Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Sorority Recruitment Guide: How to Not Freak Out During Rush

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SMU chapter.

Sorority Rush is both some of the most fun you will have in college, and also some of the most stress you will have in college. Here at SMU, we rush in the spring, coming back from winter break with hopes and dreams of the perfect sisterhood, and going into the next semester with new t-shirts, new letters, and an army of new sisters. But the process to get there is not always the most fun. You get stressed out, you worry that you aren’t cute/smart/fun/partier/rich enough, you may feel out of place and super awkward. I’m not going to lie to you. Rush will probably be like a swell of so many different feelings all at once. But you can get through it, and it will all be worth it when you find your home, your sisters, your family by the end of the week. Here are our best tips, from active members to PNMs on how to best get through Rush without freaking out.

  • Don’t go in with your mind made up. Things will change as you choose houses, they pick you back, and you steadily figure out where you want to go. Just because you may be a legacy, you know a dozen girls in one house, or because you don’t know anyone going into this or that sorority at all does not mean it is determined where you will end up. If you go in thinking “ah yes, I know I’m gonna be an Alpha Beta Gamma,” you may be closing yourself off to the sisterhood that is perfect for you. You don’t really know anything until you have seen it for yourself.  
  • Take a deep breath. Freaking out is not going to do you any good.  
  • Get some sleep. Staying up all night planning out what you might say or do or wear will not do you any good. Plus you can only do so much to cover up dark circles…

  • Be prepared for noise. Recruitment is LOUD. The entire chapter, all of the active members, and sometimes alumni, are going to burst out at you all at once and start chanting. And you will have to stand still and watch, then go into all of that noise and try to make small talk with one of the sisters amidst about a hundred voices. Just be ready, and enjoy it. Chanting is super fun.  
  • Don’t worry about little mistakes. I tripped on the first day going into one of the houses, and they still gave me a bid. It’ll be fine.  
  • Plan out your outfits in advance. It will make everything a lot less stressful. Also lay everything out, and make sure it is all ready to go in the morning. It’ll make your morning a lot faster and calmer, and also the ritual of laying it out and getting ready will calm you down. Don’t do what I did and forget to iron your pants before you go. I had to pull my jeans for Philanthropy day out of my dirty laundry and iron them with my roommate’s hair straightener. Not exactly a recipe for a calm morning. Here’s our guide to SMU’s recruitment outfit requirements. 
  • Don’t compare yourself to other girls. There might be girls who you feel look like movie stars, and girls who look like they might have been crying into their phone to their mom all night. Comparing yourself one way or another will not make you feel better. And don’t compare your experiences to any other girls. You may get cut from the house your roommate goes to on Preference day, or you may hear another girl talking about how she thinks she might drop just because she didn’t get the house she wanted. That’s their experience, not yours. It’s going differently for you, for all of you, because you are all different girls. Everyone’s experience will be different, so don’t compare yourself to this girl or that girl.  
  • Break in your shoes beforehand. You may think you can handle a day walking, and standing wearing the shoes you just got for Christmas and haven’t worn yet. Newsflash, you can’t. And then your last house of the day will just feel like Death Row and you stand, pigeon toed, nursing your blisters, and then limping back to the student center to pref. Get some Dr. Scholls, because the pain is NOT WORTH IT.

  • Call your mom. Or your sister. Or a friend from home. Talk it out, cry a little, and let her calm you down. They aren’t going through Rush, so they’ll have a level head, and maybe help open your eyes.  
  • Don’t talk sh!t. That means to the girls hanging out between parties in the Catholic center, to people in lunch, to your Rho Gammas (definitely DO NOT do this because Rho Gammas talk to eachother and to their respective houses, and you never know what house they could be in), or even to try to make yourself look good at another chapter. It doesn’t make you look good at all, it makes you look petty and mean, and no active member wants to vote for a girl who would act like that. Gossiping may be a lot of fun, but it could get you in trouble, and also hurt another girl trying to figure out what sorority to pick.   
  • A verbal bid does not mean a guaranteed bid. Just because a sister tells you that her chapter definitely wants you, does NOT mean that you will get called back the next day. She can’t control what goes on in voting, or even how much space her chapter has in quota. Just because she says “see you tomorrow” DOES NOT MEAN that she will actually see you tomorrow. It most likely means that she hopes to personally see you tomorrow, but you have to remember that she’s just one person and does not control the process. Be wary of dirty rushing, which is not allowed per SMU Panhellenic.  
  • Choose a unique coat. Not to impress anyone or anything, just because all of the PNMs have to take off their coats and stand during the chants, and you don’t want to paw through a ton of similar but different black coats in the cold to try to find the one that is your. Put on a bright coat you can just pull out of the pile, because no one who matters will see it. 
  • Don’t listen to what other people think you should do. You want the house where you feel accepted and included. You want the house that you think could be your family. You want the house where you can be silly in, where you can cry, where you can succeed. Don’t choose a house just because your mom or all your friends back home were in it. Make the choice for you, because that’s your sisterhood for life.  
  • DO NOT PUT UP WITH HAZING. If any incident of hazing shows up whatsoever, report it to the Panhellenic Executive Board. Recruitment may be stressful, but you shouldn’t feel hazed, unsafe, or ill at ease. Hazing is not allowed on the SMU campus, and our entire Panhellenic community will be happier if no one has to worry about hazing.

Good things to have in your little plastic baggie (you’re not allowed to bring your purse or your phone so you get a bag to put in your coat pocket):

  • Listerine strips.
  • Cough drops that are lemon or honey flavored. These will soothe your throat without drying it out and making it hard to talk.
  • Gummy bears- according to my voice major sisters “You can also suck on gummy bears to help your throat. They have glycerin in them which will soothe your throat without dying it out. Also a great excuse to eat gummy bears.”
  • A tiny mirror. If you are worried about having lipstick in your teeth, mascara on your face, or looking too red from the cold, you can check yourself out in the mirror. Also you can wink at yourself and say “hey hot stuff.” It’ll make you feel better.
  • Tissues. It is going to be cold, and you may get sniffly.
  • That tiny hand sanitizer from Bath and Body works. There are going to be a lot of germs, and a lot of shaking hands. Don’t get sick on top of all of this.
  • DO NOT wear a watch. When talking to a girl you may accidently glance at it, which can be construed as acting rudely and wanting the party to be over. The sorority women won’t be wearing watches either for this same reason. Also, since you can’t bring a watch or a phone, keeping track of time can be difficult, especilly on the days after Open House when you’re responsible for getting yourself from party to party. Just make sure you walk directly from each party to the next one with no detours and you’ll definitely stay on schedule.

Keep your mind and your heart open. Rush is probably one of the few times you’ll get to go into all of the houses and talk to all sorts of different women. It’s also a chance to see what you want, and where you fit in. At the end of the week, you get a new house full of sisters, and no matter the ups and downs that took you there, it is the place you are meant to be. I had fun at every single house. Why? An open mind. I let myself have fun and enjoy all of it, not matter where I ended up. Just have fun with it!

Moriah is a Senior at Southern Methodist University majoring in English and Psychology. She is currently the Campus Correspondent of the HCSMU chapter, and has held the positions of Senior Editor, Profile Editor and Associate Editor. She is also a member of the Alpha Xi chapter of Gamma Phi Beta. She loves coffee and satire, and she is not a morning person.
We are the SMU Team.