Resident Advisor (RA) Information

Resident Advisor Job Description

The primary role of a Resident Advisor (RA) is developing a community of students in a university living environment. RAs create opportunities for students to learn about themselves and others and are responsible for facilitating the general safety and well-being of the community.

The RA position is a challenging and rewarding experience. There are opportunities for RAs to develop skills in many areas including leadership, communication, programming, student support, crisis response, and other transferable skills. As a staff member of the Office of Residential Life, the RA is supervised by a Residential College Director or Residential Community Director (RCD).

Resident Advisor Application
Resident Advisor Reference Form

Qualifications, Required Duties & Responsibilities and Compensation


  • Minimum 2.75 semester and cumulative GPA
  • Enrolled as a Full-time Student as defined by the University
  • Junior or Senior in class standing at the start of the 2020-2021 Academic Year
  • Able to serve in the role for the entire 2020-2021 Academic Year
  • Availability on Monday nights from 7pm-11pm for the entirety of employment
  • In good standing with the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards
  • Demonstrate a willingness to learn and support issues related to social justice
  • All RA Applicants must be U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents, or holders of an F-1 or J-1 visa. If you do not meet the listed conditions, please contact the Office of International Students and Scholars before applying so ensure that you are permitted to work in the United States.

Required Duties & Responsibilities

  • Serve on a team of 7-17 Resident Advisors
  • Attend weekly staff meetings or Monday night training and supervision meetings with RCD
  • Implement the Residential Education Model
  • Manage a programming budget as assigned by RCD
  • Provide direct support for floor or building ranging from 20-120 Residents
  • Facilitate resolution of interpersonal conflicts among residents
  • Refer residents to campus and community resources
  • Participate in duty rotation, which can include desk shift rotations at the duty desk and cell phone duty shifts
  • Implement and evaluate University and departmental policies, regulations, and procedures
  • Respond to crises and emergencies within residential area or while on-call and document information
  • Identify and report maintenance concerns in community
  • Serve as a Responsible Employee for the University
  • Enforce and uphold all University and Office of Residential Life policies, rules, and regulations.
  • Assist in opening and closing of residential communities at the beginning and end of each semester
  • Serve as an ambassador of the Office of Residential Life and support all departmental initiatives.
  • Fulfill other responsibilities as assigned by the RCD or other Residential Life staff.

Important employment time commitments

  • Attendance at RA Contract Signing Night:  Monday, March 23
  • Attendance at RA/WUSA Night or Community Night in Spring 2020
  • Completion of 4-week LEAD Class in Spring 2020
  • Complete summer tasks as assigned by the RA Training Committee
  • Attendance at August RA Training:   DATE TBD
  • Attend weekly Monday Night meetings from 7-11 p.m.
  • Attend Winter RA Training:  DATE TBD
  • Assist with RA Recruitment and participate in Spring 2021 RA Interview Weekend


  • Room and Board is provided for all RAs
  • First-Year RAs: Half Silver Meal Plan
  • Returning RAs: Full Silver Meal Plan

Resident Advisor Application

Preparing Your Application

To better help you prepare to click submit when completing your
application, we have provided with you the essay questions you will be
asked here. We encourage you to type your responses in a Word document for saving just in case. Responses should be around 500 words.

  1. Why do you want to be a resident advisor? How do you see the RA
    role enhancing your student experience at WashU?
  2. What characteristics and traits do you possess that make you a
    strong resident advisor candidate?
  3. Describe a time that you were a part of a team and the role that
    you played on it. What were some personal areas of strength and areas of improvement?
  4. What does community mean to you? How would you cultivate community within a building or on a floor?
  5. Describe a time that you advocated or could have advocated on
    behalf of another person/group of people. What did you learn from that experience?

You will also be asked to list any activities, organizations, or jobs with which you are currently and plan to be involved in the 2020-21 academic year.

Important Dates

Applications for the 2020-21 Academic Year

  • October 1, 2019: Application Opens
  • October 28, 2019 at 11:59pm: Study Abroad Application Deadline
  • November 9, 2019: Study Abroad Interview Day
  • December 6, 2019 at 11:59pm: General Application Deadline
  • December 3, 2019: References due
  • January 18-19, 2020: General Process Interview Days
  • Date TBD: RA Notification Day—HIRING DAY

In order to apply for the Resident Advisor position, you MUST complete your housing application when it opens.

Information Sessions

You are required to attend an information session as part of the RA application process.

Information sessions will be held at these dates and times:

Day Month Date Time Location
Wednesday October 2 6-8 p.m. DUC 239
Monday October 7 6-8 p.m. Ursa’s Stage Side
Thursday October 10 6-8 p.m. Lien Seminar
Thursday October 17 6-8 p.m. Crow 206
Wednesday October 23 6-8 p.m. DUC 239
Sunday October 27 2-4 p.m. Lopata House 21
Friday November 1 12-2 p.m. Seigle L003
Wednesday November 6 6-8 p.m. DUC 239
Thursday November 7 6-8 p.m. Seigle 204
Wednesday November 13 6-8 p.m. Ursa’s Stage Side
Sunday November 17 1-3 p.m. Ursa’s Fireside
Tuesday December 3 6-8 p.m. Lien Seminar
Wednesday December 4 6-8 p.m. Lopata MPR
Thursday December 5 6-8 p.m. Seigle L006

Open House

Open Houses are a new opportunity for candidates to connect with current Residential Life staff members (RCDs and RAs) as well as learn about our 13 residential communities. Open houses are not required for the application process, but are strongly encouraged. All potential applicants are invited to stop by and learn more.

Open Houses will be held in Risa Commons on:

Friday, Oct. 18 • 4-6 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 13 • 4-6 p.m.

Application Checklist

Information Session

Applicants must attend one information session to be considered for the position. We encourage you to attend a session before your respective application deadline, but it is not required. For example: if you are applying for the Study Abroad process, you can attend an information session after the October 28 deadline.

Online Application & References

It is imperative that the application is complete by 11:59pm on the day it is due. All incomplete applications will be removed from the selection process. Make sure you click submit when finished.

  • Study Abroad Deadline: October 28, 2019
  • General Process Deadline: December 6, 2019

All references are due by December 6th at 11:59pm. Please connect with your references prior to the deadline to insure submission.

Interview Day

Applicants must participate in the designated interview dates

    • Study Abroad: Saturday, Nov. 9
    • General: Saturday – Sunday, Jan. 18 – 19


As a part of the selection process for the RA position each candidate goes through an interview day consisting of a group interview in the morning, followed by an individual interview in the afternoon. Both the group and the individual interviews are important ways for us to get to know you as an individual and to evaluate your potential as an RA.

Though many interviews have a specific dress code, we would like to make a special note that we encourage candidates to come as you are for our interview weekend. Candidates will not be evaluated on dress.

If you are interested in getting additional prep for your interview, we encourage you to check out the Career Center website here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who do I contact for more information?
Please the selection committee.
Do I get to choose where I’m going to live?
No. When you apply, we ask for your preferences in terms of what type of floor/community you would like most. We make an effort to follow your preferences, however, in deciding placements, we maximize our strengths, consider space limitations and the staffing needs of each residential area. Thus, we cannot guarantee that you will be placed in your top choice.
Will my residential preference choices affect whether I am hired?
Our goal is to hire the most qualified candidates to be RAs. We use the Residential Community preferences as a guide to help us make the best match possible.
Are Open Houses required?
No, open houses are not required. If you don’t know much about each community this is an opportunity for you to learn more.
What is the room and board compensation?
All RAs receive their room and local phone service as part of compensation. In addition, new RAs receive half a Silver Meal plan and returning RAs receive a full Silver Meal plan.
Will I still get financial aid if I am an RA?
Yes; however, please speak to Student Financial Services to learn more about what this would look like for you.
When will I find out if I’ve been selected?
More information coming soon.
What if I am abroad in the fall and cannot attend an info session?
Candidates who are abroad in the fall must contact the RA Selection Committee to receive the information electronically. Candidates who do not reach out for this information will not be considered for the RA position.
Who should I choose as my reference?
The references you choose should be mentors or professionals who know you well and can speak to your skills, strengths and abilities (past high school teacher, coach, professor, former or current supervisor, counselor, research supervisor, clergy, volunteer coordinator, four-year adviser, major adviser, etc.). One of your references needs to be WashU affiliated. The following people cannot serve as references: current RAs or past RAs who are still undergraduate students, RCDs, Graduate Fellows, Associate/Assistant Directors in Residential Life, Jill Stratton, Rob Wild and Kawanna Leggett. If you do choose an undergraduate student as a reference, this person should have acted in a leadership capacity and can speak to your professionalism and work ethic.
Can transfer students apply to be an RA?
Yes; we encourage all transfer students to apply. They must be a current WashU student at the time they apply and must be in their third year of college when they start the role.
Can graduate students apply to be an RA?
The RA position is an undergraduate student leadership role. Applicants in 3-2 programs can only apply if they will begin the role as an undergraduate student.