The Extras: Navigating the RPL Application

A throwback to our first snow day of the school year!
A throwback to our first snow day of the school year!

Hello, Brunonian family! I’m Jacklyne Vargas, nice to meet you all *insert imaginary handshake here*! I’m here to be your compass (well, that sounds heavy, doesn’t it?) in everything extracurricular here at Brown. If you’re reading this, send help you are a magnetic force of your own and I’m simply helping you figure out what attracts you. In all The Extras, in all the magnetic forces here at Brown, you can easily be pulled in countless directions, but I’m here to help! If anything, we’ll go crazy together…

If there’s one extracurricular that virtually all students at Brown have some knowledge of, it is the Residential Peer Leader Program! At the very least, all first-years at Brown have amazing individuals, known as Residential Peer Leaders (aka RPLs) as a support system while living in first-year dorms. While you may have heard about the RPL position(s) from two of my fellow bloggers posts, Seunglee’s and Yuzuka’s, I’d like to break down the process before acquiring the position!

Here’s a quick summary of what an RPL is (as defined by the Office of Residential Life): RPLs are paraprofessional staff members for the Office of Residential Life. RPLs are live-in staff members and support their residents who are approximately 18-22 years of age. The primary responsibilities of an RPL include mentoring, building community, assisting students through personal crisis, and creating educational and social opportunities for other residents.

There are 3 main types of RPL positions: Residential Counselor (RC), Women Peer Counselor (WPC) and Minority Peer Counselor (MPC). You can read more about what each position entails here!

Every year, the application process lasts…

…from the end of Fall semester up to the beginning of Spring semester!

The application process for an RPL position has various facets. The online application itself typically consists of basic contact information and a couple of short-answer responses to prompts. Online, candidates also have to submit a resume, so it is essential that resumes are up to date and properly formatted (something CareerLAB can help with)! Two professional references are also required which, though it may vary year to year, consists of an online form that a candidate’s references fill out.

After submitting all of the above, all candidates are required to attend a group interview! Now, I can’t reveal much about the interview process but I can say it is quite unconventional and very engaging!

After the group interview, selected candidates are chosen to have an individual interview! Following the individual interview, comes time to play the waiting game for about 2 weeks (which was quite nerve-wracking for me)! Candidates then receive their RPL decision notification by email.

Personally, I was selected for the position of WPC in the Champlain dorm and am ecstatic to hopefully have some of you lovely readers as residents in my unit! 🙂

If you have any other questions that I didn’t address above, I’d be happy to answer them by email!

All my love,


Don’t hesitate to leave any questions, comments, frustrations, tirades, rants, chocolates, inquiries or suggestions (I’d love your input) either below or in my email,! I’m seriously excited to interact with you all… Seriously. Have a delightful day!


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