On college campuses across the United States (and in some parts of Canada), one of the most fun and stressful times of the semester is occurring and you might not even know about it. No, I’m not talking about syllabus week or hockey season; I’m talking about formal sorority recruitment.
This enjoyably hectic time is especially crazy if you’re considering going through recruitment. You’re probably thinking: What do all these Greek letters mean, and how am I supposed to keep all the sororities on campus straight? Like come on, what’s with all this new lingo? How am I supposed to get homework done this week when I’m busy nearly every evening? Do I really want to do this? What if I don’t get the bid to the sorority of my choice?
Don’t worry! I’m definitely not the representative of all sorority women (or campuses), but I think it’s safe to say most of us have been there. Recruitment season is a stressful, but totally worth it in the end. Joining my sorority was the best decision I made within my college career. I went from being an unhappy sophomore searching for a lifeline on her university to the proud president of a chapter of over 30 amazing women. I have made lifelong friendships with women who want to see me succeed, and found a support system that never fails to hold me up when I need it.
To honor my third and final formal recruitment season (and first recruitment as president!), here are 6 tips and tricks to remember this recruitment season from a bonafide sorority girl.
Pay attention to what your campus’s Panhellenic Council post.
Every university does their formal recruitment slightly different, but regardless of where you attend school, it’s important to follow your university’s Panhellenic Council/Greek Life social media and webpages. On these sites you’ll learn what paperwork you need to complete to register for recruitment, when and where different events will be on campus, and which sororities your school has to offer. You’ll stay informed if you keep an eye our for their post and information.
Get as much of your homework done as you can before recruitment week.
Recruitment week can be very stressful and time consuming. Meeting the different sororities takes time. The last thing you want to be worried about when you’re trying to pick your forever home is the history or biology homework that you have due the next day. I suggest getting as much of homework done as you can before recruitment. This way your mind will totally be focused on getting to know the amazing sorority women on your campus. Plus, it’s great to start exercising those time management skills before joining an organization.
Think of recruitment as a mutual interview.
For many you, going through recruitment might be about finding an organization that helps you make new friends, become more philanthropic, work towards serving the community, and build their resumes. For women already in sororities, it’s about finding future leaders that will help the chapter thrive and finding women who they believe will come to love their ritual and sisterhood as much as they do. For this sense, it’s good to think about recruitment as a mutual interview. You are interviewing the sorority women to see if you belong in their sisterhood and they intern are interviewing you to see if you share their values. I know like this sounds like a lot of pressure, and maybe even a little nerve-racking, but don’t stress about it too much. Just be yourself! We’re honestly just as nervous as you are.
Ask the sisters questions.
Don’t be afraid to ask the sisters questions. In fact, asking questions often will help make you even more memorable and shows that you’re genuinely interested. Since this is an interview of sorts, it’s important to ask questions that will help to generate authentic answers and learn about the sisterhood. Ask the sisters why they decided to go Greek, but more importantly what made them choose their sorority and why they continue to be a member. Ask the sisters for their favorite memories from their time in the sorority and what their ritual means to them. Ask the sisters how they manage being in a sorority along with being in other organizations and doing school work. Ask the sisters how being a member of their sorority has benefited them. If the answer is genuine, it’ll feel right. And if their sisterhood feels right, you’ll know that the organization could potentially be your home.
You might not get a bid of membership, and that’s okay.
Often, I see women go through formal recruitment expecting to get a bid and then when they don’t get a bid from their top sorority or don’t get a bid at all, they’re heartbroken. Don’t let this discourage you. This is not a representation of your self-worth or that no one liked you. Formal recruitment is a numbers game that we have no control over. We don’t even know how many new members we can take on Bid Day. In fact, we don’t even get to know how many girls we can take in total until after Bid Day bids have been extended and accepted.
Regardless of why you didn’t get a bid, don’t let this deter you from going to the other recruitment functions and events that sororities might have after formal recruitment is over. If being Greek is something your passionate about, then you should still go for it. Coming back shows commitment! Many women who want to be in a sorority but were not extended a bid through formal recruitment, join a sorority the same semester they went through formal recruitment. Other women wait until the next recruitment season, which is okay too!
Overall, be open minded.
Being open minded when you go to your school’s initial Greek life functions and, subsequently, when you go through recruitment is incredibly important. In many chapters, there are a significant number of women who went into formal or informal recruitment believing that they wanted to join a completely different sorority than the one they are now a beloved member. Having a set mindset about which sorority that you have to join can lead to potential heartbreak – not mention keeps you from fulling experiencing what makes the other chapters on your campus great! No chapter on your campus is perfect, even if that’s how they appear, and being a member of a sorority is more than just liking the colors and philanthropy. Get to know what the members of each organization are like because that’s what truly makes a chapter. Learn about the activism that they do on campus.
Before going through informal recruitment many years ago, I thought I knew which sorority I wanted to join but tried my best to have an open mind about the organizations on my campus. I just wanted to go Greek and find something that made my university feel more like home. When I didn’t get a bid from the sorority I thought I was meant to join after a week of going to recruitment events, I was slightly disappointed (for like 5 minutes) but wasn’t heartbroken because I got a bid of membership from an organization that became an unexpected rival for my attention. It was the idea of the other organization that I liked, not necessarily the sisterhood itself. Now, I couldn’t imagine being anything besides a Phi Sigma Sigma. I found my forever home, and I hope you find yours this recruitment season.