The Pros and Cons of Being a Resident Advisor

By Brittany Hawes on December 24, 2017

What’s an RA? If you’ve lived in a dormitory before, you know that “RA” stands for “resident advisor”. A resident advisor is someone (usually a student) who is stationed in a dorm to assist all who are calling that dorm home for the year. Resident advisors are usually the ones you go to if you’re having a dispute or issue with your roommates. They can sort out messes, give you advice, and even switch you to a new dorm if possible.

Image via

Beyond handling roommate problems, resident advisors are in charge of building a sense of community within the dorm. They want to make students feel safe and welcome in the dorm, so they will always have a friendly attitude and positive outlook on any situation. They are there for their residents, and will always have an open ear for residents who need to vent about any personal or academic issues they are having. They’re also in charge of setting up fun, community-building events for residents of the dorm that will allow everyone to get to know the other people they are living with.

Does this sound like something you might be interested in doing? If so, it’s important to know all of the pros and cons of becoming a resident advisor before rushing over to your university’s online job page and filling out an application. Like any job, being a resident advisor comes with some pros and some cons. It’s up to you to decide if becoming a resident advisor will be a good fit for your personality and schedule.


1.    Free Housing

As the resident advisor of a floor, sometimes you are given your own room to stay in the dorm. This room may be for free or, alternatively, may be offered to you at a discounted price. This will save you money on housing, and saving money is something that every college student should want to do. Staying in a dorm or even an apartment can be pricey, so the option of having your living expenses cut down is a very welcome perk of being a resident advisor.

2.    Get paid for your work

You won’t be expected to work for free! Many resident advisors get paid for all of the hard work they do. Depending on your school, you may get paid hourly or you may receive a stipend at the beginning of the semester. Check with your school to see what financial compensation you can expect to receive if you become an RA.

3.    Free or reduced food

Some resident advisors are even offered free food on campus or are given dining credit that can be used at food places on campus. Saving on food, arguably one of the largest pulls on your finances, can save you a lot of money during the semester.

4.    Build your resume

Another perk of becoming a resident advisor is being able to include this position on your resume. A resident advisor has to possess many admirable skills that employers desire such as having interpersonal skills, the ability to solve conflicts (big and small), being able to multitask, manage time efficiently, be relatable, and so much more. This is a great job to help you build those skills and give you a leg up when it comes time to start your career after graduation.

5.    Make a difference

The most important pro of becoming a resident advisor is that you will have the ability to make a positive difference in the life of your residents. You will be able to help them solve problems, lend an ear when they need it most, ease their homesickness, and be a friend. You can make your hall feel like a family. That possibility is in your hands and you really can make your residents have a great experience living with you.

Of course, for every pro of any job, there will be some cons. Being a resident advisor is a tough job and I don’t recommend going into it without knowing what you’re getting yourself into fully:


 1.    You must remain a role model all of the time

Since you’re a positive role model in the eyes of your residents, you’ll want to remain that way even when you’re not technically on duty. You don’t want to be seen plastered all over Snapchat and Instagram at some wild party, dancing on a table with drugs all around you. You have an image to uphold and you want your residents to see you as someone who is reliable.

2.    You will have to juggle around your schedule a lot

Becoming a resident advisor means that you will be giving up a lot of your free time. Resident advisors are on call at all times, just in case there is an emergency in your hall that you need to deal with. Sometimes, you will have to push aside your free time to make your residents happy.

3.    Be ready to deal with problems and drama of all shapes and sizes

Are you mentally prepared to deal with the problems of 20+ students all crammed together on one floor? Sometimes, problems will be bigger ones and you might be faced with talking someone through a tough personal situation. You will have to be careful with what you say and be sure to handle the situation in as calm a manner as you can. And then you will come across problems like residents complaining about their roommate’s inability to pick up after themselves. You’ll need to find viable solutions for them all so make sure you are prepared for this.

If you think you’re able to handle the cons and you’re in love with the pros, you should seriously consider becoming a resident advisor. You will be making a big difference in the lives of other people and you’re in for a pretty exciting adventure!

Hi there! My name's Britt and I'm a senior majoring in English major at Florida State University. I have these crazy, big dreams of traveling the entire world and writing novels in my spare time. I love music, food, and the Japanese culture. I plan on teaching English in Japan upon graduation from Florida State. My first YA novel, Twisted, was published by Deep Sea Publishing Company in 2014. It won a Readers' Favorite Book Award that same year. Alongside schoolwork, I'm working hard on the second book in the Twisted series as well as a number of other novels.

Follow Uloop

Apply to Write for Uloop News

Join the Uloop News Team

Discuss This Article

More Uloop Campus Life Articles


83 Photos
Bainbridge Villas
5 Photos
$987 / 4br - Campus Tower Apartment Sublet Spring 2018!! Price Negotiable!
10 Photos
The Crossings
7 Photos
Room available east of campus
37 Photos
Meadowbrook Gardens
See all COLLEGE Housing Listings



Back to Top

Log In

or Sign Up
Post FREE Listings
Student Start Here
Post Jobs for Students
Employers Start Here
Housing Providers
Post Available Housing
Housing Start Here

Enter College Name to See Local Results

Log In

Contact Us

Your new password has been sent to your email!

Logout Successful!

You just missed it! This listing has been filled.

Post your own housing listing on Uloop and have students reach out to you!

Upload An Image

Please select an image to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
Provide URL where image can be downloaded
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format

By clicking this button,
you agree to the terms of use

By clicking "Create Alert" I agree to the Uloop Terms of Use.

Image not available.
By clicking Get Started or Sign In you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service

Add a Photo

Please select a photo to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format