I read this sentence in a Service Encounter class.

Excuse me, are you an RA here at the residence hall?

What does RA mean?

  • 2
    Maybe it means "Resident Assistant" or "Residence Assistant".
    – user264
    Commented May 6, 2013 at 9:27
  • 1
    If I were sure, I would have written it as an answer, but, as you can see from my comment, I said "maybe". I'm making an educated guess. Someone here is bound to know for certain, though.
    – user264
    Commented May 6, 2013 at 9:35

1 Answer 1


In academia in the USA there are two uses of RA that are common: 1) Research Assistant, and 2) Resident/Residence Assistant (as Bill Franke suggested).

The context of the "residence hall" makes the first definition highly unlikely, as one can be a research assistant at a lab or for a professor - but not in a residence hall. Therefore we can conclude that they must have meant the #2 definition.

Resident/residence assistants are considered "community leaders" in college/University dormitories (on-campus housing), and are usually employed to help make sure basic rules are followed, keep bulletin boards updated, answer questions, be role models, etc.

  • 3
    I've never heard the term "resident assistant" before; my university always called the position "resident advisor".
    – dan04
    Commented Jun 1, 2013 at 20:23

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