Skip to main content

Resident Assistant

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)



  • 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!

There are no more information sessions scheduled for this year. Watch in November 2022 for a schedule of information sessions to take place regarding the 2023-2024 selection process. 

Timeline of Process

Check back in Fall 2022 for information about the 2023-2024 process. 


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, though we do ask for your preferences! When you apply, you are applying for the RA role, regardless of building placement.

We then take your preferences into account and do our best to follow those preferences, while also accounting 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?

All RAs receive a single room and an Open Access Meal Plan (when the meal plan is in service). RAs also receive earnings of $1,500 per academic year ($600 in Fall Quarter, $400 in Winter Quarter, and $400 in Spring Quarter) while employed.

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 reach out to the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid and speak with one of the financial aid counselors prior to applying to determine how your financial aid may be impacted.

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.