How To Answer "Why Do You Want To Be an RA?" (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published December 14, 2021

Resident assistants, commonly referred to as "RAs," are typically students at colleges and universities who monitor a dorm or other type of student housing. To get a job as an RA, you usually undergo a formal interview so school staff can determine whether you're a good fit for the role. Interviewers often ask, "Why do you want to be an RA?" at these types of interviews, and knowing how to answer this question can increase your chances of getting the job and the dorm of your choice.

In this article, we explain why employers ask why you want to be an RA and how to answer this question with sample answers.

Related: Learn About Being a Resident Assistant

Why do employers ask "Why do you want to be an RA?"

Employers may ask this interview question to determine your reasoning behind wanting to become an RA. Often, interviewers ask this question to see if you're interested in an RA position for social purposes to make new friends, to gain experience relating to a future job or for other related personal and professional reasons. They also may ask this question to determine what you'd do in an RA role, what skills you'd use to succeed in the position and what your character traits are as they pertain to leadership.

Any information you give when answering this interview question provides the hiring manager with insight into who you are both professionally and personally. Hiring managers may ask variations of this interview question even though they desire to hear the same type of answer. These variations may include:

  • What makes you want to be an RA?

  • When did you decide you wanted to become an RA?

  • What does an RA mean to you?

  • What about an RA job appeals to you?

Related: How To Ace Your Next Interview: Tips and Examples

How to answer "Why do you want to be an RA?"

You can follow these steps to answer this interview question effectively:

1. Reflect on why you're attracted to the job

To answer this standard interview question, you can first consider what about the job appeals to you most. For instance, if you're interested in the social aspect of the role, you can describe how this component of the job stands out to you and how you're attracted to the potential of making new friends and forming new relationships with fellow students. This information can help interviewers gauge your main reasoning for applying for the RA position.

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2. Determine which skills and traits you'd bring

After you've determined why exactly you'd like to become an RA, you can establish the specific traits, skills and characteristics you would bring to the residence hall if you were an RA. Typically, RAs have a variety of different hard and soft skills that allow them to succeed in their work, such as interpersonal skills, management skills, leadership skills and sensitivity skills. Describing your skill set and traits can help interviewers understand if your skills align with the skills needed to be a successful RA.

Related: Top 20 Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

3. Use the STAR method

To formulate an answer, describe your experience or skills using the STAR method. STAR is an acronym that means "situation, task, action and result." Using this method allows you to create a response that showcases how you used your qualifications to solve a problem or achieve a specific outcome. This can help you impress an interviewer with tangible examples.

"Why do you want to be an RA?" answer examples

Viewing examples of answers to this interview question can be helpful when the time comes to craft your own. Here are four examples of answers to this interview question:

Example 1

"I hope to become an RA for Smith and Brown House to gain experience in the hospitality field. While I'm just a freshman here, I'm interested in declaring a major in hospitality soon, and I think that as an RA, I could get some solid experience in work relating to hospitality and housing to reaffirm the major I'm choosing to pursue. I'm currently taking sophomore-level hospitality courses and have learned a lot about the field, and I think I'd really make a great first-time RA if given the chance."

Example 2

"I'm interested in being an RA at Wildwood Hall because I had the most wonderful RA my freshman year of college and I want to serve this school the same way he did. During my first year of school, I was homesick, but every time I had a conversation with my former RA, Rodrick, I felt motivated. He was such a positive influence on me during what was a challenging part of my college experience, and he really inspired me to make an impact like he did. That's what I want to be an RA this school semester."

Example 3

"I want to be an RA at this dorm for a lot of reasons, but primarily because of the social aspect. I love getting to know fellow students, making friends and forming connections. As a hospitality major, I get to combine my passion for hospitality and my desire to engage with others. I think being an RA this year would allow me to use my passions and skills in a professional setting. I believe I can use my love for mingling and community to become the best RA I can."

Example 4

"I'd like to be an RA because I believe I can best serve the school that I love through this role. I'm skilled at leadership, management and forming connections, as shown through my manager position at the school library. I've lived in Rachel Hall all three years of college, and I want to use these skills for the good of this college and the dorm that I've spent so much time in."

Related: 14 Career Advice Tips for College Students

Tips for answering "Why do you want to be an RA?"

Here are some additional tips for answering this interview question:

  • Be honest: Being your most authentic self while answering this interview question can help interviewers determine who you really are and if you'd fit in well as an RA at the dorm of your choice.

  • Keep it brief: When answering this interview question, consider keeping it as concise as possible so hiring managers can quickly and easily establish if you're right for the role.

  • Give examples: Providing interviewers with examples of how you've used traits you claim to have can help illustrate your ability.

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