Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions? We have answers!

    What is the Illinois Residential Experience (IRE)?

    The IRE is divided into four Learning Goals (Academic Success, Personal Growth, Community Engagement, and Social Justice Exploration) and multiple Learning Outcomes that state clearly the educational experience that residence hall students can expect while living in University Housing. Resident Advisor are a critical component of implementing the Illinois Residential Experience.

    What is the EPOL 199 class and do you have to take it?

    EPOL 199 is “The Intersection of Social Identity in Residential Communities”:

    • This course is an exploratory course on the impact and influence of social identity on self and in the community.
    • This course explores the intersection of identities and experiences, the impact of identity on communication and conflict, and the understanding of identity in a community setting.
    • The course uses dialogic method, facilitated activities, group discussions, out-of-class experiences, and other opportunities that involve facilitated conversations about issues that impact community.
    • Facilitators help guide the conversations and provide oversight for the course function.

    All newly hired paraprofessionals (including mid-year staff) receive one opportunity to enroll and successfully complete the Residential Life Paraprofessional Staff Course, EPOL 199: The Intersection of Social Identity in Residence Hall Communities. This course is 2 credits, meets for ten weeks, and includes a full-day retreat.

    For those hired in January 2022 to start working in January 2022 or for the 2022–2023 academic year, the course begins in mid-February 2022. For those hired after January 2022 for the 2022-2023 academic year, the course begins in mid-September 2022. Missing the retreat means you forfeit your offer and must withdraw from the course.

    The course is only available to those who have been offered and accepted a positions with us at this time. Further information about the staff class registration will be sent following candidate offer letters. Permission to register for the course will be granted to eligible individuals at this time.

    Can I become a staff member in my current building or specify a building preference to work in?

    It is possible to work in your current building, but keep in mind employment decisions are made to benefit the entire residence hall system. During the application process, you may indicate a preference for one of our Housing Options and/or Living Learning Communities. If we offer you a position, it will be for a specific building. If you decline this offer, you are out of the process.  All placements are subject to change.

    I plan on studying abroad and would like to be a RA. When should I apply?

    Applicants are encouraged to apply while on campus. Candidates will have a better experience during the process because they will be able to interact with current staff members in person.

    If you are looking for a position that begins in January 2022 or August 2022 and you will be studying abroad at any time between now and December 2021, apply now. When applying, indicate that you are or may be studying abroad. This will prompt the selection committee to make arrangements that will allow you to continue to participate in the process from abroad.

    While studying abroad, you should maintain regular email contact with us at

    Can International students apply for RA positions in the undergraduate halls?

    International student eligibility for employment depends on particular conditions and circumstances. Please visit the International Student and Scholar Services website section on Student Employment to research the conditions/circumstances that apply to your status:

    Can graduate students apply for RA positions in the undergraduate halls?

    Yes, however, many graduate students may also be interested in assistantship opportunities related to their graduate program which are considered additional employment beyond the RA position. Please note that requests for additional employment must be approved by the Assistant Director for Hall Supervision and Staffing and there are limitations on the types of additional employment that can be approved for graduate students (please contact with specific inquiries).

    I want to be an RA in Sherman or Daniels Hall (these are Graduate/Upper-Division halls). Should I apply through this process? 

    The Graduate and Upper-Division Halls (Sherman and Daniels) conduct their own search process in the spring semester. You can find out more information about that process by contacting the Graduate and Upper-Division Hall Staff in Sherman or Daniels Hall. The number of available positions in Sherman and Daniels is typically very small, and candidates who already reside or work in those halls are given preference during the application process. Therefore, candidates who live in the undergraduate halls are encouraged to apply for a RA position through the Residential Life selection process during their undergraduate years. 

    If my GPA is just under 2.3, does Residential Life round GPAs up, or is there any way I can still apply?

    Sophomores, juniors, and seniors must have a 2.3 or above GPA for spring 2021 term AND a 2.3 cumulative GPA at the time of application. Freshman applicants won't have a GPA until the Fall 2021 semester is complete. Residential Life will check applicants' GPA upon receipt of their application and again in January 2022 when fall term grades are posted by the Registrar's Office. Cuts will be made accordingly, and the candidate will be notified. Once hired, all paraprofessionals must maintain a cumulative AND term GPA of 2.3 during the course of their employment as a paraprofessional (this includes the spring term prior to their fall official start date in August). 

    I'm a new freshman or transfer student and don't have an Illinois GPA yet. What should I put down for my current GPA? 

    Freshmen can leave this section blank. Transfer students can put their GPA from their previous institution. We will confirm your Illinois GPA in January 2022 after grades are posted, and that GPA will be used to determine your eligibility to continue in our process. 

    If I received a drinking ticket in Champaign or Urbana or violated the University Housing alcohol policy on or after January 1, 2021, does that make me ineligible to apply for the RA position?

    Yes. Students who have received a drinking ticket or violated University Housing Hallmarks Alcohol Policy are subject to University of Illinois student discipline and receive some form of University-level sanctioning. Both make you ineligible to apply for our positions. Once you are offered and accept a position, should you violate the alcohol policies, including being transported for an alcohol overdose, you will be released from the position at the time of the violation, and we will choose from our alternate pool to find a replacement.

    What if I cannot attend the required components of the selection process?

    You will be cut from the process. For academic conflicts, please let us know as soon as possible at

    Should I sign a University Housing Contract for the 2022-2023 academic year while I am a RA candidate?

    Once you complete a University Housing Contract you have 30 days to cancel the contract with no charge. If you are offered and accept a RA  position and already have a University Housing Contract we will assign you to a RA room and allow you to cancel your University Housing Contract. If you decline a position offer or are in the alternate pool and are either never offered or decline a position and have a University Housing Contract, you are held to all of the terms and conditions of this legally binding document, including the 30 day contract cancellation clause.

    So, if you definitely plan to live-on campus, whether you get a RA position or not, signing a University Housing Contract is recommended. If you are uncertain as to whether or not you plan to live-on campus, we do not recommend signing a University Housing Contract.

    If I am planning on transferring to Illinois or returning after taking time off and am not currently enrolled as a student at Illinois, can I apply to be a paraprofessional?

    No. You must be currently enrolled at Illinois to apply. Hiring for our process happens in December and you must be a current student to be hired.

    How time consuming is the RA job? Will I have time for my academics/extra-curricular activities?  

    RAs work with their RD supervisors to determine feasibility of and strategies to manage academic and extra-curricular activities in addition to their RA job. RAs do need to maintain evening and weekend flexibility for resident contact and interaction. They cannot run for, accept, or serve in a major campus activity position during the term of employment (i.e. Student Senate meetings typically conflict with required weekly meetings for the Paraprofessional position, Marching Illini practices and events conflict with required training and duty responsibilities, etc.). What qualifies as a “Major Campus Post” in a Registered Student Organization, campus or community group will be interpreted by University Housing.

    Can you have a second job as a paraprofessional? 

    Contractually, Paraprofessionals must request approval to take on additional employment beyond the Paraprofessional position on or off campus.

    • Domestic students can work no more than an additional 8 hours/week with another on-campus employer beyond the RA position (with permission from their supervisor).
    • International students cannot hold another on-campus job beyond their RA position.
    • For graduate students, requests for additional employment must be approved by the Assistant Director for Hall Supervision and Staffing and there are limitations on the types of additional employment that can be approved for (please contact with specific inquiries).

    What does it mean to be offered a spot in the alternate pool?

    Candidates who have been offered a spot in the alternate pool have demonstrated skills needed to be an RA, however, we do not have a position for you at this time. If a position opens up we will review the candidates in the alternate pool and may reach out to you to see if you are interested. Being in the alternate pool does not guarantee that you will be offered a position. It does let us know that you continued to be interested in the position and are eligible to be hired. If you are offered a spot in the pool additional information will be provided about being in the pool.

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