Looking to become a Resident Assistant? The RA job is unlike any other opportunity on campus. You are able to live amongst your peers, plan events, be a member of a team, and help residents develop the skills they need to be successful at UWM. The information below provides a quick look at many aspects of the RA position.
2014-2015 RAs and Residence Life Professional Staff
Selection of Current RA Profiles
- Annabelle (Sandburg East)
- Bailey (Sandburg North)
- Josh (Sandburg West)
- Katie (Cambridge Commons)
- Kendall (Sandburg East)
- Megan (Sandburg North)
- Mikel (RiverView)
- Paul (Sandburg North)
Resident Assistants’ main objective is to create a living and learning community for residential students. This is done through a variety of different responsibilities that RAs take on during their time in the role. Since being an RA primarily means helping and working with people, it is vital that RAs have the ability to influence, support and collaborate. Below are some of the different roles that RAs take on to help build a strong community.
Since Resident Assistants serve as University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee employees that live within their assigned community, residents see them as someone that has a lot of knowledge and experience about being a successful college student. During training, RAs are taught extensively about resources across campus that can help assist students with a variety of issues and concerns that they may face.
Common things residents seek RAs for:
- Roommate conflicts/ personal relationship conflicts
- Academic concerns
- Mental and personal health concerns
- Finding resources
- Getting involved in student organizations
Resident Assistants are expected to serve as role models for their communities. RAs are expected to maintain a good academic record, including a cumulative and semester grade point average of 2.5. Additionally, they must follow the Resident Handbook and University policies. It is important for RAs to remember that because of their leadership position, people observe how they behave and thus treat the RAs’ behavior as the norm for the university.
Building community involves many things but one of the ways RAs do this is by creating events for residents to enjoy. Events in University Housing are all based on our C.L.A.S.S. model (Cultural understanding, Leadership skills, Academic success, Social connections and Social responsibility). University Housing believes that through living in the residence halls, students are given the opportunity to go to events that can help enhance their own personal experiences and knowledge. To do this, RAs plan programs to help students understand all the important components of the C.L.A.S.S. model.
Safety and security is essential in creating and building community. All RAs serve on a duty rotation in their community. During this period, RAs are expected to ensure the building is secure, build relationships with residents hanging out in the hall, confront any behavior that violates the Resident Handbook and report to any emergencies that may arise. Even though RAs expect to help with all of these things while on duty, due to their unique role oftentimes, residents of theirs might seek them out if the residents feel like they are having a personal crisis or emergency.
Resident Assistant Qualities
- Strong ability to communicate with others
- Values teamwork and is able to be a team player
- Talented in balancing many things (classes, the job, personal life)
- Appreciation and celebration of difference and diversity
- Desire to develop and assist other students
- Capability to manage complex and difficult situations
- Learn and implement proper crisis response protocol
- Ability to work autonomously with little to no direction
- Has many experiences that would relate well to the position such as:
- Participating in your Residence Hall Community Council
- Involvement in a student organization at UWM
- Employment in an office on campus
- Assisting your current RA with planning events for your floor
- Participating in the University Housing Community Review Board
- Attending events on campus and in the residence halls
- Making an effort to interact with and learn about/from people who are different from you
- Camp counselor
Resident Assistant Position Description
C.L.A.S.S. Model for Community Building
Programming facilitated by Resident Assistants must be well planned, thought-out, and include learning outcomes for student development. University Housing aims to provide opportunities for residential students to learn outside of the classroom as well. Below are just a few different learning areas that the RAs program around.
Cultural understanding speaks to learning and living with people that have different values, backgrounds and opinions than one’s own.
Developing leadership skills takes getting involved in campus life and activities. University Housing aims to not only provide leadership opportunities but events and programs that help students understand personal leadership styles.
University Housing is dedicated to encourage academic success in all residential students. Through providing academic resources to programs based around academics, University Housing works to support the college educational experience.
Residence Life aims to provide opportunities for college students to be SOCIAL. This involves, programming planned on the evenings and weekends that encourage students to get to know one another.
Taking responsibility for personal decisions and actions is another important area for learning in the C.L.A.S.S. model. Social responsibility speaks to the importance of understanding how personal decisions impact not only the individual but oftentimes also the community.
The application process to become an RA involves three different steps.
Step 1: Submit an application
Applications are reviewed by two University Housing employees and are checked thoroughly to ensure that the applications fit the need and scope of the position. The application is an Orgsync form and is due in late January. Applicants that are deemed qualified will be invited VIA e-mail to the next part of the RA selection process.
Tips to writing a good application
- Look up the essay questions on the application and use a Word document to create your responses before putting them in the Orgsync form.
- Take your time, edit, and review your responses.
- Ensure that you have fully answered the question that is being asked.
- Incorporate your personal experiences into your answers. This is what gives the reviewer a better idea of who you are as a leader.
- Never had a job before? Use personal class experiences or involvement that you have from involvement in student organizations.
Step 2: In-person interview with professional staff
All applicants chosen will be invited for a 60-minute interview with professional staff. This process allows for us to hear in-person about your values, experiences and interest in the position. Remember that while interviewing you are sharing a piece of yourself with interviewers, so think carefully about how you want to present yourself.
Tips to having a great interview
- Visit the Career Development Center. http://www4.uwm.edu/cdc/
- Practice your interviews with someone that will be honest about your performance.
- Read the position description, talk with current RAs, and reach out to your RLC/ARLC for tips on how to do well in the interview.
- Dress to impress.
- Dress pants/skirt/dress
- Button up shirt.
- Fixed hair and appearance.
- Prepare questions that you can ask during your interviews. This shows that you have researched the position and are interested.
- Remember to take a moment to gather your thoughts if you are at first unsure of an answer.
- Choose your words carefully and do not use obscenities.
- Think of examples that you could use to highlight your strengths, leadership, confrontation, diversity knowledge and areas of improvement.
- Be yourself and breathe.
Step 3: Group Process Interview
All applicants chosen for an interview will also be required to do a group process interview. This is a required portion of the selection process. Since the Resident Assistant position so heavily relies on human interaction, group process allows professional staff to observe how individuals can lead conversations, ideas and presentations.
Tips to having a great Group Process
- Don’t compete with other interviewees
- Be true to your opinions and style of leadership
- Keep in mind that University Housing is looking for a variety of different leadership styles.
- Give others a chance to shine
- Speak concisely and when you feel it is most important
Spring 2015 Resident Assistant Selection Timeline
**Please keep in mind that all applicants must have completed 12 credit hours of academic course work to be eligible for the Spring 2015 RA process.
- Oct 8th at 7pm Spring 2015 RA Info Night – Sandburg Flicks
- Oct 8th APPLICATION OPENS
- Oct 26th Applications due by 11:59pm
- Nov 5-6 Interviews
- Nov 7th Group Process
Fall 2015-Spring 2016 Resident Assistant Selection Timeline
- Oct 28th: RA info night
- 8pm, Sandburg Hall Greene Room
- 8pm, Cambridge Commons Room 171
- Oct 28th: Application Opens
- Dec 31st: Application due by 11:59pm
- Feb 5-6: RA interviews
- Feb 7: RA Group Process (ALL applicants must be available for this date)