Many freshmen don’t realize that one of the biggest money saving opportunities is in the department of residence life, aka: ResLife.  That’s right, the dorms.  On the first day of college, checking into your room, that upperclassman greeting you at the door is a resident assistant.  She is someone who’ll help you get settled and guide you through the dreaded roommate conflict.  But college freshmen should know that while working for residence life may get a bad rep from a student’s point of view, in reality the job is one of the best you can have on campus.

RAs or Resident Assistants Save Thousands of Dollars Every Year

Part-counselor, part-activities coordinator, RAs all have one thing in common.  Whether they are at Nyack College or some big university in upstate New York, they are all getting their room fees waived and some even get a paycheck on top of that.  If a student works in the dorms for three years straight through to graduation, she could save over $25,000 in extra loans.  In some schools, the ResLife Department needs other assistants to work an office and deliver student mail.  Inquire about the different opportunities.  The time commitment is nothing compared to the savings.

RAs Have a Ton of Friends

One misnomer about resident assistants is that they are loners, too ackward to make friends so they get the job to lord over the cool kids in the dorms.  Not so.  Most schools carefully select the best candidates to have a good balance of social skills and mature perspective.  While some RAs have to break up campus parties, most of the time they are socializing with residents and planning fun activities on campus.  Since all the RAs know each other, most have friends all over the college as well.

Then, There are the Perks

Arguably the greatest aspects of working for ResLife are the perks.  Money aside, these jobs allow you additional privileges on campus.  You can move in before other students on campus.  Often you can select which room you’d like to live in.  With seniority, you can choose which dorm you’d like to work in.  But the true value of this work lies with the contacts that you make.  As a representative to the school, you will naturally be working with the professional staff, the “adults”.  These directors and managers are a great support when you need help around the college.  After graduation, they make excellent references as well.  If you are a ResLife veteran, prospective employers will recognize the level of maturity and responsibility necessary to do this job.  You’ll be miles ahead of the competition.  Additionally, undergrad experience sets you up for a free ride in graduate school.  Resident directors get free housing, full tuition and a paycheck too.

So when you meet your RA for the first time, shake her hand and listen up to anything she’s got to say.  These student workers are smart, going after the best job on campus that offers great financial aid and sets them up for future savings as well.



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