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Content Any Way U Want It!

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September 21, 2023

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Resident advisor selection competitive

Raven Payne became a residential advisor because of the experience the position had to offer.

“I love just talking to people and working with people and how my RA was with us [last year]. The social aspect — she was always there, talking to us, there to answer questions and stuff like that,” Payne said.

Students who are interested in becoming a RA tend to live on campus during their first two years of college and see their own RAs as leaders and role models, said Abby Priehs, the assistant director of Residence Life.

“The RA serves as a significant resource for students and someone who can help them negotiate the college experience,” Priehs said.

For Payne, her own experience with people and what others told her influenced her decision to become a RA.

“People kept telling me ‘Oh, Raven, you should be a RA’ and I was like ‘Why should I be a RA?’ It’s just a really fun job. I like working with people,” Payne said.

In order for a student to become a RA, they have to attend one of the information sessions hosted by Residence Life, which is a one hour session, where the student learns about the job responsibilities, the time commitments and the compensation, Priehs said.

After attending an information session, the students then can apply for the position online.

“You have had to live on campus for two semesters before you start the job. Even though you’re a first year student who’s just ending their first semester on campus and their second semester in the spring. By the time you start the job in the fall, you would have two semesters on campus,” Priehs said.

Other requirements include having a 2.5 GPA and to not be on residential or university probation.

Students then fill out an application and in January, students are called in for interviews. Once a student submits their application, students can sign up for interview times on either Jan. 22 or 23.

During the interview process, students are asked to do a group project with other applicants, along with a two on one interview with a staff member and a current RA, Priehs said.

“If they’re moved on in this part of the process, they move on to another interview that is a two on one with professional staff members,” Priehs said.

Tim Shaal, the senior associate director of Residence Life, said that becoming a RA is difficult.

“It’s pretty difficult [for a student to become a RA]. We typically have anywhere between 400 and 500 people attend information sessions. About 300 of those will move to the applicant pool, which means they will get interviewed and then we’re hiring maybe between 70 and 90 people each year,” Shaal said. “It’s pretty challenging.”

By Feb. 11, students will know if they have been selected to be a RA for the upcoming fall and their placement, and by the 13th, they need to confirm if they still want the job.

“If a student is not offered the job, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re out of the pool. We offer an alternate pool as well. The students in the alternate pool are not ranked. It’s all based on the need of the building, the staff and the students.”

Payne was one of the students who was in the alternate pool and was pulled to be a RA.

“I was in the alternate pool originally. I didn’t get a call until the weekend before I had to move in. Most people think it’s the scariest part being in the alternate pool, but a lot of people got pulled out of the alternate pool,” Payne said.

As a current RA, Payne has learned a lot of different things, like how to handle a situation, along with

time management.

“The way you approach situations is key. That is what I’ve learned. Something you might think would be acceptable might not be acceptable to that person because of the way they grew up or the way they were taught,” Payne said. “And time management. A lot of it. That is really key.”

Shaal said that being a RA is a tough job, but the RAs he’s spoken with have said that they’re happy with the job they have and know the importance RAs have in the University.

“My sense is that overall, the RAs are happy with the position. It’s a tough job because we expect a lot from them. They’re our frontline when it comes to retaining our students and creating communities,” Shaal said. “They deal with some odd situations that some students wouldn’t want to put up with or deal with. We ask a lot from them.”

If a student is interested in becoming a RA for the 2015-2016 school year, the Office of Residence Life is offering information sessions through the first week of December.

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