The number of resident assistant (RA) applications increased this year despite speculation that moving the deadline to winter from spring might adversely affect applicant numbers.
Applications jumped to 324 people for 120 RA positions during the next school year, up from 308 applications for this year’s spots, according to Residential Education (ResEd) dean Jennifer Calvert in an e-mail to Row management.
The increase came in spite of the fact that the application deadline was moved forward to the beginning of winter quarter, a change that some criticized because they felt it limited students’ options by asking them to make their future housing decisions too early in the school year.
Though this increase is within the normal range of year-to-year fluctuations, the fact that the numbers remained this high came as a pleasant surprise for Calvert.
“We are very enthusiastic about the increase in RA applications this year,” Calvert said. “With the significant changes to the selection process and in asking students to apply earlier, it would have been reasonable to expect a slight decline. We are thrilled that this many students are interested in being an RA.”
Some students still expressed frustration with the earlier deadline.
“It almost made me not apply because it was so early, because I thought I didn’t have time,” George Tsiveriotis ’13 said. “I started really late and I was also really anxious about getting all [my] recommendation letters in.”
Thankfully, Tsiveriotis said, ResEd extended the deadline for submitting recommendation letters. “Otherwise, I didn’t know if I would’ve gotten them in on time,” he said.
College assistant (CA) Ruthie Arbeiter ’12, who performs RA duties in Freshman-Sophomore College, said she was concerned about the effect the new deadline would have on prospective sophomore applicants.
“Our main concern with moving the deadline earlier [was that] sophomores wouldn’t know if they were ready yet, because they’ve only been at Stanford for a year and a quarter,” she said.
Arbeiter did not reapply for a position because she will be going abroad, but she said the new deadline did not have a great effect on some of her peers.
“They weren’t really worried about the new deadline because, as current juniors, they were already planning to apply for their senior year,” she said.
In addition to relying on resident fellows to distribute information about the application, Calvert said this was the first year that ResEd created a “comprehensive, cohesive marketing campaign.” Calvert also credits current house staffs in recruiting applicants.
“Most of our candidates apply because someone they know and trust in a leadership position in a house encouraged them to apply,” Calvert said.
These good relationships with current and past house staffs are reasons many students cited for applying. Tsiveriotis was one such student.
“I applied because I felt my RAs made my freshman experience a lot better,” Tsiveriotis said. He also cited his involvement in last year’s Admit Weekend in helping him warm up to the idea of becoming an RA.
“I like the idea of being the first person to welcome someone to Stanford,” he said.
The application process will continue through the quarter as applicants interview with their prospective houses and will culminate in a decision in mid-March. Applications for other house staff positions will open Jan. 14.