Resident assistants

Resident assistants (RAs) are an integral part of the Office of Residence Life. They are constantly in direct contact with students. Their main responsibility is to act as facilitators for the residence life community and to enhance the social, educational, intellectual and cultural development of each individual. The RA communicates to students the core values, philosophies and policies of the Office of Residence Life and Earlham College and represents The Office of Residence Life as a role model.

The RA position is one of the best opportunities a student can have while in college. No other type of position will give students the range of exposure to skill sets that are needed in a job search and future career after college. The RA position provides real-life experiences in working with and helping other people, conflict resolution, team building and many others. Employers are seeking these skills!

Questions about the Resident Assistant Application and Selection Process can be directed to the Office of Residence Life or via email at [email protected].


Please fill out the Residence Life Student Staff application to be considered for this position. Applicants must also complete a Reference Form and the Rehire Candidacy Assessment. We begin accepting applications in October.

  • Must be a full-time degree seeking student.
  • Must be in good academic standing and have a 2.5 cumulative GPA to apply.
  • Must maintain a 2.5 semester and cumulative GPA if selected.
  • Must not be on any form of academic or social probation.
  • Must have at least two semesters of on-campus living experience with at least one of these occurring at Earlham prior to beginning employment.
  • Must not be concurrently serving as a co-President of the Earlham Student Government (ESG).
  • Must be available at least two and a half weeks before classes begin for fall training and one week before classes begin for spring training.
  • Must complete all responsibilities as outlined in the resident assistant agreement and meet all expectations of professional staff members within the Office of Residence Life.

Eligibility requirements are subject to change. The Office of Residence Life reserves the right to make exceptions to these requirements on a case-by-case basis.


Below we’ve compiled the answers to some questions we have been commonly asked by individuals interested in learning more about the resident assistant position.

RAs receive a:

  • Single room in the residence hall to which you are assigned, valued at $5,200.
  • Stipend of $1,200 for the academic year which is distributed evenly by semester ($600 for fall and $600 for spring).

Each year, the department hires approximately forty-two RAs. This number includes both new and returning RAs.  While we primarily hire RAs for the academic year, we sometimes have the opportunity to hire a handful of RAs throughout the year when other staff members resign for various reasons.

Applications open every year following fall break and remain open through the first week of the spring semester. All interested candidates should apply during this application period. Those who will be abroad during the spring semester can contact the convener of the recruitment process if they would prefer to complete their interview prior to leaving for off-campus study. All other interviews will be completed in the spring. There is no separate application process for candidates interested in mid-year positions.

First-year students are eligible to apply to be an RA during their sophomore year, long as they lived on campus during both the fall and spring semesters of their first year.

Yes, RAs are allowed to hold outside jobs (up to 10 hours per week) with written permission from their supervisor.  However, because of the time-intensive nature of the RA position, we ask each RA to discuss with their area director how they will balance outside jobs and even talk about the number of hours the RA might be working and how that will impact the RA position.

RAs are required to provide their outside work schedules to their supervisors at the start of each semester or more frequently if needed. The college views the RA compensation as a work stipend and does not permit RAs to participate in the college work study program without permission from their area director.

Candidates who are able to complete a full academic year contract and those without substantial academic and/or extracurricular commitments may be given preference over candidates unable to complete a full academic year contract and/or who have substantial academic and/or extracurricular commitments that would limit their availability to their residents and community. RAs are expected to put academics first, the RA position second, and any other job or extracurricular activity third.

Individuals in their first semester of employment are unable to hold an executive office in a student organization without prior approval. RAs are not able to serve as a co-president for the Earlham Student Government (ESG) during their employment as a RA.

We believe your experiences make you who you are. We have all made bad decisions from time to time. As long as you are not currently on any type of academic or social probation, you are considered in good standing and are able to apply. The most important thing we look for is whether or not you have learned from the experience and made positive changes accordingly.

Typically, being an RA doesn’t adversely impact your financial aid package. However, every student’s financial package is unique, so you are strongly encouraged to speak with the Office of Financial Aid before accepting a position.

In the fall, training occurs two weeks before new students arrive for New Student Orientation (NSO). During this time we help RAs develop the basic skills needed to lead a group of residents through a successful experience while living on campus. The training for the spring is an abbreviated version of the fall training, and staff is asked to return a week before the start of spring classes. Training periods are mandatory, and every RA on staff must go through each training period.

Each RA is required to work a duty shift at least once per week and a couple of weekend duty shifts throughout the semester. The exact number of nights varies by building. During a duty shift, a RA has to complete “rounds,” which consists of walking through your area a few times each night to interact with residents and to ensure residents are safe and the building is secure.

Each RA is required to be on campus three weekends a month and is required to notify their supervisor of when they will be gone. Supervisors understand individual circumstances that may require flexibility. There are some break periods where staff may have to stay later/return earlier—all dates are provided to staff at the time an employment offer is made.

One of the primary roles of an RA is to assist in developing a community amongst their residents. Programming is just a term used to describe the events put on by Residence Life and the RAs. RAs are required to plan, assist with and attend various activities for students living in their communities to help develop community and provide resources for residents.

Some examples of program topics include academic, educational, social, community service, multicultural, school-spirit, etc. RAs will also create opportunities for resident involvement in on-campus activities. RAs are expected to create programmatic opportunities based on resident interest and the needs evident in their community.

More information and resources

The Office of Residence Life works behind the scenes to keep you safe, healthy and fulfilled throughout your journey at Earlham College. Whether you are looking for academic advice, a shoulder to lean on, or opportunities for personal and professional growth, our team is here to support you through it all.

We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.