The best and worst week of your life is on the way to test you, stress you out and excite you – all at the same time.
Sorority recruitment is a process where PNMs (potential new members) are going to enter each of the sorority houses (at colleges that have greek life) to see which house fits them the most and which letters they want to wear for the rest of their lives – no pressure.
And the houses are judging you too.
WAIT! Don’t leave yet. I am so not trying to talk you out of Rushing. Recruitment is so rough but it all works out in the end—pinky promise.
I can’t speak for every sorority, as each will recruit differently, but we recruited based on scholar, character and overall down-to-earth good vibes. A lot of houses will also add in looks too, but I can’t tell you who and which house will do that because it truly varies per campus.
Inside information: sororities work SO HARD to make sure PNMs are matched with members in the sorority they may have things in common with. For example, we matched people based on hometown, activities in high school and of course, major. Chances are, the girl you are meeting at the front door already knows all of those things about you!
I am not going to lie – it can be a super hard week. After visiting all the houses, it can literally be soul-crushing if the house you like doesn’t like you back. It’s like liking someone who doesn’t like you back. But, you can’t take it to heart because you don’t want it to affect your confidence! There are SO many reasons you didn’t get invited back to a house such as:
-talking to an active member who was too tired to keep conversation
-an active member forgetting your name and not taking notes efficiently
-that houses line inside got messed up so you didn’t get the person you were supposed to be matched with
-something happened with rotations and an active member messed up
Literally, there are so many reasons a girl doesn’t get asked back and it is SO NOT YOUR FAULT. Just remember that, and don’t take things personally. I know this will so get annoying but it WILL work out and you will end up exactly where you belong.
The Summer Before Rush
Sign up for recruitment! The earlier the better… because it is cheaper. I am not sure how much it is for each school, but I paid about $150 to rush at Texas Tech.
Reach out to your friends, your mom’s friends, your friend’s mom’s friends – everyone. Why? You are going to need some recommendation letters sweetie! You will look so much better to houses if you have rec letters. Plus, you never know. Someone may know someone who is on the board of a house at the school you’re going to! Networking is so key here. Also, look in your family and see if anyone has Rushed before. You never know, you may be a legacy! (A legacy is someone who is a direct descendant of someone in a sorority or fraternity. For example, my grandmother is an Alpha Delta Pi, so I am a legacy at ADPi).
GO SHOPPING. If you are lucky enough to have 5 immaculate outfits already in your closet, kudos to you! I, on the other hand, had to take a little visit to Nordstrom Rack to find some dresses. It’s best to have your outfits planned prior to Rush Week because everyone else will have theirs prepared too and you are not going to want to search for a dress at 6 am!
What to bring every day of recruitment: something to soothe your throat. Loads of water. Deodorant (bc it’s still summer). Hairbrush. Makeup for touch-ups. Mints for fresh breath (so important). A positive attitude (necessary).
Day 1: Visiting Every House
On the first day, all the PNMs go through Every. Single. House. It is the longest day of your life. You basically have to have the same conversation over and over about your major and your hometown, but if the convo is flowing and you get off-topic, that is good! Figure out which house you are most comfortable with. Try not to be too nervous because you are looking for the house that suits YOU, not fake you.
At the end of the day, you will fill out a card with your top houses. During the night, people on Panhellenic will match up your preferences with the houses that preferred you. I know, it can be slightly confusing but this process has been going on for decades – it is foolproof.
Day 2: Philanthropy
On this day, you will get back a schedule of the houses that wanted you back. If you were not asked back to some of the houses, look at the list I wrote above because it could just have been one of those reasons why and nothing you should take personally. This is also when sororities will cut based on grades!
Philanthropy day is when each house you were invited back to will explain their philanthropy. If you have a personal connection to the philanthropy, definitely share your story – but make sure it is genuine! Throughout the semester, each sorority will raise money for their philanthropy through fun events and it is a huge part of each house’s history too.
After, fill out the houses in the order that you want and submit it.
Day 3: Sisterhood
Woohoo! My fav day. So, again you will get a card back narrowing your selection.
On this day, the girls will explain their sisterhood bond and share cutie stories about significant experiences being a part of the sorority. Make sure you are paying attention! If a sorority is seeming like they are fake, make a note of that. You can really have some awesome, and amazing relationships with your future sisters and you want to make sure you vibe with the house.
This is also a good time to let the convo floooooow. Be yourself because you are finding your home for the next four years and you want to be with people who you enjoy and vibe with!
Day 4: Preference Night
Ugh finally… you get to sleep tf in.
This is when everything is getting real! After getting your card back, you will either have one or two houses that you will “pref” and see which one you truly want. This is when you wear your cocktail attire and the party will last around an hour. Typically, there will be cookies, speeches and some kind of ceremony. And you will likely get someone back who you have previously talked to you. Chances are, this person has requested to talk to you again – so you may be their rush crush!
Honestly, pref night can really touch your heart and make your decision really easy… or really hard.
At the end of the night you will fill out your card one more time and get some sleep!
Day 5: BID DAY
Finally, you will report to where you’ve been told to report and every school is different. Some schools get their bid day card and then have to run to the house they got, but that really depends on the school. A girl who received a “bid” is given a card and told to wait to open it. In my memory, we gathered in the stands of an arena (this is at my college) and someone over the loudspeaker counted us down. Finally, everyone opened their cards at the same time and there is SO much screaming. This is when we ran and found other girls who received bids from the same sorority and we were then bussed over to our Greek Circle, where we were greeted by our new sister’s screams of excitement. Each new member will get a “bid day buddy” who had the name of the new member on a huge sign, ready to be their mentor for the next few weeks.
Bid day is every sorority girl’s favorite sorority-related day. Glitter, a cutie theme, wigs, paint and all-out craziness. Bid day is when the veil of modesty is lifted and you can truly hang with your new sorority sisters. It is such an awesome feeling gaining so many new friends and support in one day – which made the whole process so worth it.
Relax, be yourself and have so much fun! It will be hard, you may lose your voice, but the outcome is so worth it.