RA selection starts for next year

Interviews begin February 16th

The Office of Residence Life has begun the selection process for next year’s new residence assistants (RAs). The candidates will go through a round of interviews before being notified whether or not they were selected.

The search officially began on Dec. 1 of 2014 when the application was made available. Starting Jan. 28, a series of five information sessions began. All applicants were required to attend at least one, in which current RAs explained the job to them. Applications were due Monday, and individual interviews are scheduled to start Monday, Feb. 16.

RAs are also required to meet a series of criteria before they will even be considered for the job. Obviously, they must be full time students, but they also must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75. Graduate students who wish to become RAs must maintain a 3.0 GPA. Furthermore, applicants must have two semesters of on-campus living experience, one semester of which must have been at UIS. They must also attend a mandatory training camp over the summer.

On top of the multiple interviews, the mandatory informational session, and the miscellaneous criteria, potential RAs must shadow a current RA on a “mock duty rounds,” as well as “assist with the planning and execution of an RA program.” Furthermore, the candidates must get a reference from a current or past RA or mentor, as well as two other professional references. After they complete the individual interview and the requisite work, potential RAs will also take part in a group interview.

“There are a lot of technical things that go along with being an RA, but there are also a lot of skills that might not necessarily be written out in the job description, but that you’re going to have to be able to do,” explained Joshua Starks, the leader of this year’s selection process, at an RA informational meeting on Feb. 3. Some skills that Starks listed were time management, written and verbal communication, mediation skills, as well as crisis management abilities.

Current RA Hannah Schweiss was able to provide insight into how intimidating the application process can be. “I went back and forth with myself about applying to be an RA. I was conflicted between wanting to be an RA and to be [a Leadership for Life] mentor. I talked this out with a few of my RA friends and they encouraged me to apply for the RA position,” she reflected.

She also mentioned being unnerved by the interview process, adding, “Filling out the application itself was easy; I was more nervous about my interview and group process.”

Prospective RA and freshman Paul Brobst also feels that the selection process is a bit disconcerting. “After looking at the selection process and having several conversations with current [RAs], the selection process can look daunting at first. However, since I have not been through the selection process, I am only speculating giving any significant opinion of the selection process,” said Brobst.

He added, “The Residence Life staff will pick those who are best suited for the job and I have no reason to complain about that.”

Brobst feels that, in potentially becoming an RA, he can help improve the campus community. He stated, “The main reason that has made me decide to be an RA is the wealth of knowledge and responsibility that will come with the position….I feel like I can make the housing community improve and make UIS an ever better place to live on campus.”

According to the Department of Residence Life’s website, “The RAs are selected because of their leadership potential, interpersonal skills, positive attitudes, and sense of responsibility and fairness. Your RAs are experienced residents and students.”

Residence Life begins the search near the end of each year. The application process then takes place over the course of the semester, with the selected few beginning training in advance of next year’s fall semester.