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A Sorority Senior Answers All Your PNM Rush Questions

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

I’ve been through recruitment three times, once as a potential new member and twice as an active, so I know the whole deal with recruitment. It is a stressful week, full of ups and downs, not sure where you’re going to end up, and wondering if you’re doing all the right things. When I was a PNM, I had no idea how to make sure I was prepared for Rush. So, we have set out to answer all of your burning rush questions about recruitment.

How do I choose my photo for the registration?

Make sure that it is something that you would be okay with dozens of active sorority members seeing. At the very least, your picture will be seen by the recruitment chairs from all the sororities, so make sure it is something that you feel your most beautiful in. From a girl who has been on the other side of recruitment twice now, let me tell you—it looks super weird when you have obviously cropped someone out of your photo. It also looks super weird when you can tell that your picture is a selfie.

A lot of girls choose their Senior pictures from high school as their photo, and those tend to work well because they are professional and when you are at your best. Don’t choose a picture where you are in a T-Shirt and leggings, but also probably don’t choose your prom photos. You want to be somewhere in between, where you look your best, but you still show who you are.

Are rec letters a good idea?

They are not a bad idea, but they do not guarantee you a bid. Some sororities really care, but just because you didn’t get a rec letter for one house doesn’t mean they’ll automatically shun you., And just because you have a lot of connections to one house does not mean that you will certainly find your home there.

Will I make it into a house if I don’t know anyone before rushing?

Yes. You don’t have to have a dozen friends in a house just to get a bid. It might give you an edge, but it doesn’t guarantee anything. I knew at least eight women from one house, and they dropped me on the first day.

If I am a legacy, am I going to get a bid to that house?

Nothing is set in stone. Let me emphasize that I was a triple legacy for my mom’s house, and I did not end up there. My big was a quadruple legacy to an SMU house, and did not end up there. Just because a house was perfect for your mom or your sister does not mean it is perfect for you.

How do I meet girls in sororities before I rush?

Go to events! All sororities have two philanthropy events in the fall semester. The first set of events has already passed, but most of them have a second one in November. When you go to these events, you can start to meet sorority women and get a feel for their chapter. It also helps to be friendly, because you might meet a sorority woman in the bathroom at a party or in line at the dining hall.

Is it bad to wait a year before I rush?

No, it’s not. Whether you weren’t able to go through as a freshman or you decided to wait but wanted to see what you were missing, you can still find your perfect house. You aren’t going to lose a bid just because you waited a year. Trust me, there is still a place for you. The numbers are different for sophomores, so you aren’t competing with freshmen to get that coveted spot.

Should I be scared of door-crashing?

Yes. It is so weird.

For those who don’t know, at the beginning of each round of recruitment, the girls in the houses all burst out of their doors at the same time and start chanting. It’s a way to welcome in the PNMs and show the sorority’s spirit. It looks a little something like this. From there, an active woman will pick you up and lead you into the house.

What should we talk about? What should we not talk about?

On the first day, you’re trying to get to know women from every chapter and get a feel for their house. You will probably go through the name/major/what did you do for winter break questions at every single house. From there, try to really let your personality shine. If you are really passionate about something or you have a really cool hobby, talk about it. Show the cool things about yourself and make yourself memorable. It is okay to ask your active member questions, too. You want to get to know her house as much as she wants to get to know you.

There are a few topics you should definitely steer clear of. Don’t talk about your boyfriend or your girlfriend or all the random hook-ups you had last semester. This is the time for them to know you, not your partner. Don’t talk about partying, especially not underage drinking or drugs. There are girls who party in every sorority, so you are in for a good time no matter what chapter you pledge. But bringing up how you threw up in an Uber after Skiji is just going to make you look trashy and out of control, and you want to put your best face forward.

Don’t talk about religion, unless you are super involved with a club like RUF or the Muslim Students Association. It’s okay to talk about your involvement, but religion can be a pretty polarizing subject. It’s also a good idea to steer clear of politics. I’m hoping you have registered to vote in the midterm elections, but you should not bring that up during Rush.

Is it normal to not have a full schedule on the second day?

Yes. Very few Potential New Members actually have a full schedule on the second day. Very, very few. It is more likely for your schedule to be more empty than full. Don’t feel weird just because you only have one or two houses on the second day. That just means you have a chance to get to know those chapters even better.

What is being blacklisted, and how do you know if you are?

Being blacklisted is basically when one sorority or all of the sororities refuse to admit a Potential New Member because of something she did. It is not common, and it is not something you should be worried about. There’s no secret list of “Girls We Hate” that actives pass around. Usually, if you have done something that would merit blacklisting, like having multiple alcohol violations or sleeping with an active member’s boyfriend, you will know. Blacklisting is more of an urban legend than it is something that is common, so you don’t really need to spend your time panicking about it. You are not going to be randomly blacklisted.

How much do sororities actually talk to each other about PNMs?

We do talk. We don’t have a secret group chat where we talk sh*t, though. A lot of actives have friends in other chapters, and a lot of the Rho Gammas know each other, so there will be some chattering that goes on. This is why you want to be so careful not to gossip about sororities during or before rush, because you never know who could be listening. Sometimes, girls who talk trash will not get a bid anywhere, because the other houses will hear about that and see it as something negative. But if you are worried, no, we do not sit around in a circle and just talk about who we hate. That’s an urban legend.

What does it mean if I get cut?

Most women will get cut from at least one house. Getting cut from a house does not mean that they hate you, that you didn’t make a good impression, or that your friends from that house were talking sh*t. It just means that you and that sorority were not a perfect fit. But don’t worry. The houses that you are left with by the end are the houses that saw something great in you and loved it. It’s not worth it wasting your time worrying about the houses that cut you, because you weren’t a perfect match. And that’s okay.

When does dropping out make sense, and what does it mean when you drop out?

Panhellenic makes sure to emphasize that it is usually not a good idea to drop out. If you find that the house you loved the most isn’t on your schedule, don’t drop out just because you are sad. The houses that called you back are the ones that saw something special in you and wanted that as part of their sisterhood. The other houses are just going to be missing out. If you aren’t sure or you have fewer houses on your schedule than you thought you would, really think about it before you drop.

You don’t want to miss out on amazing sisters because you weren’t sure. If you do drop out of recruitment, you will not be able to participate in any more of the recruitment activities. You may be eligible for informal recruitment later in the spring, but don’t drop out just because you are hoping your favorite house will offer you a bid in February.

Sometimes women will drop and rush again as sophomores, only to find out that they get a bid from the same house as before. If a house didn’t extend a bid before, they probably aren’t going to change their minds. That doesn’t mean that you’re not awesome, it just means that you aren’t a perfect fit for that house.

Am I going to get hazed if I join a sorority?

Hazing is strictly forbidden on the SMU campus, and most sororities have nationals that forbid them from engaging in hazing. There are still some organizations that try to haze, but let me emphasize that this is not okay. You should not have to go through hell for your organization. I encourage you to report it if you are subject to hazing because that is just not sisterly behavior.

What if Panhellenic Greek life just isn’t for me?

That’s okay. You don’t have to be in a Panhellenic sorority to find your friends for life. There are plenty of ways to find your niche on campus, whether that be a club, another type of sorority, or just by complimenting a stranger on her earrings in the Fondren Starbs line (this works really well, by the way). Let me repeat: You don’t have to be in a Panhellenic sorority to find your friends for life.

There are way more than just the eight Panhellenic sororities on campus. Looking for friends who share your enthusiasm for Jesus? Try Sigma Phi Lambda, a.k.a. Sisters For the Lord. Looking for people who share a similar cultural background or values to you? Try Multicultural Greek Council or National Pan-Hellenic Council. Looking to make connections in the field you want to enter? Try a professional fraternity like Theta Tau for engineers of Alpha Kappa Psi for business lovers. You don’t have to join a Panhellenic sorority to make friends.

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.