I have a super power. It is not the ability to fly or run really fast. My super power is that I can talk myself into and out of just about anything. A job, a nightclub, a discount, it doesn’t really matter, because I have a silver tongue.
And what do I have to thank (or blame) for this skill? Sorority recruitment, of course.
Your sorority recruitment, no matter what time of year, over what period of time, or in what dress code, is in one way just like the sorority recruitment on every college campus. It is mainly based off of the conversations between active chapter members and Potential New Members (PNMs).
Girls spend the weeks preceding recruitment practicing their conversation skills. Whether it is having imaginary dialogue with inanimate objects (a wall, a plant, a paper plate) or brainstorming good stories to tell, collegiettes know the importance their conversation plays in the impressions made during sorority recruitment.
While everyone focuses on what to say, sometimes knowing what not to say is just as important. During recruitment, word vomit could be a deciding factor as to whether or not a bid is earned or accepted.
So to make your sorority recruitment preparation simpler (and to help perfect your conversation with the wall), Her Campus lists the top 10 things NOT to say during sorority recruitment for both PNM (potential new members, or rush-ees) and active chapter members to follow.
What NOT to say as a PNM
1. My mom is making me go through recruitment
There are two big warning flags that fly when a PNM says this to an active member. An active member will wonder why you are even there. You are in college and that means you get to make your own decisions. If you want to leave, show some independence and do so. Second, an active member will wonder if you will even take that bid she may offer you and question if spending recruitment getting to know you will be a complete waste of her chapter’s time. Your participation in recruitment should be your decision.
“Choosing a chapter is a personal decision that will influence your college career. During the recruitment week you should focus on yourself and make a decision based on what fits you best,” University of Missouri's former Pan-Hellenic President Michelle Parsons says.
2. Sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll
Okay, depending on the situation talking about rock-n-roll may be appropriate, but talking about sex and drugs definitely is not. Add booze to the no-no list as well. The moment a PNM asks the simple question, “do you like to party?” she automatically becomes “that girl” (even if the title is undeserved). You’re starting college: partying may or may not become a part of your life, and it may or may not be a part of the life of the active member talking with you, but as part of a get-to-know-you conversation, it is really not appropriate. Greek Life has a social function, but it is so much more than that. The girls already in chapters want you to respect that and prove to them you have more to offer to their chapter than just being the life of the party.
“A PNM asked me what fraternities me and the other girls in my chapter hang out with and what formal date parties we usually get invited to. She was more interested in these parties and the boys than she was in my sisterhood or experience with the sorority,” Courtney, a collegiette who has been through recruitment for four years, said. “It was definitely one of those conversations that stands out for a bad reason. I don’t mind talking about it a little bit, but I think there are bigger topics to address first.
If you are attending a school not too far from your hometown or going through recruitment second semester, you may already know several active members in the chapters you rush. Recruitment is not the time to list off these members. Making a list won’t impress the girl you are talking to, it will simply annoy her. Yes, you can casually drop a few names, but giving a detailed account of whom you know and exactly how you know them is a bit repetitive. Focus on getting to know the other members of the chapter and creating a good impression on them; that way you can rely on old friends and new friends to fight for you to get a bid.
4. I don’t plan to stay in this chapter through graduation
A sorority is a lifetime commitment, if you think otherwise then you may not be what that chapter is looking for. Active members want to bring in PNMs who have the potential to be positive members for their chapter. If you admittedly only plan on being in a chapter for only a year or two, then you are not offering everything you can. Talking about how you just want to join a sorority just to make friends freshman year or how your older sister was in Alpha Alpha Alpha chapter for only two years before quitting are red flags to active members. Active members are looking for girls who will keep chapter retention numbers up and not the girl who will be too busy or too uncommitted to the sorority to stay in it for her entire college career.
5. I already know which chapter I belong in
“If I had any advice about going through recruitment it would be to keep an open mind. This year we really challenged the PNM's and asked them to simply focus on ‘going Greek’,” Michelle said.
You might falsely believe you know which chapter you belong in, but recruitment will show you there are a lot of things you didn’t know about your campus’s Greek community before recruitment began. It could show you that you are wrong. Just as you need to keep an open mind, you need to help the active members you meet to keep an open mind about you as well. By telling an active member you know where you belong, she will instantly lose this openness, and your chances to be invited back to that chapter may disappear as well.