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Resident Advisor Application

This is a sample application for the position of Resident Advisor, or RA. It consists of answers to questions typically asked on RA applications. To see free sample essays, please use the search bar above. The following answers have been edited.

Question: What is your motivation for applying for this position?

Answer: I am motivated to apply for this position because I want to gain experience in leadership, and to develop my skills in working with people.

Question: What are two important topics you believe residents should be educated about in on-campus housing? Why do you think each topic is important? What are some creative ways to educate residents about these topics?

Answer: I believe that residents should be educated about the dangers of alcohol consumption, and the importance of respecting diversity. I often hear students using homophobic and racist comments as direct insults or in general conversation, and I feel that such language, which can be very hurtful, stems not just from hate but from ignorance. I think that letting the students know that there is no tolerance for any disrespectful actions or words would be an effective way of preventing hate speech. Concerning alcohol consumption, I think that the students should take a survey at the beginning of the year. The survey would include such questions as “Did you know that 60% of CP students have up to 4 drinks a week?” and “Did you know that you may lose your housing license on your first alcohol- or drug-related offense?” Giving students information in the form of question they have to answer would help ensure that the students read the information and think about it.

Question: Please identify two of your personal qualities that you feel will help you to succeed in the Resident/Community Advisor position.

Answer: I believe I have a good ability to relate to people, and to always fulfill my duties. My ability to relate to people will help me get through to the students, and let them know what they need to know, without alienating them. I would want them to think of me as a friend first, and authority figure second. I would hope in that we can quickly learn to understand and respect each other. My determination to always accomplish my duty is based on the kind of strong sense of responsibility that no Resident Advisor should be without.

Question: Please identify two skill areas you think you will need to improve upon in order to help you succeed in the Resident/Community Advisor position.

Answer: I think that I will need to improve my public speaking skills and my emergency situation skills. While I relate very well to others in personal encounters, I have always had a fear of getting up and speaking in front of large groups and I know that this position will help me face my fear and overcome it. I would also like to improve my readiness for the responsibility of being an RA by getting trained in CPR and First Aid.

Question: Do you think it is important for a Resident/Community Advisor to be aware of multicultural issues and be open to working with people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs? Please explain your answer.

Answer: I think it goes without saying that the answer to this question must be "yes." Cal Poly is a big school if we don't have tolerance for diversity, we are lost. Some people take their cultural identities very seriously; some treat others from different backgrounds with indifference or even contempt. This makes altercations possible. It makes it possible for the living situation of some students to be uncomfortable. A Resident Advisor has to able to manage that by helping to create a living environment where everyone is free to be themselves without infringing on the rights and freedoms of others, including the right to be free from harassment and hate. An RA therefore has to preach tolerance, but RA himself or herself has to be more than merely tolerant of diversity, and more than merely open to working with others. I love meeting people from different backgrounds because I learn most from people who are different from myself. I aim to respect others, not "tolerate" them. This is the going to be the student’s new home, and they should always be treated with respect in their place of living.

Question: As a Resident/Community Advisor, what steps would you take in your living community to support students and to educate them about various race or cultural backgrounds, sexual orientation, disabilities, or religious beliefs?

Answer: Personally, I believe there is no need to educate students explicitly about everyone’s specific differences. An RA doesn't need to lecture students about what Christians believe or what Muslims believe or what Atheists believe. The RA needs to point out that everyone is a person first of all, and that regardless of race, cultural background, sexual orientation, disabilities or religious beliefs, everyone should be treated first as a person, and so with the same amount of respect as everyone other person. I would want to encourage students to feel free to express their personal beliefs but only insofar as they can do so without disrespecting the beliefs of others. Mostly, however, I would want to set an example for others by respecting every student.

Question: Describe any past or present leadership roles that you have had and how those experiences might help you in the Resident/community Advisor position.

Answer: Over the summer before I my first year here at Cal Poly, I was the manager of a small gym near my home. I was responsible for a lot of work around the Gym, such as equipment installation, custodial work, setting up the stereo, the computer, the fax machine, and telephone equipment, and other miscellaneous tasks. Essentially, I was running a business practically alone. But I also had to work with other people and meet all kinds of customers from different backgrounds. I had to answer their questions and attend to their needs. I learned a lot about relating to people in a way that was respectful and attentive to their needs.

Question: Please list all outside obligations you anticipate that might limit the amount of time that you would have for the Resident/Community Advisor position (include research, field work, student teaching, athletics, lab classes, youth groups, etc.).

Answer: I have a job working at the University Union for 15 hours a week, but I will resign from that position if I am chosen to be an RA. I am studying Construction Management, so I expect to have a few rather long lab classes over the course of the next year. I work hard at school, but I am ready to commit to taking the time necessary do meet the responsibility of being an RA.

Question. How would you balance the roles of providing support to residents in your community while still enforcing University and Housing policies?

Answer: I would make it known that I am someone to whom students can always talk and who will be there for students, although I would set very clear and strict boundaries. I would also make sure that I was viewed as a friend, but not someone who can be taken advantage of.

Submitted by: Tom

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