Rush Tips: The Dos and Don’ts of Sorority Recruitment

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Group of sorority girls

Fall semester is synonymous with one thing to many incoming freshman–RUSH! And today I’m sharing all the best sorority rush tips you need to know.

Every semester, thousands of eager girls across the country participate in rush events, in order to learn more about their school’s sororities and potentially join a greek organization.

And it’s no wonder rush is so popular: Joining a sorority can facilitate leadership development and on-campus involvement, and can also bring you dozens of life-long friendships. Even if you don’t think Greek life is for you, rushing can help you get to know other girls in your class and develop your small-talk skills!

So, you’ve got your outfits picked out, your essentials stocked, your hairstyles planned, and recommendation letters turned in. Now what?

There’s only so much that the rush pamphlet will tell you, so I’m here to help. These dos and don’ts will provide you with tips and info to make sure that your sorority rush is a great experience!

Rush Week Tips: Things to Do

1. Do bring a pair of flip-flops to leave in your purse and change into during passing periods.

Depending on what school you go to, sorority houses may be several blocks apart. Running in high heels is difficult, and your feet will certainly need the break!

Pink purse and shoes

2. Do keep your purse stocked.

I recommend bringing oil-blotting papers, baby wipes, a mirror and extra make up, mints, deodorant, and anti-bacterial hand gel. All of these will be lifesavers, especially during the hot days of August or September!

3. Do ask questions.

Use the time with each sorority to understand what the strengths of the organization are. Ask about what they’re involved with on campus, the type of academic rules they might have, and how much of a time commitment it is. Remember, the girls rushing you are just as nervous as you are, and the easier you make it to talk to you, the better!

4. Do get plenty of sleep and eat healthy meals.

Rush days are long and require lots of energy. You’ll want to be on your A-game the entire time, so getting sick is not an option. Remember that you’ll be coming in contact with tons of girls a day, so washing your hands and using antibacterial gel is a good idea. Also, try drinking Airborne or Emergen-C for an extra immunity boost!

5. Do use the time during skits to rest your feet and voice.

Enjoy those few minutes to yourself; cool down, relax your aching feet, and sip on the yummy drink they give you while watching the skit. However, don’t act bored or blase–that’s a sure way to get cut. Enjoy the skit, laugh and clap like you normally would, but use the time to regroup and refresh yourself.

6. Do be honest with yourself.

Eliminate different organizations mentally throughout the week and pledge according to what you want in your heart. Don’t let anyone pressure you into pledging a house that you do not feel comfortable at; not even your mom or siblings. Keep an open mind throughout the week, and be in touch with your instincts.

7. Do meet everyone you can!

Strike up conversations with fellow rushees during passing periods and remember girls you hit it off with that are rushing you. You never know who will end up living in your dorm hallway, sitting nearby in your biology lab, or participating in your pledge class! Rush is a great way to meet people and start off on the right foot at a new school.

8. Do be yourself and show off your personal style!

The best sorority houses are the most diverse ones–would you want all of your new friends to dress, talk, and look the same way? Of course not! Whether you like to dress boho, preppy, or little edgy, don’t be afraid to let your style come through.

9. Do pledge somewhere that challenges you.

College is all about personal growth, and there’s no better way to learn than by surrounding yourself with girls that make you want to be a better person. If you want to be a more devoted student, pledge somewhere with great test files, a cozy study room, and a high average GPA. If you want to be more involved, join a house that has several members in leadership positions on campus. You’ll be living with these girls, so its important that the house you’re picking is filled with good influences and good character.

Rush Week Don’ts: What NOT to Do

Bangle bracelets

1. Don’t wear tons of jangling bangles or too many rings.

Remember that you’ll be shaking hands with dozens of girls a day–multiple rings will get uncomfortable in a hurry, and too many bracelets can be distracting.

2. Don’t be afraid to eat or drink anything that’s offered to you!

It’ll be hot outside and you’ll be doing A LOT of talking; the reason why sororities give you a soda or milkshake to sip on is because they know it will make you more comfortable! Don’t believe rumors perpetuated by TV shows like Greek that say sororities test you by seeing if you eat or not. Even if this were true, would you really want to join a house filled with girls who judge others like this? And while on that note…

3. Don’t believe everything you see on television or movies about Greek life.

The TV show Greek makes it seem like every sorority is at war with each other, and every girl in a sorority will stab you in the back the first chance they get. Remind yourself that this is NOT the culture of typical Greek organizations.

4. Don’t reach out to members of sororities outside of rush during recruitment week.

At most schools, members have been instructed by both Panhellenic (the governing body for sororities) and their rush team to NOT call, text, or send you facebook messages. This is a serious rush violation that they could get in big trouble for. Contacting them yourself will put your friends in an awkward position.

Hair bow and sunglasses

5. Don’t dress head to toe in sorority cliches.

Showing up to rush in pearls, red lipstick, a hair bow, and a beehive poof will only make you look ridiculous. If one of these things is your personal style, by all means wear it with confidence! But overkill will send the wrong message. Dress like yourself and be unique!

6. Don’t talk about boys or partying.

The conversations you have during rush should tie back to you or the sorority. Talk about your interests, hobbies, and what you would like to get involved with on campus. This should be a no brain-er as well, but really watch your language! Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to your Grandma.

7. Don’t dismiss a house based on what you’ve heard from other people.

This especially applies if you’re a freshman and haven’t actually started school yet. The opinions you’re receiving about a sorority’s reputation may be biased or outdated. Go in with an open mind, and trust your gut.

8. Don’t hold grudges or blame anyone if you get cut from a house.

The way a sorority can bid on a girl differs for each Panhellenic administration, college, and chapter. Have an open mind about where you end up, and remember that you’re there because everyone in that house wanted you to be their sister!!

What do you think of these rush tips?

Are you planning on rushing? If you’re already in a sorority, what tips do you have for incoming freshman? What do you wish you knew before you rushed? Do you have any funny stories or experiences to share?? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear them!

82 thoughts on “Rush Tips: The Dos and Don’ts of Sorority Recruitment”

  1. I couldn’t agree more the advice to do what’s in your heart.

    I roomed with by best friend from high school (and roommate for that year) during rush and by the second day we couldn’t stand each other (lesson on rooming with your best friend from high school is for another day. 🙂 ). So when bid day came and I knew that she was going to get a big to the same house I was getting a big to, I didn’t pledge because I didn’t know how I was going to be able to put up with her for a year, much less be tied to her in sisterhood for life. This house was the house my Mom and grandma were in and I really liked the girls, but I made the decision not to pledge based on MY ROOMMATE? Silly silly silly.

    It was a bad way to make a decision, but, in hindsight, I think I lucked out and it was the right one for me. She ended up flunking out and moving home after freshman year, but sometimes I still have pangs of regret at the opportunities I missed out on because I didn’t make that decision for ME. I ended up transferring to a smaller private school after Sophomore year and joined clubs and ended up making lots of friends and having fun college experiences, but sometimes I still wonder “what if?”

    So my advice is this… Rush is STRESSFUL. You’re about to move away from home and be on your own. If you’re like me, you’re probably already trying to keep homesickness at bay. Then throw on the stress of meeting new people and always trying to put your best foot forward… all these stresses are going to try to eat away at your emotions and influence your decisions.

    You’ve got to step back and have fun with the fact that you’re on the edge of big things and you’re making new friends and meeting people that may one day be your bridesmaids! Enjoy the games you play and movies you watch with your fellow rushees in your downtime. When bid day comes, choose what’s right for you and what YOU FEEL in your heart.

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  2. Its unfortunate your friends had such a terrible time in greek life. However, just because you have some friends that thought of it as nothing more than paying for friends, doesn’t mean you an an inkling of a clue of what greek life is all about.
    Regardless of your personal opinions, you definitely shouldn’t try to discourage others from experiencing something for themselves.

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  3. I have to disagree with Sasha and Faith. Greek life may not be for everyone, but it is far from the stereotypes that popular culture makes it out to be. While I am greek, I joined as a sophomore which I think gave me a great insight into the system. My best friend and roommates freshman year were greek, in two different organizations. And I was able to see both the good and not so good sides that greek life brings with it. Maybe my greek experience is different because I go to a huge, Northern, Urban school where the greek life has just been gaining popularity in the past decade or so. As for the idea of joining other organizations idea, I and all of my sisters are members of other organizations as well; and every organization I am a part of require dues, and they have their own slew of T-shirts to promote themselves.

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  4. Wonderful article! I’m a sorority alumna and served as Membership (rush) Chair my junior year, so this article made me very happy. I would encourage potential new members to ask questions of their Recruitment Counselors (Rho Chis, Rho Gammas, whatever) because they will give you the best insight about recruitment at your particular school. Many schools have a campus Panhellenic website which can give you more info about the schedule and what to expect.

    The NPC (umbrella organization for 26 national sororities) has a great website for potential new members: TheSororityLife.com

    Hmm…funny rush stories…we always hand out flyers the week before recruitment, and I accidentally gave one to a 40-year-old mom on campus with her kids. Woops…sorry, that’s the best one I’ve got right now.

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  5. @Celia I completely agree!! In addition to my social sorority (rush tri delt!!) I’m also a member of Delta Sigma Pi, a coed business fraternity. The bonds in the business fraternity are just as strong as in my social sorority!

    The point is, GET INVOLVED ON CAMPUS!! Nothing is more rewarding than nurturing a skill or an organization and watching it become stronger 🙂

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  6. Also remember that just because you rush doesn’t mean you have to pledge. If, after rush, you get the feeling that Greek life isn’t for you, don’t feel pressured to pledge by the sorority members or the friends you’ve made. Real friends will respect your decision.

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  7. Sasha and Faith: It is extremely offensive for non-Greeks to say such hurtful things. I am the president of my sorority this upcoming academic year and that is one of the things I am striving to change before I graduate. It is extremely unfortunate that people on the outside looking in have these stereotypical views of sororities and fraternities. First of all, there are different councils. At my school there are 4: Panhellenic-social based sororities, IFC-social based frats, NPHC-historically African American, and USFC-culturally based. I think many people are unaware of these different councils and tend to lump all social sororities with others. I am a member of a multicultural sorority and we pride ourselves in not giving in to the stereotypes. However, there are sororities that do feed into it. I mean don’t get me wrong, we are college students and we party but we are nothing compared to what you see potrayed in the media.

    Joining a sorority was the best thing that ever happened to me!

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  8. My best advice is also to look past social Greek organizations! There are Greek-lettered groups for everything, from honor societies to service sororities to professional fraternities based on your major or heritage. I’m a proud member of Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity for women, and definitely think it’s a better fit for me than any of the social sororities on my campus.

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  9. @sasha…LOL!! i don’t know why your comment made me laugh, but it did. i agree with you and faith though. i know several girls who actually left their respective sororities because the dues, obligatory present buying for people they barely knew, and all the other expenses were just too much and they weren’t getting any “return on their investment”.

    sorry girls, but the stereotypes are there for a reason and i’ve been to TWO schools whose sororities (and fraternities, to be fair) have done nothing to change outside people’s perceptions of them. one school was in the northeast, where it seemed like every other girl freshman year was going to rush events in their leggings, uggs, northface, and pearls. in the midwest, it was the same thing, minus the pearls. they’re all bitchy, stuck up, and pretentious, which is unfortunate because i think i would have/could have been friends with many of the girls on my floor freshman year had they not joined a sorority. and yes, i did take the time to get to know them before/after rush and the “after” was a LOT different than the “before”. we actually ended up having to have a floor meeting because of the problems it was causing. i was never interested in greek life simply because i knew i would never be able to commit to it because i was already committed to being a student and D1 athlete, and that was more important to me.

    my advice to those girls that were offended by some of the comments would be instead of assuming that the naysayer’s don’t know what they’re talking about because they haven’t experienced it, go out and try and change people’s opinions of sorority girls so they don’t have a reason to say that those involved with greek life are paying for their friends. people don’t say sorority girls are bitchy and pretentious just for the hell of it. they generally have a reason.

    overall, i thought this was a great article. if you aren’t into greek life, think of all the ways you can apply these tips to situations other than rush events, such as convocations or those department meetings where you get to meet all the professors before classes start (did anyone else have something like this?).

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  10. This is such a fantastic article! I am doing my 3rd recruitment from an active’s point of view and ALL of these things are so true! Also, remember that if a sorority is bad-mouthing another sorority that it does not show good character of a chapter. If only this had been around when I was a potential!

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  11. @Sasha and Faith,

    It’s sad that you have such views of sorority life but like so many have said before me, all of those dues go straight to maintaining physical items like the house and maintaining the organization on a national and regional level as well as supporting our national philanthropy. I know exactly where every cent of my dues went, and I know I’m not paying them to meet friends. I met some amazing girls through my sorority that I never would have met otherwise and I’m so happy that I went through Rush my first year.

    As to tips in going through Rush, just be yourself! Relax! Don’t wear shoes you can’t walk in! You do not want to be in pain the whole day (or night or weekend!). Remember to maybe carry a small bag instead of a big one. Rush on my campus (since none of the sororities have houses) is conducted in a big building on campus and you’re simply walking between rooms and a big bag isn’t necessary but definitely ask your Rho Chi (recruitment counselor) about it!

    I hope everyone who goes through it has a lot of fun and comes out with a bid in their dream sorority!!!

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