If you attend a college with spring recruitment, also known as deferred recruitment, then you may still be deciding whether joining a sorority is right for you. Spring recruitment gives you—the Potential New Member (PNM)—a chance to familiarize yourself with the school before immersing yourself in a busy (yet rewarding) sisterhood. And, more importantly, it gives you a chance to get to know the women on campus who may or may not become your sisters. These are pieces of advice I wish I had known as a hesitant first-year woman who was thinking about recruitment:
1. Start your fall semester with an open mind.
Don't make the mistake of starting your semester with a strong opinion about Greek life. Many first-year women arrive on campus in the fall with preconceptions about the community as a whole or certain Greek organizations. These preconceptions may be inaccurate or false all together. Remember that one person's experience with in organization is not reflective of the organization itself. In addition, sororities vary from one institution to another. Each sorority has something to offer and it is up to you (not your friends or your family) to decide what they have to offer you.
2. If an upperclass woman wants to be your friend, let them.
Even for schools with recruitment in the spring, recruitment starts the first day of the fall semester for sorority women on campus.These women are in your classes and extracurricular organizations—they will be trying to get to know you too. They may invite you to lunch or dinner, and they may ask you on study dates. My advice is to go with the flow and genuinely try to be their friend. If you approach the semester with with this attitude, you can't go wrong. Even if they are not your future sisters, they can still become life-long friends. Plus, as a first-year student, having a network of upperclass friends can make your first year of college a lot easier.
3. Go to every recruitment event you can.
Whether you think you are interested in going Greek in general or are interested in a particular organization, you should try to go to recruitment events for every sorority on campus. Recruitment events are informational and a wonderful chance to get to know sorority women in a neutral environment. If you are nervous about going to an event where you feel you don't know any women, go with your roommate or someone who lives on your hall. You might meet someone or learn something new that changes your feelings about the organization.
Recruitment events are important for schools with spring recruitment. They give sororities a chance to see who is interested in them, and it also gives PNMs a chance to learn more about all of the sororities and their women.
4. Be yourself!
There is a misconception that spring recruitment is "the worst" because PNMs have to wait an entire semester for the excitement of formal recruitment. It may feel like that, for six months, you have to constantly work to impress the women you want to be your sisters. This is not the case! Spring recruitment has an upside: for six months, you can be yourself and truly discover which organization is right for you by evaluating which friends have stuck around through parties, midterms, and finals. If you are genuine and kind throughout the process, you may go into recruitment week confident in where you belong.
5. Still not sure if you want to join a sorority? Go through recruitment anyway.
When it comes time to sign up for recruitment, you may still be uncertain if you are a "sorority girl". Regardless, you should sign up. Sign up to share the experience with your friends. Sign up to say that you tried. You can always drop out any night during recruitment and you aren't obligated to pledge any sorority. I personally know many women who regret not going through formal recruitment as a first-year. While there is always a second chance to go through formal recruitment, there is only one chance to do it with your friends. You may even discover that Greek life is for you and you will be relieved that you didn't let your preconceptions stop you from joining an amazing sisterhood.