Panhellenic Recruitment 101

The beginning of Spring semester marks the new calendar year, a fresh grade book and for many women on campus, Panhellenic primary recruitment. LMU’s values-based recruitment is a process that helps young women meet new friends, become more involved on campus and begin to develop lifelong sisterhood bonds. As a sophomore here at LMU, I have gone through recruitment and am now experiencing it from the other side. While I cannot completely absolve you of your apprehensive feelings, I can do my best to help you prepare for recruitment. I am here to bust recruitment myths and give you advice on how to navigate LMU Panhellenic recruitment. 

 

HOW IT WORKS

 

At LMU, recruitment takes place during a long weekend. Like other schools, there are three rounds: sisterhood, philanthropy and preference. On Wednesday night, you’ll attend an orientation session where you’ll get all the information you need for recruitment. The process then begins on Thursday night with open house. The evening is a great ice breaker aimed at giving potential new members the opportunity to meet their recruitment counselors and recruitment group and familiarize themselves with each of the organizations. Round 1 (Sisterhood) takes place on Friday. The first round goes fairly quickly. You’ll visit each chapter and usually converse with several women about the organization and begin to discern which chapters you are naturally drawn to. At the end of the day, you’ll fill out a card with your top preferences.  On Saturday, you’ll return to a maximum of 5 chapters for the philanthropy round. This round gives each chapter the opportunity to explain their philanthropy, service opportunities and often, highlight the chapter’s philanthropic accomplishments. Similar to the end of Friday, on Saturday, you indicate your top choices and rank the remaining options. The final round, preference, takes place on Sunday. Preference is a special ceremony where you get a glimpse of a chapter ritual at one or two chapters. After you attend your last preference ceremony, you’ll sign an agreement indicating your intent to join a chapter and your preferred chapter if applicable. On Monday night, you may receive a bid to a chapter. Bid night is exciting because the Panhellenic board and recruitment counselors finally reveal what organizations they belong to, and each chapter’s individual bid night celebrations commence.

 

HOW TO PREPARE

 

In the month leading up to recruitment, I was so excited. I spent my time planning outfits, anticipating all the new friends I would make and ultimately pondering what recruitment would be like. Even though my emotions surrounding recruitment were overwhelmingly positive, I was also a bit uneasy. After all, I have never done anything like this and I have no idea what to expect. What I learned is that the best way to prepare for recruitment is to walk into it with an open mind and zero expectations and to wear what makes you feel confident.

 

The best advice given to me by older women on campus was to be open and honest. Because LMU has a value-based recruitment process, your affiliation is never based on aspects such as what designer you wear, where you grew up or how much money your parents make. Here at LMU, each organization is trying to find women who most closely align with the values and energy of the women in their chapter. The only way to truly find the right fit it to be honest about who you are and what you are looking for in an organization. Unfortunately, many women go through recruitment with one organization in mind. I was completely naïve about recruitment when I went through the process, and honestly, I think this ended up playing to my advantage. Not having any preconceived notions about the organizations gave me the opportunity to weigh all of my options and deter me from fixating on one organization or another. If you are entering this process with an organization in mind, I urge you to maximize your options and give every organization a fair chance. You might be surprised where you decide to affiliate.

 

As far as what to wear, you will need 6 outfits: orientation, open house, round 1 (sisterhood), round 2 (philanthropy), round 3 (preference) and bid night. Regardless of what day it is, wear what makes you feel confident. As I mentioned earlier, recruitment can cause a lot of uneasy feelings and dressing confidently can help you ease these feelings and focus on meeting Panhellenic women. Orientation is a very casual event, and you can wear whatever you would like. For open house and round 1 you wear your LMU sorority recruitment t-shirt (provided by Panhellenic), jeans or skirt and sandals or sneakers. When I went through recruitment, I wore jeans for open house and a skirt for sisterhood with sneakers. Round 2 is a little dresser, and I suggest wearing a dress with low heels. Panhellenic describes the dress of this round as  “Brunch with an Elder,” so wear something your grandma would like or business casual. I wore a red polka dot dress with cap sleeves and 2-inch espadrilles. You are going to have to do a lot of walking so make sure your shoes are comfortable or you can easily change before each round. Preference is the dressiest of all the rounds. You will see most women in dresses and heels. If you are unsure what to wear, err on the side modesty and talk with your friends going through recruitment. Chances are many of them have older sisters or friends who have gone through the process. For bid night I recommend wearing jeans and sneakers and remember to wear a tank top under your shirt. You will receive your bid and then go to your chapter’s bid night. Each chapter gives out t-shirts for the new pledge class to wear, so don’t stress about what top to wear.

 

HOW TO DO RECRUITMENT CONVERSATIONS

 

One of the things I was most unsure about going through recruitment was what the heck these women were going to ask me about. Did they want to know my favorite food? Favorite TV show? Most embarrassing memory? Truth is they want to know the answer to all of these questions and none of these questions all at the same time. You will be asked about your major, interests, high school experience, service work and everything in between. Be sure to ask any questions you may have. Usually, the conversations become more in-depth as the days go on. In my recruitment experience, I talked a lot about my aspirations (socially, professionally, and personally), my favorite TV shows (Criminal Minds and Grey’s Anatomy… basic I know), and my family because they have shaped a lot of who I am. I asked questions about different social and service opportunities each organization offers its members. You will be reminded of this at open house but steer clear of talking about the 5 B’s: bank (money/finances), Bush (politics), boys, bible (religion) and booze. Depending on how the conversations go, you will begin to see where your personality meshes well. Ultimately, my friends and I all ended up in the organizations where we felt we had the most meaningful conversations. We were able to recognize that even though this was not the same organization, we all found our fit. I know it may be hard to make conversation with strangers if you have a shy personality, but I encourage you to put your hesitations aside for just a few moments to really show who you are. A few minutes of vulnerability may reveal an unexpected connection to one of the Panhellenic women and help you decide where you want to develop a lifelong sisterhood.

 

HOW TO PICK AN ORGANIZATION

 

There is no magic formula for picking an organization. Honestly, a lot of this decision is based on a feeling. After going through the process, you will know where you fit best and what women you want to surround yourself with. If you have are having difficulty deciding how to rank your choices each day, talk to your recruitment counselors. They are here to provide you unbiased advice. Although I am no recruitment counselor, I advise you not to pick an organization based on preconceived notions and instead, find an organization that will empower you to be your best, a philanthropy you want to contribute to and a group of women who you want to emulate. You become who you surround yourself with so affiliate with the women who align with your values. Before I went through recruitment, I had no idea what to expect but I knew there was something missing in my college experience. Joining a sorority enabled me to find some of my closest role models and confidants, opened me up to countless leadership opportunities and gave me an unmatched support system.

 

HOW TO HANDLE NON-IDEALISTIC SCENARIOS

 

While recruitment is supposed to be a fun weekend, it can be saddening for some people. More often than not, you will not get back all of your top 5 choices philanthropy day. This point in recruitment can be difficult for some people to handle, especially if they were fixated on a particular organization. If you are one of the women who is lucky enough to get back all of your top choices, remember to stay humble. I want to remind you that the number of chapters you visit is in no way reflective of how good or bad a person you are. You may have had an off day at a particular chapter or fit better with another organization. If you find yourself in your less than ideal scenario, I encourage you to finish recruitment and make a final decision after bid night. You might actually end up really liking the organization in the few first weeks and get initiated. On the flip side, you might realize not want sorority life as much as you initially expected, or you might want to go through recruitment in a subsequent year. Whatever the case may be, I encourage you to finish what you started and give all of your options a fair opportunity.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

Whether you are considering going through recruitment, looking to reminisce about your previous experience or just curious about LMU Panhellenic recruitment, I hope this article answered all of your questions. You can follow @LMUPanhellenic on Instagram and look at each organizations’ profiles to learn more about the Panhellenic women at LMU. Don’t forget to stay humble, be kind and have an open mind.