Pros & Cons of Becoming a Resident Assistant at University

When you initially arrived at university, becoming a resident assistant might not have been at the forefront of your plans. Perhaps you envisioned yourself attending enjoyable parties with friends on Saturday nights, rather than conducting rounds in the dormitory.

As you progress through university, the notion of becoming a Resident Assistant may now hold a bit more allure. Undoubtedly, the position comes with its share of challenges, but it also offers various advantages. Before fully committing to this role, it’s prudent to weigh the pros and cons carefully to ascertain if it aligns with your aspirations. Here are several typical aspects to consider when contemplating this decision.

What is an RA?

A resident assistant, also known as a resident advisor, is a live-in position primarily held by students. The primary objective of an RA is to establish a secure and welcoming atmosphere for the dormitory residents. While the specific responsibilities may differ based on the institution and residence hall, the typical tasks include:

• Enforcing the university or college’s rules and policies.

• Providing information about the residence hall, campus events, and available resources.

• Assisting in resolving conflicts among roommates or floor members.

• Organising and hosting various programs and events for the floor.

If a majority of the students on your floor are freshmen or new to the campus, part of your role would likely involve helping them adapt to their new environment.

The application process for becoming an RA is typically demanding and time-consuming. Once selected for the position, you are often required to undergo intensive training, which can vary depending on the school’s policies.

5 Advantages of Becoming a RA

This part-time school-affiliated job offers numerous benefits to students looking for a rewarding time without leaving campus. Here are some of the most major achievements.

Obtaining Free or Reduced Room

One of the most tempting reasons for students to become RAs is the substantial housing discount. Many institutions compensate RAs with free or reduced university accommodation.

Personal development

As a RA, you may encounter a variety of scenarios, some of which will be absolutely novel to you. Stepping outside your comfort zone and experiencing what it’s like to be a respected role model may reveal talents and qualities you never realised you possessed. You won’t do everything perfect on the first try, but you will learn about what you do and yourself as you progress.

Positive incentive

Beneficial remuneration is provided to RAs for their on-duty days and daily support within the residence hall. Usually, compensation is granted in the form of accommodation and meals, though occasionally a stipend may also be offered. Neglecting these expenses can considerably decrease your semester bills and alleviate your stress levels.


As an RA, you’ll likely form strong bonds with your teammates during training and create a close-knit community within your residence hall. This provides a wonderful opportunity to actively engage and make a meaningful impact on campus. Being an integral part of the daily lives of fellow residents will contribute to a memorable and fulfilling college experience.

Getting Relevant Work Experience

For college students with limited work experience, including an RA role in your résumé can have a significant impact. It demonstrates your possession of leadership, teamwork, and organisational skills. The level of responsibility and accountability involved in this role will catch the attention of prospective employers who seek evidence of your trustworthiness as a valuable team member.

The Drawbacks of Working as a Resident Advisor

It’s a Major Time Commitment

Working as a RA requires a significant time commitment. Typically, you’ll be required to complete rounds a couple nights per week. However, because each institution is unique, you should confirm the responsibilities and job description with your university immediately.

If you don’t believe you’ll have enough time to be a RA while also completing all of your schoolwork, it may not be worth your time. After all, failing your classes may jeopardise your prospects of getting into graduate school or landing a high-paying career after graduation.

Another issue to consider is that as a RA, you will be living where you work, which may make maintaining a life-work balance challenging. You’ll be on call at all hours of the day and night, as well as on weekends and holidays. While this may mean you may study in your room, it may also mean you are interrupted by an emergency that you must handle.

The effects to your College Experience

Acting your age is one of the most enjoyable aspects of college. Unless you’re a RA, staying up late and watching films instead of doing homework is all part of the college experience.

As a RA, one of your tasks will be to maintain campus rules and procedures, which may require you to uphold these norms in front of the pupils you supervise. While you want the students to have fun and maintain a friendly relationship with them, you must also look professional and be able to draw a line between fun and rules.

Moreover, living in a large house with all of your pals is an unforgettable experience all students would like to experience. If that’s the kind of lifestyle you’ve always wanted, being a RA might not be for you.

Restriction on Extracurricular Activities

While you’re a RA, you spend the majority of your time in class and caring for your residents. Most RAs are required to spend a set amount of time on their floor, restricting their free time for outside interests.

This can be difficult to balance if you have other time-consuming interests. It may be difficult to join a club football team if they practise on a weekly basis and you have meetings at the same time. Be honest with yourself about what you want out of university and how being a RA might affect that.

If you’re enthusiastic about the prospect of becoming an RA, make sure to explore your college’s resident life website to learn more about their program and how to get involved. While it is a significant responsibility, for the right type of student, it can be a gratifying and valuable experience. Take the initiative to find out all the details and requirements to make the most of this rewarding opportunity.

If living in university accommodation still is not your thing, then contact us to help you find your perfect home, or have a look at the properties available.