Frequently Asked Questions for Resident Assistant Selection
RA DUTIES / COMMITMENT / GENERAL QUESTIONS:
Can I pick the building in which I will work? Or, I only want to be an RA in the residence hall I live in. Is that okay?
RAs do NOT pick where they work. You may be asked your preferences during the interview process but Hall Coordinators hire based on staff and community needs.
Is there a particular type of personality that DHFS looks for?
In general, we look for candidates who exhibit strong leadership abilities or potential, have good communication skills, are dependable and responsible, think creatively, are good team players, and are enthusiastic about being an RA! We have an incredibly diverse staff of RAs. Every RA has a different style, background, and perspective that will contribute uniquely to our team. The best thing you can do throughout the selection process is to be yourself! We want to know how you will think, feel and respond as an RA.
I really want to become an RA but I hear that it is really competitive. Do you think I will have a chance?
Although a large number of candidates generally do apply, we encourage anyone would believe they would make a good RA to apply - you may be just what we're looking for!
What does being "on-call" mean?
An on-call is when an RA is expected to remain in the building, ready to respond to any problems or emergencies that may arise. On-calls begin at 5pm on weekdays and go until 8am the next day. On-calls for weekends begin at 5pm and go until 5pm the following afternoon.
What training will RAs receive?
RAs attend an orientation in the spring and get an estimated full week of training before residents move into the residence halls in the fall. There are mandatory trainings prior to the opening of the residence halls in both the spring and fall semesters. RAs will receive more details about specific training dates once hired.
Do I have to be there for all of training?
Yes, all RAs are expected to be available for the entire training period and opening of the residence halls (Fall/Spring). There is a process for RAs to request to miss portions of training and requests will be reviewed by a committee.
Can I have a second job and be an RA?
Any second jobs must be approved by the Hall Coordinator in advance, fit within the time commitment agreement, and not present a conflict of interest. Due to the learning curve and demands of the job, first-year RAs are discouraged from having outside employment.
What is a time commitment agreement?
An RA makes a time commitment to the Hall Coordinator, determining how much time is spent on classes and on extra-curricular activities, to ensure that enough time is gauged for the job. Generally, no more than 16 class hours and 10 hours for outside clubs and activities is acceptable as part of an RAs Time Commitment Agreement.
Can I be an officer of a student organization and be an RA?
Any officer positions must be approved by the Hall Coordinator in advance, fit within the time commitment agreement, and not present a conflict of interest.
Can I be on judicial board and be an RA?
No. Participation on Judicial Board is a conflict of interest for the RA job.
Can I be hired for an area if I don't list that as a preference?
Yes, it is possible to be hired in a place that you did not specifically list as a preference.
I will be studying abroad or taking classes over the summer and will not complete my finals until after training starts. Can I still be an RA? Can I continue my summer job during RA training?
RAs can still study abroad and take some classes during the summer, but are still expected to be available for the entire training period and opening of the residence halls (Fall/Spring). There is a process for RAs to request to miss portions of training and requests will be reviewed by a committee.
I will not be enrolled in 12 hours because I will be a student teacher/participating in a coop. Can I still be an RA?
The Hall Coordinator must approve student teaching/participating in a coop. You are still encouraged to apply. However, you need to make your plans known so that the Hall Coordinator can determine your ability to do the job with your other commitments.
Do I have to plan community development activities for my floor/hall?
Yes. RAs are expected to plan a variety of activities to meet the developmental needs of their residents and build community (individual, group, society related topics and critical community issues like roommate communication, safety and security, alcohol and other drugs, and mental and sexual health).
What is the RA's role in promoting diversity?
RAs are expected to uphold the DHFS diversity plan, implementing appreciation of diversity in programs, bulletin boards, interactions with residents, and development of diverse communities.
Are there fun opportunities for RAs to attend conferences and learn more about student affairs as a career?
RAs are invited to sign up to attend a variety of conferences through the year.
Are there other opportunities for student staff employment within the residence halls?
Separate applications for summer RA, summer Conference Assistant, and summer Desk Assistants will be available in the spring semester.
What do you do when you work the desk?
Desk duties vary by hall: some responsibilities include sorting mail, taking care of packages for residents, checking out equipment (carts, games, movies, kitchen tools, mallets, pool/ping pong equipment). San Jacinto, Jester West, and Kinsolving RAs are expected to give tours when working the desk during scheduled tour times.
What is the RA's role in housekeeping and maintenance, particularly during the evening hours while on duty?
RAs are expected to evaluate and handle on a case-by-case basis any housekeeping and maintenance problems during the evening hours while on duty. There is a 2nd shift of Maintenance staff and a professional Hall Coordinator on-call to help handle emergencies.
How often will I be on-call?
Duties vary by Hall depending on the number of staff in your building.
Do RAs get special privileges (like the ability to have guests over after hours or free key check outs)?
RAs do not get special privileges; they are expected to follow all of the Residence Hall Handbook Policies, University Policies, and to lead by example.
RA ROOMMATE QUESTIONS:
Do RAs have to have a roommate?
No. Resident Assistants may request a roommate, have a roommate assigned, or choose to pay for the room as a single. Resident Assistants who choose to have a single room will pay the difference between a double and single room.
How do I pay for the room if I choose not to have a roommate? Can I pay each semester?
The payment process for a single room is the same as for a double; you can pay online at What I Owe, up front or by semester.
Is it better not to have a roommate if I'm an RA? Is it worth "buying" your own room?
Living alone has benefits as well as drawbacks. For personal statements from returning RAs, attend one of the many information sessions.
COMPENSATION / BUDGET QUESTIONS:
What is the pay for the RA job?
Stipends vary from year to year. The estimate is $134 per month (gross/before taxes). RAs are also provided a double room with a roommate at no cost and a declining balance meal plan.
What meal plan do RAs get?
The exact rates of meal plan change each year, but RAs get a meal plan comparable to the resident meal plan. However, the RA meal plan does not include Bevo Bucks due to IRS restrictions.
Do RA's spend their own money putting on programs?
No. RAs can request funds from their RA account through the Hall Coordinator, can request funds from their Residence Hall Council, or can request funds from URHA.
I want to buy door tag and bulletin board materials over the summer; will DHFS reimburse me?
No. There will be time to make door tags and bulletin boards during training, using DHFS materials and funds. You should not purchase your own materials. Unless the purchase is approved by the Area Manager in advance, no reimbursement will be made.
WORK SCHEDULE / TIME OFF / TRAINING QUESTIONS:
Do RA's have a curfew?
RAs do not have a curfew. They are asked to keep the Hall Coordinator informed of absences and get time off approved in advance. RA staff is expected to be available to respond to emergencies. Overnight absences must be cleared by the HC.
I'm studying abroad/have an internship in the spring. Can I still apply to be an RA?
Everyone is encouraged to apply for the RA job, but you should only apply if you are able to work for the entire year. You would not be offered a position if you could not commit to the entire long session (fall & spring).
What are the rules regarding an RA staying for holidays?
Generally, an RA is expected to work for one of three break periods: Thanksgiving break, Spring Break (1st half), or Spring Break (2nd half). Decisions are determined within staffs.
When do I get off for the semester break and spring break? How early do I have to be back?
RAs are expected to stay until 5pm on the day students must be moved out for semester break (both fall and spring semesters). For trainings, RAs are expected to return an estimated 3 days before spring semester and 7-10 days before opening.
What are an RA's job responsibilities? How much time does that take?
The RA job is an estimated 15 hours a week, varying week to week. All RAs have on-calls, must make bulletin boards, and are expected to fulfill a sufficient number of programming and individual interactions with residents; all other duties vary by hall. RAs also work 5 hours per week at a desk operation as part of their RA responsibilities.
How many hours can I take and still be a Resident Assistant?
RAs should consult with their Hall Coordinator for school schedules; different majors require different amounts of time for class. All RAs are expected to take 12 hours minimum, and must get approval to take over 16 hours.
How flexible is the work schedule?
If there is a scheduling conflict, RAs are responsible for getting coverage from another RA for desk shifts and on-calls.
Can I go home for a weekend? How many weekends off do you get? Are you allowed to go out on the weekends?
With advance approval from their Hall Coordinator, each Resident Assistant is permitted three nights away from the building per month.
I have a class that I need to take this semester or I will have to postpone my graduation and it only meets on Monday night. Can I still be an RA?
All students are encouraged to apply; class conflicts will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. When scheduling your classes, please try to avoid scheduling a Monday evening class unless it is the only time that class is offered.