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Applications for residential assistant (RA) positions this year are now due about three weeks earlier than in past years, and applicants will no longer be able to select a preference regarding their living communities.

The changes will not affect the application requirements. Applicants must have and maintain a 2.5 GPA, have attended one information session, be a full-time student, have lived on campus for at least one full semester and be in good standing with student conduct, according to the Residential Life website.

The shift in the application timeline was intended to help students make housing decisions in a timely manner, according to Kristin Calegari, assistant director of Residential Life for Mountainview College, Susquehanna Community and Hillside Community.

“The most significant change that candidates may notice this year is the RA selection timeline,” Calegari wrote in an email. “In an effort to have the RA selection process wrapped up before room selection, so candidates can make appropriate decisions regarding housing, and so roommate groups aren’t disrupted by someone in a group being offered an RA position, we have begun the RA selection process about three weeks earlier than usual.”

The adjustment required departmental changes within Residential Life, Calegari wrote.

“This change in timeline has required the department to shorten the length of time to submit an application and reference by a couple of weeks,” Calegari wrote. “We also had to move our group interview process to the fall semester instead of spring semester when the individual interviews occur.”

Alyssa Ciniglio, a sophomore double-majoring in human development and psychology, said she still plans on applying to be an RA, even though the application deadline is looming closer than expected and she will not be able to select her preferred living community.

“It does not change the fact that I want to help residents,” Ciniglio said. “It doesn’t matter where I am personally because it is the duties of the job that are most important to me.”

Several current RAs declined to comment on the application changes.

Residential Life staff members are expected to develop a community atmosphere within each living community, engage in training throughout the year and establish effective communication with supervisors and residents, in addition to other duties. RAs are compensated for their on-campus job through coverage of their housing and meal plan costs. The application process is a long one, according to Calegari.

“The process of applying for the RA job on campus consists of attendance at an RA [info session], submission of an application, résumé and one professional reference, along with a group and individual interview,” Calegari wrote. “There is also an opportunity for candidates who complete the full application process to network with residential community staff at our community showcase.”

Nevertheless, these changes could be beneficial for RA applicants, Ciniglio said.

“[Residential Life] said that now all living communities will be looking at our applications, which allows for a higher chance of getting accepted and for being placed in the best fit for the person,” Ciniglio said. “I think it is a good idea that the future RAs will be placed in the living community which they would thrive the most in.”

The changes to the application process have not affected the number of applicants, according to Calegari.

“Our numbers for the mandatory attendance for RA information sessions this past weekend were right at our usual average of [600 to 700] students in attendance,” Calegari wrote.

According to Ciniglio, Residential Life has been responsive to questions regarding the application process.

“At the meeting, they clarified any confusion that anyone had about the application process in terms of deadlines, what to include and not and people who we should be asking about for our recommendations,” Ciniglio said. “[Residential Life] also made it extremely clear if anyone had questions at any point in their application process that they could be reached via email, which was extremely helpful.”