At Villanova, sorority recruitment happens during the beginning of the spring semester, leaving plenty of time to think about and then over think everything sorority.
Freshman year, I was beyond anxious for months leading up to recruitment. I read every word on the Fraternity and Sorority life page, asked my friends who had gone through recruitment in the fall at a different school a million questions and tried to get a feel of each sorority through their various social medias, shamelessly checking their profiles every day.
When recruitment came around, it felt like a whirlwind that no amount of reading or preconceived thoughts could have prepared me for. I was stressed, excited, terrified, and second-guessed myself so often. I felt like I had great conversations during one round only to be dropped by that sorority the next day, and then called back to sororities where I felt horrible after leaving their room. It all felt so random and unpredictable, leaving a lot of be uncertain about.
In the end, it worked out great for me. I ended up in the chapter that I loved from day one and it made all the stress and uncertainty of the week worth it. However, I do wish I had a little more guidance and an idea of how the whole "recruitment" thing worked and how to survive some of the longest days ever. So here is Villanova (un)official Declassified Sorority Recruitment Survival Guide, giving some tips and advice to help ease the nerves that recruitment can bring.
1. Don't pay attention to reputation.
Leading up to recruitment, I am sure you will hear about the sororities and their reputations on campus. Each chapter has something unique and different to offer which won't become apparent until you have actually talked to the girls during rounds. You don't want to be that girl that doesn't give a sorority a chance because it isn't the "best" one or the one you want before you have even started recruitment. You're not above anyone else, so don't act like it during rounds because of the reputations you heard before recruitment.
2. Form your own opinions.
Going along with not paying attention to reputation, the best way to go through rounds is by forming your own opinions before listening to others. Your favorite sorority may be your best friend's least favorite, but that shouldn't matter. It is hard to not let the opinions of the people you trust most sway your views, but it is for the best.
3. Each person's recruitment process is different.
Even though you are going through the rounds with girls in your Rho Gamma group, friends or girls you have never met before, recruitment is a pretty individual process. After the first day, you will get called back from different sororities than your friends and then you could be in rounds with no one that you know. Don't compare your recruitment process to someone else's because each person have a different experience!
4. Lean on your Rho Gamma.
Yes, recruitment is very individual but that doesn't mean you are going through it alone. Your Rho Gamma is there to help you through the rounds and talk anything our with you. Since she is a neutral source, the most reliable opinion comes from her because she has gone through recruitment on both sides. I loved my Rho Gamma and she really helped calm me down when I was nervous before getting my rounds for the day back. Take advantage of her and her opinions throughout the process and you'll feel better for it!
5. Be yourself.
Obvious? Yes. But this is one of the hardest things to do. It is easy to conform to what you think the sorority wants to see and hear. However, your best bet is to be yourself. It is easy to tell when girls are trying to be something that they are not, since they aren't as passionate or as excited as they normally are. Talk about the things that you love (or hate!) and chances are you'll find more genuine connections. Plus, you don't want to conform to a sorority, get to bid day and realize you have nothing in common with the chapter you picked. You'll find the perfect sorority for you by being real and genuine rather than fake.
6. Take notes.
At the beginning of recruitment, you'll receive a small book filled with information about each chapter and a spot to take notes. I know it seems silly, but try to keep notes on what you liked, didn't like, who you talked to and what you talked about after each round. The first day goes by in such a blur and by the end of the day, after what seems like hours of the same basic conversations over and over again, you'll completely forget about the first couple of rounds. But, if you have notes on it, you'll be able to quickly remember the details of those sororities and it will make your decision of which chapters to go back to the next day a little easier.
7. Try not to stress.
I know this is easier said than done but stressing only makes it worse. With five days between rounds, there will be a lot of uncertainty and if you start stressing, it will completely consume you. Distract yourself with friends, school work, basketball games, or anything you can think of. I couldn't sleep, eat or think about anything else while going through recruitment, which just made me even more nervous than I already was. Don't add extra pressure on yourself when things are out of your hands. Just try your best to relax and not worry about where you will end up the next weekend since it will only do more harm than good.
8. Expect the unexpected.
No, this isn't Big Brother but the catch line still applies. You'll get dropped from sororities you loved and go back to chapters you didn't have the best connection with, but that is all part of recruitment. Don't feel discouraged if you had an amazing conversation with a girl in your favorite sorority only to find yourself not invited back the next day. It wasn't because you aren't good enough or it did not go as well as you thought it did. Sometimes it just comes down to the numbers and was not a reflection of you. Don't spend too much time being upset over unexpected results and try to focus more on the positives and the sororities you were invited back to!
Recruitment is a long, tiring process but is worth it in the end. While it may not seem like it after a long day of talking to strangers, finding your home in a group of girls with the same values opens many doors and new friendships that would not be found outside a sorority. So keep an open mind, be yourself and hopefully recruitment will be worth it for you too!