RA Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the benefits of the RA Exchange?

Participants have an opportunity to:
  • experience life on another university campus for a full academic year
  • benefit from NSE's tuition reciprocity
  • work as an RA on another campus
  • interact with new students, faculty and administrators
  • explore another part of the country
  • learn about another housing and residence life department

How much does it cost to apply for the RA Exchange?

Each university has established its own application fee for participation in the National Student Exchange. There is no additional fee for the RA Exchange option.

Does every U.S. and Canadian university participate in the exchange? No, approximately 40 universities participate. See RA, Participating Campuses.

How do I apply to participate in the RA Exchange?

  • You must submit an application for the National Student Exchange AND an application for the RA exchange. Both must be submitted to your home campus NSE coordinator by the December 2 for exchanges in the subsequent academic year.
  • Contact your university's National Student Exchange coordinator for information on NSE application forms and requirements. If you do not know the identity of your NSE coordinator, click NSE Campus Offices.
  • The RA application is available from your NSE coordinator or at RA Application. Students interested in the exchange must complete this application and have a letter of recommendation from a hall director. Your application and supporting documentation must be submitted to your NSE coordinator by the last day of November.

What are the qualifications?

  • 2.5 cumulative GPA at the time of application and at the completion of the term prior to exchange
  • full-time student at the time of application and in the term prior to exchange
  • good standing (academic, financial, and social/behavioral) as defined by the home campus
  • be approved by the NSE coordinator for participation in the exchange program
  • any additional requirements of the home or host institution
  • be currently serving as an RA at the time of application and in the term immediately preceding exchange
  • positive letter of reference from the supervising residence life hall director on the home campus
  • written permission from the home campus residence life program to participate

When will I find out if I have been placed at the host campus?

Host universities have been asked to select NSE RA applicants by the third week of February. There will be some campuses, however, that cannot meet this deadline. We have asked Housing Departments to let students know as early as possible that they have been accepted.

What do I do when I receive an offer? And what if I receive multiple offers?

You may only accept one offer. Make your decision and immediately inform your home campus coordinator and the housing officers at each institution of your decision to accept or decline the offer(s). Assuming an offer is made by the third week of Februrary, you must accept or decline by the last week of Februrary.

What happens if I arrive at the host campus and decide I don't like it and want to come home?

  • We cannot force students to remain at the host university, but keep in mind that the RA Exchange is for one full year. Students come to rely on their RA as a source of guidance and support. There is an expectation that students who apply and are accepted for the exchange serve at their host institution for the entire year.
  • While participating in an RA exchange, you are subject to the rules, regulations, and employment contract as any other RA on that campus. If you do not live up to your employment agreement, your RA service will be terminated by the host university.

What happens after I accept my offer?

Your NSE campus coordinator will confirm your placement. You then follow procedures and timelines of both your home campus and host campus NSE coordinators. See After Placement for general information. Specific campus information, forms and deadlines will be identified by your respective exchange coordinators.

The Residence Life staff at your host campus will provide detailed instructions and timelines relative to your employment contract as an RA. Make sure you check with your new employer prior to booking airline reservations. Your staring date as an RA is likely to precede the date you are actually expected at the host campus as an exchange student.