40 percent of RCA applicants accepted
Approximately 40 percent of students who applied to be residential college advisors were offered a position this year, according to Associate Dean of Undergraduate Students Michael Olin.
Out of 245 applications for 97 available positions, 52 were filled with new students and 45 with returning RCAs. Fourteen of the applicants were chosen to be alternate residential college advisors, or ARCAs.
In previous years the number of accepted students has hovered around 30 percent.
The University usually hires 95 students to serve as RCAs, but two RCA positions were added this year in order to handle the larger numbers of the Class of 2016. The extra RCAs were added to the Mathey and Wilson Colleges, which absorbed a “significant portion” of the larger freshman class, according to Olin.
“Because this is Princeton, I think the pool of applicants is really qualified,” said Michael Brashear ’15, who will be an RCA in Whitman. “Oftentimes people are coming in with similar credentials.”
As of Monday, the deadline to accept or decline the offer, 93 students had accepted the position.
The applications to become an RCA were due last November and interviews took place during reading period. Students were notified of the decision last Wednesday in an email from the residential colleges.
Olin said that selecting students for the position is always “extremely difficult” because of each candidate’s qualifications and the limited number of positions available. According to Olin, each residential college chooses its RCAs individually, based on their potential for working with freshmen and the advice of the team of RCAs in the college.
“It’s kind of like putting together a puzzle — they want a team that’s going to work well together,” Olin said.
According to Olin, the number of RCAs in each college is determined and paid for by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students. However, each college chooses the number of ARCAs it wants to hire and pays for ARCAs out of its own budget.
This year, Butler hired 12 RCAs and four ARCAs, Forbes hired 15 RCAs and two ARCAs, Mathey hired 13 RCAs and three ARCAs, Rockefeller hired 15 RCAs and two ARCAs, Whitman hired 12 RCAs and two ARCAs and Wilson hired 16 RCAs and one ARCA.
Michael Yuan ’15, who was placed on the waiting list to become a Wilson RCA, said he thinks the college offices are looking for students who are responsible, involved in the community and know what is going on around campus.
“Those are the normal things you would expect from an RCA. Those aren’t things you can develop overnight. You either have them or you don’t,” he said.
Yuan said he thinks there is only a small chance he will get off the waiting list, but he looks forward to applying again next year.
“A year of growth or experience would make me a better [RCA],” Yuan said.
Olin said that the residential colleges know after many years what makes a good RCA with regard to skills, personality and character. He added that every job application process has objective and subjective components.
“RCAs are responsible for catering to a lot of different personalities,” said Gabriella Ravida ’15, who will be an RCA in Forbes. “I think that they’re looking for very relatable students who are able to really tap into the minds of different people and connect with them on very different levels.”
Olin said he hopes that the students who were not chosen to serve as RCAs next year will continue to give back to the Princeton community and find a way to mentor the underclass students in other ways.