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Staff Who Work In the Residence Halls, & The Growth and Development of Your Student

Living in a residence hall can be an exciting and rewarding experience for your student. Through this experience they will hopefully meet life-long friends and learn how to live independently in a group environment. They will be encouraged to grow and develop through encountering people and situations that are different than what they have known before they moved into the residence hall.

As good as life in the residence halls is, it has its challenges. Your student may encounter difficulties related to living with a roommate, confronting noisy neighbors, or dealing with different people and new situations. They may need support and assistance from time to time. Various staff in the residence halls are present to maximize your students residence hall experience. You should encourage your student to get to know these staff when they move on campus. Staff who live and work in the residence halls are committed to assisting students in making a positive transition to college.

A great deal of education occurs at a university outside of the classroom, and the residence life/housing staff work to help your student develop life skills that they can utilize after they have left the university. Since the growth and development of your student is a primary interest to residence life/housing staff, they will first work to encourage your student in handling situations on their own, as it is through this process that life skills develop. In as much as experiencing a roommate conflict might be difficult for your student, they will learn a great deal from the experience, and residence life/housing staff will work to encourage that learning. From time to time as a parent, you will need to step back from your desire to solve your student's problem. By letting them work through situations with the assistance of residence hall staff, you will also share in the process of helping your student to acquire important life skills.

Resident Assistants, Resident Advisors, Peer Counselors, Community Assistants, Peer Counselors...Are Students Just Like Your Student: Although the title may change from institution to institution, these individuals are typically sophomores, juniors and seniors who are students taking full time course loads. To obtain their position they have most likely participated in an extensive interviewing process, and have undergone extensive training on issues related to activity/event planning, mediation, handling conflicts, dealing with crisis situations, and a wide variety of other topics. These staff members are typically assigned one per floor or living area in a residence hall. They live on the floors with students to assist them with the transition to college, help with roommate conflicts or other problems, plan social and educational events, and provide support to students who are having personal or academic difficulties. Whatever their title at your University, these staff have a supervisor who typically lives in or near the residence hall where they work.

Resident Directors, Graduate Hall Directors, Residence Counselors...

The Graduate or Full Time Staff Who Live In The Residence Halls: Yes, again, the title may change, but it is fairly typical that the student staff who work in the residence halls report to a live in supervisor who is responsible for your student's residence hall. These staff live either in or near the residence hall, and they work to assist in making the residence experience a positive one. They are responsible for the overall management of a residence hall or halls, and provide students with counseling and referral support, develop and encourage social activities in the hall, manage administrative functions in the hall, respond to crisis situations, and set and enforce standards for behavior in the hall. These staff are sometimes graduate students who attend the university, and work for the Housing/Residence Life office in exchange for compensation. In other instances, the staff member who supervises your student's residence hall could be a full-time professional with in most cases a Masters degree, who works in their position because of their interest in students and a career in Higher Education.

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