By Jessica Dillon
News Assignment Editor
With resident assistant selections just around the corner, resumes and applications from hopeful students have been pouring into RC 206.
Submitting a resume and online application through Qualtrics due to RC 206 by 3 p.m. today, marks the completion of the first step in the three-tiered application process.
The second step, an individual interview, and third, a group workshop which will take place later in the month, said Nichole Gonzalez, executive director of residential living and chief judicial officer.
Jasmine Foster, residence director for Shay/Loughlen Halls and Garden Apartments, shed light on the inner workings of the mandatory group workshop.
“All applicants who are interested in the position come to group workshop, which is on a Saturday for about two hours,” Foster said. “You get put through different group activities to see how you interact with others and how you would be able to handle certain situations that might arise when being an RA.”
Joseph Giglio, a sophomore history major and resident assistant in Robinson Hall, said he found group workshop to be the most difficult part of the process.
“As more of a quiet and reserved person, feeling like I needed to make myself stand out among all of the other applicants was nerve-wracking,” Giglio said. “It was more of a mental thing than anything else.”
Both Giglio and Foster said the other aspects of applying, like the individual interview, followed a relatively standard format.
“It can be any one of the RDs or Nichole [Gonzalez] in that interview, but we ask pretty much a series of questions like your typical individual interview,” Foster said.
Applicants’ strengths and weaknesses during each step of the process, as well as the make-up of the group as a whole, are considered when making final decisions.
“How this works is, we have a set criteria,” Gonzalez said. “There’s eight core competencies that we use to hire, train and evaluate RAs. So, at some point throughout the process, whether it be in their individual interview, whether it be in their resume or in the group process, we assess the areas based on those eight criteria and each of those parts of the process touches on different things.”
Gonzalez said decisions made focus on the whole picture, not just individuals.
“In the end of it, we get kind of a snapshot of what the whole group looks like,” Gonzalez said. “We look at our RAs that are seeking to return, and first we make decisions about which of our RAs are going to be returning, and then we start making decisions about which new RAs we’re going to bring in. Most years we do have people who don’t get hired right away that get hired during the summertime or something along those lines.”
With an average of 50 to 75 applicants each year and only 30 available positions, it’s impossible for each applicant to be selected.
“There are always times, which makes me feel badly, that we aren’t able to hire all the people that we think should be RAs just because we don’t have enough spaces or positions for them,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez hopes this does not discourage students from the process.
“If a student applies and doesn’t get hired initially, that doesn’t mean they won’t get hired ever,” Gonzalez said. “Some of the best experiences we’ve had have been with people who maybe don’t get hired that first year and then they apply again.”
Foster offered advice to applicants, suggesting they fully consider the level of commitment the position requires before continuing with the process. “Be yourself,” Foster said. “Be honest. Make sure you really want to do the job before you apply. It is a job, you know, it’s very time consuming. You have to be passionate about it to want to work 20 to 25 hours a week outside of your schoolwork.”
Foster also noted the responsibility that comes with being an RA.
“Realize how important being an RA is,” Foster said. “A lot of times our RAs are the first responders. They’re encountering tough situations before even the RD gets there or MERT gets there. You really have the opportunity not only to change lives but to save lives.”
Giglio offered words of encouragement to those who might feel their personalities are an obstacle that would prevent them from earning an RA position.
“The best I can do is say that even if you’re not an extrovert, don’t feel like you can’t apply,” Giglio said. “Res life isn’t lying when it says they want introverts as well as extroverts, but by that same token, you have to be willing, at least for the application process, to come out of your shell and make your presence known.”
Group workshop is scheduled for Feb. 18. Individual interviews will begin Feb. 20.