Becoming an RA

Words and photos by Hailee Carlin
Tamara Frazier, a freshman communications major, poses outside of McDowell Hall where she will work as an RA during the 2017-18 academic year.

Resident Assistant positions give students the opportunity to gain experience in leadership. This position was created to continue the Department of Residence Services’ goal of creating a community environment where students can thrive. RAs wear many hats — they are role models, educators, community leaders, helpers, administrators and team members.

According to Kent State Housing, resident assistants are “an undergraduate or graduate student leader who lives in the residence halls”.

There is an extensive list of qualifications to be an RA. Students must complete at least 30 credit hours before the semester of hire, have at least a 2.50 cumulative GPA for undergraduates and 3.00 for graduate students, and must have lived in university housing for at least one semester or quarter. Students also can not be under any sanctions from the Office of Student Conduct.

The application process to become an RA for the 2017-18 year began in October of fall semester and ended Jan. 30. Students must register for the Peer Leadership Training Course and undergo an interview.

Morgan Marshall, a sophomore human development and family studies major, works as an RA in Manchester Hall.

“I wanted to gain confidence in myself and my leadership abilities, and being an RA has helped me with that,” Marshall says.

As an RA, she plans programs for her floor and works on duty some nights throughout the semester. Some of her responsibilities includes helping residents adjust to life at Kent State and educating residents on policy issues and topics such as diversity and social justice.

“I think being really involved helped me in becoming an RA,” Marshall says. “I was involved with hall council my freshman year. Being involved showed my leadership abilities in my interviews and helped me gain perspective.”

Becoming an RA has also helped Marshall work on her weaknesses.

“I think some things that could have hurt me [during the application process] is that I’m not the most assertive person and that took some practice and getting used to,” Marshall says.

Being active in your community and attending hall council and Kent Interhall Council events, Marshall says, can greatly help your chances in the application process.

“I would tell students who are applying to be an RA to go for it,” Marshall says. “It’s an amazing experience and is rewarding in the long run.”

Taylor Peterkoski, a sophomore recreation, park and tourism management major, applied to become an RA last year but did not make it past the first interview.

“I was very choked up during the interview and felt at a loss of words for most of the questions,” Peterkoski says. “If I were to retry, I would be more outspoken. I always want people to be able to know the real me, but I also need to be professional, and be aware of who I am talking to and my surroundings.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Tamara Frazier, a freshman communications major, recently applied to become an RA and got the job in McDowell Hall.

“The application was time consuming but really worth it,” Frazier says. “It consisted of five essays as well as an interview.”

Frazier believes her bubbly personality and energy helped her selection.

“I think if you have no idea about the responsibilities an RA deals with and you’re all about the incentives, you will not be only hurting yourself but the community too because you will not enjoy your job,” Frazier says.

Overall, Frazier says it’s important to be yourself during the application process, especially when writing the essays and interviewing.

“Be confident, be yourself, and be an RA because you want to help others,” Frazier says.

Haliee Carlin is the student life reporter for The Burr.

Note: If you are interested in becoming an RA in the future, check the Kent State website in October 2017 to apply for the 2018-19 academic year.

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