Looking to participate in sorority recruitment this year? Here is my experience going through sorority recruitment at an SEC school.
I can't even begin to explain how nerve racking it was to go through sorority rush in general but especially at an SEC school where greek life is so big. I went into sorority recruitment knowing so little but I do remember searching the internet looking for any tips or advice I could get that would calm my nerves.
The truth is, sorority recruitment is scary at first but after the first day it is just so much fun. I went through sorority recruitment at The University of Alabama which has one of the biggest greek life organizations. I know reading about other girl's experience going through sorority rush helped ease my nerves so I am here to give you all the details of my experience, tips, and essentials to make sure your sorority rush is perfect!
This post is all about sorority recruitment.
MY EXPERIENCE GOING THROUGH RUSH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA:
Preparation For Sorority Recruitment
Usually before recruitment begins, there will be a day where all the girls going through rush will meet and get a preview of how the week will work. For me, this day was called Convocation. Convocation day is the start of recruitment, however you will not be meeting any houses this day so you can just relax and throw on a t-shirt and shorts for this.
All 2,500 girls prepared to go through recruitment met at a meeting hall so that Panhellenic officers could speak to us. We also got pamphlets this day that briefly went over every sorority so that we could have a basic knowledge of each sorority before going in to the house.
This pamphlet also gave us information about our schedule such as the days that each round will be happening on. However, we did not get our personal schedules telling us what house to go to at what time until the first day.
This day we also were assigned "rho chi" groups which are just alphabetical groups that are kind of your "home base." At the start of each day you will meet up with your rho chi groups to be given your schedule by your rho chi. I will tell you more about rho chi's later (they are super helpful!!)
Day 1&2 - Open House Rounds
It is officially the first day of recruitment!! I met with my rho chi group to receive my schedule which consisted of 18 houses separated between two days. I was so nervous my first day but after the first house, my nerves really calmed down.
These two days are super fast paced. You're only in each house for about 20 minutes. You usually talk to two or three girls in this round so there isn't much time to get into a serious conversation. Because the rounds are so short and you are talking to so many different houses, you really have to take brief notes after each house. I found that a lot of the houses started to blend together because many of them were the same conversations such as "What is your major?", "Where are you from?", etc.
The way I ranked my houses after these first two days were the houses I felt I had more of a unique conversation with. I also payed attention to the girls in the house closely and asked if I felt I could see myself being friends with these girls.
My biggest advice for these two days is to think of a question that is unique to ask the girls in the house. I have now been on the other side of the recruitment process and I can tell you this will make you really stand out. Don't be afraid to sound weird or off topic! This will set you apart from the hundreds of other "school major" and "home town" conversations.
After the first two days of open house rounds, we ranked our houses 1-18. Then, you are matched up with the houses that you ranked highest as well as the houses that ranked you high enough to come back.
Day 3&4 - Philanthropy Rounds
Philanthropy round was my 3rd and 4th day as well as the first round of cuts. Our maximum number of houses we got asked back to was 12 which I got and was super excited about. This was my favorite two days because not only are they about 10 minutes longer which allow more meaningful conversations to happen, but you also get to know every sororities philanthropy. Getting to know each of the sororities' philanthropy was super heart warming and made me feel so much more connected to certain houses because I could feel when the girls were passionate about it.
For the next round of cuts, I ranked the sororities that I felt I had good conversations with as well as ones I felt connected to their fundraising cause.
Day 5&6 - Sisterhood Rounds
Sisterhood round is when recruitment starts to get really serious and your houses are cut dramatically. At this point we could receive 7 houses back out of the 18 we started with. These rounds are about 45 minutes long so you will be having more in depth conversations with each of the girls and start to find out more about what it would actually be like to be in that sorority.
During this round girls shared stories about their favorite memories within their sisterhood and what made them feel most at home at that house. We were shown videos and there were members at each house that shared stories of their own.
This round, I looked around at all of the girls while their sisters were sharing stories to see their reactions. I also looked at the girls that were coming into the house with me to see if I could see myself being friends with them! I ended up ranking the houses highest that I felt had the best bond and genuine relationships.
Day 7 - Preference Round
Preference round is probably the hardest round. Your houses are cut dramatically because during preference round you are only going to your top 2 houses. For me, this round was an hour long at each house so the conversations are much deeper. I ended up picking the house I felt the best connection with and felt our conversation flowed easiest and most naturally.
During preference round I actually talked to the girl that would become my future big which is so cool looking back on. I remember her sharing her personal stories and how she picked a house and it lined up so well with what I wanted. I definitely cried every round at the house I ended up choosing. I just knew it was the right one for me!
After preference round, you will rank your houses 1 and 2. If you are high enough on the bid list for your number 1 house (this is USUALLY the case) you will get a bid for that house the next day! This is a great round to talk to your rho chi and get some advice on how to choose if you are feeling conflicted. My rho chi also told me to be honest with the houses. If you are feeling conflicted, tell them and listen to how they help you. My big gave me great advice during preference round on how she knew that her house was the one.
Day 8 - Bid Day
BID DAY!! Bid day is seriously one of the most exciting days in college. For this day, you wear just a tank top and shorts since you will be given a bid day jersey to wear over it. All of the girls went to our football stadium where we were given a card to open that would be our "bid". We all opened them at the same time so see what sorority we got!
After this, we all ran to our house and the active girls were holding signs with our names on them. This is your "bid day big"! They usually have bags full of fun stuff like t-shirts, water bottles, stickers, and things with your sororities name on it! The house for me was Zeta Tau Alpha!! ☺️
MY ADVICE FOR SORORITY RECRUITMENT:
1. Make Sure Your Clothes Are Appropriate
You never want to worry too much about what clothes you are wearing because you do want them to express exactly who you are! But, be sure you are dressing modestly. This means no low cut neck lines or dresses that are way too short. A lot of times you are going to be sitting down so wearing a tight or short dress could be super exposing!
I wrote a whole post on great sorority recruitment outfits: Trendy + Cute Sorority Rush Outfits That Will Make Sure You Stand Out}
2. Become Friends With Your Rho Chi
Rho Chi's are the group leaders during sorority recruitment and they are there to help you!! These are girls that have been through the recruitment process but have disaffiliated with their sorority during rush week in order to give PNMs unbiased advice. Since they have been through recruitment themselves, they are such a great resource to talk to if you are having a hard time deciding on how to rank houses.
3. Talk To Everyone
During sorority recruitment, it is so important to talk to everyone and make friends with the people around you! Not only are these girls going through the exact same thing as you, they could also end up in the same house as you at the end of recruitment. You could be talking to your future sister so be nice and make conversations!
4. Take Notes
Like I said before, taking notes is crucial during sorority recruitment. You want to right down what you talked about, what you drank, the name of who you talked to, etc. Anything and everything no matter how small to make sure you can remember each house well enough to rank them at the end of the rounds.
5. Don't Go Into Rush Close Minded
Please please please do not go into rush with your mind set on one or two houses. This will seriously cloud your head during rush and can potentially ruin your rush experience if you are set on one house and don't get it back one of the rounds. Every house on your campus is amazing in different ways so just think about what house you feel best in!
6. Come Prepared With Essentials
I have listed my top 5 essentials below but I have also written an entire post with everything you need to bring during sorority recruitment which I have also linked later on. These essentials will seriously make your time during rush flow so much better and make things way less miserable. Make sure you have a bag, makeup, powder, a fan, and all the other essentials I have listed later on!
7. Ask Lots Of Questions
Don't be afraid to ask the girls in the house questions of your own. In fact, please do! Since I have been on both sides of rush now, I can tell you it is so refreshing having PNMs ask me questions instead of having to lead the whole conversation. It can be a totally random question or even just a funny story from that week. It will seriously make the girl love you for not having to talk about each others home town for the hundredth time that day.
MY ESSENTIALS FOR SORORITY RECRUITMENT:
9. Morphe Setting Spray
This was my number 1 rush essential during my recruitment week to keep my makeup stay on. I seriously cannot recommend this enough. After every few houses I went to, I would powder and then spray this on my face and my makeup still looked flawless after 8 hours in the blazing heat.
I cannot tell you how many girls I had come up to me and ask me how my makeup still looked like I had just put it on. THIS is how.
10. Mini Fan
A mini fan is going to absolutely save your life if you are rushing during August in a place that gets hot. You will often times have breaks between houses where you are just sitting outside so having a portable fan on you can help you from sweating off your makeup completely. Trust me, this is an essential.
11. Flip Flops Or Slides
During rush you will most likely be wearing wedges or heels that get so uncomfortable throughout the day. My campus's sorority houses are pretty spread out so I was walking miles a day going from house to house. You most definitely need an extra pair of flip flops or slides to bring with you to put on when walking from house to house.
12. Blister Bandaids
The week after rush my feet looked literally disgusting and they felt even worse. I will spare you the ugly photos of all my blisters after rush but in order for you to avoid what I went through, make sure you keep blister bandaids on hand! I would even recommend wearing these on the first day to avoid blisters from forming at all. But, if you do get a blister (you will) put one of these on!
13. Water Resistant Bag
My rho chi told us to bring a bag we didn't care too much about so that it didn't get ruined and I am so glad I listened! Most of the time we were in a hurry to get in line before a house we ended up throwing our bags on the grass right before. Buy a water resistant bag to keep all your essentials in in case it rains or the grass is wet!