Are you looking to go Greek? Well the first step is to go through sorority recruitment (formally called “rush”.) When I was in college, I definitely had a love/hate relationship with recruitment. The days are long (sometimes running from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., with prep and post-recruitment activities) and the work is never-ending, but it’s such a fun time and in retrospect, I have such fond memories of that time of year. As I find myself reminiscing, I wanted to write this post to give anyone going through it (or wondering if they should) some advice and perspective.
Recruitment is just a big interview
If you are having any doubts about doing recruitment, I recommend just doing it and seeing what happens. Remember that recruitment is essentially just a 5-day interview process. The worst that can happen is that none of the houses are a good fit and you decide to not pledge. So with that mindset, it shouldn’t seem too intimidating. During this interview process, it’s important to remain professional at all times. Namely: don’t discuss topics that would be inappropriate at an interview – these include religion, politics, drinking, boys, frat parties, etc.
Keep an open mind
Keeping an open mind is the best thing you can do for yourself. The selection process involves a series of narrowing down your options each round. And while you make your selections, so do the houses. The results of both choices determine where you’ll end up getting invited back to the next round, and ultimately, which house you’ll pledge. You may get invited back, or you may not – and since that’s not entirely in your control, don’t dwell on it. If you get invited back to a house you weren’t too keen on, keep an open mind about it. You may love it after the next round. It’s all about making connections with people.
Ignore the stereotypes about sororities portrayed by the media. While sorority life may not be for everyone, it definitely isn’t only for the type of girl you see portrayed in “college Greek life” movies.
Sororities can have such a formative impact on you during your college years, helping you develop a variety of skills that you may not realize at first, like leadership and organization skills. Being in a house will also help you learn more interpersonal skills than you would by living in a dorm, as you share your house with a variety of people (sometimes over 100 people in a house!)
Bottom line: The right house can change your life. You don’t want to miss it by not keeping an open mind. (Depending on your school) recruitment is your one and only chance to go through the process so you really want to put the effort in to make sure you find the house that best fits your personality and lifestyle.
Dress to a “t”
During recruitment, it’s always ok to overdress a little. You want to leave a positive impression and with such a limited amount of time to get into conversations, it’s important to look your best. With so many girls coming through each house and conversations blurring together, you’re likely going to be remembered by your appearance.
And while you may think you’ll remember the details of every conversation, you’ll quickly learn that your notepad will be indispensable! Take time to write down names and key points about your conversations after each discussion.
Recruitment Outfit Guidelines
Typically there are 5 rounds and the dress code gets increasingly formal with each round.
Day 1: Open House
During the first round, you will visit every chapter. At larger schools, this round will be split into two days. Open House is a way to get a brief glimpse into each house and start conversations with a variety of people. You’ll typically talk to 3 girls per round. As mentioned above, your note-taking skills are imperative.
What to wear: During this round, you will be given a specific t-shirt to wear. Pair it with a cute pair of shorts or jeans, and sandals, flats, or heels.
Day 2: House Tours
House tours was always my favorite round because you actually get to see the houses. I think that being able to visualize where you’ll live is so important. During this round, you’ll be having conversations as you tour, but be sure to pay attention to the room setups – does the house have a sleeping porch? Are the freshman rooms shared by 2 people, 4 people, etc.? This is your chance to see what it’s like to live there.
What to wear: You’ll be doing the most walking, so a pair of comfortable shoes is key. A cute blouse and a pair of shorts or a casual summer dress are both great options. Pair either with sandals and you’re golden.
Day 3: Philanthropy
On Philanthropy Day, you will get to learn about the houses’ philanthropies and will typically make a craft or partake in an activity that will benefit or relate to the sorority’s charity.
What to wear: A nice summer dress paired with heels, wedges, or flats.
Think Lily Pulitzer, Ted Baker, Kate Spade. If those are out of your budget, check Zara, Forever 21, or Lulu’s for similar styles.
Day 4: Preference
This is the most formal day and the day you’ll be making your final decision. By now, you’re going to know multiple girls in the houses you visit and will most likely get to reconnect with someone you’ve already talked to.
What to wear Cocktail dresses, heels, and a classy necklace. Avoid black or white, since most houses will probably be wearing black.
Day 5: Bid Day
It’s the big day! You’ll receive your bid and the whole journey starts from there! The week following recruitment is going to be a blast. It’s personally one of my most favorite memories from college.
What to wear Wear something with a cami so that you can throw on your new bid day t-shirt – you will be given your house t-shirt and will be taking lots of pictures.
Take notes. By the third round, the conversations will start to blur together. Keep notes on your phone or bring a small notepad along. Unless you have perfect memory, you’ll want to write down names and what you discussed. That way, when you see them again on the next round, you won’t get things mixed up.
Have your short-list elevator speech ready and make sure to highlight what makes you unique. It’s key to being remembered. (Who you are, where you’re from, what are your hobbies, etc.)
Find common ground
Avoid talking about boys and booze, politics, and other houses
Keep the conversations two-sided: Share something you’re passionate about and ask the girls to share their interests as well
Some simple conversation starter:
What do you love about your house?
What’s your best memory from your freshman year?
Remember: Some of the girls will be just as nervous as you! And by the end of the day, they will be tired. Treat this like a job interview and remain professional. You’re interviewing your future best friends.
It’s all about building connections and finding out where you fit in. As stressful as the whole process may seem, it is so important to remain authentic, grounded, and true to yourself. If conversations don’t feel natural, it’s likely that you’re in the wrong place. It’s better to figure that out during recruitment than to realize it once you pledge.
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