Cozy dorm room with a lot of pillows on bed, string lights, busy desk, bookshelf

5 Major Benefits of Becoming a Resident Assistant in College

Becoming a resident advisor is a lot of responsibility but a great experience. Here are some major benefits to consider, plus tips on how you can become one.

Your resident assistant or resident advisor (RA) is one of the first people you’ll meet at college if you live on campus. RAs usually help coordinate the chaos of move-in day and help new students settle into their dorm rooms. They also work to create an inclusive community and help you get to know your new neighbors right away. RAs build rapport with students in their residence halls, lending support whenever anyone needs to talk about a problem. Other times, RAs mediate conflicts between residents before things get worse. RAs also make sure everyone is following the rules set forth by residence life. College is first and foremost an educational environment, and RAs have a responsibility to uphold that mission. If all this sounds enticing, it’s worth exploring whether this role could be the right fit for you in the future—after all, RAs are students too! Let’s take a look at how you can become an RA and some of the benefits to help you decide.

How can I become an RA?

Every college or university has different guidelines for becoming an RA. Typically, you won’t be allowed to apply until sophomore year, so you can use freshman year to gain familiarity with your campus first. There will also be qualifications to meet that may be tied to your academics, such as a minimum GPA requirement. Like any other job, certain skills will boost you to the top of the candidate list. Qualities that will get your application noticed include:

  • Communication skills
  • Patient listening
  • Compassion and empathy
  • Strong organization
  • Consistent responsibility
  • Social event planning experience

If you’re worried about how to handle everything, keep in mind that all RAs undergo extensive training prior to the start of the school year. Your teammates and supervisor will also be there to help if you encounter any particularly difficult situations.

Related: 4 Simple Tips to Ace the Resident Assistant Application Process

5 benefits of becoming an RA

This part-time school-affiliated job has many perks for students who are looking for an enriching experience without leaving campus. Here are some of the biggest wins.

1. Personal growth

You’ll face various situations as an RA, and some will be entirely new. You may discover talents and abilities you never knew you had by stepping outside your comfort zone and seeing what it’s like to become a respected role model. You won’t get everything right on day one, but you’ll learn about the job and yourself over time.

2. Useful compensation

RAs receive compensation for their on-duty days and daily support within the residence hall. Typically, RAs receive payment in the form of  room and board, but the role may sometimes include a stipend as well. Dismissing these costs can significantly lower your bills each semester and reduce your stress levels.

Related: 7 On-Campus Jobs You Really Want

3. Campus community

When you become an RA, you’ll probably get close to your teammates during training as well as foster a tight-knit community within your residence hall. This is a great way to get involved and make a genuine difference on campus. Being a part of the everyday lives of other residents is a recipe for a memorable college experience.

4. Single dorm room

Resident assistants must meet with students privately if there are issues to discuss, so single rooms are the norm for RAs. Having your own personal space mere steps away from your classes is a huge advantage. The responsibilities of college life and RA duties are inevitably easier to manage with the luxury of a dorm room all to yourself.

5. Résumé experience

As a college student, you probably don’t have a lot of work experience yet. Adding an RA role to your résumé can be impactful; it shows you have leadership, teamwork, and organization skills. This kind of accountability will stand out to future employers looking for evidence that they can trust you on their team.

Related: Infographic: Skills to Put on a Résumé to Land the Job

If you’re excited about the possibility of becoming an RA, check out your college’s resident life website to find out more about their program and how to get involved. It’s a big responsibility, but for the right kind of student, it’s a rewarding and worthwhile experience.

Not so sure being an RA is the right role for you? Explore other options with our article on Part-Time Jobs and Money-Making Ideas for Students.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Joan Franklin

Joan Franklin


I love this website and have been using it for years with my students. I originally bought products through Wintergreen Orchard House and appreciated having key facts at my fingertips when advising students. Your site is easy to access and offers a wide array of topics I need as a busy college counselor.

Abhishek Kumar

Abhishek Kumar

High School Class of 2022

As a high schooler, I know how hard it is to plan for college. You have to consider a lot of factors: SAT/ACT scores, college searches, scholarships, and more. CollegeXpress has been a helpful resource that solves all these problems. One can easily create a free account and search away. They help you search for scholarships and colleges, they have graduate program search, they have lists and rankings, and so much more. CX also has a lot of articles and advice to read—whether it’s financial aid, test prep, campus visits, internships/careers, or anything. Not only that, CX gives out free scholarship money to students who sign up and create a free CX account. I love CX and will continue to use it! Thank you CollegeXpress for making my college journey easier!

Maya Ingraham

Maya Ingraham

October 2021 Mini Scholarship Winner, Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has given me more confidence in my college process. With easy-to-access resources and guidance such as the CX Weekly Roundup, I have been able to find the best colleges for me. Most importantly, there’s a surplus of scholarship opportunities for every student to support their education.



High School Class of 2019

CollegeXpress has helped me by opening my eyes to new opportunities. I learned about such easy ways to get financial help to achieve my dreams while also learning about myself and who I truly am. I know this isn't a very long explanation of what CollegeXpress has done for me, but nonetheless, I believe it's crucial to how I developed as a person throughout my time as a college student.

Cameron Lee

Cameron Lee

High School Class of 2022

I used CollegeXpress to search for colleges. It helped me narrow down the schools on the West Coast and which schools had Construction Engineering programs. I made my decision to go to OSU and I am so excited about it.

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

SUNY Maritime College

Throggs Neck, NY

Union University

Jackson, TN