At the beginning of every Hokie’s four year journey, students have a common neighbor at the end of their hall.
Resident Advisors, or RAs, can play a major role in the course of young students’ experience at Tech. Last weekend, students had the chance to become the bookend of next year’s freshmen’s hallway and lives at Tech.
Since September, students could see advertisements urging RA applications anywhere from McComas to McBryde. With 600 students attending each of the two information sessions, it was clear the flyers did not go unnoticed.
Students who will be either abroad or involved in co-op programs during the following spring have a chance to interview in the smaller fall session prior to the larger applicant pool. Upperclassmen are given the same chance for an early interview during this time as well.
After these fall interviews are completed, the office for Residential Life opens its mailbox to what amounted to over 400 applications for this year. Each application is reviewed, scored and either granted or denied an opportunity to continue the process.
Carl Krieger, the assistant director for Housing and Residence Life, described the process as well-developed and successful during his span of three years in the position. Krieger expressed little need for change and explained what few alternations to the process had come about since his employment.
“In years past, you could apply to be an RA anywhere you wanted, such as a residential college," said Krieger. "You now have to have lived in that residential college to be RA there”.
Of the original 400 received applications, 200 are given the chance to partake in the individual interviews. From January 15 to 16, all 200 potential RAs are interviewed by two staff members: one professional staff member and one current RA. They question, and ultimately judge, the applicants capacity to act as a responsible employee of the university.
Finally, a little more than 90 students are left for the 70 available positions. Students that have passed all previous screenings then participate in group interviews of eight to nine of their peers. This year’s students were asked to analyze several common hall scenarios and together form a “This I believe” statement regarding higher education.
The finalists are judged on a wide array of qualities, from motivation and civility, to self-understanding and decision making, all the way to communication and writing skills. Current RAs then observe and score the applicants.
Edi Ekasi-Otu, a current RA and obersever in the group interviews, knows the anxiety going through the extensive screening.
“It was a relief being on the other side of the process; I remember being really nervous going through (my interview),” Ekasi-Otu said. “You just have to be yourself, that’s the best advice, you have to act natural, showcase what you to offer, and show that you’re enthusiastic about the position”.
On the other hand, Jocelyn Rathbone — a freshman biology major, who recently partook in the group interview screening — was excited about the chance to interact with others in a profesional environment.
"The group interview was very graitfying for me. I had never interviewed like that and it was interesting to see what a great atmosphere the small group of students in the room could create".
Candidates are now waiting to hear the final decision, which should be released sometime in late February.