This webpage provides an overview of the application process to become an Undergraduate Resident Assistant (RA) at the University of Edinburgh for the 2020-21 academic year.

We are currently accepting applications for UG RAs at Pollock Halls for the current academic year located at multiple accommodation sites.

In order to be eligible to apply you must be a full-time fully matriculated student for the duration of the 2020-21 academic year.

If you meet these criteria and are interested in finding out more about the role please visit and select the relevant applicant group. There you will find a role description, information session slides, and an online application form. Applications are now open, and close at 23:59pm on the 15th November 2020.

Please note that if you are successful you may be required to move to a specific RA designated bedroom. Your RA accommodation contract will supersede any existing contract you have with Accommodation, Catering and Events with no penalty or requirement for you to request a break from your lease. If travelling from overseas we require applicants to have completed any self-isolation period prior to undertaking the role.

If you wish to apply to be an RA in the 2021-22 academic year or later please check this page in January 2021 for further information.

Please note that due to the ongoing situation with Covid-19 the information in our FAQ may be inaccurate, though it remains representative of how we usually work. If you have a specific questions about our recruitment practices please do get in touch at

Recruitment FAQ

Resident Assistants are (generally) continuing students that reside in accommodation to provide support and guidance to other residents. They do this by building community, planning events, responding to enquiries and undertaking tasks that contribute to the smooth running of their accommodation site.

We are seeking enthusiastic and motivated individuals who want to help others and give back to the university community while developing skills and having fun. You can learn more about the responsibilities of the role and the attributes we are seeking by reading the role description.

Role description

Contractual dates for the 2020-21 academic year commence on the 4th September 2020, and will end on the student lease end date (23rd May 2021 for Pollock Halls, 28th May 2021 for other UG sites and 3rd September 2021 for PG sites).

RAs must be able to attend mandatory training and duties from the 4th – 20th September 2020 inclusive and be available to greet new arrivals during the January arrivals period (typically the first full week of January).

Resident Assistants are not classed as employees at the University of Edinburgh but instead receive a 75% discount on their accommodation fees in exchange for the role they undertake within university accommodation, as set out in their role description. As such the exact amount varies depending on which accommodation site they are placed at but this equates to approximately £3,000 to £6,000 of remuneration across the undergraduate year. RAs placed at Pollock Halls also receive a 75% discount on the cost of catering as this is included in the cost of their accommodation.

Current recruitment cycle timeline

Generally speaking we launch recruitment for undergraduate applicants in January with offers being made in March. Postgraduate applications open in April with offers being made in June. Accommodation contracts are generally issued within a month of appointment.

If you were unable to attend an information session in person or online prior to application we may not progress your application as part of our main recruitment drive, however we will provide you with a recorded version of the session and retain your application for further recruitment rounds. Please contact us at to request this.

As we recruit for such large numbers we sometimes run multiple recruitment cycles and/or recruit during the academic year. If you would like to be notified when these vacancies arise then please add yourself to our mailing list by emailing

Yes! We would encourage candidates who are on year abroad next year to apply and take part in an assessment day now. When applying you select the role “Resident Assistant (Undergraduate) 2021-22” and the applicant group “Resident Assistant (Undergraduate) New applicant in 2020 for 2021-22 start” and apply as normal.

For the most part we do not place undergraduate RAs at postgraduate sites or vice versa as differences in duration of accommodation lease and RA contracts can be problematic. Some exceptions have been made in the past for PG students who are enrolled on courses with atypical semester dates. We also often have summer RA opportunities for returning UG RAs to support our pre-sessional students. If you would like to request to be placed out-with this policy then please contact us at before applying.

If you are successful in our recruitment process we will either offer you a role at an accommodation site or a place on our waitlist. Candidates who are on the waitlist are guaranteed a full-price space in our accommodation and are required to participate in full RA training and induction alongside the rest of the team so that they can step into an RA role when one arises. In previous years all candidates on the waitlist have been offered a place at an accommodation site prior to the start of RA training week.

If a candidate has not been placed at an accommodation site by the start of RA training, they still receive free accommodation for the duration of RA training. It is difficult to predict when or where vacancies will arise so a candidate on the waitlist will likely need to move accommodation site to undertake the RA role, and will start receiving remuneration from the point that they commence a role at a site. Please note that the more accommodation sites you include when choosing where you would like to be placed, the more likely you are to receive an offer of a role.

We have a different appointment process for candidates who are currently RAs at the University of Edinburgh, or who have been within the last two years. This is based on your performance in the role and conducted as part of progress review with your line manager. If you are not currently in an RA role but are interested in re-applying please contact For RAs currently in the role for the 2019-20 academic year please speak to your Line Manager

If you are unsuccessful in securing a role then we will not consider another application from you within 6 months of your original application and not within the same recruitment cycle e.g. if you apply now for a role in the 2020-21 academic year you cannot apply again in future recruitment drives for the same academic year. Instead we would encourage you to gain relevant experience by working or volunteering at the university or in the community and then reapply for the following academic year if you will still be enrolled as a student. You can find potential opportunities by contacting the Student Association or visiting My Career Hub run by the University of Edinburgh Careers Service.

RAs are not allowed time away from site during the above mandatory training dates. At other times of the year requests for time away from site will be considered.

It’s worth noting that this is a residential role that relies on Resident Assistants getting to know their residents through regular interactions and holding a position of responsibility in the residence. As such the expectation is that they will be a visible presence at the accommodation site and will sleep there unless otherwise agreed in advance. If you are hoping to travel a lot over the coming year, or have significant academic or extracurricular commitments that would require you to be away from site frequently then this may not be the role for you.

Undergraduate RAs do not have any duties for a three week period during Winter break, and a two week period over Spring break. Confirmation of these dates will be provided to you at RA training. Time away from site out-with these times is not guaranteed but can generally be agreed with line managers providing it will not have a negative impact on service delivery or the team.

Postgraduate RAs who are contracted for 51 weeks are entitled to 38 days of leave plus 4 university closure days over the Winter break. They are also entitled to up to 14 days academic leave for conferences and field trips. Requests for time off site must be agreed with line managers in advance. Further information relating to this is provided on appointment.

When you apply you’ll be able to select and rank in order of preference the accommodation sites at which you would like to be placed. It is up to you how many to include, but the more you include the better chance you have of being placed. Places are then allocated based on how well individuals perform at assessment, with the highest scoring candidates being placed first.

We would like everyone to find a comfortable home with us. Due to the large numbers that we recruit each year and the variation across our accommodation portfolio, we are seeking candidates who are flexible and happy to undertake the RA role wherever they may be placed (within reason!).

Within accommodation sites RA bedrooms are placed in strategic locations often dispersed so that the team has good visibility of the accommodation site, or to place RAs close to their residents. This means there is a lot of variation in terms of facilities e.g. ground floor room vs higher floors, en suite vs. shared bathroom facilities, sharing with residents or other RAs.

If you have a requirement for specific facilities e.g. on the basis of a medical condition you will have the opportunity to mention this at application and we will do our best to accommodate this.

Our Recruitment Philosophy

We believe that our recruitment process should be a positive learning experience for applicants. For that reason we make the following commitments:

  • The application process will be as much about you finding out if the Resident Assistant role is the right fit for you, as it is about us assessing your suitability for the role. 
  • Our processes will be fair, inclusive and transparent. We will try and help you succeed at every step by communicating clear expectations and timelines.
  • If you are not successful we will aim to respond with feedback on your application within two weeks of a request being received.