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Residence Life: Resident Assistant Selection
2016-2017 Application Process
Thank you for your interest in the Resident Assistant (RA) position at the University of Portland. Being an RA carries with it great opportunities and responsibilities. The opportunity to learn and develop as a leader, to work within a staff, to be responsible for and advise peers, and to learn valuable transferable life skills are just a few of the benefits of being an RA.
Each hall at UP has its own unique identity, culture, and traditions. As such, the best leadership for the continuation of each hall's distinctiveness is to hire RAs from the hall in which they live (or have lived previously, in the case of students studying abroad, in Haggerty & Tyson, and off campus). Our process begins, therefore, with an in-hall interview and selection process. Hall staff will fill RA positions from candidates within their hall from this first process. Our second process will include in-hall candidates deemed hireable by the staff there but for whom not enough RA jobs exist. These candidates will then be considered by other hall staff who were not able to fill their RA jobs from their in-hall candidates.
The RA position is a challenging yet very rewarding job for leaders who are committed to building community, fostering diversity, and living the UP mission. Successful candidates are students who want to be a part of furthering hall community and traditions, involved in the spiritual life of their hall and the campus, and who advocate the characteristics of UP's mission of teaching and learning, faith and formation, service and leadership in their own lives. RAs are a vital part of creating and maintaining the community of hospitality in our residence halls, where students learn to love the world and each other through the education of the head, heart, and hands.
Resident Assistants at UP are expected to incorporate Christian values into their lives and their lifestyles, so that they may take a proactive role in the growth and development of other students who come here to study and learn. University of Portland RAs are known for creating welcoming and safe environments for their residents that promote opportunities for growth, study, faith, service, and fun. RAs work with their hall staff and Hall Director to create communities where students can participate in what it means to be a part of a Holy Cross education by educating the whole person as well as learning how to be ministers, educators, and professionals.
Students seeking to be a Resident Assistant must be willing to make this position their first priority after academics; RAs cannot have outside employment without pre-approval from their supervisors. Being an RA is also incompatible with holding ASUP office and many other campus leadership positions.
Candidates need to have a 3.0 cumulative GPA. Interested candidates with a cumulative GPA of less than 3.0 can submit an appeal for their application to be considered (see details below).
Candidates should also have leadership experience, a commitment to faith and service, and a desire to serve others within their halls. We are recruiting students to serve as RAs in halls where they have lived previously.
Please contact the Office of
Residence Life or your hall staff if you have any further questions regarding
the selection process or the position. We encourage you to talk to current or
former RAs, your Hall Director, and/or your Assistant Hall Director to fully
understand the responsibilities and rewards of this leadership position.
RA Class and Leader Certificate
The RA position is among the top leadership positions at the University of Portland and carries a privileged position in our community. As such, you will receive robust training, leadership formation, weekly supervision and mentorship, and pathways to form relationships that you will be able to carry forward into your future career and vocation.
All first-year RAs will enroll in a course titled LDR 392 - Residential Learning and Leadership (new this year!). This course will complement your RA training, reflection, and formation. Three sections of this course will be offered for Fall 2016. There is no program fee associated with this course, and the Office of Residence Life will even cover the cost of your textbook rental. It is important to note that the course is listed as a 300-level and even counts toward your upper-division elective credits that many of our schools require as part of satisfying your degree requirements.
The Leader Certificate Program at UP is a cutting-edge program. Through instruction, practice, and reflection, over the course of 2-3 years, participants are awarded a Leader Certificate upon graduation. This is something that is to be displayed prominently on your resume! The RA position aligns nicely with the Leader Certificate, allowing you the opportunity to use the RA experience as a pathway to earning your own Leader Certificate. We encourage all students to enroll in LDR 225 - Applied Leadership, as it sets you on your path to earn your Leader Certificate through the Franz Center for Leadership upon graduation. Although not required for employment consideration this coming year, the LDR 225 course is optional but encouraged.
To apply for a Resident Assistant position, you must complete the online application linked below. New applicants must also ask two individuals from the UP community to complete a recommendation form.
Please refer to the following definitions for completing the online application:
- On-Campus – You are currently studying on campus at University of Portland during the fall semester and will continue to be on campus during the spring semester.
- Study Abroad – You are currently studying abroad in a full year program (or two consecutive semester programs) OR will be studying abroad in the spring 2016 semester.
- Returning RA – You are currently a Resident Assistant at University of Portland and are applying to continue in the position next year.
You will need to write a short essay as part of this application. We suggest that you work on this elsewhere and then copy and paste your response into the application. Essays can be a maximum of 5,000 characters.
New RA essay prompt: UP's mission is often defined by the following tenants: teaching & learning, faith & formation, service & leadership. How has the strong sense of mission at the University of Portland shaped your individual experience here? Please also share one specific example of how you've experienced one of these tenants within the UP community.
Returning RA essay prompt: Please describe a challenge you faced as a first-year RA. How have you grown and how would you apply what you've learned as a Returner? What other areas are you seeking to grow in as an RA? What motivates you to re-apply? What would you bring to the position as a Returning RA? How would you maintain your excitement for the position?
As part of your application, you must also upload a PDF version of your resume and a cover letter. Here are some suggested topics for new applicants to address in your cover letter:
- Why do you want to be an RA?
- What influences and leadership experiences have you had that inspired you to apply for this position?
- What experiences, passions, and/or interests would you hope to share with other students?
- How do you see this opportunity fitting in with your long-term goals, plans, or vocation?
PLEASE BE PREPARED TO COMPLETE THE ENTIRE APPLICATION IN ONE SITTING. Prepare your resume, cover letter, and essay before beginning the application. Applications are due January 15, 2016.
Each new applicant must submit a total of two recommendation forms. The recommendations must be submitted by two individuals from the UP community, who cannot be a Hall Director or an Assistant Hall Director. Recommendations are due January 15, 2016.
In an effort to reduce the amount of paper that is used throughout the RA Selection process, we require that all application materials, including recommendation forms, be submitted via the online forms linked above. If you encounter any difficulties in submitting any application materials, please contact the Office of Residence Life at (503) 943-7205 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
GPA Requirement Appeal
If your cumulative GPA is less than a 3.0 and you would like to apply to be an RA, you must write a letter to the Office of Residence Life (no more than 1.5 pages) outlining the following:
- Why your cumulative GPA is below a 3.0
- What your plan for continuing to raise your GPA is
- How the RA position fits into your plan for raising your GPA
Candidates pursuing this option must also have a conversation with their Hall Director regarding their GPA, plan, and the RA position; candidates must ask the HD to email the Office of Residence Life (at email@example.com) with their thoughts regarding the GPA exception. The Office of Residence Life will then review all materials supplied (application, letter, and HD email) and make a determination of whether or not the candidate may proceed with the RA selection process.