Thinking of rushing a sorority? It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the whole rush process–interviews, mixers, references–but we have a team of sorority experts to share everything you need to know about recruitment. From singing to coordinated outfits, our comprehensive guide will have you ready for fall rush.
Questions provided by Chicster Emma Ehlers (an incoming freshman at University of Arkansas – Fayetteville who’s preparing for recruitment) and all of the answers come from real sorority girls. Hayley Lollar is a recent graduate of Kansas State University who served as her chapter’s president and the vice-president of public relations, Brooke Stafford is currently the marketing chair for her sorority at Penn State University and Margaret Abrams was her sorority’s assistant membership chair and vice president of administration. She has written about sorority life for websites like Total Sorority Move and Racked.
In part one of our series, we walk you through the process of submitting your recommendations and then visiting each house during recruitment.
Do I need recommendation letters?
HL: Most sororities accept recommendation letters but they aren’t required. If there’s a specific chapter you’re more interested in than others, having multiple letters of recommendation sent to them will show your interest before you get there.
MA: If you’re going through rush at a Southern school you should definitely have letters of rec for the sororities you’re most interested in. The girls on the recruitment board will know who you are in advance and be sure to look out for you. Ask your mom’s friends and women in organizations you’re in, because you never know who was Greek. It’s basically giving yourself a boost before you even get to the first sorority house.
What’s recruitment week?
HL: At Kansas State, we hold recruitment the week before classes. There are four rounds; open house, philanthropy day, sisterhood/house tour day and preference day. Each day you learn more about the chapters you’re invited back to and they learn more about you. The conversations at the end of the week are much more meaningful. You start by visiting every chapter during open house, and then go to less chapters each day, until finally selecting your top choices and waiting to see what’s on your bid card.
MA: My school had second semester recruitment, so it didn’t start until after winter break. This meant that you had an entire semester to get to know the girls. That’s why letters of rec were so important — older girls would make an effort to meet you before formal recruitment started.
BS: By the end of rush week, you’ll know what each sorority values, what each sorority’s philanthropy is and what each sorority is known for.
What should I talk about at the parties during recruitment week?
HL: The sorority women want to get to know you! I always say even if you aren’t sure about a certain chapter, go into every party with the goal to make a friend. The recruiter will lead the conversation but have an idea of things you want them to know about you and don’t be afraid to ask questions about them.
MA: As long as you don’t talk about anything too controversial, you’re golden. That doesn’t mean you should be someone else or monitor what you say. At the end of the day, the older girls are having the same conversation over and over so don’t feel like you have to talk about your dorm and classes. Talk about favorite TV shows or the funniest moments of freshman year. You’re trying to make a connection so it shouldn’t just feel like an interview.
BS: Though it is usually the recruiter’s job to keep the conversation going, not all recruiters will have stellar communication skills. So, feel free to spice up your conversations with a few fun facts about yourself. Every sorority recruiter will love that you’re offering interesting information about yourself without them having to dig!
Am I guaranteed a spot in a sorority?
HL: No matter where you are going through recruitment, no one is guaranteed a bid. The purpose of recruitment is to determine the best match for the PNM and the chapter. If you don’t get a bid, it’s possible that Greek life IS for you, but the formal recruitment process wasn’t. Many chapters participate in continuous open bidding (COB) or informal recruitment. This happens when a sorority is under Panhellenic total and they have a spot(s) open. I know many girls who were overwhelmed during formal recruitment and didn’t get a bid. However, they were much more comfortable and relaxed during COB and found the chapter that was best for them.
What’s bid day?
MA: Bid day is when you finally found out what sorority you’re going to be in. It’s a ridiculous amount of fun, but if you don’t know anyone in your house it can get a little bit awkward. It’s completely fine to be overwhelmed. After all, you’re meeting 100+ new ladies who are suddenly your sisters. Take a deep breath, get to know everyone and remember that soon these girls will be your best friends — no pressure.
HL: At K-State, we have bid night and bid day. The potential new members (PNMs) participate in the preference round in the morning and reconvene in the evening to receive their bid cards. Once all of the envelopes have been distributed, everyone opens their card at the same time and the new members run to their sorority. There’s always a lot of hugging, chanting, tears of joy and laughter. From there, each chapter has a bid night celebration at their chapter house and the next day they have a bid day activity. Last year, my chapter went to the zoo together!