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FAQ for Student Staff Positions

Frequently Asked Questions About the Resident Assistant (RA) Position

GENERAL QUESTIONS

APPLICATIONS

COMPENSTATION AND ACCOMODATIONS

TIME COMMITMENT

RESPONSIBILITIES

TRAINING


GENERAL QUESTIONS

Q: “Will the RA position benefitial to me?”

A: There are two different sides to this question. If you are willing to work hard, learn about yourself and others on staff and challenge yourself with new experiences, then it is most certainly worth it. If you only want the RA job for the money and housing discount, then it may not be worth the time and emotional effort that you need to put forth. If you put 100% of yourself into this job it will benefit you in so many ways, some of which you will not recognize for years to come. Being an RA is not just a job, but a life experience. You will also gain a lot of experience in this position that is applicable to several fields of work after college. As well as gain skills in the following areas; community building, programming, event planning, leadership, time management, conflict resolution, and crisis management. (back to top)

Q: “Do I have to work on weekends?”

A: Yes. RA’s are required to work major weekends such as: move in, move out, check out times and other major events that go on (open house and accepted students day). This roles requires you to br in an on-call rotation which will be during the week and some weekends an/or holidays.  The building staff size impacts the frequency of you being on-call.  RA’s are also required to work 10 desk hours every pay period so there is a chance that you may have a couple of hours on the weekend depending how your staff works the schedule out. Just know that it is very easy to go away for a weekend even if you have weekend hours. Other RAs will step up and help a fellow RA. (back to top)

Q: “Can I have another job?”

A: Yes, however you will need to discuss the amount of hours you plan to work, with your direct supervisor once hired to determine if you will be able to manage both. Your direct supervisor will take into account: grades, time management skills, and of course how much time this other job will take up. Bottom line - the RA job will always come before another job. (back to top)

Q: “I currently live on campus and would like to live on campus again even if I do not get the RA position, should I apply for housing?” 

A: Yes. If we do not select you to be an RA and you wish to still live on campus next year you should apply for housing in the spring along with all the other students (information and instructions at cofc.edu/residencelife). If we hire you as an RA we will simply switch your housing deposit over to the room you will actually be living in. (back to top)

 APPLICATIONS

Q: "How do I apply?"

A: The link to the application can be found HERE (back to top)

Q: "How long will it take me to complete the application?"

A: The Residence Life Student Employment Application will vary in time depending on the information require for specific questions. There is no rush to complete the application, when reviewing we prefer that you have concise and well thought out answers. (back to top)

Q: “Can I apply to be a resident assistant in a specific hall?”

A: You can request to work in a specific hall on campus. During the application you will be able to rank the halls in order most preferred to least preferred. During the application review process we will do our best to take in consideration of your preferred assignment. Please keep in mind that it is a preference and we do reserve the right to place you where we feel that you will have the best chance of succeeding in your future endeavor as a resident assistant. (back to top)

Q: "What happens during the interview process?"

A: During the interview process you will be asked a series of question ranging from but not limited to (Experience based questions, competency based questions, behavioral based questions and opinion based questions).  After the series of questions is an opportunity for question and answering. In regard to anything that was not asked/answered in the interview portion. There may also be a group work process portion to examine your capabilities in a team dynamic.(back to top)

Q: "Do I need a resume?"

A: Yes, you will turn a resume in to your interviewer to complete your application. (back to top)

 COMPENSTATION AND ACCOMODATIONS

Q: "When do I get to move-in?"

A: RAs will move in to their fall assignments in early August, approximately 7-10 days before regular move in. (back to top)

Q: “Do I get my own room?”

A: Yes, although you will be required to share a bathroom and a kitchen (if applicable) with suitemates. You even have the option of requesting suitemates. ** Residence Life does reserve the right to assignment RAs a roommate if on-campus space is limited.**  RA spaces may be used for temporary housing assignments throughout the semester. (back to top)

Q: "What is the compensation for the RA position?"

A: RAs receive discounted housing rates.  The total discount depends on housing assigment and the ammenities available within that commuity. Additionally, the estimitated earned income for RAs, if they work the minimum required hours for the full length of the RA positon (early August through early May), is $5,000. If RAs work more desk hours than required, RAs can earn more. (back to top)

Q: “When will I get paid?”

A: If you turn in all your new hire paperwork on time then you will start to get paid during RA training. Paychecks go out on the 15th of the month and the last day of the month through direct deposit. RAs must turn in a timesheet through MyCharleston for every pay period. Failure to turn in your timesheet on time will result a delay in pay. (back to top)

Q: “How will I receive my housing discount?”

A: The housing discount is credited to your account. You will see the discounted amount on your bill. (back to top)

Q: “What is the pay scale like?”

A: Resident Assistants currently receive compensation in the form of a housing discount and $5,000 which includes Front Desk hours, meetings, and administrative work.  A timesheet is submitted bi-weekly for compensation (back to top)

Q: "Can I pick my roommates/suitemates?"

A: In most situations where Resident Assistants have roommates/suitemates, they will be given the opportunity to pick their roommate/suitemate. (back to top)

TIME COMMITTMENT

Q: “Do I have to stay in my building all the time?”

A: No, but you do have to spend an ample amount of time on your floor in order to build relationships with your residents and be able to address individual needs. The only time you are required to stay in the building is when you have an ‘on-call’ shift. On-call" shifts happen once every week or every two weeks depending on the size of the staff you work with and are from 8pm- 8am. (back to top)

Q: “Do I have to stay up all night while on call?”

A: No. You are required to be in your building from 8pm-8am and respond to any situation that the PSO (Public Safety Officer) calls you about. The calls can range from noise complaints, visitation violations, to helping a Hall Director deal with an emergency situation. RAs are required to be in a common area of the building and do rounds from 8pm to 11pm. RAs must follow the proper emergency procedure, regardless of what time the incident occurs, unless instructed otherwise by the Residence Hall Director on call. (back to top)

Q: “How often will I be on-call?”

A: The frequency of which a RA is on call depends on the size of the staff. There must be a RA on call in each building every night the residence halls are open. On average, RAs in bigger buildings are on call roughly once every two weeks while RAs in smaller buildings are on call roughly once a week. The size of the community also impacts the number of incidents RAs respond to. (back to top)

Q: "How many hours a week do RAs work?"

A: For each pay period, RAs are required to work 10 hours at their front desk. RAs must also complete additional requirements as outlined in the Community Development Model (CDM), weekly meetings, and, departmental initiatives, such as Fall Carnival. On average, RAs will spend 20-25 hours per pay period on this part of their job. Weeks at the beginning and end of the semester typically require more hours while weeks in the middle of the semester may need less hours to successfully meet requirements. 

Q: “Do I have to work on weekends?” (back to top)

A: Yes. RA’s are required to work major weekends such as: move in, move out, check out times and other major events that go on (open house and accepted students day). This roles requires you to br in an on-call rotation which will be during the week and some weekends an/or holidays.  The building staff size impacts the frequency of you being on-call.  RA’s are also required to work 10 desk hours every pay period so there is a chance that you may have a couple of hours on the weekend depending how your staff works the schedule out. Just know that it is very easy to go away for a weekend even if you have weekend hours. Other RAs will step up and help a fellow RA. (back to top)

Q: "What are the meeting requirements?"

A: Generally, RAs will have two meetings a week. The first meeting is a one-on-one supervison meeting with their Hall Director. The second meeting is a staff meeting with all of the RAs and the Hall Director in that community.  One on one meetings typically last a half hour. The weekly staff meeting typically lasts an hour to an hour and a half. (back to top)

Q: "Will I have to work during breaks?"

A: All residence halls are open for fall break, thanksgiving break, and spring break. As such, RAs will still need to work their regular desk hours and be on call during these breaks. RAs will also need to stay behind and help close their building prior to leaving for winter break and summer break.  There is still the opportunity for RAs to leave for a short period of time as long as they work with their staff to have coverage at the front desks and someone on-call. (back to top)

Q: "What is the minimum number of hours required for RAs to work the front desk?"

A: RAs are required to work a minimum of 10 desk hours per pay period. RAs have the option to work more than 10 hours per pay period for additional compensation. Typically, RAs in buildings with smaller staffs have an increased chance to pick up more than the required 10 hours per pay period if they so choose. RAs are not permitted to work more than 40 hours a week or more than 80 hours a pay period when factoring in all jobs ons campus. (back to top)

RESPONSIBILITIES

Q: “What does the statement mean, "RAs are essential personnel"?”

A: All Residence Life staff members, including RAs and DAs, are considered essential personnel. Being essential personnel means that RAs must work as scheduled until dismissed or released from their position even when the college is closed. This includes but is not limited to Thanksgiving break, Spring break, after the end of fall and spring semesters and hurricane evacuation and other storm days. (back to top)

Q: "If the school evacuates for an emergency, do I have a role in that?"

A: Yes – this will vary depending on the decision from the leadership team to determine specific roles for the Resident Assistant. RAs will be the last students to leave campus but will be permitted to leave with plenty of time to get to a safe location. (back to top)

Q: "What are the responsibilities as a Resident Assistant?"

A: You can find the responsibilities as a Resident Assistant are here Position Description or More Information (back to top)

Q: "What do you do at the desk?"

A: The front desk at each building serves a variety of purposes. It is an information and service desk to assist all residents and guests who enter our halls. While working the desk you will answer questions, sign guests in an out of the building, greet residents, help refer and answer questions. (back to top)

TRAINING

Q: “When and how long is RA training?”

A: RA training in August is usually takes place 7-10 days before students move onto campus. The is monthly training designated at the beginning of the year. In January, there is brief training renewal a few days before classes resume. (back to top)

Q: “Will there be training compensation?”

A:Yes, compensation for training is included in your estimated earned income. (back to top)

Q: “Do returning RAs have to attend all of training?”

A: Yes, all staff members including returning staff members are required to attend all of training. There are several sessions that will be broken out into new/returning groups.  Many sessions are required annually. (back to top)

Q: “What is the time commitment for RA Training?”

A: RAs are required to attend ALL training sessions.  RAs can anticipate training to be all day long as it is a variety of formally sessions, staff meetings and building preparations. RAs should anticipate being busy from the day they move in through the beginning of fall classes (back to top)

Q: “How frequently do I have to participate in ongoing training?”

A: Residence Life reserves the 2nd Sunday of every month for continued staff development. (back to top)