Housing and residence life has announced its latest class of residential advisors.
The RA position is one of the most important and well-known positions in Residence Life. As one of the most competitive selection processes on campus for any leadership position, the question of what it really takes to be an RA is often raised.
Carl Krieger, assistant director of housing and residence life, explained the extensive selection process for RAs and how competitive it is.
“Three-hundred to four-hundred students send in the initial application and that number is cut down to 85 staff numbers along with a portion of students which will be held in reserve,” Krieger said.
The application process begins with required information sessions, which are held at the end of every fall semester and the beginning of the spring semester. Then, the applicants are required to fill out an application including several short answer essay questions, and if they make it to the next round, they undergo several rounds of individual and group interviews.
“In the group interview process, there will be six candidates in a room, and they go through different scenarios, which are typically teamwork scenarios presented to them by the Res Life staff. After we ask them to complete the scenarios, we observe them and see how they work as individuals and together as a group,” Krieger said.
Rachel Stein, a freshman biology and biochemistry major, just went through the selection process.
“As most applicants would agree, it is a very thorough process,” she said. “However, if you are selected, you receive numerous benefits and opportunities, as well as the chance to change residential life for the better — which is why I applied for the position.”
As Krieger explained, the residence life staff has certain criteria and qualities that they look for in the candidates including motivation, civility, self-understanding, integrity, community building, ability to work with others, a positive attitude, communication, writing skills, related experiences, good decision making, and the most important quality, interpersonal relationships.
“Primarily what we are looking for is someone who shows the ability or internal drive to get to know others; someone who, without being prompted, will go out, get to know everyone on their hall and build a close relationship with them,” he said.
Anthony Malizia, a junior finance major has been an RA for two years, and helped with the selection process.
“You are either selected to conduct the individual interviews, group interviews or some other type of selection process where you evaluate candidates,” Malizia said. “It is a very long process, but you want to make sure you select the right people at the right time.”
Despite the benefits of being an RA, the position comes with a great deal of responsibility and time commitment, according to Malizia.
“Residential Advisors do much more than just stop students from drinking,” he said. “They try to develop relationships with the students on their hall, help students to get to know their hall mates, and help them to feel comfortable in their hall and at Virginia Tech.”
Krieger explained that the application process has been very consistent with the format over the past few years, but has become more competitive, especially with the introduction of the specific traits and individual characteristics required to get the position.
“There are so many leaders at Virginia Tech who apply, and we get amazing candidates every year, and although many students do not get the position, they should be proud of themselves for making it through the process, because they are competing with the best and brightest leaders on Virginia Tech’s campus,” he said.