With the school year looming nearer, sorority recruitment is coming up soon, and many of you have emailed us asking for tips. Therefore, this series is for those of you who will be going through recruitment for the first time, but it’s also for those of you who want to reminisce about going through recruitment, or for those of you who just want to know what being in a sorority is like!
I am a recent alumnae of Alpha Omicron Pi and, as someone who just spent the last 4 years of her life with 70 other women, there are so many things I have learned along the way that I’d like to share with you.
Now, I know what you may be thinking…
Is Greek Life for Me?
Honestly, Greek life is not for everyone. For example, if you know you will not have time to devote to an organization, or you know you won’t be able to work with a large group of women for any extended amount of time, it’s probably not for you. There’s no doubt that sororities require dedication and commitment, and if you can’t give 100%, it’s going to be a struggle.
And I’m not going to sugar-coat it too much: Sorority life is not easy all the time. We all know that if you put a group of women in a room for long enough, drama is probably bound to happen. But, if being in a sorority has taught me anything, it is how to work with people I wouldn’t normally work with. It’s all about people skills! Below, I’ve listed a few more benefits of Greek life for prospective rushees:
Benefits of Greek Life:
- Instant friends on campus! When I went through recruitment, it was the 3rd week of school. My first 3 weeks were quiet and lonely. The Monday after Bid Day, though, my hands were exhausted from waving to my new sisters.
- Leadership opportunities. Organizations have to operate by electing officers. If you were super involved in high school, sororities are a great way to see if you want to run for other offices in other organizations on campus.
- Grades. Statistically, Greeks have higher GPAs. Try to argue that one against concerned parents!
- Activity on campus. If you are not in a Greek organization or another organization on campus, you may not know about all of the fun activities your school offers! Homecoming events, intramural games, and volunteer opportunities are all examples.
- It looks great on your resume if you have experience working in an organization. The fact that you can work with a large group of people and know how to juggle school, life, and an organization can be appealing to future employers.
- Most of all, it’s fun. We’re talking socials, mixers, sisterhood events, study dates, older girls who can tell you which professors to take, an endless wardrobe, etc.
Now that you have an idea of the potential benefits and drawbacks of Greek life, you probably know whether or not it’s something you’re interested in. If you are a freshman (or any other year) bound for college and considering going through recruitment, I have put together a sort-of “insider’s guide” of things that I wish I had known. Read on for more!
3 Things to Expect at Recruitment:
- Clapping. Lots and lots of clapping… and singing. No, we were not all cheerleaders in high school!
- Expect your voice to be 90% lost by the end of your first night. You could be talking for hours and the rooms may be loud, so be prepared!
- Feeling like a broken record. Everyone will ask you the basic questions to get to know you, and you will wish you could just write everything about yourself on an index card for people to read. However, remember that the members are trying to get to know you in a short period of time. Be patient!
What to Bring:
- Flats or flat sandals. This is the biggest piece of advice I can give you about being comfortable! You could be on your feet at houses or walking across campus for hours and hours. Those 4-inch heels, while cute, will be your worst enemy!
- Snacks. Stash a granola bar in your purse for in between parties or breaks. The Greek organization on campus may provide dinner or snacks, but it never hurts to bring something you know you will eat.
- Deodorant. Trust me. Just trust me.
- Chapstick. Self-explanatory.
- Mints. After you inhale that slice of pepperoni pizza, pop a mint before the next party and you’ll be ready to chat some more.
- Oil blotting sheets. During the first few weeks of school, it is likely to be hot and walking from house to house can make you glisten. Blot the shiny!
- A small clutch or purse. You don’t want to tote around a carry-on all day without a place to put it! Only bring the essentials.
What to Wear:
Most Greek offices have a brochure or manual you receive at orientation that tells you about the parties each night. For each party, there is usually a dress code. Some nights are formal and others are more casual. Check the manual for a guide, but most of all, be comfortable! You want to make a good impression and be yourself, so dress comfortably and classically and you will feel more confident!
Sorority Recruitment Tips: The Dos and Don’ts of Rush Parties
When you’re going through recruitment…
You may be nervous to talk to people you have never met before. I certainly was! However, rest assured that the members are just as nervous about talking to you! As someone who’s been on both sides of recruitment, take it from me: while your mind is racing and trying to figure out what to say to us, our minds are racing, too, trying to think of interesting conversation topics. It’s really a bunch of “Oh my goodness, what do I say next?” in our heads.
- It is the member’s job to keep the conversation going.
- On that note, talk back to us! Ask us questions, talk about what ever you want to!
At the end of the day, rush parties are your chance to get to know the girls you may be spending your next four years with, so be sure to take them seriously! Take advantage of the time and really take it all in, but be sure to let your authentic personality come through, too.
5 More Tips for Navigating the Parties:
- Keep an open mind! You never know what you might have in common with someone, or how much you may like a house that you had initially written off.
- Watch your body language. You may be comfortable folding your arms in front of you, but it does not make you seem open to conversation.
- Keep good eye contact. If you are gazing everywhere but at the person you are talking to, it may seem that you are uninterested.
- Don’t talk about boys, bars, or going out. It’s just not kosher. And take off your bar-tags from the night before, please.
- Listen! Preferably more than you talk.
For more on this subject, make sure to check out our past post, Rush Tips: The Dos and Don’ts of Sorority Recruitment.
Making Your Decision
A few of you guys asked for tips on deciding on a sorority and knowing which house is right for you. Below, I’ve compiled a list of questions to ask about your prospective houses, as well as some tips from my own experience to help you make your choice.
Questions to Ask at Rush Parties:
There are so many things to consider before you make a decision on where you want to spend the next 4 years of your life. Here are a few good questions to ask at the parties to help you narrow it down.
- What is their philanthropy/charity? How much involvement do they have with that organization? What types of events do they have for fundraisers? If you’re interested in a charitable organization, these questions will help you find houses that align with your values.
- What is the required GPA for members? What is the required GPA for officers? What are the penalties if a member does not meet the required GPA? What position is the organization in grades on campus? If they are 1st in grades, know that if you become a member, you will definitely be expected to keep your grades up!
- What other organizations are the members involved in on campus? Are you required to participate in another organization on campus? If you join another organization on campus, which one is considered the priority?
- How much are dues each quarter/semester/year? Is there a payment plan? Are dues paid all at once or are they staggered throughout the semester?
- Are you required to live in the house for a certain amount of time?
- How much time should you plan to devote to the organization each week? Are there events throughout the week that are required and some that are optional? These expectations are extremely important to understand before you pledge.
- Does the organization have a brother fraternity? (Example: Some sororities only ever have socials or mixers with 1 other fraternity.)
- What are the opportunities for leadership positions in the organization? At what time can you run for an office?
These are just a few examples to get you started. If you have any other questions or concerns, do not hesitate to ask a member or your Panhellenic representative! They are there to help you understand! This is a huge decision, so make sure to inform yourself before you make your choice.
The Skinny on Preference Parties
On the last night of recruitment, the party is generally more serious. The members want to show you what their organization means to them and how much they love it. This party is usually called Preference.
When the party is over, you will probably meet your Panhellenic representative to make what we call a preference list. You will write down your first and second, sometimes third, choice of organization. Know that you may not get your first choice. It is all a numbers game. But, rest assured that you will be happy where ever you go! You wanted to be with those girls long enough to go to their Preference party, so you must have liked them at some point!
How do you make your decision?
It’s different for every person, but you want to be where you feel the most comfortable. These ladies will become like your second family, so ask yourself, who would you want to spend your time with?
I remember going to my two Preference parties knowing which houses I wanted first and second. When I walked out of the parties, however, my mind changed. I don’t remember signing my preference card or writing my choices down, I only remember calling my mom afterwards to tell her my choice. It sounds cheesy, I know, but I just knew where I would be happiest and grow the most as a person. When I let that factor into my decision, it was easy!
Want More on Sorority Recruitment?
We’ve covered this topic a bit in the past! For more info, see our posts:
- Rush Tips: The Dos and Don’ts of Sorority Recruitment
- How to Dress for Sorority Recruitment in Winter
For even more tips, tricks, and info, be sure to check back next week for part two of our guide to sorority recruitment.
Do you have any recruitment advice for freshman considering joining a sorority? Are you going through recruitment? Do you have any questions or concerns about Greek life in general? Let us know in a comment!