A resident advisor is professionals who need to ensure that their buildings and inhabitants are safe following all rules and procedures. They are part-time professional staff that belongs to the department of housing and residence life who lives in an assigned residential area. They are usually supervised by education coordinators who also live and work in the residence hall. They serve as valuable campus resources and perform various responsibilities. They spend significant time knowing more about residents, building a relationship with them, and serve as a positive peer leader. They must enforce community standards and policies to maintain the residential community. The main duty of a resident advisor is to work with university staff members facilitating an environment with hall residents contributing overall intellectual, social, physical, moral, and cultural development of students.
What does a resident advisor do?
The resident advisor is accountable for performing various duties and responsibilities which includes:
- Building a positive community
- Preparing intentional group and individual connections
- Arranging community and social activities
- Assisting students getting adjusted to the campus environment
- Assisting the education coordinator in executing additional events
- Providing peer leadership to residents
- Mentor community standards
- Adhere to university and residence life policies as well as state, local law, and ordinance
- Offer peer accountability for code of student responsibility
- Encourage students to utilize academic and student success resources on campus
- Assist students with a personal and academic concern
- Encourage a cooperative living environment
- Helping resolve group conflicts that may arise
- Attend departmental function, training sessions, and weekly meetings
- Assist students on special events
- Provide a report on crisis management
- Assisting handling residence hall after each semester
- Participate in on-call duty rotation in the assigned residential area
- Respond to residential facilities, need, concern, and emergencies
- Handle residential facilities through inspection and round
- Refer students to the apt department for assistance
- Recognize the talent and interest of students
- Work closely with residence hall staff members.
How to become a resident assistant?
To become a resident assistant you need to possess essential skills and experience and submit a strong application for the position. Here are given the steps to become a resident assistant.
Step 1: Get the necessary skills and experience
Candidates need to earn at least 40 undergraduate credits at your chosen university. You need to attend 1-year full-time class in a college to earn the required credits for the role. Most institutions will require a GPA of 2.75 at the time of application. The GPA requirement varies based on institutions so check their specific guideline. You also need to live in student housing for at least one year to apply to be an RA. Candidate must have a great understanding of key tasks and expectations of the position. As an RA you need to develop community spirit in the residence hall by creating or conducting events for students. They expected to be leaders in the residence hall. The position needs to be interpersonal as you will be professionally responding to student issues and conflicts. The candidate must possess great communication and listening skills. As an RA you are expected to perform several tasks.
Step 2: Be prepared to mediate any conflicts
When you are on duty, you need to prepare to respond to any emergencies in the resident hall and mediate any conflicts among the residents. You need to act as a problem solver, listener, and mediator for students. You must be ready to handle a mental crisis. Speak to your counselor and get advice on how to handle mental issues with the student. The job as an RA requires professionals to dedicate time and handwork for the position. There are several perks available to be an RA and this could make the position worth pursuing. You must ensure the perks of the position against expectation to ensure it is the right fit for you. You will get experience as a mentor in higher education and learn how to become a good role model for students.
Step 3: Applying for the position
Depending upon the institution, you need to apply for the position online. You must check the deadline for the application. You need to submit a cover letter and resume as a part of your application Make sure you submit any experience letter you hold in mentoring roles as a volunteer position or as a volunteer. You may need two professional references as a part of your application. Next, you have to prepare for the interview. If the interview goes well, you may be invited to perform training for the RA position. Training will be mandatory and may be scheduled during summer. So be prepared and get ready for the position.
Step 4: Be prepared for the job
As an RA you are expected to be available for students who live in the resident’s hall. You may end up spending a lot of time in your room when you are not attending the class. You need to engage with students regularly. Try to be a good role model whenever possible.
What knowledge is needed to be a resident assistant?
- Psychology – understanding of human behavior and performance, the assessment and treatment of the behavioral and affective disorder.
- Philosophy and Theology – Must know about different philosophical systems and religions. They include basic principles, values, ethics, and way of thinking.
- Law and government – Knowledge about legal laws, court procedures, government regulations, executive order, and agency rules.
- Education and training – understanding the principles and methods of curriculum and training design, teaching, and instruction for individuals and groups.
- Therapy and counselling – knowledge of principle, methods, procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of mental dysfunction and career counseling and guidance
- English language – Must possess great communication skills and speaking the English language including the meaning of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Customer and personal service – knowledge of principles providing customer and personal services. They include customer need assessment, meeting quality standard for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.