Friday, August 16, 2013

Eight Tips for Sorority Recruitment

I am a shameless sorority girl.  I squat at the first sign of a camera.  I've probably spent more money on craft supplies than I have on textbooks.  I scream when I see my sisters, throw the hand sign everywhere I go (Luke Bryan knows what's up), and nearly everything I own either has my letters or my monogram on it.  Sorry I'm not sorry.

So, since my baby sister (whose tips for college life can be found here) is all moved in to college and will be going through recruitment soon, I offer all PNMs (that's potential new members in recruitment lingo), the following tips to make your recruitment experience the best ever (that is, except for every moment you have once you've accepted your bid).

Be Yourself

One of my friends went through recruitment twice: once as a freshman and once as a sophomore.  She rushed twice not because she didn't get in to a sorority the first time (because she did), but because the first time she didn't end up where she needed to be.  (For the record, she ended up exactly where she should have been the second time.)  Lesson number one is always be yourself.  Don't think that you need to act like Elle Woods to get into a sorority (unless you always act like Elle Woods, then go for it).  If you feel like you can't be yourself for a certain group to like you, then it's not the group for you.  Don't fret, you'll find where you're meant to be.  If you're fake when you're rushing, you'll end up in the wrong house with the wrong group of people, and you'll either drop out or be unhappy.  Don't be unhappy.  Be yourself, and you'll find a group of girls that likes you because you're you.

Don't Get Frustrated

You will be asked the same questions over and over again.  Where are you from?  What's your major?  What activities did you do in high school?  What's your favorite movie?  Get used to it and don't get frustrated.  Especially if you're on a big campus, you'll answer these questions at every house.  Be bright and cheerful every time--remember these girls are just getting to know you and you're just getting to know them.  Of course, with the popularity of Pinterest, there are all sorts of ideas floating around for out-of-the-box recruitment questions, so you may get some pretty clever ones that will make that chapter memorable for you.

Learn the Greek Alphabet

At least when I rushed, during the initial rounds each chapter had their letters on their t-shirts.  My school had ten sororities and I found them hard to keep track of.  I would forget which chapter I was visiting while I was with them, and even after I got my bid I told my mom the wrong chapter.  This would have been a whole lot easier if I'd learned the Greek alphabet beforehand and could have just looked at the t-shirt to remember where I was.  My sister is rushing at a school with more than twice the number of sororities I had at my school, so it will be important to keep track of who's who.

Avoid the Three Bs

Boys, booze, and bank accounts.  Don't talk about them.  Period.

Remember it's a Two-Way Process

People will tell you this over and over, but recruitment is a two-way process.  The chapter is trying to find new members that will fit with their goals and values, but you're also trying to find a group of women that you'll stay friends with for the rest of your life, not just people to party with next weekend.  So be selective.  If you get a funny feeling with a certain group, make sure you listen to it.  And, most importantly, ask questions of your own.  Are you into charity work?  Ask about their philanthropy.  Love girl time?  Ask what kind of sisterhood events they do.  Want to get more involved on campus?  Ask what campus events they participate in or if any sisters are leaders in other campus organizations.  If all else fails, the easiest question to ask is "what is your favorite thing about being in a sorority?"  Then ask for examples.  (For example, my chapter had a weekly Bible study group, dyed eggs for easter, and volunteered at art classes for the mentally and physically handicapped.)  You'll get a much better idea of what the chapter does on a normal basis and whether those things sound like fun to you.

Take Notes

If your recruitment kit doesn't include a notebook, bring one anyway.  After each chapter visit, write down absolutely everything you can remember.  Start with the name of the sorority, the names of the girls you talked to, what you talked about, and any gut reactions you got.  They can be words, they can be pictures (my note from my first visit to the chapter I joined is literally a giant smiley face), sentences, paragraphs, bullet points, whatever will help you remember later what you liked (or didn't like) about the chapter.  For my baby sister, visiting 20+ houses is a lot, and you'll be overwhelmed.  Taking notes is the best way to keep each chapter straight, which is incredibly important for ranking.

Save Your Judgment

Did you hear a trashy nickname for a chapter?  Did you meet one person from the chapter that just seemed a little weird?  Did your best friend's mom's sister's best friend say that Delta Nu is a really horrible chapter?  Put all of those things out of your mind when you visit a house.  Save your judgment until after you've met and talked to several people from the chapter.  It may be exactly the right fit for you, but you'll never know if you don't give them a chance.

Ask for Help if you Need It

Your leaders and lifelines throughout the recruitment process are there to help you no matter what.  We called them Pi Chis (I've also seen them called Rho Gammas), and they voluntarily disaffiliate from their sorority during the recruitment process just to help you find the right one.  They are unbiased and will offer you really great advice.  Whether (God forbid) there's a family emergency in the middle of recruitment and you have to go home, or you're trying to rank and you're torn between two chapters that you want to rank number one (that's me), they will always always always be there for you.  Don't be afraid to ask them.

I'll never forget asking my Pi Chi about my final round ranking.  I was torn between two chapters--one of them I had loved every girl I'd met there and I knew they were the kind of girls I could be silly with, and another I'd gotten along well with most of the girls but I met one that stole my heart and I wanted so badly to be her sister (and to not let her down).  She sat and talked with me for a good half hour, going over each visit, looking at my notes, and helped me decide to rank the former at number one.  It was the best advice I ever received, because I ended up in exactly the right group for me.  And it turns out that the group I ended up ranking second was her sorority.  She was able to see better than anyone where I belonged and helped me to get there, all because she was completely unbiased and willing to help.

So good luck to my baby sister and all of the lovely PNMs out there.  Recruitment is truly one of the best decisions you will ever make.  You'll meet lifelong friends, you will always have a group of cheerleaders, shoulders to cry on, roommates, girls to party with, girls to drive you home, and, most recently for me, best friends that will stand beside me on my wedding day.  It's an important (and sometimes stressful) process, but I promise you, it will all be worth it.

What's the best recruitment advice you've ever received, or what do you wish you'd known before starting recruitment?  Tell me in the comments!


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