Whether you’d become a fifth-generation sister or don’t know your Greek alphabet, sorority rush can seem super intimidating. For an entire week, you essentially get all dressed up to answer the same personal questions about yourself while running from house to house. The recruitment process often gets a bad rap; critics call it petty, judgmental and fake. It’s true that sorority rush isn’t perfect, and there will be girls who make it competition to earn the most bids. However, there are ways you can avoid being one of the few fake ones and let your genuine self shine through.
1. Dress in something you’re comfortable in
We all agree that wearing itchy or uncomfortable clothing can make your whole mood turn sour. Of course, beauty is pain, and sometimes you just have to grin and bear it, but sorority rush isn’t one of those times. If your prom dress poked you in all the wrong places, the bathroom was a constant safe haven. During rush, you won’t have much time alone, so sneaking off to adjust your skirt for the fourth time will be difficult.
Luckily, there will be a few instances when you’ll get to wear your recruitment t-shirt (can we say sweet relief?). For the other times when you’re expected to adhere to a high-stakes dress code, we’ve put together sample outfits complete with accessories. Just remember the more comfortable the outfit, the better you can focus on being in the moment.
2. Don’t treat the process like a series of interviews
Preparing for any type of interview is stressful, especially if you tend to freeze up under pressure. It’s typically smart to have practiced answers ready to go for questions about previous work experience and personal strengths and weaknesses. If you’re brand new to the sorority recruitment scene, a large portion of rushing might seem just like participating in several back-to-back interviews.
Stephanie Huynh, a sophomore at Lehigh University, emphasizes the importance of treating these interviewing periods like regular conversations.
“If someone asks [about] why you want to be in Greek life, a typical answer would be ‘Because I want to get more involved on campus and join a sisterhood.’ [A stronger answer might be] ‘I don’t have any sisters in real life so having a strong sisterhood is something attractive to me,’” she says.
“These answers are similar but [the second] gives members more information about yourself. [You] should [also] ask questions so rush feels more like a conversation instead of an interview. People [who] appear uninterested and answer questions generically appear pretty fake in this regard.”
It’s quite possible that if you prepare seemingly cookie-cutter answers, none of them will fit the questions asked. You wouldn’t want to be left panicking, so treat the interview like a conversation with an acquaintance instead. Give yourself time to think of honest answers instead of shooting back a full-formed, rehearsed mini-speech.
3. Remember that the decision doesn’t define who you are
It’s easy to go into rush thinking you’ll be fine with whatever happens. Que será, será, right? When you get there and see all the other collegiettes looking to fill the very limited spots, you might begin to compare yourself, or even question your self-worth. In a state of insecurity, some girls take to badmouthing others they consider competition; this only makes them seem fake.
Courtney Douglas, a sophomore at Stanford University, remembers telling herself that sororities didn’t know everything about her.
“I tried to remember that no invitation or rejection would serve as an accurate reflection of my character or ability to form valuable female friendships, even though the results of recruitment truly can feel like judgment,” she says.
“Rush is essentially a blur at this point, but I remember accepting this ‘element of incompleteness’ allowed me to relax, come across as authentically as possible and ask questions about Greek life that I actually wanted to know the answers to.”
Throughout the entire experience, remember that the rush process is simply one optional part of college. You’re more than what happens at the end.
Related: Your Complete Guide to Sorority Rush
4. Don’t set your eyes on only one sorority
It isn’t wrong to have an idea of which sorority you’d like to join. Maybe you have a ton of upperclassman friends in one or like the philanthropy mission of another. There are an infinite number of reasons why a certain sorority stands out among the rest in your mind. However, during the rush process, it’s best to give all the sororities a chance. If you don’t, you run the chance of appearing fake or even snotty.
“You shouldn’t try to appeal to a certain house by acting a certain way. If you do and you join that house, you’re not going to fit in and that’s really sad because sororities are all about being with girls that mesh well with who you are,” says Anupama Shah, a sophomore at Georgia Tech University.
Sisters interacting with you on a one-on-one basis can also sense when you’re not completely enthused about the conversation at hand. Try to give every house a chance and put the same amount of effort into each. You’re more likely to get more bids and have a greater variety of sororities to choose from when the time comes.
5. Relax and let yourself enjoy the experience
While it may seem impossible, staying calm throughout rush is optimal. You’re going to experience a range of emotions from excitement to disappointment. You might feel these emotions multiple times a day over the entire week of events. Especially during the first few days, it’s important to make yourself relax. The more relaxed you are, the more genuine you’ll seem. If you make yourself relax, you’ll probably have a better time talking to other potential new members and recruiters.
While sorority rush is often portrayed as fake, you can prove that stigma wrong. It’s possible to avoid fakeness all together by taking the whole experience with a grain of salt. Your main goal shouldn’t be coming out on top with the most bids; you should come out with the most memories. If you’re genuine, comfortable and happy to be there, you’ll have no trouble telling amazing and hilarious stories to your future sorority sisters.