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RA Selection FAQ


Position Specifics

  • What is an RA (Resident Assistant)? The Resident Assistant (RA) position is a unique student leadership opportunity at the University of Southern California. RAs serve as resources, role models, and peer educators to residents. RAs work collaboratively as members of a RA team including a Residential College Coordinator (RCC) and, on some teams, a Graduate Residential College Coordinator (GRCC) to create a vital and engaged living-learning community. Together, the RA team provides events and services that foster the holistic development of members within our USC residential community.
  • How much time does the position take? The RA position is unique in that it is a live-in position. On average, there are 8-10 structured and scheduled hours per week (e.g. attending meetings), but additional responsibilities take up at least another 10-12 hours a week. (There will be a few weeks that may require more than 20 hours including move-in week, training, etc…)
  • Do I have free days? RAs are expected to spend a significant portion of their time in the community.  The specific expectations are that RAs notify and get approval from their supervisor for any extended period of time away from the residential community.  This is to make sure our communities are adequately staffed in case of emergencies.
  • Will I have to work weekends? RAs are required to work several weekend emergency response (ER) shifts throughout the course of the semester, and must be around the building on occasional weekends which are “all-hands on deck” days.
  • Do you have to work the CSC? No, but part of the RA responsibility is creating a great working relationship with their CSCs and other Housing employees.  We are a team that helps create a great living experience for the residents.
  • How much of the position will focus on conduct? While it tends to be the most visible, conduct is only a small part of the many RA responsibilities.
  • Can I have a social life with this position? Yes, in fact we encourage it!

Time Commitment

  • Can I just do it for a semester? Unfortunately no, RAs are hired for the entire academic year. It would be unfair to the staff team and residents to switch RAs during the year.
  • When does summer training start? SLD usually starts approximately 2.5 weeks prior to the halls open for Fall Semester.
  • What if I have a conflict with the SLD training dates? Training is mandatory, no exceptions. If you are not available for training you can be considered as an alternate but cannot be selected in the initial pool of applicants. The only exceptions are made for USC summer school classes. The only summer courses that can be approved must be (a) held at USC and (b) absolutely necessary for graduation in that academic year.
  • What do you do during SLD? SLD is an intense 2 week period where RAs and RHA Exec Board members attend sessions on a number of different topics including: residential experience and engagement, emergency preparedness, campus resources, residents’ needs and how to meet those needs, how to confront conduct situations, resolving roommate mediations, equity & inclusion training, and much more.  In addition, time is spent bonding with other RAs and your building team. Most RAs find this a very beneficial 2 weeks! Read more about SLD here
  • What if I’m studying abroad in the year I want to be an RA?  You can still apply but you will not be able to be offered a position unless a suitable position opens up in the spring. If you are deemed eligible, you would be placed in our alternate pool and would be considered with any other eligible candidates.
  • What is the process for being a summer RA? All summer RAs must be a current RA in order to apply. The Summer RA process is completely separate from the main RA Selection process.

Eligibility: Requirements to Apply

  • Can I apply if I am a PhD student? Unfortunately Ph.D. students are not eligible to participate in the Resident Assistant position. USC’s Graduate School has informed us that due to the time constraints and intense demand of study toward the PhD, all PhD students at USC are not eligible to serve as a resident assistant.
  • Can I apply if I don’t live in the halls/if I never lived in the halls? Yes, we encourage any full-time USC student who is interested to apply.
  • Does my GPA have to be great? RAs are required to have a 2.5 Cumulative GPA and a 2.5 Semester GPA (3.0 for graduate students).  RAs must be enrolled as full-time USC students during both semesters.
  • Will being documented for something in the past impact my chances of being hired? Being documented in the past, can, but does not automatically exclude you from being an RA.  The committee looks at each student’s discipline file individually and makes an assessment based on a number of factors including: severity of violation(s), number of violations, time since violation(s) occurred, and community involvement since violation(s) occurred.  We try to look at the situation as a whole and NOT attribute the situation as the only representation of that student.
  • What if I’m studying abroad in Spring when interviews are happening?  You can still apply. Our interview process is conducted on Zoom, and there will be designated interview times you can select from.

RA Benefits

  • How much do RAs get paid? RAs receive a furnished room/apartment in USC Housing and a USC Hospitality meal package.
  • What impact will being an RA have on my financial aid? Please visit our Financial Aid & the RA Position page for details. We encourage you to contact the Financial Aid Office if you have specific questions, and to make sure that your application for financial aid for next year is complete and there are no outstanding requests for information.
  • What are the housing options for RAs? RAs receive a furnished room/apartment in one of the USC Housing facilities. This housing can be either a single room, one-bedroom apartment, or two-bedroom apartment (shared space, own bedroom). Multi-bedroom Apartment RAs have a single bedroom in this shared living space and may share with two other roommates in the other bedroom(s). These RAs are provided a limited time period to request roommate(s) for these shared spaces as long as the roommates(s) requested are current USC students and do so within the timeframe established by REsEd and USC Housing. McCarthy Honors RAs will not have the ability to request their roommates.
  • Do RAs get preferential parking? Not exactly.  RAs typically can apply for parking and are on a ResEd list that almost ensures them a parking pass if they want to pay for it.  RAs are responsible for paying all parking fees, including those to park while in attendance at SLD.
  • How can I make sure I get placed in _________ residential college/community? The Selection Committee will take into account where a candidate would like to be placed; however, we place candidates in the location we feel is most effective in order to build a strong team for that hall/community. If you are selected as an RA, you will have another opportunity to let us know where you would preferably be placed and this will be taken into consideration, but ultimately it is the decision of the committee.


  • Should I go through the University Housing Renewal Process?  Since you will not receive your offer until after the University Housing Renewal Process is over, we HIGHLY suggest that you go through the process in the event that you do not receive a position. If you are offered and accept a RA position, you will be reimbursed all fees.
  • How do I look for housing if I don’t know if I’ll get the position? Since we cannot guarantee that any particular person(s) will be hired, we encourage all applicants to work towards securing housing for the following academic year while applying for the RA position.  You can apply for USC Housing and if you receive the RA position, we will cancel your contract free of charge.
  • What are the Living Learning Communities? The Living Learning Communities are designed for students who have a specific interest in a particular area. RAs in these communities provide the same services as RAs on non-LLCs, but they also provide events geared to the specific interest.

Online Application

  • My login name isn’t working properly. What do I do?  Make sure you are using your USC Net ID (Shibboleth login).   If you do not currently have a USC email, you will need to login through the green button and create a eRezLife account.  If you are still having trouble please email and be as specific as possible with your concern.
  • What if I have been an RA at another institution or in another department? Should I apply as a new or returning applicant?  If you have never been hired as an RA for the Office for Residential Education you should apply as a New Applicant.
  • Can I start my Profile at any time?   Yes, you can start your eRezLife profile page at any time prior to the application being open.  These are demographic questions.
  • What if I don’t have a GPA yet?:  If you are a first year or transfer student, for your GPA, please wait until you receive your final GPA for the fall semester (as long as you receive it before the application due date). You should be able to fill out the entire application and save it until you receive your GPA.
  • When will I find out if I got an interview?  You will be notified through the eRezLife application portal.
  • When will I know that I have the position? Final decisions are made in February.