RA Selection FAQ


Position Specifics

  • What is an RA (Resident Assistant)? Resident Assistants are full time students who live in the residence halls and provide leadership to the community.  Resident Assistants are responsible for providing educational and social programming, connecting students with campus resources, and enforcing residence halls policies.
  • How much time does the position take? The RA position is unique in that it is a live-in position.  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.  On the whole RAs work an average of 20 hours a week. (There will be a few weeks that may require a little 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 residence hall.  This is to make sure our halls are adequately staffed in case of emergencies.
  • Will I have to work weekends? RAs are required to work several weekend duty shifts throughout the course of the semester, and must be around the building on occasional weekends which are “all-hands on deck” work 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 responsibilities RAs have.
  • 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 (up to a certain amount of hours per day)
  • What do you do during SLD? SLD is an intense 2.5 week period where RAs and RSG Exec Board members attend sessions on a number of different topics including: emergency preparedness, campus resources and departments, residents’ needs and how to meet those needs, alcohol and other drugs, how to confront conduct situations, diversity training and much more.  In addition, time is spent bonding with other RAs, your building staff, and other campus resources.  Most RAs find this a very beneficial 2.5 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 and you will have to participate in Skype interviews during designated times that you and the RA Selection Committee are available.

Financial Aid Package

  • How much do RAs get paid? RAs receive a financial aid package consisting of a furnished room/apartment and a meal package.
  • What are the housing options for RAs? RAs receive a furnished room/apartment in one of the USC Housing facilities.  This housing can be a single room, a one-bedroom apartment (shared room), or a two-bedroom apartment (shared space, own bedroom). It depends on placement.  RAs are allowed to select their roommates if they are placed in space that requires 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 _________ hall? 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 (minus your Application 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 (minus your Application fees).
  • What is different about the special interest communities? The special interest communities are designed for students who have a specific interest in a particular area. RAs on these floors provide the same services as RAs on non-special interest floors, but they also provide programming geared to the interest floor.

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 RAselection@usc.edu 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 the middle of February.
  • Who should I choose to be my references?  Everyone is required to provide one reference when they submit their application. We advise you pick a reference who will be able to speak best to your teamwork, leadership skills or your ability to fulfill the responsibilities of an RA. For example, if you have a current RA you can reach out to, another student leader on campus, a previous supervisor/employer, or any faculty/staff.