WSU Housing and Residence Life

Housing and Residential Life

Resident Advisor

  • Apply

    Applications for the 2019-2020 academic year will open on Wednesday, November 28 and will close on Sunday, January 20, 2019.

    For updates regarding the selection process, please join the Residence Life Employee Recruitment CougSync page. If you have difficulties joining the CougSync group or submitting the application, please contact the Paraprofessional Recruitment and Selection team at

  • What is a Resident Advisor?

    An Overview

    A Resident Advisor is a student-staff member who works in the residence halls helping to create safe and engaged communities. They typically work on a floor with anywhere from 25 - 50 residents, on a staff of 4 - 20 paraprofessionals, and in a community that could be single-gender, coed, academically themed, large, small, primarily first year students, or upper class students. A Resident Advisor is one of the paraprofessional positions within the Department of Residence Life.

    A Resident Advisor, also known as an RA, works to develop a positive and educational community with their residents. This includes a variety of tasks from keeping the floor informed of on campus events to supporting students who are in crisis. The RA will often help solve conflicts on the floor and identify floor wide issues and address them. They are also connected across campus through working on department committees and taking part in large-scale programs. The position is very dynamic and changes from day to day.

    Our Resident Advisors wear many hats, but on any particular day they could:

    • Discuss a resident's personal concerns
    • Make referrals to Cougar Health Services
    • Plan and implement an educational or social program
    • Facilitate a conversation about a roommate conflict
    • Run a floor meeting
    • Serve as a resource
    • Work with academic advising issues
    • Have conversations regarding policy or contract violations

    Resident Advisors serve in a part time role, and while the scheduled hours are flexible due to the nature of the position, you can plan on spending about 20 hours per week on the job.


    Sponsor is the title of paraprofessionals that work in Stimson Hall. The Sponsors have the same opportunities and responsibilities as Resident Advisors. The Sponsors also undergo an in-hall selection process, called "Sponsor in Training," instead of the departmental selection process. If you are interested in a Sponsor position, you should contact the Stimson Hall Residential Education Director for more information.    

          Stimson hall students




  • What are we looking for?


    • Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 and a minimum semester GPA of 2.0 based on credits earned at WSU.
    • Status as a full-time student, carrying a minimum of 10 credit hours per semester.
    • Ability to successfully complete the two credit UNIV 497 course concurrent to your appointment (unless special arrangements have been made).
    • Ability to attend pre-service training as outlined in the application
    • Successful completion of a criminal background check.

    Characteristics we look for:

    • Positive attitude
    • Open minded
    • Creative problem solver
    • Critical thinker
    • Confidence
    • Team player
    • Good communication skills
    • Diversity of all kinds/people from all backgrounds

    Current staff testimonies:


    “I like being an RA for the obvious reasons. I like the diversity, the challenge and the leadership opportunity. I love being an RA because of what you learn. You learn about people and cultures that you never imagined interacting with. You meet incredible people and hear and create stories that you couldn't dream up. But the most important thing that this job does, is it teaches you that communities do not just appear, they don't just happen. In this job you learn how to take all of these people who are immensely different and make them come together by choice. It is incredible to watch six people turn to 20, then 40 and then before you know it a 500 person building becomes a home and you did that. You had a big part in that. And maybe if you can do that then you can go back into the real world and make a real difference. Being an RA teaches you life skills that give you hope.” –Kendall

    “You get to meet people you never would have otherwise” – Stephanie


    “[I can] interact with a lot of 1st year students, helping to guide them in the right direction” – Brayden


    “I like being an RA because it gives me a sense of responsibility, allows me to stay involved on campus, I get to meet a low of new people, I get to provide advice and guidance to people across campus, and makes me feel a part of a community.” – Michele


    “To me, being an RA is learning how to step out of your comfort zone. I have met a diverse group of people, whether they were my residents or other paraprofessionals, it exposed me to different ideas and thoughts that challenged me. It has helped me to be a more well-rounded and inclusive person that WSU strives for their students to be when working with others and fellow Cougs, or when welcoming new Cougs and helping them with their transition to their new home.”–Jenin

  • The Department

    Mission and Values Statement

    The Department of Residence Life serves all students living in our on campus communities. Scott Coman RAsOur goal is to assist students in making connections with others while providing a safe and supportive environment that promotes scholarship, leadership, personal growth and intercultural awareness. We value the development and inherent worth of the whole person, emphasizing interpersonal communications, life skills and responsible citizenship. We celebrate our common and diverse backgrounds and aspire to help every individual find success.

    Additional Residence Life Staff Positions


    RTAs assist residents with technology issues ranging from configuring their devices for network access, using various educational technologies at WSU, selecting and utilizing mobile devices with the campus network, getting the most out of my.wsu (e.g. configuring proxies), Coug Prints, Mobile Printing, etc. Get information about Residential Technology Assistants.


    An Assistant Hall Director, or AHD, serves as an assistant to the Residential Education Director. They do administrative tasks, run the front desk, work to support the other paraprofessionals, and act as the RED when they are not present. The duties of every AHD vary depending on the hall and RED. AHDs are also full-time undergraduate students here at WSU.


    The Residential Education Director, also known as the RED or Hall Director, is a full-time professional staff member who acts as the supervisor and supporter of the hall staff. It is their goal to create a positive atmosphere that promotes the personal and professional development of residents. They advise the hall government, help resolve conduct issues, facilitate meetings with staff, and carry out numerous department-wide tasks.

  • Benefits

    Benefits of Becoming a Paraprofessional


    • Receive Room and Board and a Level 3 Dining Account value, applied directly to their student account   



    • Communication skills enhancement
    • Team building
    • Conflict mediation training
    • Administrative experience
    • Leadership experience
    • Networking
    • Build/foster a community
    • Guide/impact fellow WSU students



    • Up-to-date campus news
    • Access to campus resources
    • Close friendships with staff and residents
    • Memories that will last a life-time



  • The Process

    The Selection Process


    The Paraprofessional Recruitment and Selection committee is made up of current paraprofessionals, assistant hall directors, and professional staff within the Department of Residence Life. The committee meets regularly in order to review all candidates' application materials.

    The selection process includes your application, interviews, and a group activity.  A combination of all components are considered in making selections for staff and assessing a good fit for a paraprofessional position. This includes:


    The group activity sessions are designed to showcase more about who you are as an individual and how you respond in group situations. You will be placed in a group with 8-15 other candidates and given a variety of activities to participate in together. Because being a paraprofessional involves working with residents and your staff team, this selection activity gives us some insight into the ways that you approach working with others. It is important to know that we will not be evaluating group members in comparison to one another. We are interested in observing each candidate, as an individual, within the context of group situations. Candidates will receive an overall score consisting of a combination of scores from all portions of the group activities.


    Interviews are conducted as part of the selection process. The interviews are led by a Residential Education Director (RED) one Assistant Hall Director (AHD). Interviews will also include current paraprofessional staff. You will be asked questions pertaining to your personal experiences related to the paraprofessional position. Interviews are completed as part of the selection session. 


    The short answer questions on the application are scored as part of the overall candidate score.

    Tips for Success
    • Be on time, which in this case means you should probably arrive 10 minutes early so that you have time to check in and be ready to begin on time.
    • Be yourself, as we are not looking for one specific type of leader or individual.
    • Be prepared to move around and interact with other individuals.
    • There is no dress code, professional attire is not necessary. Dress how you hope to be received.
    • There will be short breaks between activities, so please bring snacks or beverages if desired.

  • How We Decide

    A Committee Process

    The Paraprofessional Recruitment and Selection committee is made up of current paraprofessionals, assistant hall directors, and professional staff within the Department of Residence Life. The committee meets regularly in order to review all candidates' application materials.

    A combination of all components are considered in making selections for staff and assessing a good fit for a paraprofessional position. This includes:


    Candidates will receive an overall score consisting of a combination of scores from all portions of the process sessions. 


    Interviews are conducted by an RED and 2-3 Paraprofessionals. Candidates receive the average of the RED's and the Paraprofessionals scores for an overall interview score.


    The short answer questions on the application are scored as part of the overall candidate score.

  • Common Questions

    What do you look for in a successful RA candidate?

    Successful RA candidates have a variety of skills including good communication skills, an open mind, and a positive attitude.

    What is your scoring criterion?

    Your score is based on your application, group process/interview, and individual interview.

    When will I find out where I am placed?

    Letters concerning placement for academic year hires will be sent out the beginning of April via the email you provided on your application.

    How many are on my staff?

    Staffs range in size from 4-20 resident advisors.

    What is UNIV 497?

    UNIV 497 is the class that you will need to take concurrently with your first semester of employment with the Department of Residence Life. Departmentally sponsored UNIV 497 sessions are listed on the online course schedule. Additionally, we will tell you what sections of this class will be for parapros at the group process sessions.

    Can you be an RA without taking the UNIV 497 class?

    Successful completion of the UNIV 497 course is strongly recommended. If you have a unique circumstance you would like considered, please call Residence Life at 335-1227.

    What is the difference between Sponsor, RA, and paraprofessional?

    A Paraprofessional is the umbrella term that you can use to refer to all student staff members in Residence Life. RA, or Resident Advisor, is the specific name to paraprofessionals in all of the halls, except Stimson Hall. In Stimson Hall, the paraprofessionals are called Sponsors. Both positions play a similar role in our hall communities 

    What if I can't make the process session/miss my session?

    If you cannot attend or miss your process session, you will not get any points added to your candidate score and our staff will not have the opportunity to observe your readiness for the position. There are multiple process sessions and if you cannot make your assigned time you need to contact one of the committee chairs and have them reschedule your time. We do not guarantee that you will be able to reschedule, so please do not miss your session. Please see the Contact Us section for contact information.

    Where is the Residence Life office?

    The main office for Residence Life is above the Streit-Perham lobby.

    Do Sponsors still have to go to Process Sessions?

    No. Sponsor candidates participate in their own selection process (Sponsor in Training program). Any Sponsor applicants who want to also be considered for an RA position must go through the group process as well as complete the entire paraprofessional process.

    How many people are there in the applicant pool and how many of these will be hired? When do people usually find out?

    This size of the pool depends on the number of applicants and the number of returnees to the department. The first wave of hiring will happen in February and we will continue to fill positions as they open throughout the semester and summer.

    If hired, can you go through formal recruitment (Greek Life) in the fall?

    We have students who are part of the Greek community who also work as Resident Advisors, however formal recruitment happens during opening and Week of Welcome for us in Residence Life. Balancing participation in formal recruitment with being available to your residents is possible, but is very challenging.

    Can I be Greek and an RA?

    Yes! If you plan to join a residential Greek chapter, you will want to make sure that you are able to be a live-out member of your fraternity or sorority as your position requires you to live in the residence halls.

    If you are hired, how is it determined where you will be placed and when do you find that out?

    The selection committee looks at your building preferences, your evaluator's recommendations, and your application so that you can be placed in a community and on a staff where we think your talents will be well utilized.

    When do we find out where we'll be living?

    Placement letters for academic year hires are sent in April.

    How many people will be present in my interview?

    There will be two people at you interview(s).

    Is there a way to find out your "rank" of being hired/not hired when you're in the alternate pool?

    We do not operate on a strict ranking system. Your fit with a staff and community are more important than just your exact score. If you would like more information or feedback about your performance in the selection process, please schedule a time to meet with Brandon Brackett, Associate Director of Residence Life by calling 509-335-1227, option 4.

    What is the time commitment of being an RA?

    Resident Advisors can expect to commit about 20 hours a week to their RA role.
    Do we have to attend fall training if we have already been through training? What if we have time/scheduling conflicts?
    Training is required of all staff and takes place each semester. If you have a time/scheduling conflict with training, please contact a member of the central Residence Life staff at 335-1227.

    Do we have to apply for housing as an RA?

    If you have been hired to be an RA for the 2016-2017 school year, you should submit a housing application.

    Do you have to attend meetings and how many how often?

    Yes there is a weekly staff meeting on Wednesday at 7:00-10:00pm. You will also have a weekly meeting with your RED (Hall Director) that will last 30min-1 hour.

    What do you get in compensation for being an RA?

    Resident Advisors receive compensation in the form of their room cost and a level 3 meal plan.

    When are paraprofessionals required to be back in the fall?

    Usually training begins on the first Tuesday in August by 5:00pm. This information will be outlined in your acceptance letter.

    Will I have time to find a house/apartment if I'm not hired?

    We often hire people from the alternate pool throughout the summer. People who have signed leases for off campus housing, and are then offered the RA position, often have to decline as they are locked into a lease. We recommend considering returning to the Residence Halls or applying to live in University owned apartments as then your contract can be transferred if you are offered an RA position.


    Grade point averages are not "scored" in the selection process; however a minimum 2.0 semester GPA and a minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA is required to be a paraprofessional.

    What does it mean to be "in the pool"?

    Each year we have more people applying to be paraprofessionals than we have spots initially available. As a result, we place a number of applicants into what is called the alternate pool, commonly called the pool. This means we would like you on staff, but we don't currently have an open position to offer you! Those who are placed in the pool are still in the running to become paraprofessionals. Throughout the Spring Semester and into the summer, we will have a number of students decide that they are no longer interested in being a Resident Advisor. Each time we have an opening, someone from the pool will be selected to fill the opening, but it is impossible to know for sure if and when you could be hired from the pool.

    What are the odds of being accepted?

    It is difficult to provide the exact odds of being hired; however, of our 140 paraprofessional positions available each year, we often fill about 50% of those positions with new staff members.

    What is the purpose of the group interview?

    In Residence Life, we work in teams and how you interact with people is important for us to understand. We want to create well-balanced teams with many different personalities and styles so that we can best serve our residents. The group process sessions give us a chance to see you in action with others.

    How can I change my application if something happens and it is no longer accurate?

    Contact the committee co-chairs or the Residence Life Office (335-1227).

  • Contact Us

    Please contact us with any questions or comments.


    (509) 335-1227 (press #4 for Residence Life)