College Resident Advisor

Plan field trips for college freshmen and keep an eye on your dorm.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$17,000 – $39,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do College Resident Advisors do?

As a College Resident Advisor, you’re much more than just the dorm police. Yes, you’re responsible for enforcing policy, but that’s really just a small part of the equation. Rather, you’re part Counselor, part Social Director, part advertiser….

Forget most of the depictions you’ve seen in movies and television shows. You want to build relationships with the residents on the floor you oversee—not crush their spirits. You enhance their lives in many ways.

For example, you spend time planning activities, like movie nights, table tennis tournaments, and field trips to the zoo. You’re a constant resource for anything from study tips to relationship advice. You may even need to teach a few freshmen how to do laundry.

It also helps if you have an artsy-craftsy bone somewhere in your body—you’ll need to brighten up your floor with homemade decorations, make punchy and noticeable advertisements to go along with your party-planning endeavors, and frequently update your floor’s bulletin boards.

It isn’t all fun, though. You’re expected to be on duty a few times each week. As the on-duty College Resident Advisor, you monitor the dorm by walking through the floors.

The duty cell phone also makes it easy for residents to reach you no matter the level of emergency—anything from a simple lockout to a suicide attempt. Additionally, you’re responsible for addressing violations of your college’s drinking and drug policies.

It can be taxing, to be sure, but a job as a College Resident Advisor is full of great hands-on experience.

Should I be a College Resident Advisor?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.

  • Also known as: Cottage Parent, Shelter Case Manager, Student Development Coordinator, Unit Coordinator

    How to become a College Resident Advisor

    Most College Resident Advisors have a Master's degree or a Bachelor's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:ipa9pa&chl=no+college+%2827%25%29|certificate+%2812%25%29||bachelor%27s+%2849%25%29|master%27s+%2812%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,27,49
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