CA FAQ

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About the Job

What is a Conference Assistant?

The Conference Assistant (CA) is a vital member of the Conference Services team. The CA lives in the residence hall and responds to the day-to-day needs of conference participants. In many cases, the CA is the first and foremost primary contact conference guests have with the university. The CA represents themselves, the conference operation, and UNL as a provider of quality customer service. The CA reports directly to the Conference Hall Director (CHD) and will receive work assignments from these individuals.

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What are the differences between a CA (Conference Assistant) and RA (Resident Assistant) position?

Although there are some similarities among CA and RA positions, there are also many differences. Conference Assistant positions are typically summer-only and CAs provide services to summer conference guests instead of students. CAs work at desks and on duty in buildings all over campus. Resident Assistants live and work in just one building, and have a floor assigned to them, providing student-specific services. RA positions may be for the academic year or for the summer. The CA and RA selection processes are completely separate, but you may apply for both if you are interested in both positions.

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What makes a good Conference Assistant?

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What are the primary job responsibilities of a CA?

  • Attend orientation, training sessions, and weekly staff meetings (Wednesday afternoons, 3-5 pm).
  • Work shifts at the conference hall desks as assigned
    *CAs are responsible for staffing the desks in halls in which Conferences guests are staying. At some points, only one or two desks are open; at others nine or ten. CAs are scheduled in 3 hour increments, and may be scheduled in blocks of 3-12 hours. Some desks are open 24 hours a day, so overnight, weekend, and holiday shifts can be expected. Desk shifts are scheduled using an online scheduling system, and CAs are allowed to request most preferred and least preferred shifts, which we take into account as often as we can. This online scheduling system also allows for CAs to enter class times so they will not be scheduled for shifts while they’re in class. CAs may also switch shifts using this system.
  • CAs are required to stay on a conference hall floor each night, and move to other halls on a nightly basis as needed for duty shifts. CAs are assigned to a single room that should function as their primary residence during the summer. They are expected to spend each night in that room, unless they have indicated they’ll be spending the night away.
  • Monitor the activities of guests and conference participants to assure their safety and satisfaction.
  • Participate in evening and weekend duty as assigned, complete safety and security rounds through the building, be accessible for assistance.
         * If a CA is assigned to duty in their currently assigned hall, they’ll use their room for duty. If they’re assigned to a duty in another hall, they’ll take one of the duty rooms, which are specifically assigned rooms in each residence hall where Conference guests reside. CAs will be assigned duty nights through the online scheduling system, and are assigned an average of 20-25 duty nights per summer.
  • Assist with the registration and check-in/out of conference guests as needed.
  • Assist with crisis intervention/emergency situations as they arise.
  • Enforce all university rules and regulations and conference policies.
  • Other duties as assigned
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What will my schedule be like?

CA schedules vary from day to day and week to week. Hours scheduled are based on when buildings are open, so CAs will have some weeks where more than 40 hours are available, and others where they’ll have fewer than 20. Because CAs work all over campus, each day will likely have a different schedule. CAs will know their schedule in advance. We schedule according to five week sessions, so you’ll know your schedule for each five week session a few weeks before that session begins. If you are a looking for a predictable, 9-5 position, the CA position may not be for you.

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What skills and qualifications are you looking for?

  • Strong commitment to customer service and helping conference guests.
  • Customer service experience preferred, but not required.
  • Flexibility and adaptability.
  • Friendly, team-oriented attitude.
  • Leadership experience is desirable.
  • All majors and backgrounds are welcome.
  • Outside commitments (including classes and other commitments) should not exceed 10 hours per week.
  • Must be available for employment from May 7 - August 10, 2017. CAs will be allowed to leave the position early if their departure is due to another university commitment.
  • Must attend CA Training May 7-26, 2017.
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What are the benefits of a CA position?

  • A single room for the duration of your employment.
  • A full meal plan when the dining halls are open.
  • At least $9.00 minimum hourly wage for desk, check-in, and administrative hours worked.
  • Cable TV, internet and fridge in room.
  • Flexible work schedules (CAs build their work schedule around summer classes)
  • Leadership opportunities for returners.
  • Making valuable connections on campus.
  • Skills developed as part of working in a fast-paced, diverse environment are applicable to most future careers.
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Information Sessions

Do I need to attend an Information Session?

Attendance is highly encouraged, but not mandatory. Applicants who have a full understanding of the position tend to be most successful in the hiring process, and we want to ensure that potential CAs have as much information about the position as possible. You should make every effort to attend an information session.

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When are the Information Sessions?

  • Tuesday, January 10, 2017 @ 7:00 pm in the Neihardt Blue TV Lounge
  • Wednesday, January 11, 2017@ 4:00 pm in the Nebraska Union (room will be posted)
  • Thursday. January 12, 2017 @ 4:00 pm in Mari's Lounge (Sandoz 1st Floor)
  • Thursday, January 12, 2017 @ 7:00 pm in Harper Dining Conference Room C
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Application Process

How many people apply for the position, and how many people receive offers

Although it can vary from year to year, we typically see between 100 and 150 applicants for the position. This applicant pool includes returning and new applicants. Returning applicants are much more likely to receive an offer, based on their previous experience as CAs. New applicants can expect about a one in five chance of receiving an offer.

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How long is the application process?

The application process begins in January, and offers are sent out in March. For the specific dates and deadlines, please refer to the CA Selection Timeline.

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How do I submit my application?

Once you have gathered information about the position, you’ll be ready to begin the application process. Go to housing.unl.edu/ca and click on the “CA Application” button. The server will require you to log in with your Blackboard login and password. Entering this information will allow you to access the eRezLife application site for UNL Housing. There may be many jobs listed, including RA positions. You’ll need to apply for the Conference Assistant position, which will be labelled “New Conference Assistant 2017” or “Returning Conference Assistant 2017”. If you have never been a CA before, you should choose the “New” job.

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How do I check my application status?

Once your application has been completed and submitted, you may click on the “Job Overview” link in the left-hand menu. This page will show you which items have yet to be completed. You also click on the job posting to see which items, specifically, still need to be received.

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How do I apply if I’m studying abroad during the Spring Semester?

One Info Session will be held in the fall semester. Please make every effort to attend this Info Session. The application process itself is entirely online, and we will work with you to schedule a phone, FaceTime or Skype interview if you make it to that stage of the application process.

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What if I miss a deadline or submit an incomplete application?

Unfortunately, if you miss a deadline or submit an incomplete application, you will not be able to move to the next step in the selection process. We have a high number of applicants, and depend on adherence to the deadlines to ensure that the process runs smoothly for all of them.

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Can graduate students/international students/freshmen/graduating seniors apply?

We seek to create a diverse team of individuals for our staff each summer, and welcome all applicants.

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What if I applied last year but wasn’t offered a position?

If you’re still interested in the position, please apply again! Many candidates are not hired during their first selection process, but re-apply and receive an offer in later years. We have a large pool of applicants from which to choose, and many qualified applicants are not hired the first time.

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What if I am offered an alternate position?

Our large applicant pool means that only a fraction of qualified candidates are offered a position. We offer alternate positions to those candidates who we think would make great CAs, but we don’t currently have a position open for them. If you’re offered one of these spots, please know that we viewed your candidacy favorably and will consider offering you a spot should one open up before the summer begins. Each year we hire at least one individual from the alternate pool, and it’s often more than that.

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What if I don’t get offered a position or an alternate spot?

Due to a high number of qualified applicants, many are not offered a position. Use the next year to further develop skills that are applicable to the position. Refine your interview skills and application materials. Visit the Career Services office to get your resume ready for the next selection process. Often, a few changes can result in a better application and interview!

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Reference Forms

Who should I ask to submit a reference form for me?

New CA applicants are required to have two reference forms submitted on their behalf. You should choose someone who can speak to your professional skills and character. You should also choose someone who is dependable and can be counted upon to complete the reference form by the deadline. Examples of good references include past supervisors, professors, volunteer coordinators, your RA or RD. If you know someone who’s been a CA, ask them to be a reference!They know what it takes to be successful in the position.

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How are references notified?

Once you have submitted your online application, your references will be notified automatically by email. They will be sent a link that is specific to your application, and should fill it out by the deadline.

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How do I check to see if my reference forms are completed?

You may log in to the application site, and go to the references page. Your references will be listed there, along with whether or not a form has been filled out. If it hasn’t, you can send a reminder email from the site. It is your responsibility to make sure the reference has been filled out by the deadline. If both references aren’t completed by the deadline, you’ll be unable to move forward in the application process.

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I've Been Offered a Position

Where do CAs live?

CAs live together on two or three floors in a traditional residence hall, on separate male and female floors. Hall assignments are made just a few months before CAs move in, and are based on availability. Your room assignment will be communicated to you several weeks before CAs move in.

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Do I need to submit a Housing contract?

You will not need to submit a contract for your summer housing. We’ll be in touch as we make your arrangements.

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What is training like?

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Can I take classes over the summer?

Many CAs elect to take classes over the summer. We are supportive of CA’s academic endeavors and will schedule around your classes. CAs are not allowed to take Pre-Session classes. For first-year CAs, we recommend that you take only one class per five-week session. Taking classes may affect the number of hours you are available to work over the summer, resulting in lower hours overall. CAs should also plan their schedules around a weekly staff meeting, held on Wednesdays from 3-5 p.m. CAs must attend this meeting, unless they have approved time away. It is not permissible to miss a meeting due to class, so CAs should not register for a class or lab that would conflict with staff meeting.

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Can I hold another job over the summer?

All requests to hold outside employment will be considered, but very few are approved.

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Will I have a roommate?

CAs receive single rooms as part of their compensation package, and will not be assigned roommates.

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What if I need a parking permit?

Your compensation as a Conference Assistant does not include parking. Please visit the Parking Services office to make arrangements for a parking pass.

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What if I need a Campus Rec membership?

Your compensation as a Conference Assistant does not include a Campus Rec membership. Please visit Campus Rec to make arrangements for a pass. If you are taking classes, your fees may cover this cost.

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What about vacation and time away?

We encourage vacations and time away. As we arrange your schedule, we’ll ask for your requests for days off. We’ll then review them and let you know if they’re not approved. We are very likely to approve these requests, but there are a few weeks during the summer when approval is less likely.

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How many hours am I going to work each week?

Your schedule will vary each week, but should average out to around 40 hours per week during the summer. During some weeks, overtime is available. Other weeks, when fewer buildings are open, you might only have a few shifts scheduled.

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How will being a Conference Assistant affect my financial aid?

The CA position can affect your financial aid or scholarship awards, however, to determine how that will affect your situation specifically, please contact the Office of Financial Aid at 472-2030. CA room and board are non-taxable income and must be figured as such by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. Therefore, the position can affect your financial aid package for the year after employment begins. Specific questions about your financial situation should be directed to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

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If I have a conflict, can I miss training or be late for part of it?

It’s highly unlikely that we’d allow any CA to miss any part of training. If you have questions about specific times you need to be away from training, please contact Kristine Olson to discuss the particulars.

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More

If you still have more questions specific to the CA position, please contact Kristine Olson.