Peer Academic Advising Program FAQ
I’m not a junior yet, can I still apply to be a PAA?
In general, PAAs are expected to be at least a junior at the time they begin working in the position. Since the application and training processes occur approximately 6 months before PAAs begin work in their respective offices, this means that many applicants have Sophomore standing when they apply and go through training. For the 2024-2025 application due January 19, 2024, applicants should attain junior standing by Fall 2024. Please note that some advising offices may be willing to consider strong applicants who are first-year students at UCI.
My GPA is below 3.0, can I still apply to be a PAA?
In general, a 3.0 or better GPA is preferred for all PAA applicants and a 3.2 or better GPA is required for Campuswide Honors PAA applicants. However, some advising departments may allow exceptions to the 3.0 GPA minimum.
Can I apply to be a PAA in multiple schools?
Yes! The application allows you to select multiple advising offices based on your current academic programs. Please note that in most cases, you must be majoring in the school where you will apply. Except for Undergraduate/Undeclared which accepts applicants from all majors, and the Campuswide Honors Collegium which accepts applicants from all majors who are current Honors students.
While you are able to apply to multiple offices to be considered for a PAA position, you may only accept an offer the position in ONE office in the event that you are offered employment in more than one office.
Can I apply to an advising office if I do not have a major in that school?
The Undergraduate/Undeclared Advising office and the Campuswide Honors Collegium accept applications from all majors. However, all other schools and departments require applicants to be from majors within their school. Some offices may be willing to make an exception for students in the process of changing their major at the time of the application, however this would be determined by each individual hiring office on a case-by-case basis.
If I am graduating before the end of next year, can I still apply to be a PAA?
The Peer Academic Advisor position requires a 15-month commitment from Spring to Spring (April 2024-June 2025). Ideal candidates will be entering their junior or senior year in Fall 2024 and should expect to graduate June 2025 or later. While this is the general expectation, individual hiring decisions are made in each of the 15 advising offices and some offices may be willing to consider candidates who will graduate mid-year.
I am planning to Study Abroad during next year, can I still apply to be a PAA?
The Peer Academic Advisor position requires a 15-month commitment from Spring to Spring (April 2024-June 2025). Ideal candidates will be available to work in their respective advising office from September 2024 through June 2025. While this is the general expectation, individual hiring decisions are made in each of the 15 advising offices and some offices may be willing to consider candidates who will be studying abroad during part of the upcoming academic year.
Do I have to have a Work-Study Award from Financial Aid to be a PAA?
No. A work-study award can be used for the PAA position, but this is not a requirement of the position. The application asks you about your work-study status to allow the different advising offices and the PAA program to plan accordingly for budgeting of the positions.
I am an international student, can I still apply to be a PAA?
Yes, most international students at UCI are able to work on-campus without additional approval. This is based on your visa category (F-1). If you have questions about your work authorization and/or visa category, please contact the UCI International Center for additional information.
How often are PAAs hired?
Peer Academic Advisors are hired just once each year. The PAA role requires extensive training which does not allow for hiring of new positions each quarter. The application and hiring process occurs in Winter quarter each year with training for the newly hired PAAs immediately following in the Spring quarter. Once trained, PAAs are expected to work in their respective offices over the ensuing academic year, typically beginning in Summer. For the current application cycle, training will occur April-June 2024 with PAAs working in each advising office June 2024-June 2025.
When does the PAA application open?
The PAA application opens at the beginning of December each year. The application remains open until Week 2 of the Winter quarter in mid-January.
When is the application deadline?
The PAA application deadline is usually the end of Week 2 of the Winter quarter. For 2024-2025 applicants, the online application is due by 11:59:59 pm on Friday, January 19, 2024.
When will I find out if I am being interviewed for a PAA position?
Please note that not all applicants will be asked to participate in an interview. In general, applicants will be informed by early February if they have or have not been selected for an interview.
The application asks for a Reference. What does that mean?
A reference is a person who is familiar with you and your accomplishments, work-ethic, character, and qualifications. Many job applications will ask for a list of references in addition to a résumé. The Peer Academic Advisor position requires ONE reference for new applicants and two for returning applicants. The reference required just the name and contact information for the individual. A letter of recommendation is NOT required.
Your reference can be a current or former supervisor, instructor, advisor, mentor, or a connection from volunteering, clubs, church, etc. Be sure to ask the person before including them as a reference.
A department will not necessarily contact your reference as part of the hiring process, but having references is an important part of a career search so it is always a good idea to have at least one!
The applications requires a résumé, what should I include?
Your résumé provides a brief introduction to your education, experience, skills, and accomplishments. The PAA application requires a one-page résumé. A compelling résumé will concisely describe the kind of activities and tasks you have previously performed. For tips, templates, and virtual feedback on your résumé, please review the UCI Division of Career Pathways Résumés and Cover Letters resources.
Do I need to include a Cover Letter with my PAA application?
No, a cover letter is not required as part of the PAA application. The application itself contains short-answer questions that can be considered to take the place of a cover letter. The application asks you to state why you are interested in the PAA positions, what makes a good PAA, and how your skills and experience will help you fulfill the responsibilities of a PAA. If you would like more information on how to craft a cover letter, please review the UCI Division of Career Pathways Résumés and Cover Letters resources.
What is the interview process for PAA applications?
Since there are 15 advising offices hiring PAA positions, the interview process may be a little different for applicants in each school. Some offices may have multiple rounds of interviews that might include group interviews or uploading a recorded video in response to questions or prompts. For all offices, candidates who are being considered for a position will have a synchronous interview with staff members of the hiring office.
It is also important to note that not all candidates will be asked to participate in an interview. In general, applicants will be informed by early February if they have or have not been selected for an interview.
To prepare for your interview, be sure to review the PAA job description and information about the specific advising office you will interview with. Although it is unlikely for new applicants to have direct experience with the specific responsibilities associated with the PAA position, you likely have relevant skills and qualifications from other experiences. Beyond your work capacity, an interview will often be used to get to know you personally and get a sense of your overall fit with the office.
Remember that an interview is a two-way process is also an opportunity for you to learn more about the office where you are applying. For more tips on preparing for an interview, please review the UCI Division of Career Pathways Interviewing resources.
How competitive is the PAA application process?
Applications for PAA positions are fairly competitive, however this can vary by office. While there is one application for all PAAs, there are actually 15 advising offices conducting the hiring process. How selective or competitive the process is each year depends on the number of applications received and the number of positions open for each individual advising office.
Will PAA training be in-person for Spring 2024?
Training occurs from 5-7pm every Thursday during the Spring quarter. At this time, we are planning to hold training for new PAA hires in-person during Spring 2024. As always, this is contingent upon public health conditions and campus directives in place at the time of the training.
What is the typical time commitment for a Peer Academic Advisor?
The Peer Academic Advisor position is a 15-month commitment with varying hours throughout that time. Initially the commitment is approximately 2-4 hours per week for training in the Spring quarter immediately after PAAs are hired. Following training, most PAAs will work in the Summer between 5-20 hours per week, depending on the department. There is also the expectation that PAAs will work up to 20 hours during Welcome Week to assist with Convocation and other activities. The main PAA commitment is during the academic year (Fall, Winter, Spring) where each PAA is expected to work an average of 10 hours per week.
A complete list of time is available in the PAA job description. Please note that all time commitments also must be acknowledged in order to proceed with completing the online application.