Be A Great RA & Help Pay For College: 75 Top Resources


Being an RA can also yield valuable career experience and can even lead to being hired in the residence life office at the college or university after graduation. While this may not be the path that all RAs choose, gaining leadership experience and showing that you’re able to balance a demanding job with a full course load looks great on any resume. These resources can help you out in many stressful or challenging situations:

Doug Brown

Student Housing Podcast Featuring Doug Brown of COCM

Learn more about student housing and life on campus with this episode of the YesCollege Podcast. Scott was joined by Doug Brown, CEO of Capstone On-Campus Management, or COCM. COCM provides student housing management and consulting services for non-profit owners (universities) – the majority of which are located directly on campuses. Click here to view this episode’s show notes.

What You’ll Learn in This Episode:

  • Why on campus housing is so important for engaging students.
  • What students should look for when trying to find the right “fit” in student housing.
  • Which unique student on-campus activities Doug feels have been among the best he’s seen.
  • Why any student interested in a leadership role should consider becoming an RA.


Becoming an RA isn’t for everyone, but for anyone with the disposition, the financial and social benefits make it a worthwhile consideration. Being a resident assistant or resident adviser for one or more years of college is a great way to decrease your college expenses overall. There are many reasons why becoming an RA is a great decision, but some of the most compelling ones are financial. RAs usually receive:

  • Free or deeply discounted lodgings (often their own large room).
  • Free or deeply discounted meal plans.
  • A regular paycheck or semesterly stipend.

General RA Resources

From planning floor activities to shuffling roommate assignments and resolving conflict between floormates, the RAs workload requires a truly diverse set of skills and an infinite amount of tolerance and empathy for other people. The sites in this category offer everything from tips on conflict resolution to bulletin board design ideas for the RA that does everything (which is every RA!)


    ResidentAssistant is an essential tool for resident assistants and other parts of the staff who work in college and university residence life. The site has housing advice, online learning, roommate resources, and more.

    Go Farther: Resident Assistance

  2. T.J. Sullivan Student Leadership Blog


    T.J. Sullivan Student Leadership Blog equips RAs with the tools to know how to lead those around them and establish firm grounds for communication. The site provides great information so that RAs can foster a more stable and productive environment for those around them.

    Go Farther: Favorites

  3. ResLifePro


    ResLifePro, a feature of, is dense with the best tools for RAs. With resources pertaining to diversity, advising, grad programs, training, and more, it’s a great tool to further develop in residence life.

    Go Farther: Community Building

  4. Community Affairs Board


    The Associated Students Community Affairs Board is part of the Associated Students Legislative Council at the University of California Santa Barbara. The board provides students with different events and initiatives meant to propagate a stronger sense of community, as well as promote public service.

    Go Farther: Volunteer Opportunities

  5. RA Bulletin Board Designs


    RA Bulletin Board Designs is a fantastic site for RAs who need help creating engaging and unique bulletin boards for their floors. The site breaks the board designs down into many different categories, with season-specific resources and more.

    Go Farther: Halloween Bulletin Board

  6. Stories from the RA


    Stories from the RA is a lighthearted blog that has fun pointing out different aspects of being an RA, but with a more humorous spin. It’s a great way to relax after a stressful day.

    Go Farther: Archive

  7. Conflict Resolution Network


    Conflict Resolution Network is integral to diffusing conflicts and helping mediate disputes. Aside from the plethora of resources, they also have quality advice and guidance as well.

    Go Farther: Conflict Resolving Game

  8. Brains on Purpose


    Brains on Purpose aims to help with conflict resolution issues and is imperitive for RAs to help understand how to diffuse tense and potentially harmful situations.

    Go Farther: Experts in Emotion

  9. Student Housing Matters


    Student Housing Matters looks at many different issues that RAs typically encounter in dorm-life. They help students with great tools and commentary about the dorms and the particular tendencies of college students.

    Go Farther: Students Experiences with NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program

  10. AAC & U Diversity and Inclusive Excellence


    The Association of College and Universities provides a wealth of resources, namely on diversity and inclusive excellence. The section outlines numerous tools students can utilize to be better prepared for school, being happy, and focusing on the road ahead.

    Go Farther: Bridging Culture to Form a Nation

  11. Diversity Resources


    Diversity Resources looks at many different areas pertaining to propagating diversity within a community and how RAs can use it to become an integral part to the process as well. The site looks at conflict resolution, respect training, disability awareness, intercultural communication, and other issues as well.

    Go Farther: Respect Training

  12. Midland College “Your College” Blog


    Your College Blog is run by Midland College and outlines useful advice for RAs and how to help students in the most effective manners. They also provide insight on other issues related to campus-life.

    Go Farther: Here to Help, This Summer at Your College

  13. Hopkins Interactive Student Activities Blog


    John Hopkins Interactive Student Activities Blog is a great resource for RAs to look through to build more ideas to help cultivate a sense of community and family within the dorms. The blog has many different ideas pertaining to academics, community service, interest in Greek life, religion, and more.

    Go Farther: Media

  14. Insight Into Diversity


    INSIGHT Into Diversity is a magazine with both print and online components that focuses on promoting diversity as beneficial an necessary in educational and business contexts.

    Go Farther: Making a Case for Diversity in Higher Ed

  15. Dean College Blog


    Dean College Blog highlights different aspects of life at Dean College and typically looks at different ways to become more involved as a college student at any university or college.

    Go Farther: Lead(ers)

  16. Association of College & University Housing Officers


    The Association of College & University Housing Officers is the official international organization for those who work in residence halls in universities. They give insight into the similarities and the particulars for residence life around the globe and the way culture and technology play into it.

    Go Farther: Accessible For All

  17. Student Life Guru


    Student Life Guru blogs regularly about different issues students have throughout college, along with nice resolutions to improve quality-of-life at college. Additionally, they give valuable leadership advice for resident assistants to best accommodate students.

    Go Farther: 30 Ways to Motivate Organization Members

  18. College Lifestyles


    College Lifestyles is a great resource for RAs looking for information to put up around the dorm. From health tips to DIY crafts, and even how to become more involved with Greek life.

    Go Farther: Dorm

  19. Grad Guard Dorm Life


    Grad Guard is an insurance company tailored for college students. Their Dorm Life blog looks at different aspects to managing living in dormitories. Its valuable tips are great for RAs and students currently residing in the dorms.

    Go Farther: Dorm Etiquette

  20. MoveInSuccess


    MoveInSuccess provides great tools to help students understand the best ways to find, apply, and manage a place to live in college. For many, moving into the dorms is a large hurdle and finding a place to live on their own for the first time is also difficult. The site is great for RAs trying to help students looking to get a place around campus to live.

    Go Farther: Lease Summary Tutorial

  21. Room Surf


    Going off to college can be the most nerve-wracking, while incredibly exciting, period in someone’s life. Room Surf helps make the aspect of finding a roommate with similar interests less cumbersome and more managable for everyone involved. Students take a survey and then are paired with people who will be the best fit to live with.

    Go Farther: How It Works

  22. Wiggio


    Wiggio is a tool that allows people to more effectively work in groups. As an RA, you can have a more constant stream of communication with your floor or even the entire residence hall.

    Go Farther: To-Do Lists

  23. Student Affairs


    Student Affairs helps give students a plethora of tools for finding jobs, creating resumes, discussing issues in college, along with many other topics. It’s a great tool for RAs to pass along to fellow college students.

    Go Farther: RA Online Training

  24. Let’s Grow Leaders


    Let’s Grow Leaders is run by Karin Hunt, an experienced Fortune 15 executive. She gives great advice for teamwork and building successful teams that is many times applicable to RAs and running more efficient residence halls.

    Go Farther: Peer Pressures: 5 Reasons You Frustrate Your Peers

  25. UMD Resident Assistant Web Resources


    The University of Maryland’s Resident Assistant Web Resources site helps students from any resident assistant have the tools to help students with anything relating to academics, alcohol, campus opportunities, safety, and more.

    Go Farther: Online RA Tools

  26. CU Boulder Resident Hall Resources


    The University of Colorado Boulder Environmental Center provides Resident Hall Resources for RAs to be more environmentally friendly and also contribute more to a successful dorm setting.

    Go Farther: Recycling Bulletin Boards

  27. Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation Daily Blog


    Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation Daily Blog is a great resource for becoming a more effective negotiator and how to use that to be a more effective leader as well.

    Go Farther: Negotiate, Don’t Litigate

  28. Diversity Inc


    Diversity Inc presents interesting news pieces and commentary on the promotion of diversity, as well as people and places that are currently inhibiting equality and diversity. It’s a great tool for RAs to understand what is required of them concerning diversity.

    Go Farther: Mentoring

  29. Diverse Issues in Higher Education


    Diverse Issues in Higher Education looks at different obstacles in higher education concerning diversity and equality among students.

    Go Farther: University, School District Cooperation Suggested to Produce Better Principals

  30. Chris Mullen


    Chris Mullen’s blog focuses on aspects of leadership and how to increase the effectiveness of the work people do as leaders. The site is loaded with valuable tips and different ways people can lead those around them better.

    Go Farther: 13 Months to Train a Resident Assistant

  31. Campus Talk Blog


    Campus Talk Blog looks at all the ways students can become involved in college and how they can become integral parts of campus organizations and student leadership.

    Go Farther: Run Better Campus Organizations

  32. It’s an RA’s Life for Me


    It’s an RA’s Life for Me is a fun blog that regularly connects to different events that occur as an RA. The result is a humorous and lighthearted take on being an RA.

    Go Farther: When Your Staff is Getting on Your Nerves

  33. Miami University Student Blogs: Residence Halls


    Miami University Student Blogs: Residence Halls is a great blog for looking at dorm living, not exclusive to Miami University. The tips can generally be applied to whatever school the student may be attending and how to best navigate dorm life.

    Go Farther: DIY Dorm Room

  34. Student Housing Business


    Student Housing Business is a great tool for looking at different developments within student housing across the country. For someone who is an RA and is looking to move into a career concerning property management or something similar, it is a necessity.

    Go Farther: The Latest News

  35. Student Launcher


    Student Launcher is a contemporary idea of crowd funding ideas and initiatives through the help of others to meet various goals.

    Go Farther: Fund Cool School Projects

  36. This Side of Theory


    This Side of Theory looks at issues within student affairs and presents them in a casual, while still educational, format. Their tips are great for bettering yourself as an RA or just wanting to become more involved in student affairs.

    Go Farther: Two Steps Forward

  37. The Student Affairs Collaborative


    The Student Affairs Collaborative presents fantastic perspective on topics concerning different aspects of student life in college. It’s comprised of great tools from peers and professionals alike.

    Go Farther: #SAChat Archives

  38. Rutgers University Student Life: Leadership Blog


    Rutgers University Student Life: Leadership Blog helps students have the resources to more easily transition into leadership roles that will prove even more beneficial in the future.

    Go Farther: Motivating College Students Across Campuses

  39. Xavier Leadership Center Blog


    Xavier Leadership Blog equips students with the best ways to better themselves as leaders in their colleges and transfer those skills into the real world and workforce.

    Go Farther: Custom Program Finder

  40. Character Clearinghouse


    Character Clearinghouse is an online research center devoted to analyzing aspects of student affairs and the moral development of college students. Their insightful outlines and effective educational tools have propelled them to be one of the more recognizable site for college students.

    Go Farther: First Year Experience


Residence Life & Student Housing

Helping new students with “move-in day” and arranging dorm furniture are just the beginning. RAs have to deal with all sorts of residence life issues, and managing even a single floor of student housing takes a lot of organizational skill and even creativity.

  1. College Fashion


    College Fashion gives great advice for giving a dorm a more unique feel through simple changes. It’s fantastic for college-aged students who many times are more financially independent and thus on a smaller budget.

    Go Farther: 3 More Ways to Decorate Your Dorm Room Desk Space

  2. Dormify


    Dormify is a blog with great tips on anything and everything pertaining to dorm-life. The site looks at how to best live in the dorms, DIY advice, and how to make a dorm an inviting place. It’s a great resource for RAs to recommend to new students looking to spruce up their dorm or better adjust to dorm-life.

    Go Farther: Summer Living in the Dorms

  3. American Campus Communities


    American Campus Communities is a student housing organization that helps students find the best places to live and how to understand what is necessary for life after the dorms. It’s a great site for RAs to recommend to students looking for student housing options and to paint a realistic picture of what to expect.

    Go Farther: Services

  4. Covering College Life


    Covering College Life is a blog that looks at many different aspects of campus life from classes, dorm-life, finances, food and diet, and more. All the articles are incredibly in-depth and help students get more information on a happy, healthy college experience.

    Go Farther: Residence Hall

  5. UNC Residence Life


    UNC Residence Life blogs about different aspects to living in the dorms, from RAs to dorm events, and how to become better acquainted with those in the dorm with you, no matter the university.

    Go Farther: Friends, Food, and Funnies

  6. UTM Student Housing and Residence Life


    UTM’s Student Housing and Residence Life blog RezLife looks at the day-to-day responsibilities and rewards of being an RA. They post regular pieces on how it contributes to university life for many others and is a great resource for RAs.

    Go Farther: arch Break Madness, Why I Love Residence

  7. Creighton University Department of Residence Life


    Creighton University Department of Residence Life blogs about living in the dorms and includes casual, in-depth analysis of all the aspects pertaining to living in the dorms.

    Go Farther: Movin’ On Out

  8. Livin’ Loyno


    Living Loyno is a the Loyola University New Orleans blog devoted to residence life and the most effective manner to contribute to a successful residence experience for students.

    Go Farther: Summer Studying

  9. Indiana Residence Hall Organization


    The Indiana Residence Hall Organization is run by students in Indiana and works to improve communication, education, and leadership development opportunities for those who currently work in residence halls.

    Go Farther: The CCS

  10. Behind the Scenes with SIU Residence Life


    Behind the Scenes with SIU Residence Life looks at the particularities of being an RA and the rewards and obstacles that must be worked on.

    Go Farther: Residence Life Recruitment

  11. The Michigan Organization of Residence Hall Associations


    The Michigan Organization of Residence Hall Associations has a wide array of helpful information pertaining to living and working in residence halls.

    Go Farther: Philanthropy Log


Suicide Prevention & Mental Health

It is no secret that campus life can get intense, and every year, sadly, there are reports of students who ended their own life after not knowing where to turn for the help they needed. RAs have the opportunity to be the first line of defense against student suicide. By paying attention to their residents and knowing the signs of depression and contributing factors to suicide, RAs have the opportunity to join the front lines in the fight against youth suicide.

  1. Wellness Wordworks


    Wellness Wordworks is a great resource for RAs who are looking to help those struggling with mental health issues. The site functions as a great device for discussing mental illness and providing an intuitive forum for issues to be brought up.

    Go Farther: Distress Vs. Disease

  2. Your Mind Your Body


    Your Mind Your Body outlines the insight from leading psychologists and how it can allow people to be more cognizant of their emotions and overall mentality. This allows people to better understand their behaviors and lifestyles, but more importantly, how to feel the best possible.

    Go Farther: Lessons From the Garden for Your Mental Health

  3. Help Guide


    Help Guide is a fantastic non-profit that places resources for different mental ailments and illnesses people may be experiencing. This is especially useful to RAs who are dealing with students experiencing a wide range of emotions, insecurities, and mental strains for the first time.

    Go Farther: Stress

  4. Youth Suicide Prevention Guide


    Youth Suicide Prevention Guide is a comprehensive resource for assisting those who are having suicidal thoughts and people trying to help them. The entire site is loaded with quality material for RAs to better serve those under their care.

    Go Farther: Guide Overview

  5. The Jason Foundation


    The Jason Foundation aims to equip young people with the educational tools and awareness programs to prevent themselves and others from suicide. As an RA, it is integral to have the ability to mediate and diffuse situations where students may be putting themselves at risk.

    Go Farther: Get Involved


    Suicideorg is a non-profit that helps assist people who work with those who may be suicidal. The site provides FAQs, signs, as well as detailed pieces on depression, bipolar disorder, and more. It’s great for RAs who are trying to promote the best environment for college students and help those who may be in trouble.

    Go Farther: Suicide Articles

  7. College Mental Health


    College Mental Health looks at the particular strains college puts on students and how to best accommodate the mental obstacles.

    Go Farther: Listening Always Comes First

  8. Go Ask Alice


    Go Ask Alice is an insightful Q&A site that gives answers to a variety of health-related questions, many times asked by college students.

    Go Farther: Health and Info Resources

  9. Peers Envisioning and Engaging in Recovery Services


    Peers Envisioning and Engaging in Recovery Services is an initiative for students to help promote mental health, empowerment, and social inclusion among all types of people in order to promote a happier, more productive campus.

    Go Farther: Programs

  10. Natonal Suicide Prevention Lifeline


    National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is an organization on the front lines of helping people get the aid they need concerning suicide. By helping those who may be suicidal or be having mental issues, they’re providing resources that are incredibly valuable to people across the country.

    Go Farther: Get Involved

  11. The Jed Foundation


    The JED Foundation is a non-profit that works to promote emotional health and help prevent suicide, particularly for those in college. The foundation underlines the stresses and emotional strain college can put on students and equips them with in-depth resources for getting help.

    Go Farther: Students

  12. The Connect Program


    The Connect Program works to better equip individuals and communities with suicide prevention and response through many different initiatives and outreach programs. It’s great for RAs looking to get great experience working in their college communities as well.

    Go Farther: Training and Consultation

  13. Suicide Prevention Resource Center


    Suicide Prevention Resource Center has all the tools someone needs to best help those contemplating suicide. It also has fantastic news articles and links to mental and behavioral health providers.

    Go Farther: SAMHSA Youth Suicide Prevention Grantees

  14. Sources of Strength


    Sources of Strength is a suicide prevention network that focuses on training peer leaders to positively impact the people they interact with. The focus on social empowerment as a suicide prevention method makes Sources of Strength a great resource for RAs who may have residents struggling with suicidal ideas.

    Go Farther: Research Project


Addressing Drugs & Alcohol

Some campuses are constantly under scrutiny for the amount of drugs and alcohol their students consume, while others ban alcohol completely and try to keep their campuses as clean and dry as possible. Whether the university condones it or not, alcohol can be a major problem for college students, and RAs have both the opportunity and the duty to keep their residents’ partying from getting out of hand and making sure nobody gets hurt because of substance abuse.

  1. The Bacchus Network


    The Bacchus Network is comprised of over 8,000 student leaders and advisors from over 300 institutions across the country. They work to promote prevention programs for alcohol, tobacco, impaired driving, as well as sexual responsibility.

    Go Farther: Group Support

  2. Stop Underage Drinking


    Stop Underage Drinking comes with many different initiatives for preventing alcohol abuse in those who aren’t even old enough to drink. Their valuable resources are great for RAs looking to educate those in the dorms on the potential hazards and pitfalls of underage drinking.

    Go Farther: Youth

  3. College Drinking: Changing the Culture


    College Drinking: Changing the Culture looks to start from the ground-up to effectively reduce the amount of drinking taking place in college and ensure students have all the resources in place to succeed.

    Go Farther: Snapshot of Drinking Consequences

  4. Drug Free


    Drug Free is a non-profit that works to increase education and outreach in preventing drug abuse. They have informative articles that allow people to gain more insight into the hazards of drug abuse.

    Go Farther: Prevent

  5. Gordie’s Call


    Gordie’s Call is a national campaign aimed at preventing alcohol abuse and hazing. The fantastic initiative has effectively raised awareness across the country of the implications of hazing and alcohol-related abuse.

    Go Farther: Education and Resources

  6. UDETC College e-Kit


    UDETC College e-Kit helps connect students, campus representatives, law enforcement officials, and others to the effects of underage drinking and how to best promote a healthier, more stable college experience.

    Go Farther: OJJDP Development Grants to Colleges Yield Improvement in Underage Drinking Enforcement

  7. Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America


    The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America work with communities and college across the country to promote healthier communities with a focus on being drug-free. Their different outreach programs have yielded incredible successes.

    Go Farther: Advocate for the Field

  8. College Alc


    College Alc is an online alcohol education program that focuses on preventing alcohol abuse in college, due to the increased chances this will lead to hazardous health issues in the future. The program is extremely in-depth and helps provide great information for better managing a healthy lifestyle in college.

    Go Farther: Student Experience

  9. Campus Health and Safety


    Campus Health and Safety gives RAs the know-how and tools to best provide help concerning alcohol, drugs, violence, mental health issues, and more.

    Go Farther: Drugs

  10. Promising Practices: Campus Alcohol Strategies


    Promising Practices is a toolkit for methodically reducing alcohol abuse and the risks it entails for college students. The site includes all kinds of links for evaluating and addressing alcohol abuse on campus.

    Go Farther: Action Planner


About the Author Scott Hawksworth

Scott Hawksworth is's founder and podcast host. His goal with the show is to not only help prospective students gain first hand knowledge about the degree programs they'll enroll in, but to also highlight the careers of fantastic professionals in higher ed. Scott has a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from The Ohio State University.