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A Basic Guide to Sorority Rush

Updated on October 3, 2010

Thinking of going Greek? Joining a sorority can be one of the most rewarding college experiences, with tons of social, philanthropic, athletic and academic opportunities. Many girls find their "home away from home" in sororities, and wear their Greek letters with pride. Contrary to popular belief, Greek Life does not fit the Animal House stereotypes perpetuated through popular culture. Every Greek organization is different, and sororities and fraternities are founded on creeds and rituals that they take very seriously. The recruitment process is different at every college and region of the United States, but there are several basic things to know before you go through with rush.

First and foremost...

1. Go in with an open mind. Girls that enter recruitment already decided where they want to go are very likely to miss the chance to find the right fit. Joining a sorority solely because you have friends there or it's "popular" on campus is never a good idea. The only way to know what sorority is right for you is to keep an open mind during recruitment and make an honest effort to assess each house and get to know the girls. Keep in mind also that not everyone gets their "top picks", as sororities can only extend bids (an invitation to join a sorority) to so many girls. Also remember that every sorority has good qualities and girls who could make wonderful sisters, so don't veto a house immediately based on rumors or first impressions. That isn't fair to the sisters and it isn't fair to you. You never know...they could be the perfect fit for you!

2. Keep up a positive attitude. Recruitment can be an overwhelming and exhausting process, so maintaining a p ositive outlook is essential. During the process you will get cut from houses and you will cut houses in turn. Do not take this personally and let it effect your decision to rush, as this is simply part of the mutual selection process. It does not mean you're not "good enough" or wouldn't make a good sister. Refrain from talking badly or making critical comments about other houses to anyone during recruitment, as this can reflect poorly on you. Smile and make an honest effort to talk to the girls in every house. They are likely nervous too!

3. Go with the flow. During recruitment you will be paired with members of sororities to have conversations with. You will likely be asked your major, your year and where you're from a hundred times. As you go through the process the sisters will get to know you better and conversation times will get longer. There is no standard, cookie-cuttie conversation. It's absolutely fine to talk about things like shopping, music, school, etc. You don't have to limit the conversation to Greek life. Let the conversation develop naturally, be a good listener and don't be afraid to ask questions. Pretend that you're having a friendly chat with this girl in a coffee shop. There's no need to be shy or nervous, but if you are, it's okay to be honest about it and the sisters will help you relax. They want you to have a great time at their parties, regardless of whether you eventually join or not. It's also perfectly fine to tell them you love their house! Let your personality shine through and be yourself, because after all, you're trying to find the right match for you.

4. Be a gracious guest. When you go to each sorority house, be polite and remember you are guest in their home. Be respectful by not texting or acting bored or distracted. This really rubs girls the wrong way! If someone offers you food or drink, accept it and thank them or if you must, decline politely. Giving genuine compliments on their house, party themes and outfits is always a nice gesture. Look the girl you're talking to in the eye and pay attention, even if you really are bored. These girls are making an honest effort to get to know you, so take the time to return the favor.

5. Get plenty of food and rest. Don't skip meals or stay up too late if you can help it. You want to make sure you're hydrated and well-rested, as recruitment can be a tiring process involving lots of walking, moving around and conversation with lots of girls.

6. Ask questions. The best way to show you're interested is to ask questions about the sororities you visit, and the sisters will be happy to answer. If you're blanking on a good question, you could try one of these:

  • What is the new member period like?
  • What are some of the events you hold? What are some of your favorite events?
  • How much time commitment is involved in being in a sorority?
  • Do you offer academic programs or scholarships?
  • What is your philanthropy and what kinds of events do you hold for it?
  • What are you looking for in a member?

Be prepared for the sisters to ask YOU questions about yourself as well, and avoid "yes" or "no" answers as much as possible to keep the conversation going.

7. Talk about your talents and accomplishments. Are you a dancer? In an honors society? Are you an athlete? Do you want a leadership position? This is the time to say so! Sororities are looking for women would be an asset to their houses and are involved in campus life. If you just started college and haven't gotten involved yet, talk about high school activities, hobbies and ways you're interested in getting involved in a sorority.

8. Ask the sisters about themselves and their experiences in the sorority. People love to talk about themselves, so ask away! Asking about the sisters' experiences will give you some insight into life in the sorority and all of the fun things could be a part of.

9. Do not judge an entire sorority based on one sister. A sorority is a group of unique individuals, and one or two girls is not indicative of the entire house. Even if you didn't have a good conversation with a particular sister, this doesn't mean you wouldn't get along with the rest of the house! Ignore gossip, rumors and drama during recruitment. Let yourself decide how you feel about these girls without outside opinion or bias.

10. Clean up your Facebook. At many schools, sororities will look at PNMs (potential new members) online profiles, so make sure anything you don't want everyone to see is hidden or removed. You want to make a good impression of yourself and not be known as the girl who dances with lampshades on her head with a bottle of vodka in hand. Remove or hide pictures related to underage drinking, drug use and nudity. Yes, many college students drink underage, including girls in sororities, but this isn't something you want to advertise during recruitment.

Here are some absolute DON'Ts during recruitment:

  • DON'T bring up religion, politics or controversial issues. If a sister is involved in Jewish life and asks you if you're Jewish, for instance, it's fine to answer. If you're involved in a youth group, that's fine to mention to, but don't discuss any religious topics. Avoid all of these controversial topics.
  • DON'T indicate which house you plan on joining, or say "I want XYZ" or "I'm definitely joining XYZ." You can tell the sisters you love their house, but keep it at that.
  • DON'T discuss guys, partying, alcohol, sex or anything related. The sisters are not allowed to talk about these topics anyway, and you don't want girls to remember you as "the party girl" or "the hook up girl" or think you're only rushing to party and meet boys.
  • DON'T talk about how much money you have or how much your parents make.
  • DON'T talk about other sororities or fraternities.
  • DON'T try to be someone you're not to impress the sisters. They're looking for girls who would be a good fit in their sisterhood, and it's important to stay true to yourself and your values to ensure the best fit on both ends.
  • DON'T complain too much or be too negative. Try and find something positive to say or make a joke about things that may bother you. Avoid whining.

Conversation during rush is limiting, but it's also a time for you to show the sisters your best qualities and special talents.

WHAT TO WEAR - Every school has a different rush process. Large, southern universities are more likely to have more formal rushes (think pearls, dresses and heels), while smaller colleges tend to be more casual. It honestly depends on where you are, but don't worry, your recruitment counselors will go over recommended attire for every party and occasion. In general, there are several things to keep in mind no matter where you're rushing:

  • Wear natural-looking make-up that brings out your beautiful features. No need for heavy eyeliner or tons of powder. You want to look like yourself.
  • Make sure your clothes fit, are comfortable and have no tears, stains or broken zippers.
  • Avoid wearing perfume. The houses you visit will be crowded and tons of it at once can be overwhelming.
  • Don't dress too provocatively. Wear something you would to a tea with your grandmother or a family dinner at a nice restaurant.
  • If it's acceptable to wear jeans during your rush, make sure they fit well, do not have holes or rips, and are the kind of jeans you would wear when dressing up. It's also a good idea to wear a belt.
  • Wear jewelry that is part of your personal style and complements your outfit. Keep the amount to a minimum...maybe a pretty necklace and earrings, or a few cute rings and bracelets.
  • Keep some make-up and emergency items in a zip-lock bag (you can hand these to your recruitment counselors during parties) for minor touch-ups. Good things to have on hand include lip balm, lip gloss, tissues, and make-up for touch-ups.
  • If you do your nails, get them done before recruitment so they look good and don't have chipping polish.

Recruitment can be stressful, but it's ultimately a rewarding experience if you find the sorority that's right for you. Go in with an open mind, positive attitude and make good first impressions, and let all else fall into place. Good luck, girls!


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    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 3 years ago

      sounds more complex than I would have thought.

    • larcaustin46 profile image

      larcaustin46 6 years ago from Austin, TX

      Great information here! Thanks for sharing your insights--I know how valuable these tips are!

    • Mark Sparks profile image

      Mark Sparks 6 years ago from Charlottesville, Virginia

      Interesting, I've heard the details of sorority rush be described, but never completely understood it before. I just wrote a hub about the inner workings of fraternity rush, check it out!