I Rushed for A Sorority, Here's How It Went

After going through my first year of college last year, I made a list of new things I wanted to try for this year. One of them was: rush for a sorority. At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to join one for sure or just go through the experience. Ultimately, I ended up attending all the events and eventually “going home” to one of the panhellenic sororities at UCR. Here are some of the things I learned about the formal recruitment process:

 

1. Know the difference between social, professional, and cultural sororities/fraternities. 

 

First off, there are many different types of sororities. The most popularly shown ones are the social sororities. These are the ones that make up greek life and the Panhellenic Council on campus. They each have their own philanthropy that they raise money for, host their own social 

events, and often collaborate with other social sororities and fraternities. There are also professional fraternities, which, despite the name, are co-ed. Professional frats are solely focused on advancing their members in fields like medical, pre-law, business, and more. Cultural sororities are concentrated on, as you can most likely guess, culture. They are meant to create safe spaces for girls of the same ethnicity to connect and bond over, so they are exclusive. Keep in mind that my personal experience of recruitment was only for social sororities. 

(Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels)

2. It’s like an interview. 

 

Rushing usually occurs over multiple days. Think of each day as an interview round. You will be taken into different rooms for as many sororities as you have on campus, and you will chat with multiple girls. They often have different dress codes for different days. For example, the first day was casual, then brunch attire, then professional attire etc. When you are talking to the sorority members, you want to learn more about them but also let them learn about you. If there is a connection and you two can’t stop talking enough, then definitely keep them in mind. If you feel awkward and out of place, don’t choose that one. It’s all about how you feel in each room and what impressions they give off. But also remember that the process is mutual, if you do not get called back by a sorority, you can no longer choose them. 

 

3. Research before then ask about what you don’t know. 

 

Every sorority will have public social media and often websites as well. Before you rush, try and look at the sororities you might want to join. Sororities are more than pretty pictures and parties. Look into their philanthropies, see if it is something you are passionate about. See how diverse they are or what events they hold. You will have time during rush to ask these things too, but researching beforehand can give you a better feel of them and make you better prepared for what to ask. If there are things you cannot find, like their financial obligations or gpa requirements, ask them during rush. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask them about these topics or tell them about your personal concerns because, more often than not, they will be able to relate to you and tell you how they worked it out themselves. Since they have been through your shoes, they are your best resource. 

 

4. It can be overwhelming.

 

As I said before, recruitment is a mutual process so you get to pick your top choices, but they also have to pick you back in order for you to get a bid. Because of this, it can become very overwhelming very fast. You will be talking to lots of women for short periods of time, trying to see where you’ll fit in, which can already be a lot to handle at once. (Bring cough drops, because you’ll likely lose your voice from trying to talk in a room full of girls). But then you will also have to quickly list your order of preferences then see who calls you back. It is rare, but some PNMS (potential new members) may not be called back at all. When I rushed, there were some girls crying after they got their lists back. My advice is to not take anything personally or get too invested too quick. There are often recruitment counselors to help you along the way also, so talk to them if you need to. And if you get called back, but not to your top choice, keep your options open. More often than not, all the sororities are welcoming and have good causes, so joining any will be a great experience. However, you can always feel free to decline a bid or drop out at any time. 

(Photo by Lindsey LaMont on Unsplash)

 

5. Not all of the stereotypes are true (obviously). 

 

Of course movies and shows love to exaggerate sorority life. They are often portrayed as un-diverse houses of party girls who only care about looking pretty and dating frat guys. Obviously, this is not true. Panhellenic women at UCR have the highest GPA’s across campus and are the most involved in extracurriculars, especially leadership positions. Joining a sorority gives you a lot of opportunities to be more involved in school, academically and otherwise. Most of the women I met and at rush were some of the nicest people I have talked to on campus. They are very welcoming, understanding, and excited to open their arms to new members. Don’t let the stereotypes fool you from trying something new. 

 

 

6. They are definitely expensive, but beneficial. 

 

One of the main things that deters people from sororities is the price. Social sororities are certainly the most expensive kind, however it’s mostly out of the sorority's control. Their dues are controlled by their national organizations so they can’t help that. However, many of them are more than willing to help you by providing personal payment plans to make the price more manageable over time. Many sorority girls work for their dues, not all of them are rich and spoiled. They do it because the benefits make it worth it. I’m not saying, it’s for everyone, but if you can, don’t let the prices scare you. Being a part of a sorority is not only a chance to make friends, but to network for your future, build your resume through leadership and community service, raise your confidence, and more. Sororities are all about empowering college women and helping them achieve what they are already capable of.

(Photo by Perry Grone on Unsplash)

 

7. Don’t try to be something you’re not. 

 

Though rushing can seem scary and nerve-wracking, try to stay calm. Look for what you want to go for it and do it. Stay honest about who you are and what you believe in. It’s important you don’t lie or try to fit a mold of something you think they want to see. You don’t want to join a sorority and then feel like you have to fake it the whole time, or find out that their values don’t fit you. Go towards the one you feel most comfortable in and you’ll find your people. And remember, you’ll only  get out of it what you put into it. 

 

 

For me, recruitment was a crazy, but fun experience. I’m still a little taken aback by how new everything is, but I am glad I went through with it. Even if you find out it isn’t for you, take some time to try something different this year. College goes by so quick and we only have so much time to make our mark on campus. Find something you’re passionate about and go share it with others, I promise it will make your time here that much better.