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How The COB Sorority Recruitment Process Works

In 2021, #BamaRush took the Internet by storm as students at the University of Alabama documented their sorority recruitment experience on TikTok. This year, Her Campus is giving you the inside scoop — we've partnered with active sisters at U of A to tell you everything you need to know about going Greek this fall.

There’s two main ways to join a sorority. The first and primary is formal recruitment, which often takes place in the fall semester. It consists of three rounds over the course of a week and has the most amount of PNMs (potential new members) rushing. This is the one that most college students are probably familiar with, and the one that PNMs at the University of Alabama are currently going through, as you might have seen on the #BamaRush or #RushTok tags on TikTok, where Bama Rush has gone viral for the second year in a row.

However, formal recruitment isn't for everyone, and that's totally okay. If you've been thinking about joining a sorority but know that the stress of formal recruitment isn't for you, you do have another method of going Greek: the Continuous Open Bidding process (COB), or informal recruitment. Here's everything you need to know about the meaning of the sorority COB process, and how it differs from the "traditional" formal recruitment process.

What is COB?

COB can occur any time after formal recruitment and is meant to help sororities meet quota, aka the maximum amount of members allowed in their chapter. Let’s say each house on campus is allowed to have 100 members, but ABC house only got 93 during the formal recruitment process. This means ABC can give out seven bids to COB girls to meet quota.

Some universities and sorority nationals are required to meet quota, and some aren't. It’s not a bad thing if a house doesn’t meet quota, and it’s not a bad thing to receive a bid through COB, so don't let the nontraditional recruitment process scare you off from trying it out. 

How does COB differ from formal recruitment?

COB is much more relaxed than formal recruitment, and not every house participates in it.

Instead of structured parties in formal recruitment, informal recruitment involves more intimate conversations and activities. Events may include cookie decorating at the house, one-on-one coffee dates, or a movie night! It’s more laid back and you talk to fewer girls than you might during formal recruitment, which make it a great option if talking to members from every single sorority on campus (and potentially losing your voice, if you didn't have water or cough drops in your rush bag) seems daunting or overwhelming to you.

After you attend the events and meet the house members, you may be extended a bid. You may also receive several bids from different houses and get to choose, similar to formal recruitment. Either way, you'll find your new home just like the PNMs that go through formal recruitment do.

If you are considering informal recruitment and are eligible, reach out to your Panhellenic association to see which chapters are participating!

MJ Miller

Alabama '24

MJ Miller is from Los Angeles, California and is thoroughly enjoying her studies at the University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa. MJ loves spending time with her friends and making Taylor Swift playlists.
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