Saturday, February 1, 2020

Honest Sorority Recruitment Advice


The first time I cried in college was during sorority recruitment. It was preference day and my card had only one chapter on it. I could have been elated to be asked to visit any sorority on that day. I could have been angry at the process and the chapters that did not want to meet with me again. Instead, I just cried. I was exhausted, I was stressed and I was hungry. Girls will talk about recruitment as if it is a life-changing weekend, where you find your bridesmaids and your “home away from home.” My first experience with recruitment didn’t change my life, and that’s okay. At the end of the process, I felt as though I had settled. My bid day was not magical, but I went. I put glitter on my face, I took photos, I even met girls that would become my big and  future roommates. But it took me years to find the lifelong relationships I was promised and some of those developed more after graduation than when we were at school.

Plenty of women can give good recruitment advice, but the phrase “trust the process” is so overused that we literally made t-shirts. So, here is my real, unfiltered advice for women going through sorority recruitment.


    


It wasn’t until I ran into an older girl from my sorority that had spoken to me during recruitment, at a Halloween party of all places, that I realized the actives really know what they’re doing. She told me she knew within five minutes of meeting me that I would end up in her chapter. Honestly, I’m not convinced it matters how you rank houses after the first round but you will go back to the chapters that choose you. The girls recruiting new members have spent time preparing for this. Seriously, recruitment practice is intense. In between the hours of planning when to bump a conversation and checking outfits, they’ve talked about what they are looking for in members and how to build that connection in the short time you visit their house. 

Don’t expect to feel at home on day one. My pi chi sat with me after day two and promised me that I had no idea what I was doing. While that seemed like disheartening advice, she explained that even after spending an hour talking to a member, you’ve only seen a small part of the sisterhood. You aren’t supposed to walk into a house and instinctively know that’s where you want to spend the next four years. 

When you are asking questions, pay attention to how girls answer them. Like really listen. It’s easy for someone to tell you that Greek Week is their favorite event and their best memory was Bid Day. Look for really genuine responses. If a girl tells you about how she met her best friend because one of them was crying in the study room at the house, that is more important than winning Homecoming. 


Go to Bid Day, no matter what. You don’t have to sign anything that day if you feel unsure and you aren’t really locked into one chapter until initiation. Make an effort to meet girls in the chapter and in your new member class before you decide that it’s not for you. Go to the meetings and make sure you attend some philanthropy and social events. Learn why these women are still in the chapter and what they love about it. 

My university's slogan used to be Follow your passion, find your place. As a freshman, I wasn’t even sure what my passions were. So, naturally, it took me almost all four years to find my place. It was after serving on my chapter’s executive board that I stepped into a role on the Panhellenic Association. This is the governing board for all chapters on a given campus. My position on Panhellenic gave me closure. I saw sorority membership from all angles and understood the process more than I ever could have if I spent each year recruiting with my chapter.

xo,

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