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The Sorority Recruitment Experience

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A few short years ago, I found myself walking into an unknown building and entering a classroom that was full of unfamiliar faces. With no family members or friends that had “gone Greek” I had no idea what to expect on my first day of recruitment (informally often referred to as rush). While scheduling, numbers, and logistics can vary, the week is hectic, a little stressful, and exciting at any school.

If you’re rushing a sorority, read ahead to learn about my experience of rush, joining a sorority, and check out some tips for a successful week!

Before rush even begins, it is imperative to find the dates and requirements for your specific school. University websites should have this information posted months in advance, along with addresses for each sorority. These addresses should be used to send in resumes, pictures, and recommendation letters to each Greek organization. Although you are not required to send in resumes, pictures, and letters, these are easy ways to ensure that the sororities will recognize your face and know a little bit about you before you even walk in the door.

  • I recommend talking with family friends to find women who can write recommendation letters. It is also important to notify a sorority if you are a legacy. A legacy is a woman who is closely related to an active or alumni member of a given sorority; although each sorority has its own definition of “legacy”, typically a legacy means you have a sister, mother, or grandmother who is a member of said sorority. Being a legacy can have advantages during rush, but I was not a legacy of any sorority and that did not hinder my experience.

The first day of rush, we were required to wear Panhellenic t-shirts and plain shorts. I took this opportunity to wear my favorite gladiator sandals and a fabulous pair of earrings to stand out from the hundreds of girls wearing the exact same outfit.

  • Since every girl will wear the same thing on the first day, this is an excellent opportunity to wear jewelry or shoes that will make you stand out from the crowd. Make sure your accessories are classy and subtle.

I met my Rho Gammas and my rush group.

  • The Rho Gammas are disaffiliated from their sorority, so they are an excellent source of impartial advice if you are having trouble making decisions throughout the week; they are also often called Rho Chis or Recruitment Guides.

On the first day of rush I visited each sorority for twenty minutes. Active members of the sororities sat and talked to me about my hometown, my interests, and my experiences at my new school. Each sorority has a different system, so sometimes I talked to one girl for twenty minutes, and at other houses I talked to multiple girls for just a few moments each. 

  • Remember that the girls you are speaking with in each house are nervous too, so if there is a short lull in the conversation-don’t worry!

The time in each house was so brief on the first day; I used the provided booklets to jot down a few notes about each sorority so I could remember what I liked (and didn’t like) throughout the day. At the end of the day, I chose seven of the eleven houses I wanted to visit again the following day. That night, each sorority was selecting a list of girls that they wanted to meet again on the second day as well.

The second and third days of rush were similar; in the morning I met with my group and received my schedule for the day. The schedule is decided based on the selections made by PNMs (Potential New Members-that’s you!) and by the sororities. On the second day I wore a simple sundress and a pair of comfortable flats.

  • Depending on your school, you may be walking blocks between each house; stylish shoes that you are able to walk in are imperative (I know those Steven Madden pumps are adorable, but you will be miserable wobbling around all day)!

The second day I visited seven sororities, and the third day I went back to five sororities. On the third day I wore a nicer dress (think along the lines of a classy evening dinner or a graduation party) with comfortable heels. I loved these days of rush because each sorority performed songs and skits to teach PNMs about sisterhood, philanthropies, and social life. I continued to write my thoughts about the sororities; there were so many different songs and skits that it was hard to remember some specifics when it came time to select my preferences.

The final day is called Preference Round, and this round is significantly different than the previous days of rush. I wore a Michael Kors cocktail dress that I wore to my high school commencement dinner with a pair of brown wedges. 

  • While this day is certainly a little fancier, don’t wear a floor length prom gown or formal dress!

On Pref Round I returned to three houses and spent an hour in each house. There were no skits or songs performed on this day; some of the seniors in each house read poems and shared stories about their memories and experiences after joining the sororities; don’t be intimidated if many of the girls in the houses are crying!  I spoke with girls that I had already met on the previous days, and at some houses I was hotboxed, which means more than one girl was allowed to talk to me at the same time. After the rounds, I made my final selection!

  • This is the only day on which you will actually rank the houses you attended. On the first, second, and third days, I simply marked the sororities that I wanted to revisit in no specific order; however, after Pref Round I actually ranked the three sororities with a 1, 2, or 3 depending on my preference. Many girls are extremely overwhelmed and torn between sororities, so again, I recommend speaking with your Rho Gammas if you are confused or conflicted. 

Bid Day is absolutely thrilling, nerve-wracking, and can be potentially heartbreaking. At my school, we sat in a big stadium with our rush groups and were instructed to physically sit on our bid card. All the Rho Gammas sang every sorority song, and each Rho Gamma jumped forward during the songs to reveal her sorority! After the ceremony, all the girls ripped open their bid cards and ran to the sorority house shown on their cards. Each sorority had painted signs and posters and held balloons to welcome their new pledge class. I was ecstatic to have received a bid to the house that I ranked #1 after Pref Round, but it is important to remember that some girls may be disappointed. 

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  • No matter the result, it is imperative to give any sorority a shot; you may think you were destined to be a member of one specific sorority, but you may find that you absolutely love the girls in another sorority. You always have the opportunity to drop out if you decide the sorority is not for you, so you might as well attend bid day activities and give your new sorority a chance no matter what.

Written by Real Life 101, Inc.

July 31, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Greek Life Glossary

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With so many schools participating in and completing both men’s and women’s formal recruitment recently, we compiled a list of common Greek terms that are important to understand. Below are some of the vocab words you may hear as a member of a Panehellenic or IFC organization.

Active: A fully initiated member of a fraternity or sorority

Bid: An official invitation to join a Greek organization

Chapter: The formal name of the local organization of a national fraternity or sorority

Fraternity: A Greek organization typically understood as being restricted to men; however, women’s organizations can also be traditionally defined as a fraternity

Minority Greek Council (MGC): Governing body of minority Greek organizations

National Panhellenic Conference (NPC): Governing body of national sororities

National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC): Governing body of national black Greek organizations

Philanthropy: A Greek organization’s specific organization that members donate volunteer hours and the organization often donates money

Pin: Specific badge or symbol worn by a member of a fraternity or sorority

Potential New Member (PNM): Formal name for an individual participating in recruitment

Recruitment: The formal process of engaging PNMs to join a Greek organization

Recruitment Guide (also Rho Gamma, Rho Chi, Greek Councilor, etc): A disaffiliated member of a sorority or fraternity designated to aid PNMs through the recruitment process

Sorority:  A Greek organization restricted to women

Those are many of the formal terms you may hear when you’re thinking about going Greek. You may also hear a few of the following terms throughout recruitment: 

Dirty Rushing: Refers to the forbidden act of sorority actives promising PNMs a bid, contracting PNMs outside of the allotted time within the house, giving PNMs gifts, or any other prohibited and unethical form of recruiting

Dry Rush: Alcohol is forbidden at all fraternity/sorority recruitment events

Dropped (or cut): An individual is not invited to return to a Greek organization during recruitment

House: May refer to the actual structure of a sorority or fraternity. Also an informal name for a sorority or fraternity itself (eg “What house are you a member of?”).

Hotboxing: More than one sorority active speaks to a PNM at one time during recruitment

Pledge: New Member of a fraternity or sorority who has not been initiated into the organization

Pledge Class: Group of individuals that have participated in recruitment, accepted their bids, participated in New Member education and events, and been initiated during the same year

Pledgeship: Designated amount of time between bid acceptance and initiation into the Greek organization

Ranking: The process of a Greek organization selecting members to return to their house during recruitment, and the simultaneous process of a PNM of selecting which houses she would like to return

Rush: Informal name for the formal process of recruiting PNMs to join a Greek organization

Rushee: An individual participating in recruitment (PNM)

Suicide: The act of scoring or ranking only one Greek organization after the preference round of recruitment (if said individual does not receive a bid to the scored organization, the individual does not receive a bid to any Greek organization). This is the outdated way of defining “intentional single preference”.

Written by Real Life 101, Inc.

August 25, 2011 at 11:06 am

Why Go Greek?

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Why Go Greek?


If you’re still trying to decide if joining a Greek organization is the right choice for you, there may be a few aspects of Greek life that just may entice you to give a sorority or fraternity a chance.

Improve your Grades: Being a member of a sorority or fraternity can improve your grades in a variety of ways. As a New Member, you may be required to complete a certain number of study hours each week. These study hours encourage New Members to begin their college careers successfully by practicing regular study habits from the beginning. Greek organizations also often have a minimum GPA required to remain an active member of the organization. This GPA varies by organization, but individuals who do not maintain this GPA are often placed on academic probation. Academic probation may prohibit individuals from participating in social events or intramural sports, and additional study hours may be required for these individuals. Greeks study hard so they can play hard! Finally, Greek organizations often keep test files that are full of old tests and study guides for many classes offered at the university. All members of the Greek organization have access to these files, and an individual may borrow tests, quizzes, and study guides in order to prepare for a class. Many Greek organizations even keep a list of each member’s major or minor, and members can contact one another to study or discuss specific classes or professors associated with each major. Greek organizations also provide access to tutors if an individual is struggling with a particular course.

Expand your Social Life: If you’re worried about making friends at your new school, going Greek is an excellent way to meet new people! Chapter and pledge class retreats, sisterhood and brotherhood events, and volunteer work are just a few of the occasions when you can bond with other members in your Greek organization. You will also have a Big Sister or Brother and eventually a Little Sister or Brother; these relationships open new doors to spend time with members in other pledge classes. Not only will you meet individuals in your own sorority or fraternity, but Greek formals, themed mixers, date nights, philanthropies, and intramural sports will give you the opportunity to meet members of other organizations as well!

Advance your Networking: Individuals who actively participated in their Greek organizations throughout college often stay in touch with their chapters long after graduation. Joining a Greek organization may allow you to connect and establish relationships with these alumni. Alumni can offer excellent advice, and possibly even inform you of potential employment opportunities.

Increase your Volunteer Experience: It is estimated that Greeks volunteer over 850,000 hours of community service annually around the nation. Each Greek organization has a specific charitable organization to which the members donate volunteer hours, and the organization donates money (this is called philanthropy). Being involved with a Greek organization allows you to volunteer to help those in need. You’re not limited to volunteering your time towards one charity; by participating in other organization’s philanthropy events (which can be any activity, such as a dodge ball tournament or a soccer scrimmage) you can help other Greek organizations raise money for their charity of choice!

These are just a few aspects of Greek life that can enhance your success throughout college and provide you with friends and memories that extend far beyond graduation. GO GREEK!