Housing and Residential Life
Housing & Residence Life is recruiting new Resident Advisors (RAs) for the 2021-22 school year.
Attention: At this time Housing & Residence Life is delaying the interview process for the RA position. There is no determined timeline, but as soon as there are updates each candidate that has applied will be contacted. The Application will close at 12pm (PST) on Wednesday, March 3, 2021.
Becoming an RA is a one-of-a-kind leadership opportunity that teaches communication, team building, and conflict mediation skills. RAs can have an incredible positive impact on students' experience at WSU. They also receive a level 3 RDA meal plan and housing in the residence hall they're assigned to.
This year interviews will be entirely virtual and through Zoom.
Learn more about becoming an RA:
- Attend an upcoming info session:(Click on Link below to open)
- Ask an RA:
- Want to know what it’s like to be an RA at WSU? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and the PPRS Committee will connect you with a current RA to help answer your questions
Applications for the 2021-2022 academic year will open on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 and will close at 12pm (PST) on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. At this time the interview process has been paused and will resume at a later time in the semester.
This year the application is on Handshake. For updates regarding the selection process please keep a close on your email in the early weeks of January. After the application closes, communication will be sent directly to each individual, directly to your WSU email. If you have difficulties or feel that you've missed communication, please contact the Paraprofessional Recruitment and Selection team at residence.life.PPRS@wsu.edu. Please note outside the months of January to May this email is not checked daily.
What is a Resident Advisor?
A Resident Advisor (RA), is one of the paraprofessional positions within the Department of Residence Life and works in the residence halls helping to create safe and engaged communities. During a traditional year, they typically work on a floor with anywhere from 25 - 50 residents, on a staff of 4 - 20 paraprofessionals. This year the RA to student ratio has ranged as low as 1:5 and up to 1:25. RAs work in a community that could be single-gender, coed, academically themed, large, small, primarily first year students, or returning students.
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 RA's 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 a social or educational program
- Facilitate a conversation about a roommate conflict
- Facilitate a floor meeting
- Discuss academics and refer to academic resources
- Participate in overnight on-call rotation in community and complete rounds of community
- Have conversations regarding policy or contract violations
RA's 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.
Additional Residence Life Employment: Stimson Sponsors:
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.
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 12 credit hours per semester.
- 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
- Team player
- Good communication skills
- Diversity of all kinds/people from all backgrounds
Current staff testimonies:
Why Do You Like Being a Paraprofessional?
“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
Mission and Values Statement
The Department of Residence Life serves all students living in our on campus communities. Our 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
Residential Technology Assistant
A Residential Technology Assistant, also known as an RTA, 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.
Assistant Hall Director/Head Sponsor
An Assistant Hall Director/Head Sponsor*, or AHD/HS, 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 AHD position requires at least two semesters as an RA prior to "start date" of the position. For any current or previous staff that would be interested in applying to be an AHD and have two semesters prior to Fall 2021 the AHD/HS the application opens Wednesday, October 21, 2020. For additional details reach out to Dustin Cooper or email PPRS Email (email@example.com)
Residential Education Director
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.
*Sponsors are student staff positions in Stimson. Though the Sponsor role is recruited internally by Stimson, the Head Sponsor position is recruited through the AHD/HS process.
Benefits of Becoming a Paraprofessional
- Receive Level 3 Dining Account Value, applied directly to their student account
- Room within hall that they are assigned to
- Opportunity to work break periods (current compensation for working a break period is $350.00 per week worked)
- Communication skills enhancement
- Conflict mediation training
- Administrative experience
- Leadership experience
- Build/foster a community
- Guide/impact fellow WSU students
- Direct access to on-campus news
- Access to campus resources during fall and spring training
- Close friendships with staff and residents
- Memories that will last a life-time
The Selection Process
A Committee Process
The Paraprofessional Recruitment and Selection, also known as PPRS, committee is made up of current paraprofessionals, assistant hall directors, and professional staff members within the Department of Residence Life. The committee meets regularly in order to review all phases of the process. All candidate application materials are reviewed by the professional staff members on the committee, which is made up of the RED team.
The selection process includes your application and two interviews.
The Process: Two Individual Interviews
Every completed application receives an interview offer. Interviews are conducted as part of the selection process. The interviews are led by either a Residential Education Director (RED) or an Assistant Hall Director/Head Sponsor (AHD/HS). Interviews will also include current paraprofessional staff (in addition to the RED or AHD). You will be asked questions pertaining to your personal experiences related to the paraprofessional position.
The short answer questions on the application are scored as part of the overall candidate score.
Tips for Success for this years interviews:
- Be on time/login on time, which in this case means you should probably try logging onto Zoom 15 minutes early to check-in incase you have to restart your computer or have any technical issues.
- Make sure you have the most up to date Zoom: https://zoom.us/download.
- Check your personal Zoom settings and ensure your zoom name matches who you are.
- Be aware of any virtual backgrounds that you are using.
- Be sure that you have any needed power equipment and that your technology is charged.
- Plan to have a phone in case you have trouble connecting and need to call into the interview.
- Find a quiet space where you can interview undisturbed.
- Be yourself, as we are not looking for one specific type of leader or individual.
- There is no dress code, professional attire is not necessary. Dress how you hope to be received.
- There will be a brief break between the two interviews, do not leave/log-out after your first individual interview.
How We Decide
A Committee Process
The Paraprofessional Recruitment and Selection committee is made up of current paraprofessionals, AHD/HS, 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:
Interviews are conducted by an RED or AHD and one 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.
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 and individual interviews (2).
When will I find out where I am placed?Letters concerning placement for academic year hires are traditionally sent out by the beginning of April via the email you provided on your application. This year the timeline may be delayed.
How many are on my staff?Traditionally staffs range in size from 4-20 RA. Current staff sizes range from 4 - 12 RA.
What is UNIV 497?Special Note: The upcoming academic year 2021/2022 will not require 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?Special Note: The upcoming academic year 2021/2022 will not require UNIV 497.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 509-335-1227.
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 (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 interview/miss my scheduled interview day?If you cannot attend or miss your interviews, 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 two interviews 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 scheduled time. 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. You can also contact us at: https://housing.wsu.edu/contact-us/
Do Sponsors still have to go to Process Sessions?Special Note: Sponsor recruitment for this is has been significantly impacted and will not be an option for the remainder of AY 2020/2021.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 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 returners to the department. Traditionally the first wave of hiring will happen in March and continue to fill positions as they open throughout the semester and summer. Please know that offers this year are likely to be delayed. The number of hired candidates is likely to be impacted by campus occupancy for fall/spring next year.
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. Traditionally 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.
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 is not possible at this time.
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. Placement letters are traditionally sent in April/May, but may be delayed.
How many people will be present in my interview?There will be two people at you interview(s).
What Platform will interviews be in this year?
This year interviews will be completely virtual and through Zoom. If you need additional assistance please contact the PPRS committee by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Dustin Cooper, Assistant 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.
How has the role changed over the past semester/year?This year the role has predominantly moved to a virtual platform through Zoom and other forms of social media. At the start of the semester face to face interactions are heavily limited and altered as the semester goes to align with health and safety protocols.
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 509-335-1227.
Do we have to apply for housing as an RA?If you have been hired to be an RA for the 2021-2022 school year, you should submit a housing application. Instructions are listed in your offer letter if hired.
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 that will last at least 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.
GPA/Grades?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 are the odds of being accepted?It is difficult to provide the exact odds of being hired; Traditionally we have approximately 155 paraprofessional positions available each year, we often fill about 50% of those positions with new staff members. We are currently unsure how ratios will be impacted for the upcoming fall semester.
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 (509-335-1227).