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As the beginning of the school year starts to roll around, that means something big is coming: sorority rush. As the sorority recruitment process has blown up on social media the past couple years (especially with all the attention on Bama Rush on TikTok), it feels like rush season has become larger than life. And for students aiming to go through the rush process (called PNMs, for prospective new members), it can feel super overwhelming, especially if you don’t feel like you have a solid understanding of what rush is, or when it even starts. 

Of course, sorority rush looks a bit different at every school, but essentially, rush within the National Panhellenic Conference is typically broken down into four rounds: Open House, Philanthropy, Sisterhood, and Preference (typically referred to as Pref). The order and exact names of the rounds can sometimes change depending on the school, but they are all pretty similar. In most rounds, the main focus will be talking to current members of each house, and connecting with them in order to decide which house is the best fit for you. Finally, after the rounds have concluded, PNMs go to Bid Day (or night) where they all open their bids envelopes to see which sorority they will be joining. Then, they will each “run home” to their chapter’s house. 

Depending on the school, rush can take multiple weeks, or just one. It might depend on how many chapters there are at your school, or how many PNMs there are. But overall, expect rush to last at least a week. 

When Does Fall Rush 2024 Start?

But when should you expect that week to take place? Honestly, again, it depends on the school. Most often, it is going to take place right before the fall term starts, whether your school is on the semester or quarter system. For example, the University of Alabama is on the semester system, meaning their classes start in late August, so their rush takes place in the week prior to the start date. This year, Alabama’s formal recruitment is set to start on August 10 and conclude on August 18. But at UCLA, which is on the quarter system, rush does not start until much later, because classes don’t start until late September. Formal recruitment at UCLA starts on September 23, and concludes on September 30. 

Most likely, your school will have the dates for formal recruitment already available. I would recommend looking the dates up, as they are likely included in the form to register for formal recruitment. But generally, expect them to be a week or two before classes start! 

When Does Spring Rush 2025 Start?

While it is most common for rush to take place prior to the fall term, there are some schools that instead opt to offer formal recruitment at the beginning of the spring term instead. Some schools that have spring recruitment include the University of Southern California, the University of Michigan, and the University of Miami. 

Additionally, some schools may also offer a process called COB, or continuous open bidding. This takes place after formal recruitment has concluded, and allows PNMs who didn’t join a chapter, or who didn’t previously choose to rush, another chance to get a bid. COB varies greatly between each school, and even between all of the different chapters at a school. Not all chapters do COB, and the timing may differ, but this could definitely be an option for joining a sorority as well. COB does not have all the components of formal recruitment, and most of the time involves talking to just one or a few current members. 

What About Non-Panhellenic Greek Life Recruitment?

Don’t forget, while Panhellenic sorority rush may be at the forefront of #RushTok, there are many other Greek organizations to join, with recruitment processes that may look quite different. There are multicultural sororities, such as those under the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC). The recruitment for these chapters can vary between chapters, but it typically begins at the start of the fall term. Similarly, there are professional and academic Greek organizations that have their own recruitment processes — check with each chapter to see what their schedules look like.

How To Prepare For Fall Rush 2024

As you’ve likely seen on #RushTok, the formal Panhellenic rush process doesn’t just start when you show up to PNM orientation. PNMs start to prepare outfits sometimes months in advance, and some even hire recruitment counselors that will help them prepare. But honestly, the level of prep work that a PNMs choose to put in is entirely up to them. It also likely depends on the culture of Greek life at the school, as rush can be much more competitive at certain schools compared to others. For me, I literally did zero prep work when I went through formal recruitment; I would just choose an outfit the morning of and just roll with it. 

While that ended up working for me, it might not work for everyone, especially if you are more of a planner than I tend to be. If that’s you, I would recommend starting a few weeks in advance if you need to buy anything new, or a few days in advance if you’re just choosing your outfits for each round and making sure they’re ready to go each day. You could also familiarize yourself with the different chapters at your school, because every chapter at every school has a different culture. 

The bottom line is, you can do as much or as little advance prep work as you want! It all depends on what works for you, and what is going to make you feel the most confident and prepared for when the rounds actually start.

Maia Hull

UCLA '26

Maia is a second year microbiology and immunology major and mathematics minor from San Diego, CA. She loves to read and write, snowboard, go swimming, and hang out with friends, as well as the occasional shopping spree.