Do you know if RAs would rather get Cuarto or Tercero? I would assume Cuarto due to the suites? Although I lived with the RA last year in Cuarto and he was the biggest (literally) jerk-off I had ever met. It didn't help that everyone thought he was so cool and thought I was a dick for not liking him when they didn't have to live with him...</p>

<p>Before I moved into the residence halls I thought "RA's have it good, free room/board!" Now that I see how much time being an RA takes up, "free" room/board is barely compensation!! At least, in my opinion.</p>

<p>Is it true that RA's get priority registration?</p>

<p>@simpsonman:
I doubt they would fire you for screaming at people unless you were using curse words left and right, but I'm sure you'd get a stern talk. We've lost a lot of RAs already this year for various reasons which I won't go into on here, but Im more than happy to talk about in pms. Typically they seem to "ask you to resign" instead of firing you. Also, they don't actually take body size/ability into consideration. This was one of my thoughts too, but it's not true. They're an equal opportunity employer.</p>

<p>I don't know about the rest of cuarto, but because RA rooms on Emerson pool-side have a window right next to the hallway...its not ideal. Most RAs would probably prefer tercero since its all new or the renovated segundo high-rises. The messed up part is that some RAs get stuck with old, crappy little singe-size rooms while some of us literally have double-size.</p>

<p>And I'll tell you a secret...a lot of RAs are indeed dicks, but some of us are pretty genuine. Then again, he might've been a dick cause he didn't like the job at all.</p>

<p>@chailatte:
We work hard :) methinks, just being appreciated helps us a lot sometimes!</p>

<p>@JeSuis
Yep! RA's get priority reg, mine was on Mon. Its necessary so that staff on-call days can be organized. RAs go on call after 5 pm and cant leave their assigned residence hall area. But in all honesty you can still probably get the classes you need a majority of the time. There are also lots of other ways to get priority reg too. </p>

<p>And if you haven't seen the email yet, RA applications are out!</p>