Skip to main content

Why become an RA?

Make a difference and make campus feel like home. Gain leadership, communication, counseling skills, and much more in an exciting residential environment.

Am I eligible to become an RA?

A Penn State RA works to lead by example and create a welcoming and safe community for residents on campus. In order to qualify to become an RA you must:

  • Attend one RA information sessions

  • Completed 12 Penn State credits upon application (does NOT include advanced placement, transfer or current semester credits).

  • Must demonstrate good academic standing with at least a 2.40 cumulative GPA.

  • The Student Conduct history of candidates will be checked prior to selection and placement and may preclude a candidate from being hired.

RA Application Process & Timeline

Applications for RA positions are posted and hired in the fall semester. Students who are successfully selected are invited to take the 3 credit HI ED 302 course the following spring semester in preparation.

  • Ready to apply? Start with attending one of the required information sessions in order to start the process.

RA Information Sessions (Fall 2021)

Attending an information session is the first step in becoming an RA.

  • September 2, 2021
    5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
    112 Borland Building

  • September 3, 2021
    5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
    112 Borland Building

  • September 7, 2021
    5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
    112 Borland Building

  • September 8, 2021
    5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
    112 Borland Building

  • September 9, 2021
    5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
    112 Borland Building

  • September 10, 2021
    5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
    112 Borland Building

  • September 13, 2021
    5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
    112 Borland Building

  • September 14, 2021
    5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
    112 Borland Building

RA Selection Information

Once you attend an information session you'll be given the password to access the selection information document below. Attendance at a virtual information session is required.

What responsibilities does an RA have?

Community Development
  • Assist residents in developing a meaningful community that supports and promotes the ideals of personal and academic responsibility and engaged citizenship.
  • Develop a community agreement/pledge and facilitate regular community meetings to encourage ongoing development and engagement within the residential living environment.
  • Commit to and become involved in the development of educational, social, recreational, and cultural events for residents.
  • Assess residents' needs and plan events that effectively meet the needs outlined in the educational priority and residence life curriculum.
  • Encourage residents to pursue their educational and personal interests and plan their own events and activities.
  • Support department- and University-wide initiatives for community development and education.
  • Engage in positive intentional interactions with individual members of the community.
  • Encourage students to take responsibility for their actions and accept consequences for their behavior.
Academic Connection
  • Promote and encourage the academic experience in support of living-learning communities.
  • Highlight the clear connection between in-class academics with out-of-class learning and growth through intentional and meaningful conversations.
  • Promote opportunities for students to engage with each other, faculty, and staff with a focus on the academic area of interest of the learning community (where appropriate).
  • Encourage residents to pursue their educational interests in a supportive environment.
  • Engage students in formal and informal peer interactions in relation to area of academic interest.
Role Modeling
  • Serve as a highly visible campus leader and representative of Residence Life and Penn State.
  • Remain in good social, financial, academic and conduct standing with the University.
  • Uphold high standards and live in accordance with the policies outlined in the Student Code of Conduct, the Housing Terms and Conditions, and the Residence Life RA Manual.
  • Understand that role modeling behavior is considered during your appointment at the University including on and off campus as well as in cyber profiles and social media outlets.
Individual Helping and Referral
  • Assist residents with academic, personal, and social matters within the limits of his/her training and capabilities, and serve as a resource and referral agent.
  • Get to know residents in the assigned area of responsibility well enough to recognize changes in behavior patterns for which counseling or other assistance may be necessary.
  • Become familiar with campus and community resources.
  • Be aware of the scope of your responsibility and consult with a supervisor.
  • Maintain appropriate confidentiality regarding students' records and incidents.
Meeting and Training Programs
  • Successfully complete the RA class or equivalent and RA Training.
  • Attend all Residence Life and environment-specific staff meetings and training programs including semester arrival preparations in the entirety. No exceptions will be granted without appropriate consultation.
Enforcement of Regulations and Policies
  • Understand, abide by, and enforce all University regulations and policies in a fair and consistent manner.
  • Educate residents about their role to abide by University regulations and policies.
  • Facilitate a climate that promotes individual responsibility and protects the rights of the individual and the community.
  • As a designated Campus Security Authority, uphold the Clery Act and Title IX guidelines.
Emergency Response
  • Assume on-call/duty responsibility as scheduled (8:00pm - 7:00am) at night, on weekends, during break periods when the University remains open (e.g. Labor Day, etc.), and during hall openings/closing to ensure proper coverage.
  • Serve as needed in times of emergency response, e.g. severe inclement weather, crisis response, etc.
  • Live in residence each night throughout the year during contract periods, including examination periods, unless an overnight absence is approved by the supervisor.
Safety and Security
  • Conduct rounds of the assigned housing area in accordance with protocol.
  • Document and submit reports in a timely manner.
  • Educate residents on fire and personal safety as well as evacuation procedures in the event of an emergency.
  • Ensure the community is safe and livable for residents.
  • Read and become familiar with administrative procedures contained in the Student Code of Conduct, the Housing Terms and Conditions, and the Residence Life RA manual.
  • Be present for and assist with opening and closing the halls/buildings.
  • Assist with housing administration functions as assigned.
  • Collect and disseminate information in order to generate reports as required.
  • Serve on committees or assigned functional areas that are initiated throughout the year.
  • Be fiscally responsible when using department funds.
  • Assume other related duties as assigned.
Outside Commitments
  • Limit outside activities to avoid conflict with residence hall responsibilities which are a priority.
  • Review and receive approval for any significant additional commitments with supervisor prior to start of term and throughout the semester. Employment and other commitments must not interfere with the RA duties.
  • Cap the amount of hours at an outside job at no more than 15 hours per week; all outside employment must be approved.
  • Restrict being a president of a governing student organization.
  • Restrict positions on executive boards unless there is prior approval from the supervisor.
Evaluation and Reappointment
  • Resident Assistants are not necessarily reappointed for the following academic year. Reappointments are contingent upon the Resident Assistant's performance during the previous year. Some of the factors taken into account are successful completion of tasks, positive evaluation by the supervisor, demonstration of continued engagement for the RA role, and needs of the students population.
  • Residence Life maintains the right to reassign the Resident Assistant upon the needs of our office and the student population.
  • Each campus reserves the right to have expressed term limits.
Penn State Student Affairs
Residence Life

201 Johnston Commons
University Park, PA 16802