First Things First
What do I know, Anyways?
Before you take my advice on how to prepare for recruitment, you are probably wondering what makes me so qualified to talk on the subject. Although I prefer to remain anonymous so as not to reveal my school or sorority affiliation, I have extensive recruitment experience. At one of the country’s most competitive recruitment’s, I went through well prepared and got my first choice chapter. I have been on the chapter side of recruitment many times and have seen what chapters are looking for. I even served on my school’s Panhellenic council and got to see the disaffiliated side of recruitment. Furthermore, I come from a long line of sorority women who have attended schools across the country and have been able to draw from their recruitment experiences.
This manual is compiled from both my personal experience with rush and what has been told to me by friends and family members from other schools. This advice is simply the logical compilation of the tips and advice I have been giving friends and younger family members who have rushed after me. I know I would have loved to see a guide like this when I went through recruitment. I am just putting all the tips in one place. However, I emphasize that this guide is not authorized by the NPC. It is, in that sense, an unofficial guide to NPC recruitment. The advice is mine, and following it constitutes no guarantee that you will be offered a bid. It is simply a guide that can be extremely helpful in preparing for recruitment, from an insider’s perspective.
A sorority is a group of collegiate women who attend the same
college or university. A sorority can be social or professional in nature.
They can be local or national. This manual is written in regards to national
social sororities that are members of the National Panhellenic Council. This
overarching governing body contains 26 national sororities.
Recruitment, also known as rush, is the process by which sororities invite new members into their sorority. Every college that has more than 1 NPC member chapter is required to have a formal recruitment period. This recruitment can be grossly different from campus to campus. This manual is meant as a guide for girls that will be going through a formal recruitment at their college or university. For other basic information, please read the glossary.
Why should I join a sorority?
A sorority can offer one of the most enriching experiences of a college or university. They offer their members with opportunities for social, academic, charitable, athletic, and professional gain. Most sorority members forge friendships with the other members of their chapter that continue long after college is over. Through alumni associations, many sorority members are able to locate jobs and resources that are not available to their non-affiliated peers. While in college, a sorority offers a unique way to meet many people both inside and outside of one’s own chapter. It provides collegiates with exposure to charitable organizations and social activities, intramural sports and academic support. In many cases, a sorority can also offer a chapter house in which its members can live. The benefits that sorority membership can offer are immeasurable.
Still, not everyone thinks they belong in a sorority. Because of certain stereotypes developed decades ago, some people feel that sororities are only about parties. Ideas like this are completely untrue. Sisterhood, academic support, and community service are integral to sorority involvement. Hazing, which some people wrongly associate with sororities is condemned by the NPC and has been eradicated on most campuses. The last stereotype of sororities is that they are expensive. Although sororities do usually require each member to pay chapter dues, most members would tell you that the cost is well worth it. Many sororities also offer payment plans or scholarships. Each chapter has different dues amounts. If cost is a factor for you, you should be able to contact your college or university’s Greek Affairs office to get a list of each chapter’s dues or the average dues amount for your campus. Because so many of the negative stereotypes associated with sororities are not at all true, sorority membership in this day and age is truly for all college women.
What school are you going to?
Once you have decided to go through recruitment, it only makes sense to get prepared for what recruitment will be like. What school you are going to has a huge impact on what type of recruitment experience you should expect. The size, location, number of sororities, and type of recruitment at your school will determine, more than anything else, what recruitment will be like for you and how you should prepare. Recruitment can differ immeasurably from school to school, from casual conversations with a few girls to a highly regimented, full blown production. The size of the recruitment, however, should not be a factor in deciding whether or not you should rush. Although a larger rush may require more preparation, it is just as worthwhile in the end as a small rush. The point, in the end, is that this very stressful week of your life is just the sacrifice that gaining life-long friends requires.
Size of your school is the first factor that determines what type of rush they will have. In most cases, a larger school has a larger rush. Because the student body is bigger, there is just a higher demand for sororities on campus. This also generally means that the number of organizations on campus is higher and the number of girls in each organization is greater. At some of the really large chapters in Florida, California, and Texas, a single house can have over 300 members! Similarly, smaller schools generally have smaller rushes, fewer houses, and fewer girls in each house. The size rule is not always true, however, and is often affected by one other characteristic--anti-Greek sentiment. Stanford University for example is a fairly large school but has a very anti-Greek student body mentality. Regardless of the reason that student body came to feel that way, it has affected Stanford so that they have a much smaller sorority presence than they once did back in the 1950s. Ivy league schools and technical schools often unfortunately have high degrees of anti-Greek sentiment and therefore have much smaller recruitments than their state school counterparts.
Secondly, what area of the country you go to school in also has a big impact on what to expect from rush. Southern schools are notorious for having huge, competitive recruitments, even at smaller schools. Likewise, California schools have also become fairly competitive compared to other areas of the country, regardless of school size. If you are headed to one of these areas of the country, then take a deep breath; you will have the most preparation to do. (Don't worry; we will cover everything you need to do in this guide!) Girls at some of the most competitive schools like the University of Texas or Ole Miss sometimes even hire "rush experts" to train them prior to formal recruitment. This is by no means necessary, but just goes to show how nerve wracking recruitment can be for those that go in unprepared. Schools in the Midwest, Northwest, and Northeast generally enjoy a more casual recruitment, although there is no guarantee. Another regional factor is the weather. Southern and Southwestern rush is hot and humid, while more Northern schools sometimes have to deal with colder weather or rain. Some schools don't have formal rush until January or February making the weather even more of a potential problem. Although there is no guarantee that your school will stick to the norm, the area of the country you will attend college is generally a good indicator of what to expect from recruitment.
The last main factor that severely impacts what type of recruitment you will experience is the type of recruitment rules your college or university’s Panhellenic council has in place. First of all, these rules will dictate when rush is held and who is allowed to participate. Rush is generally thought of as happening in the first week of classes for freshman students but this is not always the case. Most schools actually allow students of any class ranking to go through recruitment. At some schools, they actually restrict freshman from recruitment so they have a chance to adjust to campus life without the pressure of rush. Other schools do not hold formal recruitment until the spring semester. At schools with a smaller Panhellenic system, there may be the option of ongoing informal rush throughout the school year, often known as continuous open bidding or COB. In some places, you may have to move in early just to go through recruitment. Your college or university also may have rules that create what is known as a "no-frills" recruitment. If this is the case, then you are not as likely to experience skits, door chants, expensive decorations or costumes, or even elaborate food and drink. A no-frills recruitment is supposed to create a more relaxing environment for potential new members and equal the playing field between chapters. Generally you can get the low down on all of these rules by contacting your college or universities Panhellenic Council or Greek Affairs office.
Now that you have some rough idea of what type of recruitment your school may have, it is necessary to find out from people that know. First and foremost, you should contact whoever is in charge of recruitment at your college and ask how to get registered for recruitment. This will generally consist of filling out some forms, paying a small fee, and possibly submitting your high school transcript and a picture. You should make this initial phone call as soon as you have been accepted to and decided on your college. Although they probably won't be registering people that early in the year, you can make sure that you give them your address or phone number so that they can contact you and send you any recruitment information when that time of year does roll around. Secondly, you should get online. Many colleges have a website for their Greek system that gives information on all the sororities on that campus, recruitment information, and important dates and deadlines. This is a great place to start your search for what to expect from rush. After you have visited the website and called the Greek Affairs office with any questions you might have, it's time to get personal. Chances are you know someone else that already attends or recently attended the college or university you will be going to. They can give you a wealth of information on what to expect from recruitment at that campus. Try to get many opinions from people both in and out of the Greek system. However, this is also a time for restraint. You are trying to find out what to expect from recruitment, not these people's opinions of the different chapters. No one can tell you which chapter is right for you, which chapter is "the best", or which chapter is "the worst". It may be tempting, but don't ask for anyone's opinions on the chapters you will be rushing. If someone tells you without asking, do your best to disregard it. The whole process of recruitment only works if potential new members go in with an open mind and have an honest desire to find the chapter that best fits their personality. Everyone has their own agenda for raving about or badmouthing certain chapters, and although it is fine for them to feel that way, it is imperative for you to only base your decisions in recruitment on how the different chapters make you feel.
Once you have done your background research on your school's recruitment, you can take the descriptions of recruitment on the pages to follow and modify them as best fits your school.