Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sorority Recruitment Guide

If you're reading this, you've probably already signed up for Sorority Recruitment. If you haven't, I really encourage you to sign up and at least go through recruitment. Joining a chapter isn't for everyone, but I definitely think that formal recruitment is something that everyone should try, both for the experience and rewards that result from this!


  • What is formal recruitment? Formal recruitment is a period of time where a potential new member can visit every sorority chapter and narrow down these houses based on a mutual selection process over the course of days. 
  • When is formal recruitment? Typically in the fall, a week before classes start, but some smaller schools or northern colleges choose to have their recruitment during January a week before classes begin. It will typically be at the start of the chosen semester. Check your school's Panhellenic Council website to learn the dates of your formal recruitment.
  • How many days does recruitment last? Every college varies in their length of recruitment. My university was spanned over a week with a break for the first day of classes. Also, colleges differ with how long each round will last. My school had Round 1 and 2 stretch two days, with Round 3 and Preference Night lasting only one day.
  • How long do the parties during rounds last? Again, this is unique to each school. My school had Round 1 at 20 minutes, Round 2 at 30 minutes, Round 3 at 40 minutes, and Preference Night at 50 minutes.
  • I have no idea what I'm doing! What do I do? It was easier for me to grasp the idea of recruitment solely because my sister had rushed at her college. But, our schools are totally different in scale and size, so I was going in almost completely blind. Check your Panhellenic's website for FAQ's and you'll have several girls as your "Panhellenic Counselors" so if you are ever lost, they are so nice and helpful! I had a class that conflicted with Pref Night and they made sure I didn't have parties until after my class. Don't be afraid to ask for help either!

The Summer/Semester Before...

I definitely recommend some preparation before you go through recruitment. If you are entering in your freshman year, you'll be so busy moving in if your school's recruitment is in the fall, it'll be smart to be prepared. If you are not a freshman, then you've probably heard some sort of overview surrounding greek life or recruitment, but definitely set out some time to plan. 

Letters of Recommendation

While these are not required, Letters of Recommendation certainly cannot hurt. It can seem overwhelming to try to secure a recommendation for every chapter on your college's campus. I maybe got letters for 6 out of the 16 chapters at my school, and I didn't even secure one for the chapter I joined! 
You certainly don't need to stress about finding an alum for every chapter. Luckily, I had so many tumblr/instagram friends that have be sorority women so I got letters of rec that way. There are other ways, of course. Be mindful of the women you are asking to write you a rec. If you do not know them very well, they may not agree to write you one or if they do, you'll need to send them your resume with other credentials so they can fill out the form. If they send in a letter via postal service, offer to compensate them. I also sent out thank you notes to all the women that wrote me letters! They are going out of their way to write you a recommendation, so a nice thank you goes a long way!


This is one of the hardest parts of the planning process. I will be doing another blog post about this subject because it's so detailed! My school's Panhellenic actually had a Pinterest account that had boards for examples of outfits for each round. It gave me some inspiration as to what I wanted to wear. 
If you are buying new clothes specifically for recruitment, be sure to try them on before. You want to be 100% comfortable when you are going through rush. Be mindful of the weather, depending on where your school is located. It was 90 degrees and rained every other day when I rushed, so I definitely went with breezy clothes that didn't show sweat and didn't trap in heat. 
Wear what you want! So many girls try to dress like the sorority they want based on what they think that sorority is looking for. I rolled up in Lilly shifts and bright shorts, so I didn't *fit* every chapter I went in, but that's me! That's what I wear on a daily basis. And it's what I'm comfortable in. You want a chapter that accepts you for you, not wanting to mold you into another version of yourself.
This being said, if you are not comfortable in backless/strapless/cut out clothes, don't wear them for rush! And if you can rock that, go for it! It's all about what YOU want to represent yourself as!

Research, research, RESEARCH!

The best thing to do is understand fully what sorority recruitment entails and the responsibilities of joining a chapter. Read your Panhellenic Council's website! It contains helpful information such as costs, calendar dates, and FAQ's. It really helped me before recruitment because I had a foundation of what I knew and what I didn't know, which translated into questions I asked the girls rushing me.
It's normal to look at all the chapters at your school and their social media. Keep in mind that chapters look beautiful and perfect on these websites, but does not necessarily translate to how their chapter is in real life. It's easy to apply a filter to an Instagram picture, but you can't filter real sisterhood.
DO NOT GO ON SITES LIKE GREEKRANK. If you take anything from this website, please let it be this. There is no shred of truth to anything posted on that website. I remember when I rushed, girls in my group would immediately write off a chapter because of their ranking on websites like this. Please do not go into recruitment with any preconceived notions about chapters. You will not know if you like a chapter or not until you give it a chance and walk into that house openminded. BE OPENMINDED. It will make this process so much easier!

The Week of Recruitment

It will be long. You will be tired. You will probably have blisters on your feet. But it WILL be rewarding. Stay openminded, excited, and most importantly, BE YOURSELF. Below is a brief summary of the rounds based on what I went through in recruitment.

Round One

This will most likely be House Tours. You will be with a girl for maybe 10 to 15 minutes and you may only get to talk about where you are from or your major. Questions will be very surface level, so don't worry about trying to answer in an elaborate way. Don't get discouraged! It's quick, but you won't be written off immediately. Be engaged with the girl rushing you, try to have something stand out about you, and smile! If you leave just a little bit of an impression, that chapter will invite you back because they want to know more about you!

Round Two

Round Two for me was the Philanthropy Round. Girls rushing you will tell you all about their chapter's charity and what they host each year for their philanthropy event. They'll most likely ask you if you have completed some sort of community service or if you are involved with a charity. It's amazing when you click with a charity that a chapter supports, but if you don't, no worries! I actually had never heard of my chapter's philanthropy until rush and it's something near and dear to my heart now! 
This round's conversation may also lead to your involvement in high school and what you plan on getting involved in on campus. Be honest, and if you have no idea what you want to join in college, tell them that! Chapters are eager to have volunteers for all areas on campus and being in a sorority helps tremendously in getting involvement opportunities. This round is a little longer than Round One so you won't feel as rushed!

Round Three

This is sisterhood round and it was my favorite round! My big actually rushed me during this round, so I definitely would say look forward to this one! You'll most likely watch a video at each house, showcasing their sisterhood and maybe include testimonials. This round is longer and you really get a chance to talk with the girl rushing you. Topics might include why you want to join a sorority, what you are looking for in a sorority, and if you have any questions.
Be honest this round. This is the last round before preference night, which is the most serious round of recruitment. You'll have to narrow down your choices to three houses, so ask questions and if you don't feel like you'd "fit" in with a chapter, make note of it!

Preference Night

This is the last and most intimate round of recruitment. You'll go to 1-3 houses and they'll give you a glimpse of their ritual. It's the longest round and most important round. This is your last chance to talk with houses before you make your final selections. There will be crying, be warned. The girl rushing you might cry, people around you may cry, and even you might get emotional.
Don't feel weird if you do or don't cry. Do what feels comfortable. Be honest with yourself and the girl rushing you. They invited you back because they could see you in their sorority, but could you see yourself in their house? Look around at the PNM's in the house with you. Could you be sisters with them? When you rank your houses at the end of the night, put the chapter you couldn't imagine not going back to if there was another round first. AND DO NOT SUICIDE BID. This means putting only the chapter that you loved on your rankings and not ranking the other houses you went to! It does NOT increase your chances of getting a bid to that house. It diminishes your chances of actually getting a bid anywhere.

General Tips

  • It will be LOUD when you are in parties. Don't be afraid of asking the girl rushing you to repeat what she said. It'll be better to answer the question than awkwardly smiling and nodding your head.
  • Take a notebook in your bag. Jot down your thoughts about the house you just went in after the party has ended. It will help TREMENDOUSLY when you go to rank houses at the end of rounds.
  • It is not your job to carry on the conversation during a party. That's what the girl rushing you is in charge of. If the conversation feels forced, it is not your fault!
  • If something happens, aka spilling water on yourself or tripping, it is NOT the end of the world. The girl rushing you is ten times more nervous than you so if you can laugh it off and move on, it will make the girl rushing you like you even more. Don't be afraid of embarrassing yourself. Everyone is in the same position or has already gone through recruitment before. They will be happy to tell you their horror stories because they were just as nervous as you.
  • Stay hydrated. Bring water and if the house offers you water, TAKE IT. You will sweat and you will be parched from talking so much, so definitely drink lots of water.
  • Rejection is inevitable. You will be dropped from houses that you thought you loved. It happens. But the good news is, with every new round and less houses to go to, you'll be one step closer to finding your home!
  • You do not have to take the bid on bid day. If you didn't fall in love with the chapter, then do not feel obligated to take the bid. But, I always recommend trying out the chapter for a week or two and seeing if you like it. 
  • Stay positive, be openminded, and be yourself is the best advice I can give. Chapters know what girls will fit in with their sisterhood, so if you get dropped from a chapter, it could be because they thought you would suit another chapter better. You don't want to join a chapter if you can't get along with at least some of their sisters. 
  • Don't be nervous! Easier said than done right? It's so exciting and yeah your hair might get frizzy, or your makeup gets smudged, but it's happening to everyone else. Chapters would rather have girls with killer personalities and eagerness to get involved any day. Trust me, once you are in a sorority, you will be wearing norts and t-shirts 90% of the time. Find the positive in the hiccups!
I hope this helped anyone who is nervous about recruitment! If you have any questions that I didn't cover in this post, leave them below and I'll add them to the guide! Go Greek!

1 comment

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this, Bailey! This is the most complete guide to rush I've seen! I'm only a senior in high school this year but will be tucking this away for next summer!