The whole subject of recommendations is EXHAUSTING!!!!!!  Fortification today was pancakes from First Watch.  My husband and I often go on Sunday morning.  I had my regular 3 carrot cake pancakes and *SURPRISE* today my dear husband also had pancakes….3 banana ones.  He said it was in solidarity because he knew I was coming home to write more about rec letters and recruitment.  He calls this blog “my job”…even though I don’t get paid in $$$$ I do kind of,  in your remarks on how helpful this information is :).  Who knows, maybe I just blathering to myself… long as I don’t comment on my own postings I’m ok…right?????

So by now you know whether you are in panic mode, frantically searching for women to write you recs or maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who had a vast amount of “Greek” contacts and it’s just a matter of getting those recruitment packets put together.  If you are attending a laid back, easy-going, non-competitive school where recruitment is not a week of stress and insanity then come back next week (just kidding :)… might find this post interesting and valuable anyway.

I wanted to dissect the recommendation form a little and talk about the importance of the information that is on it and how it comes into play in the whole scheme of recruitment.

First the form itself.  I am going to use a mythical generic form as a reference.  Many sororities ask for similar information.  Remember that you are not filling out this form, the woman you have given your rec packet is and this is why you need to make sure that your resume has all the information needed to successfully fill in all the spaces on the rec form.  Nothing is more frustrating than getting ready to do a rec and discovering you don’t have all the information you need and then trying to get a hold of the PNM.  Been there..done that…not fun!

Most forms ask for your full name (yep middle name too) and many have a spot for a nickname.  So for example if you name is Mary Frances and you go by “Frankie” then put that in the nickname spot.  It helps the sororities to identify you.  If your mom calls you “buttercup” DO NOT put that as a nickname, it’s not relevant!  Don’t laugh!!!  It’s happened!

Each sorority will want to know when you are participating in formal recruitment and at what college or university.  Make sure that the person who is writing your rec knows what specific campus you are planning on going to.  For example The University of Alabama has campuses in Birmingham, Hunstville and Tuscaloosa.  We had a rec form arrive for a young woman and all it said was Washington.   We called the person who wrote the rec and they told us they thought she was going to the University of Washington but as we later discovered it was actually Washington State University). Ooops!!!!

Commonly they ask for complete address, your high school and the nearest metropolitan city and number of miles it is from your geographic location.  Most people who are writing a rec can figure this out but the more info you give us the easier it is.

Next will be academic info, GPA, GPA grade scale so 4.0/4.0 (you can add if the GPA is weighted or unweighted.) class rank (if your school doesn’t do this make sure you provide your percentile so example: top 3% out of 250 students), ACT, SAT, if you have taken any college classes and sometimes they will ask if you have taken any AP’s and if they are included in your GPA.

There will be a section that asks for family information.  Some will ask for more information here than others….depends on the sorority.  At  minimum they will ask for your parents names. If you have step parents they should be listed here as well.  It is here where they might also ask about legacy status and most rec forms will ask for chapter and year of initiation and relationship.  Remember what is a “legacy” to one sorority might not be to another.  For example my sorority considers a legacy a Mother, Grandmother, Sister, Stepmother and Stepsister. In some instances they might ask for other relatives who are initiated members of this sorority but do not fall under legacy status. They also will ask for  other relatives that might have Greek affiliations and again their chapter and year initiated.  I can’t tell you the number of girls who put on their resume Aunt Susan Delta Delta Delta and that’s it.  So I then have 2 choices, to either list it that way a make myself look silly or to just not put it on the rec form (or to call the young woman and ask…grrrr!)

Sororities will ask the woman writing the rec to make a statement as to how she knows you.  Choices are personally,  acquaintance through the family (for example she works with your mom, goes to church with your grandma) or referred by a reliable source.  There will be a space where this person will have to verify that they are an initiated member in good standing stating their chapter, date of initiation and their personal information.

Finally there will be questions about your character/personality, if the you are poised and compatible in a group, what your interests and talents are, your leadership skills and activities, and any honors or awards.  They will want to know some topics of interest that you might want to talk about during recruitment and what type of person should you be matched with (outgoing, reserved, relaxed).

Lastly the sorority will want to know if the woman writing the rec will endorse this PNM (you) and to what degree.  Are you well qualified , highly qualified, or an outstanding PNM.   In addition to checking a box there is often a space provided to further elaborate if necessary.

Some but not all sororities will also ask about financial responsibility and if the PNM understands this…are you able to pay?

Now either you are sitting there going, “Yep…got all that on my resume! I’m good” or “Oh my gosh I need to rework my resume” or “Why did she just tell us all of that?  I had all that on my resume I don’t understand why she wants me to hear it again”.  Ok… now I am going to tell you why.

BECAUSE…. if you are going through recruitment at a campus that is competitive (see yesterdays list) this is the first step to making a good impression to the sororities on campus.  The recruitment chair will be receiving thousands of these starting early  Spring.  Truth is she might open them up and put them into the filing system she has but chances are she’s not going to pour over each and every one looking for the “perfect” PNM.  Once school has ended and she begins to get organized she will take these recs and divide them into groups that will then be given to the members of the sorority to look over and evaluate.  Each house does it differently, some do it alphabetically, some do it by regions of the US, some do it by major…just depends.  Let’s just pretend that a mythical sorority is dividing the recs by regions of the US.  So, the recruitment chair takes all the recs from the Pacific Northwest (that might be Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, get my drift) and she gives them to a group of girls who are from the Pacific Northwest (same states).  Those girls then look over every single rec.  They read every  one and they look at the pics and the resumes attached.  They form a composite of this PNM.   They also give this girl some sort of score.

You see back in the Spring this chapter sat down and decided what “type” of PNM they would be looking for in this falls recruitment.  Maybe they want someone who will be active in student government, or a dancer, or someone who is sports minded and would be helpful in intramurals.  Just like colleges and universities look to make themselves well-rounded by accepting different “types” of students, sororities also want to have a variety of members.  Yes there are those houses that have only blond-haired beauty queens (so that’s what they are looking for) but I think todays sororities do not have such narrow views.

Ok..back to the score.  So the girls give the rec a score.  Let’s say they are using hearts.  The maximum number of hearts a PNM can get is 10.  That heart score becomes her base score for the first round of parties.  If you don’t have a rec you already start behind…do you see???   I know now you are saying..”Ohhhh  I get it”.  The point is even if you don’t have a very strong rec….some rec is better than no rec at all.

Now don’t panic.  As the week goes on your rec becomes less and less important and YOU and your conversations skills and winning personality become more and more important.  But at first it’s a big deal!

Also that rec helps to determine who will pick you up at the door that first party.  The sorority is going to try to pair you with a girl (or several) who have something in common with you.  How do they know this????  They looked at your rec and saw that you were a nursing major and so they had Nancy nursing major pick you up at the door.  It’s an instant conversation starter (we will talk more about that later).  It really helps your confidence when you can talk comfortably and confidently in what is a somewhat stressful situation.  Again….even a rec that is missing info or that comes incomplete but has a resume attached is better than no rec at all.

So that’s today’s “rant on recs”…was it a rant?  I hope not ;).  It’s just that so many young women just don’t understand the relevance and importance of that one sheet of paper.   Rec info part two done…..only one more part to go.  Get ready tomorrow we are going to talk about where you find these women to write recs and what to do ***GASP**** if you don’t know a single person who will write one for you.!!!!  Don’t worry help is just a “Google” away :)…am off to watch football and eat my left over pancakes :).