By Madeline Sneed
I want to preface this post with a disclaimer: there are hundreds of organizations to join on a college campus. Whatever you are interested, there is a club for it, I guarantee you! However, I’m going to talk specifically today about Panhellenic Sorority Recruitment in an effort to clearly articulate what is required of women who are interested in becoming a new member of a chapter. If Greek life isn’t your thing, no worries! We’ll write about how to get involved in other organizations later this month. Stay tuned!
For those of you who are interested in going through the formal recruitment process, registration for fall recruitment is now open at many universities! While this is quite exciting, there is a lot about sorority recruitment that can be confusing. In this post, I will attempt to clarify some of the murkier parts of the recruitment process. Joining a sorority is a great way to get involved with campus life, participate in philanthropic endeavors, and make friendships that last a lifetime. Don’t let intimidation about the process keep you from going through recruitment!
First things first: make sure you are registered with your UNIVERSITY’S Panhellenic Recruitment. If your school puts on fall recruitment (the week before the fall semester starts), the registration will most likely open sometime in May and close the first week in August. To register, you will have to complete an online application and put down a deposit fee. If you’re in Houston, the Houston Alumnae Panhellenic Association is a great place to receive clarifying information and help on how to register for sorority recruitment.
References and Recommendations
It’s important to note that recommendations (recs) are not like the letters you asked your teachers to write for your college applications. Recommendations are essentially forms that alumnae fill out for a Potential New Member (PNM). Many sororities have online recommendation forms that alumnae can fill out and email directly to a chapter’s recruitment team. On these forms, a recommender will expand upon your extracurricular activities, your leadership roles, your legacy status if applicable (if your mother was a member of that organization), and what value you would bring to the organization. You will also need to provide the recommender with two recent pictures (usually professional, but that’s not required) of yourself—a full frame shot (full body) and a head shot.
To write a recommendation, a woman must be alumnae of the sorority, and they cannot be a member of your family. It doesn’t matter where the alumnae went to school—as long as she is a former member in good standing with the sorority, she can write a recommendation for you. Typically good people to ask for recommendations are your family friends, your mom’s friends, your friends’ moms, and your teachers. Basically, start asking the women in your network if they were members of sororities and if they would be willing to write you a recommendation. It is important that you ask these women directly (don’t have your mom do it for you).
A social resume is a more condensed version of what your original resume may look like. They are typically between 2-3 pages, and they should highlight your volunteer work, your extracurricular activities, and your leadership roles. Additionally, you will need to provide your family’s information at the bottom of the resume and any Greek affiliations you may have. I highly recommend including your picture on your social resume, but it is not required. If you would like for our College Readiness department to design a resume for you, call 713-464-2726 to get more information on our social resume services.
Some practical points before I conclude: for recruitment week, you will go through a week of themed days: open house (this sometimes lasts two days for larger universities), philanthropy day (also can last two days), sisterhood (or skit) day/night, preference day/night, and bid day. You will spend more time at each house the further into the week you get, and you will also wear more formal attire as the week goes on. If you are going through spring recruitment, I highly recommend that you go to the rush events in the fall so that you can get to know girls within each chapter. This will make the week of Formal Recruitment feel less intimidating, and it is just a great way to make new friends.
This will probably be one of the more exhausting endeavors you embark on in your lifetime. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but recruitment, at times, feels like a five day talk-a-thon. You’ll repeat your major and hometown over one hundred times (that is not an exaggeration), you’ll become an expert at small talk, and you’ll fake smile and laugh so much that your entire face goes numb. This is normal. Recruitment is a time for you to get to know as much as you can about an organization and the girls in it—go in with an open mind and act like you want to be in every room you’re in. Don’t view this week as a waste of time—the amount of networking you have to do in such a small amount of time will help you obtain the necessary skills you need to succeed later on in your professional life. Once you’ve been forced to summarize your life and your goals into a fifteen second blurb that you shout repeatedly over a gaggle of giggling girls, doing it in an interview is a piece of cake.
Recruitment can be stressful, and if you have any questions, feel free to contact our College Readiness department for more advice or to chat about purchasing an A La Carte designed resume. Good luck and have fun!