Exams are finally over and winter break is here. While it’s great to have some time to relax, it’s also important to take some time to think about the upcoming semester. For some, this may include thinking about rushing a sorority. If this is true for you, check out our guide to spring rushing a sorority!
Get the low-down:
If you’re considering spring rush, you’re going to want to find out more information about the process by taking a look at your college’s Greek life website.
If your school does spring rush, you need to find out whether spring is the on-season (the main season) for rush at your school. Most universities hold their on-season rush at the beginning of the fall semester, but some wait until spring in order to give freshmen time to experience college before making a decision about joining Greek life.
“I went through spring rush last year, and this year, I will be on the other side of it as an initiated sister of Kappa Delta,” says Stacey, a collegiette from Vanderbilt. “I recognize now how crucial it is that we utilize this process. It gives us time to meet the freshmen and get to know them before the recruitment process. Plus, it gives the sorority more time to plan recruitment and it gives the freshmen more time to get used to college life before rush.”
If spring rush is on-season at your school, you’ll be doing many of the same things and attending many of the same events that are discussed in HC’s Complete Guide to Sorority Rush. On-season rush and pledging are a big commitment and will probably take up the majority of your time for the first few weeks of spring semester.
However, for the majority of schools that hold a spring rush, spring is considered off-season and is usually much more of an informal process than on-season rush. This often means that not all sororities will be participating; just the ones that have open spots. Do some research to find out if you’re interested in any of the sororities that will be accepting new members.
Know what to expect:
Next, it’s time to figure out what you’re going to be dealing with. Informal spring rush can be very different from fall rush, so you need to know what you’re getting into.
At most schools, for both on- and off-season rush, you have to register and pay to participate in recruitment. Many schools also require you to come back a few days early from winter break to get started with the process. Take a look at the spring rush calendar to make sure you don’t miss the registration deadline and to know what date you’ll have to be back at school.
“I had to come back from winter break about two to three days early but it wasn't a big deal; I was excited to go back anyways!” says Stacey.
Rush will normally kick off with some sort of meet-and-greet event a few days into the semester. This may mean that you go to each house or it may be a general gathering of all the houses. At this event, you’ll meet some of the girls from the sororities that are participating and get more information on what comes next, so it’s important to attend.
At the first event, you’ll want to keep your conversations light. You’ll be meeting a bunch of new people and will probably end up talking a lot about where you’re from and what you’re studying, but if you can think of something a little more interesting about yourself to add in, it will help the girls remember you.
The more events you go to, the more personal your conversations will become. You’ll want to give the sisters a good idea of who you really are to ensure you get into the sorority that’s the right fit for you. But no matter what else you talk about, the three topics that you should always avoid are boys, booze and other bids (don’t talk about other sororities!).
Pros of Spring Rush
There are going to be many fewer girls who rush in the spring if it’s off-season, so it’s going to be a much more intimate environment than fall rush, but this can be good!
“The small pledge class was actually my favorite part about rushing in the less popular season,” says Julia, a 2012 graduate of Johns Hopkins University. “While most of our pledge classes had more than 40 girls in them, my pledge class was only 8! It meant we could have our new member sleepover all in one room, and we all ended up getting really close.” The events of spring rush are also going to be much more casual. The sororities that hold spring rush are usually the ones that didn’t meet their quota of pledges in the fall, so they’ll generally be eager for you to join and there will be less pressure. Schools may include events in the rush process that are incredibly laidback and intended to allow the sisters to get to know you as an individual and vice versa.
“It’s really informal,” says Katherine, a student at Northwestern University, of spring rush. “You go to coffee, maybe go to dinner at the house, attend an event with the girls and then you get a bid! It's easy and way less stressful than regular recruitment.”
One other plus of spring rush is that you might have some friends who are in your grade and have already been in a sorority for a semester. They’ll be able to tell you what their specific sororities are like and also give you some tips about rushing. You’ll be able to get the inside scoop and not have to feel you’re going into the process blind.
Cons of Spring Rush
However, there can be downsides to rushing in the spring. If you’re eager to become a part of Greek life, one negative is that you have to wait an entire semester to start. Although it does give you time to adjust to school, it can make you feel like you’re waiting for your real college life to begin. “As a freshman, I just wanted to start out my year in a sorority and make friends that way,” explains Stacey. “I didn't want to have to go through a semester and then have to make all new friends in January.”
As a potential new member, there will also be rules that you have to follow in terms of interacting with the current sisters. “I hated spring rush because they made so many restrictions for us,” says Stacey. “We couldn't be Facebook friends with older girls or socialize outside of class with them. It made it awkward for me.”
Figure out what to wear
Unlike during fall rush, weather during spring rush is probably going to be pretty chilly. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t still look classy! Make sure you check out the dress code for each event to know what you’re expected to wear.
It’s good to start a more casual outfit with your best pair of jeans. Perfect-fitting dark wash jeans can do wonders paired with a nice blouse or sweater, and will also keep you much warmer than a skirt.
Most spring rushes won’t involve many formal events, but if for some reason you need a fancier outfit, you can never go wrong with a little black dress paired with some tights.
Although they’re warm, forget the Uggs (they look sloppy) and instead opt for riding boots or flats for casual events, or closed-toe heels for formal ones.
Investing in a nicer neutral-colored jacket that can be worn with pretty much any outfit and will keep you toasty warm is essential. A pea coat or trench should do the trick.
Winter outfits that actually keep you from freezing to death and still let you show off your style can be hard to come by. Accessorizing the right way can class up any outfit, but remember not to go overboard. A pearl necklace, a nicer pair of earrings or a scarf can instantly spruce up your style.
Rush, even when informal, can be a stressful process, so it’s important to remember to relax and be yourself. If you end up not liking the process, you can always drop out or wait until fall rush to try again.
Good luck, and stay warm!