The College Girl’s Guide to Sorority Recruitment

Before signing up for PHA recruitment, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I didn’t have the stereotypical “pre-rush prep” that many people assume happens. My mom hadn’t frantically been collecting recommendation letters, there weren’t shopping sprees for the perfect Preference Day outfit, and I definitely was not a legacy. To be completely honest, the only Lilly Pulitzer I had ever seen were her agendas, I didn’t know what “norts” where or what “srat” meant, I had no understanding of what the days during recruitment where, I had never heard of a Marley Lilly monogrammed cross body bag and if you even starting saying G Phi, Pi Phi, or Tri Sigma, you lost me.

All of that and I was about to go through recruitment at the second largest sorority rush in the nation. I had no idea the exciting, exhausting, emotional and stressful week I was about to endure. Going through recruitment I learned a lot and realized that there was a lot that I wished I would have known beforehand. So when I stumbled across my own notes from recruitment week, where I even included a list of things I wished I had known, I knew I had to write a post about it. So here it is, what I wished I would have known before, during, and after sorority recruitment.

sorority

Photo Credit: Morgan Lieberman

Before:

  • Letters of Recommendation. While it isn’t necessary, having alum of the different chapters at your school write a letter of recommendation for you allows the girls to know a little bit more about you before rush. Although if I’m being completely honest, the last three houses I was asked back to on Preference Day were the only three houses I hadn’t gotten letters of recommendation for.
  • You don’t have to be a legacy. While it can be fun to follow in your mom or grandmother’s footsteps, it’s also fun to make your own path. It is definitely not mandatory to be a legacy to go through recruitment and be successful in recruitment. Many girls that are active members in sororities are not legacies.
  • Read your college’s recruitment guide. If your college or university mails out a recruitment guide, read it. It is filled with tons of information about the exec members of PHA, the schedule for recruitment at your school, information about each chapter on campus, and sometimes even a letter from the president of each chapter on campus.
  • Look into your college’s chapter’s websites/social media accounts. Sorority girls love showing the events and activities that happen throughout the school year on social media. Most chapters encourage active members to send in their pictures from the year so they can share them on the chapter social media accounts and website. Sometimes there are even hashtags on Twitter/Instagram that are on the active member’s social media pages that you can look at.
  • Become familiar with each chapter’s values and philanthropy. You don’t need to memorize them, but at least familiarize yourself with each chapter’s values and philanthropy. That way if you don’t know what CASA is, you can look it up before you walk into the party at Kappa Alpha Theta and embarrass yourself.
  • Don’t set your heart on one chapter. Even if you are a legacy, do not set your heart on one chapter. Each and every chapter is unique in its own way and wherever you end up you will find your new home. And while I know that is what you will be hearing all week from your recruitment directors, I am saying it because it is true.
  • Be prepared for an emotional/draining/exhausting/exciting week. How it is possible to be so excited when you are drained and exhausted mentally and physically is impossible to explain in text, but it is possible and it is something you need to be aware of. Make sure to get plenty of rest before and during recruitment week, it definitely pays off!

During:

  • The Days and What to Wear.
    • Open House Day: Depending on the size of your college, Open House Day can run up to two days with up to 20 minutes at each house. During these days you will visit all of the houses on campus and talk to the active members of the chapters about what you are looking for in a sorority and how you could contribute to their chapter. If there are any presentations during this day, the girls will be showing you a slide show with pictures or video clips from the last year.
      • What to Wear for Open House Day: This is a much more laid back day, which means that your attire should be as well. If your university is like mine, this will be a day that you wear a t-shirt that they have given you with the shorts and shoes of your choice. Typically girls will wear patterned shorts, lace shorts, or a skirt with nice sandals or Converse. If you were not given a t-shirt to wear, many girls will wear sundresses on this day. No heels or wedges just yet.
    • Philanthropy Day: Once again, depending on where you go to school, Philanthropy Day can run up to two days and you can spend up to 30 minutes at each house. This is the first day that you will be visiting less houses after preferencing the night before. Service is a huge part of being involved in a sorority and on these days Potential New Members will be learning about each chapter’s organization and events that they participate in each year to volunteer and raise money for those organizations.
      • What to Wear for Philanthropy Day: If you are going through a recruitment where they provide t-shirts, attire for this day is very similar to Open House Day. Once again, go for patterned, lace, or colored shorts or a skirt with comfortable sandals. If you were not given a t-shirt, today is another great day for a sundress with flats or sandals. Once again, heels aren’t a good choice for this day as there will be a lot of walking from house to house.
    • Sisterhood Day: Sisterhood Day is the day that allows you to relax and get to know the sorority from a skit that active members put on for you. Sisterhood Day is one day of recruitment week with up to 40 minutes spent at each house and once again you will be visiting less houses. When you talk to the active members on this day, they will tell you all about the fun events and happenings around the house during the year.
      • What to Wear for Sisterhood Day: If you are going through a recruitment with t-shirts, this will typically be the first day that you are able to wear what you would like to. This is the day for a nice top with shorts or a skirt or even a sundress with a pair of wedges. Just make sure that you stay away from crop tops or revealing tops and if you wear wedges carry a pair of flip flops with you to throw on as you walk from house to house.
    • Preference Day: Preference Day is one day with visits to houses lasting up to 50 minutes. Once again you are visiting less houses and it is a very personal day. If you were called back for Preference Day it means that the chapter felt a connection with you and wanted to call you back. On this day you typically will be talking to a girl that you talked to previously that felt she had a connection with you. On this day you will be talking to the active member about how she choose the chapter she is in, what her chapter means to her, and what she enjoys most about her chapter’s sisterhood.
      • What to Wear for Preference Day: This is the day to be dressy. Think that you are going out to a fancy dinner. Wear a nice dress and heals or wedges on this day. Many girls will also wear a nice blouse top with a skirt. Once again, just make sure that your top is not revealing and if you wear heals or wedges to carry flip flops with you for walking house to house.
    • Bid Day: This is the most fun day of recruitment week! Bid Day is when all Potential New Members stand together and are handed their bid cards. Once everyone has their cards, you open them at the same time and then run to your house. Many times, fraternity boys and sorority alum are standing throughout Greek town to watch as you meet your new sisters.
      • What to Wear for Bid Day: This day is the most casual. The number of girls I saw wearing athletic shorts surprised me. I recommend being a little more dressed up than that, but wearing white or jean shorts with a cami because once you get to your new sorority house they will give you a tank top or t-shirt with your new sorority letters on it to wear!
  • What to Carry with You.
    • Water Bottle: Especially if you are rushing in the fall, a water bottle is a must. I can’t tell you how many girls were getting sick or passing out in between parties or even at parties. Please stay hydrated.
    • Flip Flops: If you wear wedges or heels on any of the days, flip flops are a must to wear in between parties as you walk from house to house. I kid you not when I say that girls would wear their flip flops to the house, change into their wedges or heels, and then leave the flip flops outside in the lawn before going into the house. Just remember to pick them up on your way out.
    • Sun screen: It’s August and it’s hot. The last thing that you want to add onto an already exhausting week is a sun burn. Just as long as you throw a spray sunscreen into your bag, you should be set.
    • Bobby Pins: That pony tail or up-do that looked so awesome this morning doesn’t always keep its hold after 8 hours of visiting houses. Or after standing out in the heat you want to pull your bangs up. Either way, bobby pins are a must for carrying in your bag.
    • Band-Aids: If you forget your flip flops on the lawn outside of a house or forgot flip flops altogether, Band-Aids are essential for the days you choose to wear heels or wedges. I would also recommend carrying them for days with flats or sandals because of potential blisters from all of the walking.
    • Small notebook and pen: Since I highly recommend jotting down notes about each house, carry a small notebook and pen with you. I wouldn’t rely on your phone, as many of us had dead phones before we even had a break for lunch.
  • Be yourself. Many girls that are shy or introverted feel that they won’t get into a house because of their more quiet nature and more talkative girls fear that they will scare off any potential bid because of their talkative nature. No matter what your personality is or the personality of the girls you talk to at each house, be yourself. You will never not be called back to a house because of being true to your personality.
  • Don’t read Greek Rank. The number one thing to do after visiting each house when I went through recruitment was to look up the next house you were going to on Greek Rank. It shocked me that the girls around me based their preferences based off of what Greek Rank considered “top tier” and “bottom tier”. If you want to have a good rush experience, stay off of Greek Rank and go off of your own thoughts and opinions on each house.
  • Complete the whole week. If you had your heart set on one house, don’t get called back to the house or houses you wanted,  get called back to only a few houses, are emotional and physically drained, or just don’t feel like completing the week, still go through and do it. I know it is heart breaking, I know it’s hard, I know that you had your heart set on wearing Phi Mu’s  beautiful rose color, but I promise, completing the week can be the best thing that you do for yourself. If you want to drop recruitment week, at least make it until the night before bid day when you have to sign that you will take a bid the next day. If at that point you still want to be done, then be done. At least know that you completed the majority of the week and made your decision then instead of two days into a seven day recruitment process.
  • Take notes on each house after you visit them. There are 15 sororities at my university and if I said that it wasn’t hard to remember which house was which just five parties in, I would be lying to you. Write down the little details that you can remember. What the girls wore, what you talked about, the names of the girls you talked to, how many girls you talked to, and even what the section of the house that you were in looked like and what the theme of their skit was. I know it sounds funny, but when you start thinking, “I was sitting in the living room where the creed was painted on the wall talking to girls and absolutely loved it,” but then can’t remember which house had the creed painted on the wall, you will be glad it’s written down.
  • Talk to your Pi Chi’s (Rho Gamma, Rho Chi, etc.). My Pi Chi’s were the two people that gave me the best guidance through the crazy week that is sorority recruitment. One of my Pi Chi’s also came into rush not knowing a lot about the whole sorority thing, so she was able to give me a ton of pointers and encouraging words not to worry and that it would all work out in the end.
  • You don’t have to drink all the water and you can eat the food. While yes, that is a funny statement to read, it is completely true. I can’t count the number of girls freaking out because they couldn’t finish their water, spilt their water, or that they ate the food that they were given on preference day and are now freaking out that they won’t get asked back to the house. Or on the other side, didn’t drink the water so that they wouldn’t be asked back. Whether you drink the water, spill the water, don’t drink the water, eat the food, don’t eat the food, or even spill the water all over the girl you are talking to, it will not determine whether or not you get called back to a house.
  • Get sleep. You will be exhausted after the full days of visiting houses. Give your body a break and get plenty of rest! You have the rest of the school year to get to know people and hang out with your friends.
  • Look your best. While you should be yourself during recruitment week, at least look pulled together and look your best. Do your hair and make-up and dress properly for the day.
  • Don’t talk about boys, beer, or partying. Or anything controversial such as politics or religion. End of story.

After:

  • If you decide a sorority isn’t for you or don’t get a bid.
    • Join other organizations on campus. There are all kinds of different organizations on campus to choose from. While a sorority wasn’t for you, there will be another organization for you to join and be active in.
    • Don’t post on Greek Rank. This goes for if you don’t get a bid, decide a sorority isn’t for you or get a bid. Never post on Greek Rank. Don’t post about your chapter, your best friends chapter, or the chapter that you couldn’t stand. It is not the kind of site that you should be referring to and is definitely not the kind of site that you want to be posting on.
    • Look into COB. Just because formal recruitment didn’t work out for you, doesn’t mean that you can’t go through COB for a chapter and try again.
  • If you join a chapter.
    • Start spending time at the house. Even if you don’t know the house code and have to stand outside the door making sure your letters are visible so one of your new sister’s will let you in, start going to the house and joining your new sisters for lunch and dinner when you can, studying in the house study lounge, and even crafting in your art room if your house has one. It’s a great way to meet your sisters and even your potential big.
    • Get involved in any way you can. While typically there isn’t much available for you to do before you are initiated, reach out and ask what you can do. Most of the time your sorority will be helping with a philanthropy event that they need volunteers for and during homecoming season there is always more pomping that needs to be done. Reach out and show your sisters that you are ready to get involved and are excited to be there.
    • Reach out to other members. Typically there is a Facebook page that is created for the new members of your sorority and it is the perfect place to start making connections. Whether it’s asking if they want to meet up for lunch or a study session at the library, anything that will allow you to start getting to know your new sisters.

Are you planning on going through sorority recruitment this fall and think that any of these tips will help you out? And if you have already gone through sorority recruitment, is there anything that you would add onto this list? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

 

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  • Be yourself! I promise, sorority girls aren’t all girly girls. Rush truely allows you that one on one time to talk especially as you get further into rush. It seems completely overwhelming now, but trust me when I say you Pi Chi’s make everything so much better. Just trust the system, it will go great! Best of luck to you in finding a house!

  • Annabella Denzel

    Ok, Megan. I need some serious help. I am going to be rushing at the University of Texas at Austin this fall, and I am a nervous wreck! I have never been a girly-girl (doing hair/make up, talking about boys, prepping for sorority life, etc.) but I really would love to be a part of a sisterhood. However, from what I am hearing, Texas recruitment is cutthroat and really quite harsh. I want to be as prepared as possible, but I am not a legacy of anyone special and I am just an average girl. How did you manage to stand out in the lineup of hundreds of other girls, and how did you manage to get that one on one time that makes so much difference? Any help would be greatly appreciated… I think I am going to need it! Thanks!

  • Thank you Colleen! I worked really hard on this post, I even wrote out an outline! Sororities aren’t for everyone, but I highly encourage to get through as much of recruitment as you can! 🙂

  • Wow, this is such a concise guide! I actually went through recruitment, well half way, and dropped it. It just wasn’t for me! I’m sure this guide will be helpful to lots of PNMs and anyone considering recruitment!

    Colleen | Buckeye Bliss