Frequently Asked Questions
The following are questions often asked by students interested in being on staff. This is not an exhaustive list of RA responsibilities – for that, make sure to read the RA position description – but it does contain some answers to common myths about being an RA.
Q. Can I be an RA if I was involved in a policy violation before I applied?
A. Having a previous policy violation does not automatically mean that you cannot be a member of the Res Life staff. Of course, the severity of the violation would be taken into account during the application process, and you may be asked to describe in more detail the nature of the situation. In short, having a policy violation should not discourage you from applying!
Q. Do I have to stay on campus every weekend if I am an RA?
A. No! Part of being an RA is finding a healthy balance between work, school, family and friends. We encourage our staff members to take weekends away - getting off campus is healthy! In general, RAs may be gone for half of the weekends each month (not including other contractual obligations like hall openings, closing, or other special events). Most Hall Directors require that no more than half of the staff can be gone per weekend, so you may need to plan ahead for popular weekends.
Q. Can I still go home for school breaks?
A. Yes! The staff is not required to stay over any of the regularly scheduled breaks. However, please note that staff in traditional halls do need to stay until 4 pm the day before breaks begin and return by 8 pm the day breaks end. See the position description for a complete list of dates and times.
Q. Is it true that I have to be in my room every night after 7 pm?
A. No! While we encourage RAs to limit the number of hours that they spend away from their floor on a weekly basis after 7 pm, there is no “RA curfew”. We understand that you have other commitments, such as study groups, grocery shopping, socializing with friends, and other jobs.
However, we ask that you balance your schedule with the needs of your floor and your availability to your residents. If you do have outside commitments that occur regularly, those may not total more than 15 hours each week (Sunday - Thursday). Activities that would count toward this 15 hour per week limit include (but are not limited to): Athletics, student government association, student organizations, on campus jobs (such as working at the desk or in dining services), off campus jobs, etc.
Q. Can I participate in athletics if I am an RA? What about music programs? Theater?
A. We encourage our staff to be well-rounded, which often means involvement in sports, music or other extracurricular activities. Hall Directors are generally quite willing to work with staff members involved in these activities and can make accommodations in term of conflicts with practice/rehearsals. In terms of RAs involved in theater, it is usually suggested staff not be heavily involved in mainstage productions because of the extended time commitment in the evenings. However, RAs are encouraged to participate in one-act plays, or other types of theater events.
Q. I am thinking about studying abroad next year. Can I apply to be an RA for one semester?
A. Selection priority will be given to candidates who are able to make a full academic year commitment. However, students planning to study abroad may still apply. Please indicate your intention to study abroad on your application form.
Q. If I am an RA, can I attend parties where alcohol is served?
A. If you are a staff member and are under 21, you may not consume alcohol, nor may you attend parties where alcohol is served. If you are a staff member who is 21 or older, you may consume alcohol at bar or restaurant where you are required to show your ID. Of course, staff members who are of legal drinking age should drink responsibly, keeping in mind how residents may perceive their actions and choices.
Q. Do I only have 15 hours per week that I can spend outside the hall?
A. We want you to have a life outside of the residence hall - so you are certainly encouraged to visit friends, get off campus, and spend time in the community. However, RAs are required to limit outside work and scheduled activities that occur on a regular basis to no more than 15 hours a week. Activities that would be included in this 15 hour per week maximum are: other on campus jobs, off campus jobs, athletic practice, music rehearsals, campus organization meetings, etc. This 15-hour limit is put in place so that you can continue to maintain a strong floor/unit community.
Q. If I am on duty, does that mean that I have to do rounds all night?
A. No! Although duty lasts from 8 pm to 7 am, you are not expected to do rounds all night. Generally, weeknight duty consists of two rounds. Weekend duty generally has four. When you are on duty, you must remain in your building and be available to assist residents.
Q. Do I have to work at the desk?
A. RAs often choose to work at the residence hall desks because it is a very convenient job, but it is not required. RAs are generally given first preference in signing up for shifts and the beginning wage is $6.50 an hour.
Q. Can I have a roommate if I am an RA?
A. In most halls, you receive a reduced double room at the single room rate. This generally translates into living in a double room by yourself without having to pay the reduced occupancy fee. Most RAs find it helpful to have their own room because it gives them a place to speak with residents privately if needed. However, some staff members do choose to have roommates. If you are thinking of having a roommate, it is important that they understand the unique responsibilities of your job as an RA.