Thinking about rushing? Here's everything you need to know

Greek life is supposed to be your second family, and you’re home away from home once you join. However, getting into an organization may be a bit overwhelming at first. Recruitment season can sound like a dream to some, while for others, it may compare to a long maze of options to navigate. If you are planning to go out for Greek life, or just want to know more about the process, here are a few things to understand and consider about sorority recruitment.

Clear your mindset

The first and most important thing you should ever do while rushing is keep an open mind. You may be set on one sorority before rounds even begin, but don’t let that sway you from giving all organizations a chance. It’s always important to go into recruitment willing to learning about each sorority and giving each one a genuine chance, because it gives you a better chance of finding your true home.

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Before you learn the Greek alphabet, it is important to know some different recruitment terms. Of course this varies from school to school, but this list will give you a general idea of terms you may hear.

PNM (potential new member) – This is any potential woman who has the possibility of joining Greek life.   

Bid – This is the invitation given to a potential new member to join a sorority.

Suicide – This occurs when you only rank one sorority, therefore only giving you the possibility of getting into that specific organization. This defeats the purpose of the above advice to keep an open mind. If you put down one sorority and they do not invite you into the organization, you have no other options at that point.

Snap bid – This is given after the initial rounds of bids go out. If a sorority does not meet quota, they can extend more bids to other girls who did not accept a bid to another organization.

COB (continuous open bidding) – This is given to a person who did not go through recruitment, but the organization would like to extend the option anyway. This again can only be given if the sorority does not meet capacity.

Silence period – Some schools do not allow sorority sisters to speak to potential new members outside of rounds during recruitment. If this happens at your school, don’t be offended if all you get is a smile instead of the usual hug from your friend.


Photo courtesy of Sara Whitman. 

Informal vs. formal recruitment

Some schools only do recruitment once a year, while some do informal recruitment one semester and formal recruitment the next semester. Formal recruitment usually means you have to meet all the sororities in a series of rounds, and is usually more time consuming. Informal recruitment is less structured and often allows you to choose the sororities you speak to.

National vs. local sororities

National sororities are found at several schools across America and sometimes beyond, and have a head body overseeing all the chapters, and creating rules and regulations for all of the chapters to follow. Local sororities are organizations only found at that specific school.

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Some organizations require PNMs to submit a resume along with a letter of recommendation to be eligible for a bid. If you need a letter of recommendation, it is best to start connecting with sorority alumnae the semester prior to rushing. You can do this through talking to mutual friends, family or even posting on social media to get the process started.

For your resume, make sure it has a clean format and is free of mistakes. Include information such as your education, work experience, extra-curricular activities, honors and any Greek affiliation.

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Dress to impress, but also dress like yourself. Some schools will give recommendations on what to wear as rounds progress, but the key is to always dress business casual at the least. To give an idea, some respectable outfit choices may be a dress with flats or pumps, or pants and a nice blouse.


Recruitment occurs at different times at different schools. Some recruitment may last over a period of two weekends, some schools have recruitment before classes start and some recruitment occurs during the week. Regardless, it is important to clear your schedule and be at every event possible. However, you should never have to miss class for a recruitment event.  

Money and time

Speaking of a schedule, be sure to understand the time and money commitment the sororities expect from you. Being in a sorority requires much dedication between the philanthropy, school-mandated and social events, plus anything else scheduled. Also, understand that being in a sorority is not cheap. While prices vary from organization to organization and campus to campus, be prepared to spend a couple hundred to potentially thousands of dollars between membership dues, semester costs and potential housing costs.

Be prepared and be you

Feel free to make a list of talking points or questions you want to ask sisters during rounds. However, it is most important to be yourself, because you are looking for a place to spend the next few years, after all! Be kind, smile and be as outgoing as possible.

Things to avoid

Topics some organizations may try to stay away from is boys, religion and alcohol to avoid any issues. Imagine talking about a boy you hooked up with, and it ends up being the president’s boyfriend! Also avoid being on your phone during while you’re in the room with a sorority. The members are putting a lot of time and work into creating an appealing environment for you, and it is important to respect that.  

If you are feeling nervous, remember that the sisters are just as anxious. They want to impress you as much as you want to impress them. Go in with an open mind, and happy recruitment!