Picture this: It’s 3 o’clock in the morning on a Saturday. The Duty Phone beside your bed begins to ring. You answer the phone.

“Hello… is this the RA on Duty?”

You rub your eyes, double-checking the time. “Yes. Is something wrong?”

“Uhh… there’s just a lot of… there’s a lotta… well, things are kind of a mess here right now.”

What started as an awkward exchange soon becomes a room inspection. And from that inspection… who knows? You might be writing up a student, submitting a concern, or just going about your business.

This is the life of a Resident Assistant. Should you choose to accept it, here are some things you can do to prepare yourself for both the application process and the in’s/out’s of the job itself.

Know the Job

You probably started this process by knowing the benefits. If you’re not sure what those are, let me spell them out for you: Free Room & Board.

As an RA, you’re entitled to live on campus free of charge. But, as the heading to this section indicates, there’s more to the job than its benefits. Here’s a small sampling of just some of the responsibilities falling under an RA’s role:

  • Maintaining safety of assigned residence hall
  • Reporting and documenting incidents that violate policy
  • Serving as the “face” of your hall, ready to answer questions from residents
  • Organizing programming and resident meetups
  • Creating bulletin boards and other forms of resident communication

If any of this sounds like your speed, you’re welcome to keep reading. If any of the above sounds like it might cramp your style, then perhaps the RA role isn’t for everyone.

In addition to all of this, Resident Assistants should present themselves as a reasonable model for Emerson’s community standards.

What the Job Asks For

The main responsibility of any Resident Assistant is to maintain the safety and wellbeing of their residents. A key component of this responsibility, however, relies on the RA’s ability to respect the community of residents that’s formed around them. Even more than this, the RA should be able to support the respect between residents of their assigned floor and the building in general.

You should approach this role with your community in mind. Everything you say or do as an RA will have an impact on your residents — it’s important to consider this before you prepare for an interview or as you’re preparing your “elevator pitch” for why you’re a good fit for an RA.

It helps to come at this with a genuine passion for people and, more specifically, the diverse population Emerson has to offer.

How to Prepare

The application for new Resident Assistants will be going live through EmConnect in the next few weeks. In an effort to prepare, the Career Development Center has highlighted several resources for you to be aware of. All of these can be a huge aid to your preparation…

  • Have Your Resume Reviewed:

The Career Development Center offers online resume reviews any time, anywhere. Submit your resume for an online review with an expected turnaround of about 3 to 5 days: bit.ly/ECResumeReview

  • Access Career Resources

Careerbuzz is rife with materials that can strengthen your application. We even offer a full collection of Interview Preparation materials to help you prep for the big day!

  • Start the Conversation

Confused on what to do first? Try contacting careers@emerson.edu. You know we’ve got you!