RA/AIR Application FAQs

RAIR Selection Poster #1

What are the differences between the RA and AIR positions?

RA is an acronym for Resident Advisor.  Resident Advisors live in the residence halls and build a safe, inclusive community while serving as a resource to residents.  RAs build relationships with their residents and conduct small floor programs.  RAs also serve in an “on-call” rotation, meaning that they will walk their respective communities after business hours to engage with residents and ensure that the community is safe.

AIR is an acronym for Advocate for Inclusion in Residence.  AIRs also live in the residence halls and are tasked with building a safe, inclusive community and serving as a resource.  AIRs serve as a resource to all residents generally and to students who have marginalized social identities specifically.  They also work to educate their residential community on issues of inclusion, social identity, and social justice.  This happens both on large and small scales and in collaboration with others. AIRs also serve as a resource to RAs on issues of inclusion and climate.  AIRs do not serve in the “on-call” rotation, but spend time collaborating with other partners across campus such as OISS and ISE.

Both positions average 10-12 hours a week.

Can I be an Orientation Leader (OL), POSE Leader, or RISD Muscles while an RA or AIR?

No, you cannot hold any of these positions while simultaneously being an RA or AIR.  While we certainly encourage students to consider other leadership opportunities on campus, OLs, POSE Leaders, and RISD Muscles have requirements at the beginning of the year that conflict with the RA and AIR training schedule.  If you are not offered an RA or AIR position, we highly encourage you to check out each of these great leadership opportunities.

How do I apply to be a Pre-College RA for Summer 2020?

Thank you for your interest in becoming a pre-college/summer RA for next summer.  At this time, we are accepting applications for the 2020-2021 academic year staff only.  The summer process will begin soon after the 2020-2021 process concludes in late February.

What are you looking for in the RA and AIR positions? Do I have to be an extrovert?

No, you do not have to be an extrovert to be an RA or an AIR!  We hire RAs and AIRs with a broad range of different skills, abilities, identities, and interests to create a well-balanced staff  team who can best connect with our residents.  So if you identify as an introvert or ambivert and are interested in either or both positions, we encourage you to apply!

More specifically, the Office of Residence Life is looking for RA and AIR candidates who possess a commitment to social justice, who are eager to build genuine relationships, who want to build their leadership skills, and have a strong desire to make a positive impact in the RISD community.

Can I have other jobs on/off campus in addition to the RA or AIR position?

Yes.  It is required, however, that all on and off campus jobs as well as extracurricular involvement cannot total more than 10 hours per week and that you speak to your supervisor about these commitments.  Also, please note that it is expected that the RA or AIR position is your first non-academic priority on your schedule over other employment and involvement opportunities.

What if I want to study abroad while I am an RA or AIR?

After one academic year on staff, as either an RA or AIR, you can work with your supervisor to further explore what options exist for remaining on staff and studying abroad.  We realize that study abroad is an important and impactful experience that some students desire to have and we will try our best to work with you throughout this experience.  We ask that you are transparent in your communication with your supervisor.  Please note that for Wintersession Away courses or internships, that these are approved based on the number of staff interested in participating.

Can I become an RA or an AIR for one semester?

No.  Both the RA and AIR positions are on a one year appointment.  If you are concerned about study abroad or Wintersession Away programs, please refer to question above.

Can I have a partner live with me?

The vast majority of our RA & AIR spaces are single occupancy.  We do have some double spaces in our apartments.  In this case a partner would be able to live with you and they would be responsible for the cost of the space.    

Can I select my roommates?

Yes, depending upon community placement.  If you are placed in a community that requires you to live with other students you will receive instructions on how you can select your roommates.

I am a commuter student, can I become an RA or AIR if I do not live on campus?

Yes!  It is not a prerequisite that RAs or AIRs have lived in residence.  We are looking for candidates who value residential community and are able to speak to its importance at RISD.

If I need a housing accommodation, how should I let you know throughout the process?

Students who are selected to be an RA/AIR who are in need of specific housing (e.g. need a kitchen for allergies, etc.), should request a housing accommodation online.  Housing accommodations requests for 2019-2020 are due by Saturday, February 15th.  To be considered for an RA/AIR placement accommodation you must have an approved housing accommodation for the 2020-2021 year.

If you have an approved accommodation from 2019-2020, you will need to resubmit a request for 2020-2021 by February 15. We highly recommend that all housing accommodation requests be submitted as soon as possible. If you have any questions regarding housing accommodations and the RA/AIR role placements, please contact Daniel Murphy, Associate Director for Residential Education.

How will being an RA or AIR impact my financial aid?

We highly encourage all students offered an RA or AIR position to connect with Student Financial Services to learn more about how being an RA or AIR may impact their financial aid. RAs and AIRs receive free housing and a meal plan as compensation – this is shown on your bill as a credit and thus may have an impact on financial aid. 

If I do not get my top choice of community, can I be put on a waitlist?

No.  The Residence Life professional staff team places RAs and AIRs based on where their strengths would enhance the community.  During the interview process, you will be asked for your preference and your rationale.  Please note that indicating preference does not guarantee your placement.  You will receive one offer from Residence Life for either an RA or AIR position with a specific community assignment attached.  If you do not get your top choice of community and decline the community assignment, you thereby decline the position and remove yourself from the process.  

Can I apply for both the RA position and the AIR position?

Yes.  On the application you have the option to apply for both positions.  There are parts of that are separate and parts that overlap.  You will receive communication about this throughout the process.  You can only hold one position at a time (You cannot be an RA and AIR concurrently).|

How long should my answers be for the application questions?

Great question!  Your answers should be long enough to convey your thoughts, use examples, and answer all parts of the question.  While conveying deep thinking and reflection your answers should also be concise enough for us to follow your logic and understanding.

What if my application is late?

The deadline for the 2020-2021 RA/AIR Application is Sunday,  January 12th at 11:55 PM.  Any submissions received after that date and time will not be considered.

When will I be notified about my application status and offered an interview?

We will communicate with all applicants by Friday, January 17th, 2020 about their status in the selection process.  

Can I still interview if I plan on studying abroad during winter session?

Yes, it is possible to take part in the selection process while away from campus.  However, you must notify us as soon as possible so we can set up an alternative process while you are away. Most times we either schedule an interview before you leave and/or conduct a Skype interview. Please contact the Residence Life Office at housing@risd.edu if this applies to you.  Note that not being able to take part in the group process in mid February could hinder your application.

What is the dress code or attire for the interviews and group process?

There is no set dress code or attire required for interviews and group process.  Throughout the process we want you to be your authentic self and feel comfortable.  We care more about getting to know you and you getting to know us than we do about what you are wearing.

What can I expect in the interviews and group process?

The first round of interviews is an individual interview.  This interview is a chance for us to get to know you on a one on one basis.  This is also a chance for you to ask us some questions as well!  The second round of interviews are group sessions facilitated by our Residence Life Staff.  The purpose of this session is for you to not only learn more about yourself and our office, but to interact with other candidates (who could be your future colleagues!), current student staff, and Residence Life professional staff through group activities and also  a final interview with Residence Life Staff and a returning RA or AIR.  We tend to ask mostly Behavior Based Interview Questions.  If this is the first time you have been asked these questions, never fear!  Please click on the following link to see sample questions and learn more about how you can better prepare:  https://www.thebalance.com/behavioral-job-interview-questions-2059620

I did not get an RA or AIR position, can I get feedback on my application or interviews?

Absolutely!  We love providing applicants with feedback on how they can grow and improve.  We ask, however, that you be patient with us as we will be unable to provide you with thorough feedback until after the RA/AIR Selection process has concluded in late February.


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