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Role, Qualification and Room & Community Building Dining Allocation

Qualifications and Role
Room and Community Building Dining Allocation
Position Description and Contract



The Office of College Houses and Academic Services seeks persons genuinely interested in making a significant contribution to student life through living and working in University residences. The College Houses look for men and women of maturity, good judgment, intelligence, individual initiative, creativity and energy, who are at ease interacting with students accustomed to a variety of lifestyles. Selected candidates are expected to make the residence staff appointment their highest non-academic priority.

RAs must be registered full-time Penn students, who will have attained at least junior class status by the beginning of the fall term for which they apply and who have not yet received an undergraduate degree. In addition, they must be currently enrolled in classes with a GPA of at least 2.50 and must maintain this minimum GPA for the duration of employment.

RAs are expected to work approximately 15-20 hours per week, on average. It is important to understand that due to the nature of this work there will be weeks when the time commitment will be greater than average. For instance, during the month of August staff should expect to be very busy participating in fall Staff Orientation, New Student Orientation and opening activities.

RAs must be available to attend staff orientation in late August, and in-service training meetings as designated by the House Dean and CHAS. RA appointments end two days after Commencement, in May. Portions of the staff are required to remain in residence during low occupancy periods (i.e.: vacation for Fall, Winter, Thanksgiving, Spring Break).

For important dates related to the RA position, see this calendar

Living in residence is an important part of undergraduate experience at the University. A major goal of all residential staff is to promote an environment in which people can study, teach, work, and live collegially with each other. Each RA plays a role in the mission of the University, as a resource person, advisor, counselor, and community facilitator. RAs know when and how to refer students who need specific help from appropriate University services. In addition, RAs act as role models and examples in balancing academic and other areas of University life. Resident Advisors facilitate educational, cultural, social, and recreational activities. RAs are expected to encourage students who wish to create their own programs, and to help develop students' expertise in creating such programs.

RAs are called upon to help students deal constructively with issues or problems of concern that arise, to communicate to students University policies and procedures. From time to time, RAs participate in administrative procedures designed to maintain the residential facilities. At the same time, RAs are part of a staff team for the area in which they live, and work closely with the full-time professional staff members of the Department, who provide continuous support and extensive training.

A staff position leads to contact with many aspects of a modern University and insight into difficult decisions, which require a balancing of limits, resources, and needs of the many constituents of the University. The position elicits and develops skills in working with individuals having various needs, and in working with groups of residents and staff as a member, leader, or facilitator.

Many find it to be one of the most rewarding features of their time at the University and one that contributes considerably to their personal and professional growth. While the receipt of free accommodation can help to finance one's education, the major rewards of this position come from experiences with diverse people in a wide range of situations.



The Resident Advisor receives a rent-free single occupancy accomodation in their assigned College House.

In order to assist the RA in meeting the position expectations of building strong relationships with their residents and strong communities with their floors, suites or sections, each RA is provided a community building dining allocation.  The community building dining allocation is provided so that an RA is able to dine with their residents during the academic year approximately three times per week. This allocation also includes the opportunity to dine with their staff during the pre-service training period in August. The dining allocation is not intended to meet any RA's daily nutritional needs.

Applicants must be prepared to live in a space designated as single occupancy, and receive a furnished, single room in the section of the residence for which they are responsible. With few exceptions, RA rooms do not have kitchens.

All positions will be reported by College Houses and Academic Services to Student Financial Services. The value of the RA appointment is considered as a resource in evaluating financial need. Be advised that appointments can have a significant impact on an individual's financial aid package (i.e., grant and work study allocation). As a result applicants are highly encouraged to consult with Student Financial Services before applying for a position and certainly prior to accepting the RA position. Student Financial Services can be contacted through their website at, via email at, or by calling their office at (215) 898-1988. 


RA Position Description and Contract PDF