Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Becoming An RA At The Culinary Institute of America

Becoming an RA
I recently was offered the position to become a residential assistant here at The Culinary Institute of America. When I first pulled up to the CIA in February, I was welcomed by the residential staff here at school and the welcome team to help me as a new student. At that moment I knew that I wanted to be in an RA position sometime while I was a student here at the CIA. Becoming an RA has four steps a student must go through before completing the process and being introduced as an RA. I have learned more about myself and others while going through the process of becoming a residential assistant and I am truly grateful for the memories and experiences the school has offered me.

Step 1... RA Interest Meetings 

The first step in becoming an RA here at The Culinary Institute of America is to attend an RA interest meeting. At the meeting the potential candidates go around to different stations in the room and each current RA talks about something different about the job.
  • RA Duty 
  • Programming
  • Acting like a role model 
  • Time Management 
RA duty is when an RA sits in the residential hall office from 8pm - 12am in case a resident needs toilet paper, paper towels, or has an emergency. As an RA, you have duty nights three times every three weeks in your resident hall.

At The Culinary Institute of America there are many programs throughout the week that RAs put on for the students across campus. Some programs include "Cinnamon Rolls in Cinnamon Lodge," "Milk & Cookies at The Lodges," or "Pickling In Pick." These programs are great for students to meet new people and learn something new about food or life in general.

Being a resident assistant here at the CIA the residents look up to you as a role model. During the process the residential life staff refers to RAs as being in a "fish bowl"; as in all people are watching you all the time.

Time Management is a big part of the industry and an on campus job like being an RA. School work comes first, but the RA job comes second and it is your job to balance between the two.

Door Decs
Step 2... Formal Interview

The next step to becoming an RA here at The Culinary Institute of America is to sign up for a formal interview with the residential life staff. Remember that this interview is formal and you should dress in business causal. The interviewers are made up of one pro staff member (Residential Life staff) and three current RAs who ask a series of questions that would happen to you as an RA and how you would react to them. Do not be scared, just be yourself because that's the person the team wants to hire.

The interview is about thirty minutes long and just gives you the opportunity to become more familiar with the Pro staff and possibly your future peers. The interview process really separates the RAs who think they want the job from the RAs who really wanna learn something new and help people. Helping people is what our job is all about and becoming an RA is a great reward because you get to create so many friendships and memories.

Step 3... RA Social 

This was my favorite part of the whole RA process. The RA social is by invitation only, after the interview stage the pro staff meets and narrows the candidate pool down to who best fits the job description. This fun night is all about getting to know all the current RAs on campus. All the newbies sit down in Nutmeg Lodge to have a game night and just relax after the interview stage.

There are six different stations set up all around the common area and each station is a different game with current RAs teaching you how to play. We played Catchphrase, Pictionary, and even a game where you throw pigs. I loved hanging out with all the diverse people on campus who are now my new co-workers.



Step 4... RD Social 

The last mandatory step in the process is to have one on one time with each resident director. A residential director is in charge of their building, they are your boss for whatever building you work in. This is your last chance to sell yourself to the pro staff of why you should become an RA. Each RD meets with a candidate and asks them questions and asks if you have any questions for them about any subject about the RA job. This is a great time to ask any last minute questions and to show that you are going to be dedicated to this job and help better The Culinary Institute of America's residential life for our students.

Director of Residents: JJ Manley Helping New Students Move In

Optional Steps of The RA Process 


  • Welcome Team 
Becoming part of the Welcome Team here at The Culinary Institute of America is a great way to see what residential life is all about and how we run things here. The Welcome Team is in charge of making new students feel right at home as soon as they get out of their cars. Volunteers on the Welcome Team help carry new students belongings up to their new room for a smoother start to school. I personally loved working on Welcome Team, I made so many new friends and shared a lot of laughs with people. It is a great way to start if you are thinking about becoming an RA on campus.
Move In Day 
  • Individual Meeting With Pro Staff 
Meeting individually with the pro staff is a great way to talk privately and ask any questions you might not be comfortably asking in front of a group of people. I personally took the opportunity to meet with the pro staff because I knew they were the ones who where going to hire me and I wanted to get my name and face recognized as much as possible.


Becoming an RA is rewarding and pushes you to new heights as a person, a leader, and a role model. I am excited to have become an RA at The Lodges and to meet all my new residents. As an RA and a member of the Residential Life staff many doors will open just because you took the initiative to become a leader at The Culinary Institute of America

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