Frequently asked questions about Resident Assistants

Questions about being an RAApplication QuestionsSelection Process QuestionsOther Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about being an RA

How can the RA job benefit me?
Each RA is compensated with a room (the number of roommates may vary), meal plan, and a $400 per semester stipend.

Through Fall and Spring training, the RA class, and on-the-job experience, you'll learn about good communication skills, time management, campus resources, activity planning, crisis response, and appropriate confrontation. Along with building your resume, you will establish lasting friendships with staff and students.

Will the room and meal plan compensation affect my financial aid?
Each individual’s financial aid package is unique, and the RA remuneration can affect your financial aid. We encourage all applicants to contact the Office of Financial Aid and determine the exact effect on their financial aid package. It is each applicant’s responsibility to be aware of how their financial aid will be affected. 

How can I learn more about the RA position?
Read through the information on this website, and especially the RA position description. Go to the RA selection timeline page to find out when information sessions will be held.

Residence Hall staff such as RHDs, Graduate Assistants, and current RAs are also a great resource to learn more about the RA position. 

What is the RA class?
For those candidates that are hired for positions or selected as alternates, the RA class is a required course which helps prepare them for the RA role. The class is EPS 406 – Resident Assistant Pre-Service Training Course – and covers topics like:

  • Communication skills
  • Student development
  • Helping skills
  • Programming skills

EPS 406 will meet in-person once a week and for two Saturday seminars in the second half of the spring 2015 semester. If you are hired as a 2015-2016 RA or accepted as an alternate RA, you will be enrolled in a section of EPS 406 (days and times to be announced).

All candidates hired as RAs or selected as alternates during the 2015-2016 RA selection process must take EPS 406 in the spring of 2015 unless prevented from doing so for academic reasons. Postponing EPS 406 must be approved by the Coordinator of Staff and Community Development.

Since the RA course is a two-credit class, an override may be required for students already enrolled in 18 credit hours in the spring 2015 semester (or 15 credit hours for graduate students). 

Application Questions

I am getting an error message when I try to access the RA application. What can I do?
If you are using an old version of Mozilla or Safari it may be causing the error. Please try to access the application using Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, or an updated version of Mozilla. Please remember that if you do not have those browsers installed, you can always use a computer on the NAU campus, such as in Cline Library or a Residence Hall computer lab, to complete the application.

If you are typing your personal statement, employment information, or anticipated class schedule in a word document to be copied and pasted into the application, please keep the text formatting simple. The text boxes in the application system will not recognize complicated formatting. For example, bullet points, bold, or italic text will not have that formatting when pasted into the application text boxes, and formatting may confuse the system and give you an error message when you try to save the page.

If you follow these suggestions and you still receive an error message when you try to fill out the application, please call 928-523-5840 during the business hours of 8 a.m.-5 p.m. to troubleshoot over the phone.

How can I apply to be an RA?
RAs for the 2014-2015 academic year have already been hired.

The application to become an RA for the 2015-2016 academic year will be open from November 5, 2014 through January 20, 2015 at 5 p.m. Please note that late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Go to the main RA Selection page to find the online application.

Can I apply to be an RA if I am a CCC2NAU student?
RAs are required to be NAU students enrolled in NAU classes. Therefore, CCC2NAU students are not eligible to participate in RA selection processes. Once CCC2NAU students transition to enrolling in NAU classes, they may be eligible to apply for the RA position. Please email if you are a CCC2NAU student and have questions about your eligibility to apply.

Can I apply to be an RA in the Hilltop Townhomes or The Suites?
Housing and Residence Life does not manage the Hilltop Townhomes or The Suites, so we do not hire Resident Assistants for those buildings. If you are interested in employment with American Campus Communities, the company that manages those two buildings, please call 928-523-1680 for the Hilltop Townhomes or 928-523-8622 for The Suites.

How can I get more information on personal statements and interviewing?
Northern Arizona University’s Career Services (located in building number 43, the Gateway Student Success Center across from Sechrist Hall) has many resources to assist students with applying and interviewing. You can call the Gateway Student Success Center at 928-523-4772 to set up an appointment or visit the Career Services webpage

Do I  need to complete a reference form?
No, reference forms are no longer required for the RA selection processes at NAU. 

When are the applications due?
Applications for the RA position in the 2015-2016 academic year will be due on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 5 p.m.

Please be sure you are planning ahead and submit your application as early as possible in order to avoid any last minute issues with computers, illness, etc. We do not accept late or incomplete applications. There are several writing sections in the application, so please allow yourself plenty of time to write thorough responses.


Selection Process Questions

When are interviews?
Housing and Residence Life has scheduled the week of February 3, 2015 to February 6, 2015 for interviews. We ask that you keep these days available and flexible outside of your class schedule. Candidates who continue through the whole RA selection process will participate in a two hour interview which will include a group process and an individual interview.

If you are not available on the week of February 3, 2015 to February 6, 2015, we will do our best to accommodate an alternative time if possible. If we are unable to accommodate your schedule, your application will no longer be considered in this RA selection process.

Will everyone who turns in an application get an interview?
Not everyone will receive an interview – the number of people who do is dependent on the number of applicants. We will screen the applications for current GPA, conduct history, and for past experiences (employment, volunteer, etc.). If there are more candidates than interview slots, or if candidates do not meet the minimum requirements, some will be cut from the process.

If you submit an RA application, please plan to come to North Hall (bldg. 5), second floor reception area between 8 a.m. on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 and 5 p.m. on Friday, January 23, 2015 to schedule an interview time. You will be notified via your NAU email if you have not been moved forward in the selection process.

Who will I interview with?
Each candidate will participate in a group interview with other candidates, as well as an individual interview with Housing and Residence Life staff members. 

What should I wear for the interview?
We ask candidates to dress “business casual” – no jeans or shorts, but slacks or khakis are fine.

How will I know what time my interview is scheduled for?
RA Applicants must come up to the Housing and Residence Life office in North Hall (bldg. 5), second floor reception area to schedule their interview time. Interview scheduling can be accomplished starting at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 and must be completed by 5 p.m. on Friday, January 23, 2015.

A staff member will assist all candidates in finding an interview time that works with their class schedule. Please note that all applicants must come to North Hall and schedule their interview in person; this cannot be completed via e-mail or telephone.
The interview time that you set up with staff will be confirmed via NAU email on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 by 5 p.m.

The Housing and Residence Life office is open during the business hours of Monday – Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. 

What if I can’t make my assigned interview time?
If you are not available during the interview time  which you set up with Housing and Residence Life staff, please call 928-523-5840 or email We will work to reschedule your interview, but we cannot guarantee that we can accommodate a different time. If we cannot accommodate your schedule, your application will be removed from the selection process.

When will I know if I have a position?
You will be sent an email to your NAU email account indicating if you have been selected as an RA, an alternate RA, or not continued in the process on Friday, March 6, 2015 by 5 p.m.

What if I am offered a position in a building I don’t want to be in?
At Housing and Residence Life, we are committed to hiring qualified RAs for our system as a whole. Therefore we do not allow candidates to pick and choose where they might take offers. If you decline an offer in one of our buildings, you have essentially declined an offer to be part of the Residence Life system and would be removed from the hiring pool. 


Other Frequently Asked Questions

What is an alternate RA?
If a candidate is not hired for a specific building they may be selected as an alternate RA. Alternate RAs are eligible for hire for a certain time period should a position become available.

What are the chances of an alternate RA being hired?
There is no definite answer to that question. RAs leave their role for many different reasons, and we cannot anticipate if any alternate RAs will be needed or how many. Historically, some vacancies have opened which is why we have an alternate RA pool. 

There is no ranking system for alternate RAs. If a hall needs to fill an opening, the Residence Hall Director(s) for that hall will review the active alternate RA files to determine the alternate who best fits the needs of that community and staff.

If I’m hired as an RA and live on campus, will I need to pay a cancellation fee for my on-campus housing contract? 
If you are hired as an RA, you would be placed in a different room. There is no cancellation fee for being placed in a new room as an RA.

However, please remember that if you sign a lease with off-campus housing (including the Hilltop Homes and The Suites), you will be charged a cancellation fee if you break your lease.

I will be studying abroad for a semester, can I be an RA for just one semester?
No, you cannot be hired as an RA for just one semester. RA contracts are for the entire academic year, so you cannot be an RA the same academic year you will be studying abroad. 

I will be studying abroad when interviews are taking place for an RA selection process. Can I still apply?
The RA selection process requires in-person interviews, including a group interview process in which applicants participate in an interview with each other. Due to these interview processes, you must be able to attend interviews to apply in an RA selection process.

If you are studying abroad and would like to apply for the RA position, you will need to apply in the RA selection process which takes place before or after you study abroad. 

Please contact 928-523-5840 or email if you are planning to study abroad in the future and would like information about when you could apply to be an RA. 

Can I be an RA in the Summer? 
We do not hire RAs for the summer, but we do hire Summer Housing Assistants. Click here to learn more about Summer Housing Assistants and the hiring process for those positions.

Where can I find the background check forms I need to fill out after I’m hired as an RA?
Click here for the Background Check Authorization form.
Click here for the Employment History Information form.
Click here  for the International Home Addresses form. Please note that you only need to complete this form if you have lived outside of the United States in the past seven years.

More Questions?
If you have additional questions about the RA position or the selection process you can ask current RAs or RHDs. You can also call 928-523-5840 or email