Advice For Sorority Formal Recruitment: What You Need To Know

Sorority Formal Recruitment Is Much Tougher Than You Think, But Oh, The Things You Learn

Formal was by far one of the toughest things I have ever done, and I learned so much about myself and others in the process.


I had known that I wanted to be a part of a sorority since middle school. I'm an only child, so the thought of having a bunch of fun, beautiful sisters that I got to choose was fascinating to me. When applications were released to apply for formal recruitment for my university, I didn't hesitate. I filled out the application, paid the fee and waited patiently for spring semester, which is when our rush process takes place. I was so excited! However, that excitement only stood its ground for the first of the many rounds. I never expected something that seemed so glamorous and cheerful could be so hard.

There were a lot of tears.

I kid you not. I cried so, so much. Especially at the beginning of the second round. I remember the feelings of adrenaline and hope I had as my group's Rho Gammas passed out our schedules, then the feeling of pain and rejection I got as soon as I looked at mine. I was so not expecting the results that I got. I thought that the conversations I had with the many chapters all went well, but my schedule seemed to prove me wrong. I sat with my Rho Gamma while bawling my eyes out for about 20 minutes before deciding to keep going and give the chapters that wanted me back for that round a better chance.

Twenty-five minutes really isn't that long, especially if you're judging someone's character.

I'm not too sure how it works at every school, but at mine, the first few rounds are a mere 25 minutes long. This amount of time really only gives the sorority a chance to ask your name, major and other basic questions before you are already getting rushed to the next chapter. It's very overwhelming for both the PNM and the sorority member doing the interviewing, and after visiting a few different chapters during welcome round, I realized that my conversations at each had been pretty similar. This is one of the many reasons that I was so hurt after receiving my second round schedule. I didn't understand how those chapters simply decided they didn't want me after asking such general questions.

My confidence was certainly tested.

Before participating in formal recruitment, everyone is told the same, basic things. "Be yourself!" and "Smile!" I made sure to do these things at all times, so this was why my confidence was so shaken after going through the first few sets of rounds. If I was being myself, happy and outgoing, then why didn't these chapters want me in their rounds? I am usually a pretty confident girl, but receiving schedule after schedule and seeing which sororities didn't want me was quite heartbreaking. I went home each day and cried — a lot.

My mom tried to understand what was going on, but since I am the first in my family to even attend college, this was difficult. I reflected on each conversation I had to try and see where I went wrong or where I messed up, and I judged each outfit I put on until I had changed for the fifth time. I probably ran a straightener over the same piece of hair until it was perfectly pin-straight. My poor, blonde hair.

Girls can be really mean, but there are some nice ones out there.

I remember I was standing in line ready to go into one of the chapters, when I really liked a girl's outfit. So naturally, I complimented her. This girl proceeded to get offended and give me a dirty look, just because I offered her some kind words, and this was not the only time something like this happened during rush. I silently observed as countless girls talked bad about other girl's outfits, other PNMs in general and even some chapters. This broke my heart even more.

In my mind, the girls I stood by in line were likely to be my sisters in the future, so I didn't view it as a competition, but many others did. I tried making conversation with some of these girls, but many of them were not interested in conversation. Formal recruitment really made me realize that the "mean girl" didn't end in high school for several people.

Even though I encountered many mean girls, I still met some really kind ones. I am happy for these girls because I don't think I would have continued with the process if I hadn't met them. Something as simple as someone complimenting my hair during a round and something as big as my Rho Gamma comforting me into continuing with rush really seemed to benefit me.

Speaking of Rho Gammas, talk to yours if you need someone.

They really mean it when they say that they are there if you need them, and I did. I wanted to drop so many times because the stress and heartbreak was just so much. However, my Rho Gammas let me know how much their chapters changed their lives and how grateful they were for continuing with recruitment. They knew firsthand just how hard this process can be for a girl, so I really took their advice into consideration.

Don't read the comments online

You may feel tempted to go online and see what everyone has to say about each sorority, but I strongly advise against this. Today, all people have to say about several organizations, especially Greek ones, is purely negative, and this is so sad. I would read through endless posts of hate and wonder why people always have to be so negative, especially online. I especially saw a lot of hate going on between Greek organizations online, and this is so alarming.

I am more than just a number.

Yeah, so the name tag that I wore through each round had a certain number on it. Yes, this is the one they used to define me. However, I had to keep in mind that I was more than just that three digit code. I was a whole person, smiling with lipgloss-smothered lips, ready to impress.

In the end, the only thing left to do is "trust the process."

This three-word phrase was said over and over (and over) to us so many times throughout the recruitment process. Many of us refused to listen for a while. It was so hard to put so much trust into a process that made zero sense. As the end got near, though, I really was able to see which chapters wanted me back, and this meant a lot.

Yes, it really did hurt when I got rejected by chapters that I really saw myself in, but in the end, I want to be in the one that wants me back.

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7 Reasons You Should Order A Vodka/Water/Lime When You're Out

There’s a reason the Vodka/Water/Lime is the number one drink at The Strip every weekend.

We’ve all been through it. Whether it was sometime in high school, out freshman year of college or the day we turned 21, at some point you have or will tried to order a drink while you’re out on the town. I’m here to end all the experimentation, and give you a go-to drink that is sweeping across college campuses everywhere, the Vodka-Water-Lime, and the reasons why, are clear to see.

1. It will keep you hydrated

It may seem trivial but hydration is key if you’re planning on drinking any amount any time, or so I have been told. But let’s face it, biology grants us the ability to chug concoctions called 4-Lokos with ease while drinking the recommended amount of water per day almost impossible. The drink that solves both issues—Vodka-Water-Lime.

2. It doesn't taste that bad

I’ll admit I was a little skeptical at first, but this drink isn’t that bad to swallow, especially when you think about some of the other things you could be drinking. There’s a reason why the only way people can drink tequila is in shot from or in a lime slushy. As the old saying goes: if you drink enough everything just tastes like water, and this one already has water in it!

3. It gets you drunk

That’s right. It does the job. Isn’t that really all we want in a drink anyway, everything else is just trivial.

4. It establishes immediate common-ground

What is that girl next to you at the bar about to order? You guessed it. Now imagine that you are about to order the same thing, she is practically begging to dance on you at this point, it’s that easy.

5. Easy, Quick, Universal

There are just three simple ingredients, and the amounts of which are subject to your personal preference and tolerance levels. It doesn’t require the aid of Chet the self-proclaimed mixologist to make—it’s so easy a baby could do it! And it’s known virtually everywhere, if you’re ever in a place that doesn’t have either vodka, water, or limes, you’re probably there against your will anyway.

6. Health Benefits

Since most people don’t drink liquor straight, the use of a chaser or mixer is required, but we all know the problems that causes. Sugar and alcohol don’t mix well, not to mention the calories in soda. Vodka-Water-Lime has not calories and no sugar added. On top of that, the presence of water and lack of soda is almost a guarantee that you won’t be hungover the next day.

7. It's shameless

With all of the numerous benefits, it’s impossible to give someone a hard time for ordering this, yet it happens. Becky’s friends may tell her that she looks great and shouldn’t be concerned about her calories. WELL MAYBE BECKY JUST LIKES THE TASTE. Still, Bradley may get bold and order one out with the boys, but since there’s nothing to crack open, he may be the butt of their jokes, but Bradley knows that he made the right choice.

NOTE: limes can be substituted for other in-season citrus fruits.

There’s a reason the Vodka-Water-Lime is the number one drink at The Strip every week. The facts are there; it’s not fake news. Vodka-Water-Lime should be your new drink. It’s not just something you adopt in college or for a few nights out, it’s a lifestyle. The Vodka-Water-Lime is classy and sophisticated, it is a drink that you can order somewhere fancy like a restaurant or a Carnival cruise ship, or even on your wedding night.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Joining A Panhellenic Sorority As A Woman Of Color

It didn't matter that I looked different than everyone else, it mattered that I was me.


A part of me always wanted to be part of a sorority. Not because of the superficial part of it—like the parties and the formals—but because of feeling like you "belonged." When I was in high school, I saw pictures of girls who had graduated from my high school and were in sororities at their respective colleges, and I couldn't help but want to be part of it. They looked so happy in their pictures with their "families" and with their sorority sisters, I couldn't help but notice, however, that almost no people of color were in those pictures.

I grew up in a predominantly white community and attended a predominantly white school district, so going to school at Villanova wasn't much of an adjustment in that aspect. In the fall semester, I met my three best friends, one of whom was one of my roommates, and we four became inseparable. We spent every day together, from eating meals to doing homework, but I felt that I needed to expand my circle. I started talking to more people in my learning community, and I joined the all-female women's choir and met some great girls there. However, by the end of the semester, I struggled to find a community where I truly "fit in."

As we were about to leave for winter break, all of the freshman girls on campus were asking each other, "Are you rushing?" I would always respond, "I'm considering it!" I checked out the social media of each of the sororities, and my main concern was that I could count the number of women of color in each sorority on one hand. Because of that, I briefly considered joining a multicultural sorority, but the fact that those sororities were identified by a certain race wasn't ideal for me. As a maker of impulsive decisions, I decided that I would just go through the formal Panhellenic recruitment process and see how it goes. My parents were in full support, but I don't think they really expected me to go through with my decision.

For those of you who don't know how Panhellenic recruitment works at Villanova, it's basically four days of talking to girls in all eight sororities on campus. On the first day, you talk to a few girls from four sororities, and then on the second day, you talk to girls from the other four sororities. After the second day, you rank your top sororities. On the third day, girls can attend up to five chapters' events and rank them, and on the last day, it's narrowed down to two. Throughout the whole process, all of the sororities use a mutual selection process where potential new members and the individual sororities are all making rankings.

I walked in on the first day into the grand ballroom and I probably saw around 10 women of color. I shouldn't have been surprised, but it was crazy to see in person. I brushed it off, and I went into each round as my most authentic self. However, when I was called back to only two chapters on the third day after talking to all of the sororities, I became self-conscious. Was it because of how I dressed? Was it because of how I looked? I reminded myself that these chapters were actually interested in me and that I should make the most of these rounds. They were both chapters that I really wanted to be in, so after this, it was a matter of which one showed more of an interest in me.

On the last day, I was only called back to one chapter, so if I ended up getting a bid from that chapter, it would be no surprise which chapter it would be. In that last round, I had some extremely genuine conversations with girls in the sorority. I talked about the weirdest aspects about myself that I didn't tell girls in any other sorority, and I clicked with pretty much all of the girls I talked to.

When I talked to them, it didn't matter that I looked different than everyone else, it mattered that I was me.

After I received a bid (i.e. an invitation) from that sorority, I was ecstatic. I will admit that I thought I would transform into this new person, but throughout my first weeks in the sorority, I felt like pretty much exactly the same person I was when I came in. And that's one thing I loved about my sorority—the people around me caused me to be the best version of myself, not a new version of myself. It helped that our campus doesn't have university-sponsored houses, because Greek life at schools that do becomes very prevalent and invasive on campus.

I want to make it clear that I'm not saying I've come to neglect my background. I have by no means forgotten about my Asian heritage; my race just isn't something I'm treated differently for. In the cover photo for this article, it's obvious that I'm one of two women of color in my pledge class of 35, but the sense of community I've found trumps the fact that my race is a physical differentiator. An example of this is my sorority "family": me, my big, gbig, and ggbig. It sounds silly to say, but in a normal family, it would turn heads to have one Asian person in a fully Caucasian family, but it makes no difference in this one.

Katelyn Tsai

To some, it may seem like I'm making a bigger deal than I should be about being Asian in a Panhellenic sorority, but as a woman of color, race impacts most aspects of my life. In the classroom and in the workplace, we are often the only person who looks like us in the room, and we are treated differently for it. I've been asked by a white teacher in class, "What do you think about this from your experience?" Naturally, being part of the majority, a white person probably wouldn't be asked such a question, but it's important to be empathetic when speaking to people of color.

I can't ensure that all women of color choosing to go through with Panhellenic recruitment will have the same experience I did. For all I know, my success story could have been an exception to what women of color normally experience. I do want to emphasize that the reason I was able to gain so many more great people and experiences in my life was because I took the initial risk—I didn't think about the possible consequences that could result from rushing; I just did it before I could doubt myself. Often, women of color experience imposter syndrome, where we experience self-doubt about our accomplishments, and I didn't want that to impact my ultimate decision to rush.

To my fellow women of color: we are powerful in our own right, and any sorority would be lucky to have our diverse backgrounds and experiences.

And if other friends who are people of color are questioning your decision to rush, it shouldn't matter, because everyone's paths in college are different. At the same time, don't completely immerse yourself into such a "white" community and lose yourself in the process. Find a way to strike the balance between the different groups of people you surround yourself with, and your college experience will be that much more fulfilling.

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