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The Benefits of Being a Residential Assistant

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As a residential assistant, leading floor meetings will help you learn leadership skills.

As a residential assistant, leading floor meetings will help you learn leadership skills.

This past year, my freshman year of college, I was lucky to have a great residential assistant (RA). Like me, he was a writing major, and we shared many of the same interests. He told me about literary events around town, described his awesome internship at the local library, and encouraged me to apply to the study-abroad program, which he'd loved.

He also told me about the benefits of his job as a residential assistant, and he's the main reason I plan on becoming an RA my junior year. Here are some of the perks that this awesome college job offers.

Your Own Room

In my experience, getting a single room in college can be pretty difficult. There is a lot of luck involved in most colleges' room selection processes. Check on your school's website for the details, but in my experience, RAs generally get their own rooms, and these rooms tend to be a bit nicer than the average dorm. So if you'd like to get some guaranteed privacy during your college experience, and enjoy the rare and beautiful absence of a roommate, consider becoming an RA.

Financial Benefits

Though college policies can vary, RAs are always financially compensated for their work. Often, this means free room and board, which is how it works at my school. Occasionally, RAs receive a stipend. Because juniors at my school have to pay for expensive Boston apartments, becoming an RA will save me a lot of money.


Becoming a residential assistant means you are stepping into a leadership position. Though this might frighten some people, it is a great opportunity for students to gain leadership experience. Being a leader in your hall might not seem like much, but it can be empowering and rewarding. Students often come to their RAs for advice, or the RA has to try to implement change in his or her hall. If you've never been a team captain or organization president, being a residential assistant might be a great opportunity to see if you make a good leader.

Work Experience

Being an RA is a job that offers a variety of work experiences. My RA had to fill out paperwork for his students, lead floor meetings, organize events, and provide counseling. These experiences, along with the responsibility and leadership required, are valuable in most professions. Though it might seem like just a college job, describing your residential assistant experience on your resume shows your potential employer that you are responsible enough to lead.

My RA also told me that his job could be tough. He had to lead a group of students not much younger than himself and try to be kind and fun while still enforcing the school's rules. It's a big responsibility, and it's not for everyone. But if you can rise to the challenge, consider becoming an RA; it's a great opportunity that I'm looking forward to trying.

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