The Pros and Cons of Being a Resident Assistant (RA)

Living in the campus dorms during freshman year is an experience that many college students cherish. One tempting option for students who love the dorm life and want to give back to the community is becoming a Resident Assistant, or RA.

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of being an RA, taking an in-depth look at the highs and lows of this unique responsibility.

The Pros:

1. Saving Money

One major advantage of being an RA is the opportunity to reside in one of the nicer dorms without paying any housing fees. In addition to free housing, RAs often receive other benefits, such as a complimentary parking pass.

This can provide significant financial relief, especially for those struggling to cover college expenses.

2. Not having a roommate

Having a roommate in a small dorm can be a challenging experience for many students. From lack of privacy to clashing schedules and personal habits, the roommate dynamic can be problematic.

However, as an RA, you will typically have a private living space within the dorm. This allows you to enjoy some much-needed privacy and eliminates the worries of items being misplaced or broken.

3. Boosting Your Resume

As you approach your sophomore year and start considering internships and career opportunities, having a diverse and robust resume becomes crucial. Being an RA offers a great opportunity to enhance your resume with valuable skills.

The role requires leadership, crisis management, problem-solving, and time management abilities. These qualities can impress potential employers and give you a competitive edge in the job market.

The Cons:

1. Dealing with Stress

Handling the responsibilities of an RA can be unexpectedly stressful. Ensuring the safety of residents and monitoring their behavior requires constant vigilance. You may often find yourself dealing with intoxicated students, lovers’ quarrels, or even more severe situations like fires.

These stressful circumstances can make you feel like you’re living in a soap opera, and it can be emotionally draining to handle such incidents on a regular basis.

2. Limited Time Off

As an RA, you sacrifice some of the freedom you enjoyed during your freshman year. With a curfew and the need to be available for emergencies, spontaneous weekend road trips or vacations become challenging.

Collaborating with other RAs to coordinate time off is an option, but during popular breaks like spring break or winter sessions, it can be difficult to find a balance. Being an RA means prioritizing the well-being of your residents over personal leisure time.

3. Playing the Role of the “Bad Guy”

One aspect of being an RA that can be particularly challenging is enforcing disciplinary rules. Confrontation and making tough decisions may not come naturally to everyone. From managing noise complaints to reporting violations of campus policies, you may find yourself in situations that require you to be the “bad guy.”

This responsibility can put strain on your relationships with residents and even result in significant consequences, such as expulsion for those who break the rules.


Though being an RA poses certain challenges, it is an experience that can foster personal growth and maturity. Stepping outside of your comfort zone and taking on the role of an adult can have a profound impact on your development as an individual.

The opportunity to make decisions for yourself and others, contribute to the community, and develop valuable skills will undoubtedly shape your future. So, when considering whether to become an RA, weigh these pros and cons and make an informed decision based on your personal aspirations and goals.

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