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Pros and Cons of Being a Resident Advisor (RA)

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If you’ve already spent a year in the dorms, you’re probably familiar with the idea of resident advisors. Basically, they’re student leaders that are assigned to different dorms in order to help, monitor, and support students dorming on campus. 

Being an RA comes with a lot of responsibilities. You’re in charge of a whole floor of students, on call 24/7, and enforcing the rules. But on the flip side, it’s an amazing resume builder, a great creative outlet, and a wonderful way to build community. 

Want to learn more about the peaks and valleys of RA life? Let’s break it down!

What is a Resident Advisor? 

As we mentioned before, resident advisors are kind of like mentors for students in the dorms. RAs must have lived on campus previously to qualify for the position. Students will have to apply for the role, and qualifications will differ from school to school. But if you’re a good student, involved in extracurriculars, and willing to support other students, chances are you’ll be picked for the position! 

What are the Responsibilities of a Resident Advisor? 

Resident advisors are students’ point of contact for interpersonal disputes, academic problems, and any fun events or decorations for the floor. You may also be asked to help with move-in and move-out days.

Don’t worry if this sounds like a lot of work. Most schools will provide you with adequate training so you can handle almost any situation. So, while you do have a lot of responsibilities as an RA, the school and adult residential staff are there to help you every step of the way. 

Now, with all that out of the way, let’s go through some pros and cons for RA life!

Pros of Being an RA 

Free/Discounted Room and Board 

Hey, living in the dorms can be expensive, but you just can’t beat the convenience! You’re closer to campus, get easy access to food and study spots, and can wake up minutes before classes start. 

Since RAs must live on campus, the schools offer (usually) free room and board. In some cases, you may even be offered a monthly stipend! One of the best parts of being a resident advisor is getting out of paying for dorms, rent, utilities, or food. 

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Your Own Space in the Dorms 

In most cases, RAs don’t get roommates. You’ll be given a room that is about the same size as an average dorm. But since you won’t share it with anyone, it still feels luxurious!  Depending on how updated your residential hall is, you may still have to share a bathroom with a few people or even the entire floor, so don’t go in expecting total privacy.

Build Social and Leadership Skills 

Wondering what skills you’ll be learning as an RA? Well, you learn a few non-tangible skills that can really make the difference to a prospective hiring manager: 


A Chance to Build Community 

Being a social butterfly isn’t a requirement for RAs, but you will be tasked with the job of building community on your floor. This means that you’ll be putting up door decorations, updating bulletin boards, and holding mini events on your floor.  

If you’re the creative type that loves to put on a party, you’ll be a great candidate for an RA position. But even if you aren’t crazy about arts and crafts, you can still build a strong community on your floor by encouraging the students to mingle and enjoy the recreational areas on your floor. 

Great Resume Builder 

When you’re duking it out for internships and early-career jobs, any relevant job experience helps. And when you’re an RA, you’re basically an event organizer, creative director, manager, and a therapist all at the same time. The skills you learn in this position are foundational in the workplace, so as an RA you get a head start building those skills! 

Cons of Being an RA

Being a Role Model 

As an RA, the younger students will look up to you as the standard. This means that you’ll need to start considering how your behavior will be interpreted by strangers. Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t attend parties or other social events, but it does mean that you should always aim to be on your best behavior on and off campus. 


If you are the type that wants to live their college life with as little responsibility as possible, avoid RA life. You oversee the students on your floor, and any mishaps will reflect on you directly.  

While it’s a big responsibility, being an RA is not meant to be overwhelming. The school still knows that you’re a student, too! But it will require dedication and time management to make sure that you can juggle RA life, social life, and most importantly, GRADES

No Days Off 

Being an RA includes certain times you need to be on your floor. Which includes weekends! On top of this, there may be an instance where you’ll need to miss out on your spring break plans. Schools will have RAs on campus throughout the entire school year, even breaks. So, if you’re not ready to give up all that free time, consider that before applying. 

Facing Hard Conversations 

No one likes to be the bad guy, but sometimes you must be as an RA. Schools have strict rules against drugs and alcohol, which are the most common no-no’s that go on in the dorms. As an RA, if you hear, see, or smell anything suspicious, it’s your duty to nip it in the bud. You don’t need to lay down the hammer but be able to communicate to the student that any future issues may be reported to the building management team. 

On top of this, you may have to help mediate conversations between roommates or conflicting personalities on your floor. It can be difficult to moderate sensitive conversations, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.  

Why RAs Love Collegeboxes 

So, we covered a lot about what RAs do on the day-to-day, but what about moving days? Move-in and move-out day can be totally chaotic, tiring, and worst of all, hot. And as a resident advisor, you’re one of the smiling faces that is tasked with hauling boxes to dorms. We’re a fan-favorite among RAs, housing officers, and universities all over the US and Canada.

But you don’t have to be. In fact, that’s where Collegeboxes comes in. We can help students move into their dorms, thanks to our vetted, trustworthy, and efficient moving helpers. This means that RAs can focus on the fun stuff, like coming up with icebreakers, decorating their floor, or getting to know the students. 

On top of that, we can store all your belongings for the summer, over school breaks, or as long as you need. And at a discounted price compared to traditional storage, it’s a total bargain, too. 

It’s not too good to be true, it’s Collegeboxes! Want to get your school involved? We love new friends, so shoot us a request below.

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