Sorority Recruitment - The Ins and Outs
What Is It?
Sorority recruitment, or "rush", is a time where potential new members (PNMs) of a sorority go through a series of rounds, meeting women from various sororities in hopes of finding their perfect fit. The women talk, sing songs, perform skits, and share personal stories about what makes their sorority so special. The first few days are pretty laid back and provide an opportunity for PNMs to meet and mingle with women from all (or most, depending on the university) of the sororities in a casual environment. As the week progresses, each visit to the houses becomes a little more serious, and more individualized time is given to PNMs.
At the end of each day, PNMs rank the top sororities based on their preference. At the same time, sororities are ranking PNMs to decide whether or not to give them an invitation back to their house for the next round. Ideally, these votes match up and PNMs attend the houses that they prefer, having more opportunities to get to know the women better.
The last day of sorority recruitment is called “pref night.” This is when PNMs are down to either one or two houses. This is by far the most serious night and is usually full of emotion. It is a time when sorority sisters get to share with PNMs what sisterhood means to them and express their desire for them to join. This is the point that both potential new members and each sorority house make their final decisions.
The next day is called “bid day.” This is when women receive a “bid”, or an offer, to join a sorority. After women make their decision, they take a bus to the sorority house and enjoy meeting all their new sisters. Typically, houses will provide refreshments and play several “get-to-know-you” games as a way to encourage their new members interact with and get to know girls in their new pledge class.
While there are many benefits to joining a sorority, it would be foolish to think that it is the right choice for everyone. If you are still deciding whether going through sorority recruitment is the best decision for you, considering the following thoughts may help.
You Should Go Through Sorority Recruitment If...
1. You are passionate about getting involved on campus. Being in a sorority is a great way to feel connected to your university no matter how big or small it is. Most universities encourage Greek life and recognize the ways that sororities can benefit students both inside and outside the classroom.
2. You are looking for a support group to help make the adjustment to college easier. At most universities, sorority recruitment occurs a week or two before the start of the school year. It is a great way to meet new people and share in your high emotions and common experiences. It can be intimidating, but knowing you have people there with you going through the same type of experience can help lighten the load and serve as a great support system. You’d be surprised by how many of the people you meet end up sitting next to you in your first day of classes.
3. You enjoy community service. Each sorority supports its own philanthropy and hosts various events to raise money for their organization. In addition to fundraising, many sororities are involved in various service activities. It might be a good idea to look through these philanthropies prior to rushing as a good topic of conversation.
4. You enjoy social events and parties. Sororities offer several unique opportunities to spend time with friends and meet new people. Examples of social events include homecoming float builds and dances, bid day events, formal date parties, mixers with fraternities and other sororities, various banquets, sisterhood retreats, intramurals, and community service activities.
5. You are open to the idea of spending some of your time at weekly chapter meetings and other required events. Each sorority is a little different, but most require you to attend all chapter meetings (unless you are excused), participate in other sorority or fraternity events, and reach a certain amount of community service hours. Asking about requirements would be a good thing to do during sorority recruitment.
6. You desire academic accountability and support. Sororities serve as a great resource for academic performance. Most sororities offer study hours, tutoring programs, and may even require members to maintain a certain grade point average. What might be surprising for most people to hear is that these requirements are often higher than the general campus average. With regulated study hours, resource files, and often times pre-paid tutoring services, sororities are a great way to keep your grades up while still having a good time.
7. You would like to pursue leadership opportunities. There are several opportunities for leadership positions within a sorority, including new member committees, party social, president, vice president, treasurer and even t-shirt committees. Being involved in positions like these can not only help you build character, but they also look great on your resume!
I've Decided To Do It! Now What?
Let’s say you have made up your mind to rush, but still don’t feel comfortable with the idea of talking to strangers all day. Well, you’re not alone. I can confidently say that almost every woman, whether they are PNMs going through recruitment, or those that are doing the recruiting, feels uncomfortable at times. There will definitely be houses where conversation will flow more naturally than others, but for those times that you do get a little tongue-tied, here are a few suggestions.
What Should I Talk About During Sorority Recruitment?
During the first couple days, you should expect to be asked many small talk/get to know you type of questions. For example:
- Where are you from?
- Where are you going to be living this year?
- What's your major?
- Why did you decide to come to this university?
- Do you like your roommate?
- What did you do this summer?
Try to show interest in the conversation by answering questions thoroughly, rather than giving one- or two-word answers. Using this strategy will help make sorority recruitment a more valuable experience for you. For example, if someone asks you about what major you chose and you are undecided, don't just say "undecided" and stop there. Instead, expand your answer by explaining your interests and your desire to find a major that can best fit them, and then maybe ask the girl how she decided.
Another great way to keep the conversation flowing and to really show your interest in a certain sorority is to ask them specific questions about their sorority. Good questions include:
- What is your favorite thing about your sorority?
- I know your philanthropy is _______, what ways do you support this?
- What ways are you involved on campus?
- What is your favorite social event to do with your sorority sisters?
- What made you pledge?
- How is your sorority different than others?
As you reach the last few days of rush, it is important to be honest about your interest in the houses you have left. For example, if there are one or two houses that you love and can absolutely see yourself fitting in with, then tell them! At this point, sorority women are just as nervous as you are about who to hand out their bids to; because they have a limited amount to give. If you do not show enough interest during sorority recruitment, they may read you the wrong way and give your bid to someone who is a little more enthusiastic.
Last Things To Remember
- BE YOURSELF at all times. Don't be influenced by the actions of others.
- STAY POSITIVE throughout the entire week of sorority recruitment.
- HAVE AN OPEN MIND. Don't get stuck on one sorority just because you heard good things about it. Figure out where you best see yourself fitting.
- DRESS CONSERVATIVELY. You are dressing for women, NOT your boyfriend.
- HAVE FUN! Sorority recruitment could be the start of the most exciting years of your life!
What To Avoid Talking About During Sorority Recruitment
Now that we have discussed plenty of things to talk about, let's talk a little about what topics to avoid:
- Boyfriend drama
- Best friend drama
- Partying every weekend
- Joining a sorority because of the cute t-shirts
- Negative talk about other sororities
These are pretty self-explanatory and should be avoided no matter what. Often times the women doing the recruiting are not allowed to discuss these topics, so bringing them up could really make them feel uncomfortable. Their view of you and your intentions will be affected and may lead to you not receiving a bid the next day.
What Do You Think?
I'd love to hear about your experience going through recruitment! Do you have any fun stories or additional advice? Feel free to share below. :)