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Resident Assistant Selection

RA Position Description

The RA is an essential member of the Northwestern Residential Services team whose primary role is to build strong communities by facilitating the social, academic, and personal transition of residential students as they enter and move through their Northwestern experiences.

RAs provide facilitated programs and services designed to both respond to student needs and provide opportunities for education, support, and personal growth. RAs must be comfortable interacting with university officials, faculty, staff, parents, and above all else, students.

RAs report directly to a Resident Director, and indirectly to the Program Manager, Assistant Directors, and Director of Residential Life. RAs work collaboratively with all Residential Services staff.

View or download the full RA position description here (PDF)

Apply for the RA position for 2023-2024


  • Be a full time, degree seeking undergraduate Northwestern student, enrolled in courses each quarter.
  • Have a minimum quarterly and cumulative GPA of 2.5 or above.
  • Be in good academic and conduct standing. Good standing means you are not on probation.
  • First year RAs cannot participate in opportunities that require significant time off campus including, but not limited to; Chicago Field Studies, Internships, or student teaching.

Interested in learning more? Come to an information session or watch a session online!

Information sessions are listed below for the 23-24 recruitment process. 

Norris University Center, Rock Room 207

All times 12:00-1:00p.m.

Light refreshments provided

  • Wednesday, January 4, 2023
  • Thursday, January 5, 2023
  • Tuesday, January 10, 2023
  • Wednesday, January 11, 2023
  • Thursday, January 12, 2023
  • Tuesday, January 17, 2023
  • Wednesday, January 18, 2023

 In the Residence Halls

All times 7:00-8:00p.m.

Light refreshments provided

  •  Thursday, January 5, 2023 - Elder 30 & Shepard B25
  • Tuesday, January 10, 2023 - Shepard B25
  • Wednesday, January 11, 2023 - Schapiro 101A, Willard B72, and Elder 30
  • Tuesday, January 17, 2023 - Willard B72, Schapiro 101A & 101B
  • Thursday, January 19, 2023 - Shepard B25, and Elder 30

In the Black House


Light refreshments provided 

  • Thursday, January 12, 2023 

In the Multicultural Center


Light refreshments provided 

  • Wednesday, January 18, 2023 - 7:00 p.m. 

Timeline of Process

Process Timeline
Application Opens November 7, 2022 @ 9:00 a.m.
Information Sessions (Round 1) November 8-10, 2022
Information Sessions (Round 2) January 9-12, 2023 and January 17-19, 2023
Application Closes January 20, 2023 @ 11:59 p.m.
Candidate Interviews February 15-17, 2023
Candidates Notified of Status March 10-15, 2023
Candidate Acceptances/Declines Due March 24, 2023

FAQS: Who do I contact for more information?

You can talk to any of our Resident Directors or email to reach a member of our Student Staff Selection, Training, and Recognition Committee.

FAQS: Do I get to choose where I live as an RA?

No, but we do ask for building, area, and community size preferences. When you apply to be an RA, you are applying for the role, not the building placement. We will take your preferences into account for strengths, space limitations, and staffing needs.

FAQS: What is required to apply?

All candidates must:
  • fill out the online RA application
  • be in good standing academically and with the Office of Community Standards (meaning you're not actively on probation at the time the appointment starts)
  • maintain a minimum 2.5 cumulative and quarterly GPA
  • be enrolled as a full-time, undergraduate student

FAQS: What is the compensation for RAs and SRAs?

The RA and SRA compensation model has been updated for the 2023-2024 academic year. The changes were implemented to mitigate the negative impact on financial aid packages for some students. The changes are outlined and explained below. All RA and SRA candidates are highly encouraged to meet with Financial Aid early in the selection process to review how the compensation package may impact your individual aid package.  

Compensation Summary 

  • $9,500 room stipend paid monthly over ten months (September to June - tentative plan) 
  • $1,500 stipend paid monthly over 10 months (September to June) for Resident Assistants 
    • $3,000 stipend paid monthly over 10 months (September to June) for Senior Resident Assistants 
  • Open access meal plan  

FAQS: Why has the RA compensation plan changed? What is different? Can you tell me more about it?

Changes in RA and SRA Compensation Between 2021-2022 and 2022-2023

  • Room 
    • Instead of room charges not appearing on your student account, you will be charged a discounted room rate ($9,500) 
    • You will receive payments equal to $9,500 that can be used to pay your room charges. The room stipend will be paid before all room charges are posted. 
  • Board 
    • RAs will continue to receive the open access meal plan 
    • This will not appear on your student account.  
  • Stipend 
    • RAs will continue to receive a $1,500 taxable stipend paid monthly over a ten-month period (September to June) 
    • Senior RAs will continue to receive a $3,000 taxable stipend paid monthly over a ten-month period (September to June) 

Frequently Asked Questions 

  • Why is this change being implemented?  
    • In partnership with the Undergraduate Financial Aid office, Residential Services worked closely for several years to develop a unique compensation model for RAs and SRAs. This plan will have little to no impact on the financial aid packages that RAs receive. This addresses the negative impact that the previous compensation model had on financial aid for students with high financial need and addresses limitations in the previous compensation model. The new model, outlined above, will be in effect starting in the 2023-2024 academic year. 
  • Will I be taxed on the stipends? 
    • Taxes operate on a calendar-year basis. RA stipends are taxable at both the state and federal level. Each individual’s income tax situation may be different. If the RA stipend is your only source of income for the calendar year, then based on current law it is unlikely that you will have any federal income tax liability. However, you will still have State of Illinois income tax liability that is currently calculated at 4.95%. All RAs will receive additional monies to mitigate or eliminate the expected 4.95% state tax. This information is provided for illustration only and is not tax advice. 

FAQS: Will I still receive financial aid if I'm an RA?

Yes, you are still eligible for financial aid. However, being an RA can impact your total financial aid package.

Early in the application process, we STRONGLY encourage all interested candidates to schedule an appointment with Angela Yang or Brian Drabik in Undergraduate Financial Aid to review your individual situation. Please note in your email request that you are or are applying to become an RA or SRA.  

FAQS: Can transfer students apply?

Yes! We encourage all transfer students to apply. You must be a current Northwestern undergraduate student at the time of applying for the role. 

FAQS: Can graduate students apply?

The RA position is an undergraduate student leadership role. We do have Graduate RAs (GRA) that serve in our graduate housing communities. Please see the Residential Services website for more information on the GRA position.