Resident Advisors (RAs) are the face of University Housing for the almost 9,000 students living on campus. RAs live with and develop positive relationships with residents in their community. RAs role promote a safe and inclusive living environment, develop community among their residents and staff, and are committed to every student’s personal and academic success.

Undocu Friendly Role

RA positions do not require documentation related to immigrant status. Applicants and RAs do not need employment authorization or a social security number to be an RA.

Information Sessions

Want to learn more about what it takes to be an RA and what the application process is like? You can speak to a current RA or your Coordinator of Student Development or watch the Recorded Virtual Session

Application Now Open

To apply, fill out the application in your Cal Poly Portal under the University Housing tab. Click the apply button on the right side of your portal homepage. The deadline to apply is Sunday, December 17 at 11:59 p.m.

The RA Experience.


To support the community, this position includes both scheduled and unscheduled responsibilities so the number of hour/ week varies. Placement is based on a candidate’s skills and experiences along with departmental and community needs. You will have an opportunity to share your preferences prior to placement into a specific community.


  • Full-time students with a quarterly and cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher.
  • Good standing with your academic College, University Housing Community Standards, and the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Involvement/being found responsible for a policy violation prior to applying will not necessarily disqualify an applicant.
  • Available varied hours that include arriving prior to hall opening, staying past closing, including some break coverage. Hours will be scheduled and unscheduled and will include days, nights, and weekends.


  • Inclusive - accepting and welcoming of all identities through engaging in conversations about social change and privilege.
  • Team Player - supporting your team through giving and receiving feedback, showing initiative and sharing responsibility and tasks.
  • Adaptable- maintaining a positive attitude in the face of change.
  • Critical Thinker - the ability to make sound and informed and un-bias decisions by making reasoned judgments utilizing resources when necessary.
  • Responsible - completing assigned tasks in a timely manner with minimal supervision and follow-up.
  • Student Success Oriented - supporting and role modeling the holistic development of residents through oversight of their community and the connection to resources.
  • Other than academics, we expect the RA position to be your primary responsibility.


  • Community Development – Developing personal and positive relationships and helping all residents in your area become part of a single community.
  • Programming – Providing social opportunities and educational experiences for residents.
  • Community Safety and Policies – Providing a safe learning environment for all residents by enforcing policies and seeking help as needed.
  • Administration – Paperwork, working at the front desk, and other tasks that support the operations of your building.
  • Staff Development – Working as part of a large team to provide a consistently positive experience for residents.
  • On-Call Coverage – Being available to respond to community emergencies while following University Housing protocols.


You will learn so much by just being a leader in your assigned community. Being an RA is a great way to build your resumé along with developing
  • Diversity and Inclusion skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Developing interpersonal relationships
  • Conflict resolution tools
  • Managing people
  • Creating community
  • Empowering people



Applications for the RA position open in the Fall for the following year. Check back here in October for updates.

Online Application

To apply, complete the online application located on your Cal Poly Housing Portal.

The application contains three written response questions. We ask that you take significant care in writing, spell-checking and grammar-checking your application. We are seeking high-quality responses that concisely answer the questions. Please limit each response to no more than 250 words.

  1. What are you passionate about and why? How do you see yourself incorporating this into the RA role?
  2. What are some of the core values and principles that guide your actions? How do you see these values influencing your performance as an RA? 

Individual Interviews

In mid-late December, you will sign up for a thirty-minute individual interview to be held in mid-January.

Position Offers

We anticipate notifying applicants as to the outcome of the application process no later than mid-February. We strongly encourage all candidates to apply for housing on-campus for the academic year and will provide specific sign-up information to all students who are part of the RA Application Process. We are not able to assist you in breaking an off-campus lease.

If you are interested in pursuing off-campus housing and/or have questions about finding off campus housing should you not accept an RA position, please check out Cal Poly’s Off-Campus Housing Program for support. 

As stated in the position description, all position offers are subject to meeting position qualifications, including a 2.5 GPA, good standing with the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and a successful fingerprinting background check.

Possible outcomes of the process are:

  • Position Offered - All offers are conditional upon continued eligibility.
  • Alternate – We believe that you will be a successful RA, but we do not have a position available. You will be contacted if a position becomes available. Positions may open at any time, but we typically make the most offers to our alternates shortly after initial offers and shortly after the end of each quarter. Accepting alternate status does not guarantee that you will be offered a position. We highly encourage alternates to live on campus.
  • Not Offered a Position – Due to grade requirements, behavioral concerns, or other qualifications, University Housing is unable to offer you a position.


Will being an RA affect my financial aid?

Yes, your financial aid will no longer include aid to cover room and board, since you are not charged for these costs. You will instead see this benefit entered into your financial aid package as a resource.

Cal Poly is required to follow federal rules in the awarding of aid and MUST reduce certain types of aid as financial aid may only cover your actual costs. While it may seem that something is being taken away from your aid package when it is revised, it is actually being replaced by the benefit of free room and board.

University Housing highly suggests contacting the Financial Aid Office at (805) 756-2927 to learn the specific impacts on your financial aid package.

May I hold another position on or off campus if I am an RA?

The RA position is expected to be your primary responsibility other than your academics. As such, you must have approval from your supervisor for any outside job. Approval is not automatic and will be for no more than 20 hours per week and reviewed each quarter. We do offer RA's other employment opportunities within housing each quarter.

When is RA Training?

RA Training is a two-week process beginning in late August. You must attend and fully participate in training for the entire duration.

Can I be an RA and a WOW Leader?

Unfortunately, RAs cannot be WOW Leaders due to intense time commitment and overlap of both roles. UH and NSTP are working together to collaborate to provide the best welcoming to campus for our students.

As a RA, can I be involved in Fraternity and Sorority Life?

Yes, but due to time constraints, University Housing does not permit RAs to participate in social fraternity and sorority recruitment during Fall Quarter.

Are student RA positions undocufriendly?

Yes, RA positions do not require documentation related to immigrant status. 

Does a student need to have employment authorization to be brought on as an RA?

They do not need employment authorization or a social security card to be an RA.

How are students paid for being RAs; are they only paid by having housing or do they also receive an hourly wage?

Students are paid through having housing covered and money towards dining.

RAs have the option to work as Desk Assistants (DAs). They are paid hourly wages, but this does require employment authorization. RAs are required to work during one break period and are paid hourly for working during this time (Fall, Winter and Spring Break). If they do not have employment authorization, they are paid the hourly wage through additional dining dollars on their meal plan account.

If I have been documented for an incident, may I still be a RA?

We review each candidate’s case history prior to the Leadership Class. Prior involvement in an incident does not automatically disqualify an applicant. Each incident is different, and we encourage you to contact us if you have questions.

May I choose the building where I want to be a RA?

No, placement is determined by University Housing staff and is based on departmental and community needs, with consideration for candidate’s skills and experiences. Requests for assistance or accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) must be made in writing prior to building placement. The earlier requests are submitted, the more successful University Housing will be in accommodating your request.

I've never lived in on-campus housing. May I still apply?

Preference is given to candidates who have lived on campus. However, all Cal Poly students can apply.

What if I don't have the required GPA?

Candidates must have a quarterly and cumulative GPA of 2.5. Students who do not meet these criteria may be removed from consideration. Grades are checked each quarter.

Do I have to stay until University Housing is closed or return before the buildings open?

RAs are required to return before the halls open and stay until after the halls close. A limited portion of RAs must remain on campus during breaks.

Do I need to know, before applying, how to confront people or deal with emergencies?

Prior experience is not a requirement to be an RA. RAs receive extensive training before the academic year on many situations that might arise. We based our decisions on attitude and trainability rather than specific knowledge of procedures.

Should I go through next year's housing application process if I’m applying to be a RA?

  • Students who accept an RA position will be provided campus housing as part of their role. If you sign up for campus housing and are selected to be an RA, your $500 initial payment will be refunded.
  • RA candidates who sign up for campus housing but decide to live off campus are financially responsible for the housing license and forfeit the $500 initial payment.
  • RA candidates should make the decision to sign up for campus housing or seek off-campus housing independent of the outcome of the RA selection process. The benefit of securing campus housing is that you will be part of room self-selection. When RA alternates are offered a position, housing fees will be prorated without penalty.

When will I know if I've been offered a position?

We anticipate applicants will be notified as to the outcome of their application no later than mid-February. Placement to a specific building and learning community will be communicated during summer.

2024-25 RA Terms and Conditions

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