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Life > Experiences

What I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Resident Mentor

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at South Carolina chapter.

When I applied to become a Resident Mentor (RM), I had a basic understanding of the job. Live in a dorm, enforce housing policies, and help locked out residents get back into their rooms. Pretty easy right? But, there a lot that comes with being an RM that I wish I knew about before applying for the position. If you’re considering becoming an RM, here are a few things to keep in mind before you submit your application.

The hiring Process

The RM hiring process is long, and requires a lot of work. Applications for the Resident Mentor position in October and close in December for students wanting to work for the following academic school year. So, I applied in October of 2020 in order to start in the fall of 2021. After applying, the RM Selection Committee narrows down the applicants and selects who will get interviews. After being selected, I had to record a 3 minute pre interview-video answering a few questions. Then, I attended a 50 minute interview with a professional housing staff member and a current RM.

When preparing for your interview, reflect on why you want the position. You don’t have to know how to do the job yet, that’s what training is for! The selection committee wants to know why you’ll be a passionate, committed, and supportive resident mentor. They don’t expect you to know every protocol. Go into your interview knowing why you want the job (besides the housing discount), why you think you’d be good at the job, and where you can improve to be a great resident mentor.

After my interview, I had no idea when I would hear back about the job. The selection process takes a while, because housing staff members choose RMs specifically for their buildings. My interview took place on January 19th, and I received my offer letter on February 5th.


The training program for resident mentors is called IMPACT, and it runs for one week. The program is awesome and teaches you pretty much everything you need to know about being an RM, but it is exhausting. Throughout the week I spent all day learning about the position and bonding with my staff.

Before IMPACT I had a lot of anxiety about being an RM. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to confront the situations I would be put into. But, don’t let fear keep you from applying to be a resident mentor. The training program covers everything you need to know to start off as an RM.


As a Resident Mentor I have felt overwhelming support from both my staff and the professional housing staff. The returning RMs in my building have always been happy to help with questions, and there is always a professional staff member available when I don’t know what to do.

The Coordinator on Duty (COD) is a Residence Life Coordinator (RLC) or Assistant Residence Life Coordinator (ARLC) who is on call for RMs who need guidance through a situation. I have called the COD multiple times when I was presented with a situation that I did now know how to handle, and they always helped me through it.

Resident Mentors are sometimes confronted with stressful or heavy situations, but there’s always someone on staff willing to help when we need it.

Being on duty

Part of being a resident mentor is being the RM on duty (RMOD). The RMOD is a resident mentor on call for residents during evening hours to respond to noise complaints, lock outs, maintenance emergencies, and other emergencies residents could need help with. Being on duty means I respond to and take care of the situations, document them, and contact the individuals needed to care for the situation. While on duty we also conducts “duty rounds” and walk through the entire building a few times throughout the night.

Duty also goes on over holidays and breaks, including winter and spring break. Different buildings have different processes for assigning these duty days, but the bottom line is that someone has to work those days. So, if you’re applying for the position, know that you may have to be on duty over holiday breaks. Housing does give extra payment to RMs who work over breaks.

other Expectations

Resident Mentors have a lot of different responsibilities outside of duty, and different buildings might have different expectations their RMs. Before becoming a resident mentor, you should know all of the different things that will be expected of you throughout the year:

  • In my building, we are expected to hold one hall or building wide event a month.
  • Health and Safety checks are also performed once a month. RM’s check residents rooms to make sure they are sanitary and that the resident is following residence life policies.
  • My building also has committees to help with resident engagement, I am personally on the newsletter committee.
  • Apartment Condition Reports are filled out before move-in and after move-out. These are tedious and take a long time. If you become an RM, start them before you think you should.
  • RMs also work in the lobby at the front desk. Different buildings have different desk expectations. Personally, I sit at the front desk for 4 hours a week at the same time every week.
  • Connecting with your residents is in my opinion the most important part of being an RM. Engage with them as often as possible.
  • RMs will occasionally have to help mediate a roommate disagreement. Residents are able to move rooms if absolutely necessary, but the goal of mediation is to work out the disagreement without having to come to that. IMPACT training does cover mediation, but this has personally been the most challenging part of being an RM for me.

Being a resident mentor comes with a lot of different responsibilities, but it also comes with a huge support system. The job can be time consuming and stressful at times, but it is also fulfilling and rewarding! If you’re considering applying for the position, make sure you know what all is expected of you.

Hannah Kelley

South Carolina '24

Hannah Kelley is a social media director at the Her Campus South Carolina chapter. Beyond Her Campus, Hannah is the social media intern for the University of South Carolina Libraries. She has also been a social media ambassador for multiple brands and is currently an ambassador for the Peace Corps. She is currently a senior at the University of South Carolina studying Mass Communications with a minor in Political Science.