What is an RA in college & What do they do?

When you live in an on-campus residence you need someone who can guide you about the program of living in the residence. Also, if you are in your freshman year you need to know about the policies and rules for living in the residence. For this, the universities and colleges appoint a person known as Resident Assistant(RA). It is important to know what is an RA in college and also what they do.

Quick Takeaways

  • RA in the college is the one by which you can get information about the dorm rooms. 
  • They are known by different names like house fellows, resident advisors, community advisors, etc. 
  • The main role they perform is to give the related information, maintain the data of the students, make rules, etc.

Further, we have discussed more resident assistants in detail and therefore you must read till the end.

What is an RA in college & What do they do?

Who are resident assistants? – What is an RA in college?

Resident assistants are known by different names like house fellows, resident advisors, community advisors, etc. They help students to get information related to dorms and other student housing areas. RA helps you to have a safe environment in your living area. Most of the first-year students need RA to get settled in dorms and other areas. They help to coordinate between all the students, and staff living in a specific area with the higher authorities of the college. Students may also not find them nice as they will be teaching the students regularly. Thus the students may hate the college because of it.

Responsibilities of RA

There are different duties that you need to perform as a Resident Assistant. Some of them are –

  • Maintain the data of each student living in their assigned residence. As a RA you must know about each student living there.
  • You should create a home-like environment for the students living there. Try to help them by helping them to communicate with other students living there.
  • Try to organize some hall events. This will help everyone to interact with each other very easily. You can plan a trip or organize some interesting activities.
  • You enforce the college policies and also play a major role in giving recommendations for the hiring of resident advisors. 
What is an RA in college & What do they do?
  • As a resident assistant, you are responsible for making rules for the students living in the residence. You must make sure that all these regulations and rules are being enforced in the residence properly. 
  • You need to recognize them based on their talent and motivate them to join related clubs. Ask them to join dance, music, art, and clubs if they are good at them. 
  • If there are any internal conflicts between the two students living in the residence, then you should make sure to settle them down.
  • Try not to overuse any of your rights against any of the students due to your grudges.
  • You must encourage the students to enjoy their college life as most as they can. 

Do you get paid as a Resident Assistant?

You might get paid for your services as RA at a college. Many institutions pay RAs an hourly wage or a fixed amount. In addition to that, you may get other perks like food, laundry, etc. Typically, you will be provided with a furnished, single room to live in. Additionally, if you put in more time than anticipated, certain universities could pay you even more. According to BLS, the average hourly wage that you get as a Resident Assistant is around $13.87 which means the average annual salary is around $28,850.

Benefits of Being Resident Assistant

If you are a Resident Assistant you get the following benefits –

1. Free rooms

You get a free room for living in the residence. There are chances that you might have to share your room with someone but in most cases, this is not the case. Not only this you may also get a free meal and food for yourself. 

What is an RA in college & What do they do?

2. Develop leadership quality

As you are responsible for a lot of things from managing to enforcing the rules and regulations you gradually develop leadership qualities. This is the most in-demand skill for applying to various companies.

3. Get a lot of new friends

As a RA you meet other resident assistants as well. This helps you to build up new connections and friends. Also, you can take different ideas related to fun activities and use them in your hall activities.

4. A strong relationship with students

When you help students from their first day, you start developing a strong relationship with them. Some students have never left their homes or are from different countries. In such a case, you are the person who helps them to settle and provides them with an environment similar to their home. 

Drawbacks of Being a Resident Assistant

Though you know what are the benefits of being a Resident Assistant, here is the time to know the drawbacks –

What is an RA in college & What do they do?

1. Time commitment

This job needs a lot of your time and effort. You have to look if all the regulations are regulating properly or not. There are a lot more responsibilities that you need to perform. It will take a lot of time to manage everything.

2. Do not get much privacy

As a coordinator between the students, you have very few chances of getting privacy. Most of the time you need to work with the students living in the residency. Also if any student is facing any difficulty, he/she needs to inform you. This means that you have very less time for yourself. 

3. Sometimes you need to be a bad guy

To create discipline you need to be strict with the students. Also many times you would not be able to meet every student’s needs. Sometimes it will become hard for you to meet their wishes. This makes you a bad guy in the eyes of many students. However, you are just doing your job and you must not bother about what others are thinking about it.


A Resident Assistant is a person who helps students to settle if they are living in the on-campus residence. Being RA, you will need to perform a lot of responsibilities within the campus. You need to take care of every student living in the residence and also are responsible for organizing various activities in the hall of the residence. There are many benefits that you will get as a resident assistant but along with that, you need to give a lot of time to perform your responsibilities, and also you may need to become a bad guy at some time. 

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