Are you thinking about going through recruitment for a sorority this fall? Whether you're excited or worried about it, I can help point you in the right direction in this article. Chances are, you don't have much experience with sororities besides what you see in movies unless you have an older sister or have older friends who have experienced Greek life when they went to college.
Greek sororities are societies of women in college who share common values and goals, with the intent to socialize and form connections. To join a sorority, one generally goes through formal recruitment along with other potential new members.
The goal of recruitment is to help match potential new members with the chapter on campus that is right for them. Usually there are numerous chapters to choose from, all with different personalities, values, and philanthropies. During recruitment, you will be in a recruitment group and assigned a recruitment counselor who is there to help you with any and all questions you may have. She is a disaffiliated sorority woman who will guide you through all the events and rounds with an unbiased opinion to help you find which sorority will be the new home away from home for you.
I went through recruitment as a freshman when I first got to college, even though I had never thought about sororities before coming to college. I do not regret it, even if I hadn't joined, I met many other girls who were also just coming to college and made friends with girls in my recruitment group. Going to rounds together and waiting together before bid day creates a bond unlike most in college. I can say with confidence that being in a sorority has changed my life in so many ways that I am very grateful for. The benefits of a sorority are endless. In a sorority, you receive the kind of support and encouragement that will give you the confidence to go out there and make a difference. The sisterhood that you find in a sorority is invaluable and there is nothing else quite like it.
Here is my advice while going through recruitment.
It is imperative that you go in there as yourself. Don't pretend to be someone you're not because you want to fit in. The girls in the sorority are trying to get to know you, so put your best foot forward and be genuine.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. Feel free to ask your recruitment counselor if the outfit you want to wear would be appropriate for that round. Feel free to ask the girl you talk to questions about her chapter. Ask her about the time commitment, voice your concerns, ask what she loves about her chapter, ask about her experience. Ask other PNM's to walk with you to rounds.
The worst thing that could happen is you don't get an answer, but you wouldn't have gotten an answer anyway if you hadn't asked.
And adding on to that, answer questions too. While in a conversation during a round, give thoughtful answers to the questions they ask you. They can guide the conversation, but you should help keep it going as well. Try not to give one-word answers. Let the conversation naturally flow and talk about what you want to talk about, it is okay if the subject moves from just sorority life and becomes a great conversation with someone you are enjoying talking to.
Trust the chapters.
Bids are given out to girls that the chapter thinks would be a good fit for their chapter and if the PNM wants to join that chapter. It is a mutual selection process, so trust that you will find the best one for you. If you want to talk to someone about it, definitely reach out to your recruitment counselor. She will help you, maybe even more than you expect.
Go into each sorority's house or suite with an open mind. Each sorority is markedly different, but they're all good. That's why they've been around this long. If there wasn't value in it, they wouldn't exist. With that being said, be open to all the girls you meet and be ready to make friends with them. Whether you've heard things about them or not, you need to make your own assessments of the sorority, not just what other people say, because chances are, you're not hearing it from the people who have experienced the sorority from the inside and what it's truly like being a member of it. Listen to the girls you talk to in each chapter and make your choice based on how you feel with them. You're the one who will be hoping to join, so use your own instincts.
If you are given a bid from a chapter and choose to accept, remember you can still have friends in other chapters. The girls you go through recruitment with will be joining chapters of their own but that doesn't mean that's where your acquaintanceship ends. After some time, you will know the girls in your pledge class and the rest of your sorority, but you should branch out and maintain your other friendships too.
Be ready for a lifetime commitment.
Lastly, enjoy the experience! The sorority is there for you for life! Be ready for new experiences and friendships. Don't get discouraged if you don't connect with the girls right away, because sometimes it takes a little time. If you pledge the sorority, you are accepting that you will attend the required meetings and put in the time to learn about the sorority's history as part of the new member education process. The current members will do everything they can to try to help you feel welcome and get to know the other sisters. One of the most exciting things for you will be big reveal. The bond you will have with your big is special and can help you navigate sorority life during your time as a new member. Also the girl who manages member education on council is someone you can go to as well if you need guidance.
Remember, many schools have a zero tolerance hazing policy and the sororities need to follow that. Understand that hazing means an activity that new members would do that causes embarrassment or being uncomfortable and that if you feel like it is happening, you should report it to an officer in the chapter or to the school. The sorority is supposed to be there for you and if you feel like they're putting you through belittling tests, then it may not be the place for you. Many sororities these days do not haze, though so do not let that worry prevent you from going through recruitment.
All in all, joining my sorority has been one of the best decisions in my life and the girls I've made friends with are amazing. I love being a part of something bigger than myself. Sororities are organizations of thousands of women across the country who believe in their academics and the betterment of you as a woman and giving back to the community through the support of their philanthropies. It provides networking opportunities and a safe place for you to go during a hectic week at college. They will support you through thick and thin and the bond you make with them will last beyond graduation.
So if you're thinking about recruitment, I say go for it! There's not much you can lose, but there's so much you can gain. You will find what's right for you and hopefully this article helped answer some questions you had. If you have any questions, feel free to ask your school's Panhellenic Council or your recruitment counselor or someone you know who is in a sorority. They are happy to answer your questions and introduce you to sorority life.