Interested in becoming a Resident Assistant at NYU? Here are five tips to help you get there!

What is a Resident Assistant?

Before we delve into how to become a Resident Assistant (RA), let’s talk about who RA’s are and what we do!

At NYU, we refer to “dorms” as “residential halls.” We emphasize that these halls are more than just places to sleep; they are vibrant communities where people can participate in various activities and connect. RA’s at NYU play a pivotal role in this, as they plan and execute events, and assist students in their transition to college, all while making the hall feel like home.

I currently serve as an RA at Third North, the largest residential hall on campus. We welcome over 950 residents every year with 29 RA’s on our team. Additionally, we have our Building Leadership Team (BLT- yes, like the sandwich) who help oversee our day-to-day operations.

Kayaking on the Hudson River
Taking residents to go kayaking on the Hudson River!
Kayaking on the Hudson River
Meeting new friends!
Floral event in Third North
Floral event in Third North
Floral event
Me and the lovely RA's that collaborated for this event
St. Marks Yoga Wellness event!
St. Marks Yoga Wellness event!
Taking residents to yoga!
Learning to connect our minds and bodies to de-stress!
Taking residents to Brooklyn Botanic Garden to see the Fall foliage!
Residents reconnecting with nature at the Brooklyn Botanic
Such a big group, so much fun!
Such a big group, so much fun!

My Top 5 Tips!

Applying to be an RA can feel incredibly scary. It is the most competitive on-campus position because of its benefits- free housing and a meal plan. However, there are ways to differentiate yourself from the rest of the applicant pool. Without further ado, here are my top 5 tips to become a Resident Assistant at NYU!

1. Figure out your WHY

Why do you want to become an RA beyond the free housing and meal plan?

For me, it was the desire to have a meaningful impact on someone’s college journey. Being an RA grants you the ability to ensure that residents are transitioning into college smoothly and to connect them to other micro-communities on campus where they can find belonging. I also aimed to implement programs that focused on wellness and relaxation through nature and spirituality.


2. Talk to Current RA's

A great way to gain insights into the RA’s role is by directly consulting a current RA.

Living on-campus enables you to directly ask your RA about their experience in the role. This is a conversation to inquire about the time commitment, growth opportunities, and other expectations. Then, you can more effectively assess if it aligns with what you are looking for.


3. Get Involved at NYU

Certainly, having a thorough understanding of NYU and leadership experience is advantageous when applying.

Given that the RA role is available only to third and fourth-year students, it grants you the first two years to prepare and gain experience. I encourage prospective applicants to get involved with anything! Seek out job opportunities, participate in service trips, and explore various micro-communities.

When I applied, I already gained experience by being an Admissions Ambassador, Wasserman Career Ambassador, and service cohort leader. Then, I strung all of my previous experiences together to create a narrative that highlighted my ability to connect people to communities and bridge interpersonal relations.


4. Get Involved in Housing and Residential Life

Apply to be part of your Residential Hall student government if you are in on-campus housing! Student government is a great way to get involved within the residential hall even before becoming an RA. Further, you will learn the ropes of what it’s like to implement programming that fit the needs of residents.

Being part of the general body for Hall Council can also get you insight as to how you are able to contribute to different residential halls.


5. Community Builder

What type of community builder are you?

RA’s have many roles: from mediating roommate conflicts to designing programming and strengthening interpersonal connections. Undoubtedly, successful RA’s are able to bring in their community building skills to ensure that each resident is getting the attention they need to succeed academically, socially and personally.

Some RA’s use their artistic creativity to put together bulletin boards that engage residents. Other excel at being creative in their event planning to attract a variety of residents.


Some RA's and I are getting FREE ice cream
Some RA's and I are getting FREE ice cream
Residents at hall snacks event every week!
Residents at hall snacks event every week!

Keep in mind, there is no cookie-cutter way to become an RA. If you are interested in learning more, here is an article by Michelle about becoming a Resident Assistant.

Good luck on your journey!

Sabrina Hsu (she/her) is a Junior from Taipei, Taiwan studying Education Studies specializing in Entrepreneurship with a minor in Public Policy and Management. She is interested in the realm of higher education and college access. Besides its school color being purple, NYU’s diverse student passions are what primarily drove her to ED1 to NYU. Outside of the Admissions Ambassador program, she is a Resident Assistant (RA), Wasserman Career Ambassador, Give Where You Live service cohort leader, and the Founder and President of Women Founders at NYU. In her downtime, you can find her feeding her turtles, playing Hay Day, or binge-watching anything by Shonda Rhimes.