Taking a Ride on the Carousel: Applying to be a Resident Advisor

Lesley Goodaker

As the academic year comes to a close, many college campuses have begun the search for the next year’s student employees. For upperclassmen, one of the most common position available are the Resident Advisors, also known as “RAs”. Gerneally, RAs are student staff members who live alongside their residents in residence halls throughout a college campus. Here at Transy, our RA staff members are largely responsible for promoting and assisting in maintaining student safety campus wide as well as putting on various campus events throughout the year. Over the past few months, I got a first hand look at what goes on during the selection process for the 2014-2015 Resident Advisors including the application process, “Carousel”, and personal interviews.

Applications for RAs at Transy were available to the current student population beginning in December. The application–which had to be completed online–included interview questions such as: “What is your motivation for seeking the RA position?” and “What makes you a good fit for the RA position?” After speaking with not only my RA, but also other Residence Life staff members, it became evident that the application process is not meant to tell applicants that they’re not qualified for the position, but rather to find the best fit among potential residents and their RAs. While the actual application offers a little room for creativity, applicants can shine in the cover letter and résumé  they submit. Within approximately 2-3 weeks of submitting an application, Residence Life will notify applicants of whether or not they have been selected to move on to the next step in the process: “Carousel”.

Simply put, “Carousel” is a series of group interviews. Students are divided into randomized groups of 5-7 other applicants. Guided by a current RA, they enter into a series of informal group interviews guided by current RAs as well as other Residence Life staff members. These interviews pertain to issues of campus development, roommate mediation, team building activities, event planning, and much more. For each room applicants are scored by a variety of criteria which is then used to determine eligibility for the next stage of the application process: personal interviews.

Personal interviews are generally conducted within 1-2 weeks of Carousel. These interviews–which take place in 30 minute increments–are conducted by approximately two members of the Residence Life staff. While the questions in each interview are very pointed, the interview itself is nothing to fret over. As mentioned before, one of the perks to a small campus is familiarity. At this point in the academic year I had already met each of the potential interviewers at least once and wasn’t nearly as nervous as I would have been had I never met them before.

Overall, while the process is extremely selective, you’ll certainly see in my next post that the perks far outweigh any drawback. The Office of Residence Life at Transy is a crucial component of campus life and is constantly in search of the next group of student leaders to help ensure that Transy’s campus life remains one of its shining beacons.