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Residential advisor is the best job on campus!


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     OK, so Iím claiming to know the best job on campus, and I donít even know which campus youíre thinking of. Itís quite a claim, Iíll admit. Why donít we try this. Iíll tell you what I believe it is, and you prove me wrong (or right) with your own investigation.

     The job Iím talking about is Residential Assistant (RA). At some colleges the title may differ, and of course compensation and exact duties will vary, but Iíll describe it for you in general terms, and you can read what Penn State has to say about it if youíd like. If it sounds worthwhile to you, why not give it a shot.

     The RA is the person in the dorm who is expected to help students adjust to college life. That includes a laundry list of duties including welcoming students to campus, (and maybe even helping them move in), running activities to foster a sense of community, monitoring dorm life and enforcing policy as needed, and acting as a resource to the students of the dorm. Is it a big job? Yes. Is most of it difficult? Not really.

     Hereís the kicker. Typical compensation includes full room and board. Thatís worth $7,000 a year or more. On top of that, many schools offer a cash stipend as well. While it usually not a lot of money, it makes for an impressive compensation package. If you read the Penn State description, you may have noted that a RA for PSU canít leave campus more than 5 weekends per semester. Trust me, if you want to leave campus more often than that, you probably picked the wrong college.

     As a key qualification is familiarity with campus life, RA jobs arenít offered to first year students. My suggestion is that you try to land one of these jobs in your sophomore year if you can. How will you do that? Well, you can consider your entire freshman year an interview. You should be academically successful, of course. Youíll also want to be very active and involved in dorm life. Even if you donít really want to attend every ice cream social, try to do it. Get involved, be a team player, and make sure your RA (and his or her boss) knows about it.

     At the very worst, this will help you to make a lot of friends your first year on campus. If all goes well, you may land the best job on campus. If you want to hear about more great job opportunities for college students, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter.  I try to include one good employment opportunity in each monthly newsletter.

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