Photo by Suhyeon Choi
“Wait, you are in a sorority? But you did not do formal recruitment.”
Many people believe the only way someone can become a member of a sorority is through what is known as “Formal Recruitment.” This generally happens either a week or two before school starts in the fall or during the first few weeks of the spring semester. It is a very large-scale process, with potential new members learning about all the chapters on campus and being placed into chapters through a mutual selection process. It all culminates to bid day, where the girls are welcomed into their new homes.
While it can be tiring, most girls find this to be a fun process where they find their homes and meet some lifelong friends along the way. It also gives incoming freshmen a way to know people before classes begin. However, for some ladies, like me, the idea of formal recruitment can be a little daunting. This leads to many girls believing that sorority life will never be for them if they cannot go through formal recruitment.
Luckily for many girls, including myself, many sororities do “Continuous Open Bidding” in the fall and winter, as a way to open their doors to potential new members who did not elect to do formal recruitment, or maybe those who did but did not find a home initially.
This process is on a much smaller scale, with sororities reaching out to girls on an individual level to learn more about the “potential new member,” and whether or not the sorority is right for her, by seeing if she identifies with the core values of that particular chapter. If a connection is made mutually, the sorority will then offer the girl a bid. This is how I recently joined my sorority, and I found just the right chapter for me. Many sororities also give their new, COB members a bid day as well, so you do not lose the experience.
Disclaimer: I am still a new member who has not been initiated yet, and I make no claims as to knowing everything about sorority life or the recruitment processes. Not all sororities do COB and there are fewer spots in each sorority than there would be with formal recruitment.
At the end of the day, I would encourage each girl to do what feels right to her. If you want to do formal recruitment, go for it! I would always encourage formal recruitment. COB is just another option that works for many young women, including myself. It does not diminish your Greek experience in any way and it does not make you less of a member.
Sorority life is not cookie-cutter, even down to the way some people join. We all become part of the Greek community in different, individual ways. Sorority girls are all unique individuals, with individual stories.
So, whether through COB or Formal Recruitment, I will always say, “Go Greek!”