Your Complete Guide to Sorority Rush

So, the time has finally come. After months of waiting, worrying and Facebook-stalking sorority girls (it’s okay, we all do it), you’re finally ready for sorority recruitment. But as much as you may have dreamed (and/or freaked out) about this week, you still have no idea what to expect. But this week, you’ll finally get to figure out which house will eventually become your home, and which group of girls will become your sisters. You only get one chance at rush, so it helps to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into before you start, so you can focus on putting your best face forward! To help you rise above all the other rushees, a day-by-day guide to this crazy, crazy week:

What you do

ROUND 1: OPEN HOUSE

A Rho Gamma, or older sorority girl who has temporarily disaffiliated from her chapter to be your guide, will lead you and a bunch of other PNM’s — potential new members — from house to house. When the clock strikes the hour, the door will fly open and you’ll see dozens of sorority girls screaming and dancing. A sorority girl will grab your arm and lead you to a chair. You’ll talk for about five minutes, and then another girl will come over, so you can talk to her instead. This will happen until you have talked to about four girls. After about 20 minutes, the rush chair will make a speech, and you might hear a funny story or do a short activity before you’re ushered out. At the end of the day, you’ll write down which chapters you liked the best and cut a few houses.

ROUND 2: HOUSE TOURS

Round 2 activities vary by school—sometimes it will include a craft, a philanthropy presentation or a skit — but typically it will involve a tour of each house. By this round you have cut some houses, and some houses have cut you, so you go to fewer houses throughout the day and each round is longer, about 40 minutes. You will still talk to more than one girl — usually about three — before taking a tour of the house and learning more about the chapter’s activities and structure. For example, you may hear a presentation on the chapter’s national and local philanthropies, or learn about how much it would cost to live there. Again, you rank the sororities you saw at the end of the day and cut a few more houses.

ROUND 3: SKIT

Again, Round 3 activities vary, and many schools do not do a skit. If your school doesn’t do one, this could be called the “Philanthropy Round," and in some cases house tours are during Round 3. If there is a skit, you will talk to two or three girls before watching the most recent pledge class of each chapter put on a hilarious performance, often involving pop culture references and songs. This is a great chance to get to know the personality of each house, so you can gauge better where you’ll feel most comfortable. You’ll rank the sororities again at the end of the day, leaving you with only three houses.

ROUND 4: PREFERENCE

This round is the most serious, and you only talk to one girl for the entire time — a full hour at most schools. While during every other round the girls dance, cheer and generally try to emphasize the fun aspects of their sororities, in pref round it’s all about the traditions, principles and values of each chapter. You’ll hear from the girls about what their sorority means to them, and see a ceremony that emphasizes the essence of each house. Often there is a presentation involving the seniors, and you learn a lot about the traditions of each chapter. At the end of the day you “pref” three sororities in order of where you’d most like to pledge, and you are matched up through a computer system to a house.

What you wear

ROUND 1

For Round One, you should dress like you’re going out to dinner with your friends: dark jeans or nice leggings, cute flats or boots, and a nice top or sweater. Don’t wear too much jewelry, and avoid low-cut or too-tight tops; you don’t want to look like you’re going clubbing. And take off your watch — nothing says you’re not interested in a conversation like checking the time, and it’s a good idea to just avoid any temptation altogether.

ROUND 2

Round 2 is described as “business casual," but it’s really not a good idea to look too stuffy. A better rule for this round is “family holiday gathering” — conservative, nice but not too fancy. A nice dress with tights, or a skirt with a tucked-in blouse, is perfect for this round. If you wear pants, pair them with a pretty lace or silk top. Also, many girls wear heels this round — you don’t have to, but don’t wear flat or slouchy boots; either go for heels, heeled boots or flats.

ROUND 3

It was suggested that we dress in “business attire” for Round 3, but again, this isn’t really what most girls wear. Don’t think business dinner; think eating at a fancy restaurant with a date. Most girls wear a fancy skirt with a blouse or a silk top, or a dress, and heels. But not too fancy, and certainly not too glitzy or tight — don’t look like you’re going to a party, just look polished and classy.

ROUND 4

The dress code for this round is semiformal, but again, most girls dress a little nicer. Think a bar mitzvah, or a wedding rehearsal dinner. You can’t go wrong with a classy dress! Wear your nicest heels, and, a nice necklace — if you have them, a strand of pearls adds a polished touch.

What you talk about

FIRST TWO ROUNDS

Keep it light. You’ll only be able to talk to each girl for a few minutes, and at first you’ll hear yourself talking about your hometown and your major so much you’ll think you’re going insane. If you can manage it, try to have a more interesting conversation — the girls will remember you and keep you around if your conversation was more interesting than everyone else’s. Bring up something interesting you did over the summer, or a club you’re involved in on campus; it’s an easy way to distinguish yourself and get noticed.

THIRD ROUND

By now, you’ve learned a little about the chapter’s activities, philanthropy and structure, and you may have some questions. Feel free to ask them this round, and also make sure you get more into who you are and what makes you tick, including your activities and goals. Express your feelings about rush and ask questions about sororities in general, but don’t make any overt references to how badly you want to be in a particular chapter or talk about other houses. Through your conversations, you can convince girls that you would fit in at their house.

PREF ROUND

In the last round, the conversation should get a lot heavier. You should talk about what drew you to each chapter, why you think you would fit in there and how you feel about rush in general. Also, show the girls why you’d be an asset to their house by speaking intelligently and displaying your depth — they won’t want to give a bid to anyone who doesn’t seem like they would add a lot to the chapter. This round is to seal the deal — you have one hour to show the girls who you really are and why you should spend the rest of your college experience with them.

 

WHAT NOT TO SAY

There are three topics that are absolutely off-limits for rush: Boys, Booze and Bids. Gushing about a frat guy that you’re seeing when it turns out the girl who is rushing you used to date him will certainly hurt your chances at being invited back to her house, and bragging about all the shots you downed the night before doesn’t exactly showcase your poise and class to a group of women. But the number one fatal flaw of rush is to talk about other houses, or ask outright if you can get a bid at a particular house. It makes you look desperate, catty and underhanded, and it completely goes against the rules of the Panhellenic Council. Resist temptation — you’ll find out where you belong eventually. Avoid these lethal topics, be prepared and, most importantly, be yourself, and you will end up in a sorority that’s perfect for you!

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About The Author

Amanda First is a senior English major at Cornell University.  She is Life Editor of Her Campus, as well as founding editor of Her Campus Cornell. She has interned for Cornell Alumni Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, and Parents through ASME's internship program.  Some of her favorite things include high heels, browsing ShopBop, yoga, The O.C. reruns (but only before Marissa dies), and Tasti D-Lite. After college, she hopes to pursue a career in magazine journalism.

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