I have the gift of gab….meaning I can and will talk to anyone about anything :).  This wonderful attribute drives my children crazy.  I had no trouble going to recruitment parties.  I just chit chatted away at each house I visited.  My girls are a little more reserved and so there was some anxiousness when it came to “Talking” at each sorority house they visited.  So…we practiced!  At first they were mortified at the idea…really…practice???  I quickly explained that it would be fun, we could just pretend, I’d make treats and it wold help them feel a little more comfortable with the process.  So you can picture this right????   I sing and clap my sorority song at the door while my daughter is standing on the front step with this mortified look on her face,  looking from side to side hoping that no one we knows come strolling by. As I finish clapping and shout “come on in !!” my daughter bolts through the door almost knocking me off my feet in the process.   Well…we had to stop and have a little chat about that one…no knocking the door girls on their behinds…that most likely is an automatic “no invite back”.

Assuring me that she wouldn’t do that at recruitment I eagerly led her into our living room, sitting her on the couch and with my jaunty little smile I began to engage her in conversation.  After about 10 minutes of back and forth (she’ll never admit it but I think she was having fun), I leaned back and said, “so that wasn’t so bad..you get it right?”.  She looked at me with these be puppy dog eyes and said, “but you didn’t offer me any treats”.  We both burst out laughing so hard that tears came.  when my husband walked through the we were still laughing, dabbing our eyes, and recounting the conversation again.

So if my daughter were here instead of actually being at a recruitment tea (yep….she’s there right now even as I type this..talking to some poor, nervous, PNM) I would have her give you the conversation low down….guess it will have to be me!

After you are picked up at the door and led into the house you will notice that the noise level is quite high.  You will need to focus and use your strong voice.  The normal first questions will be “Where are you from?  Why did you choose this college?  What’s your major?”.  It’s easy to act enthusiastic the first couple houses but by the time you get to the last few houses of the day and you have answered those questions what seems like a bazillion times your perky personality might be petering out!  Even those questions are old to you…remember they are new to each person you meet.  So put on the smile and happily answer each one.

On the first day of parties the questions will be impersonal…. in addition to the questions above you should be able to answer the following questions.

What classes are you taking?  What’s your major?  What did yo do this summer?  Did you go on any vacations?  If so, where? Did you have a summer job?  what do you like to do in your spare time?  Why did you go through recruitment?  Why are you interested in joining a sorority?  what dorm are you living in?  Has any one in your family been in a sorority or fraternity (be careful of this one….it can be a loaded question)?  What were you involved in high school?  Did you play any sports?

It’s okay for you to say things like”  I  really like this sorority or I’m having a great time.  It’s okay to tell them if you are shy or nervous….chances are if this is their first time on the “other side” they also might be feeling a bit nervous.  Remember they want you to like them as much as you want them to like you!  You are their guest and they certainly don’t want you walking out the door telling other girls what a horrible time you had at their party.

Conversation is a two way street so you should be prepared to ask some questions as well.  Some good ones are…”What does a typical week look like as far as meeting and obligations go?  What are you involved in on campus?  What’s your favorite part about being Greek?  What happens during Homecoming, Greek Week?  Is there a game day meal?  What types of social events do you have?  what was your favorite?  How many study hall hours will I have?  How do you balance school and sorority life?  Do you live in?

You do not have to memorize everything about each sorority.  They don’t expect you to know their mascot, badge symbols, colors, motto, important women who were members..you get my drift.  You can ask those questions if you are interested…and respond appropriately.   Money is a touchy subject.  You can ask about dues but chances are the girl your speaking with is not going to have the breakdown on each item billed.  you might chat about zaps and t-shirts…but I would not ask for specific dollar amounts or how much things “cost”.

There are some definite “no nos” or “do not ask” topics!  First of all don’t ask if the girl knows so-and-so in their sorority.   If you want to bring up that you know someone who is a sister that is perfectly fine but the conversation should center around you.  Do not talk about partying, boys, drinking…fraternity parties…you get the idea.

Avoid yes and no questions..there is the potential to stall the conversation and this makes for awkward moments.

Do not ask about any information that would have to do with membership selection ( So how do you rank girls?), rituals, ceremonies, initiation.  These topics are for initiated members only.

If you have grade issues don’t jump into the big sob story about how you are a victim of a vengeful teacher, bad group, health issues, personal problems…boo hoo hoo!  Chances are the girl you are talking to doesn’t know your exact GPA.  You need to keep it positive at all times!

If you are a legacy of the house you are visiting don’t tell them that you will automatically get a bid and also if you are a legacy of another house on campus you need to add the sentence..”oh my sister was a member of XYZ but I am keeping an open mind and am enjoying getting to know each of the different sororities on camps”.

Never bring up religion, politics, controversial issues or negativity of any kind!

You will be surprised about some of the conversations you have.  The girls you talk to are looking for some sort of connection with you.  My daughter said she talked about our pets, traveling to Europe, her shoes (they were very cute on skit day and very unusual!) her family,  where to get a manicure….she said most conversations she enjoyed very much!

What happens if you do not have a connection with someone you are paired to talk with?  Chances are that if you are having a disconnect then the girl is as well.  She maybe trying to get a floater over so as to give you a chance to chat with another sister and perhaps make a connection.   Sometimes no matter how hard you try it just doesn’t work.  That’s okay!  You can’t get a bid to all of the houses on campus and there has to be some sort of elimination system.  I know it can be sad when the disconnect is with the house, that before this party, you saw yourself wearing their letters.  Just because you had a terrible conversation does not mean that you will not receive an invite back.   The girls/girls you had conversations with might have been having a bad day..hey it happens.  Just as you get tired so do they.

As the week of recruitment progresses the conversations will get more personal and in depth.  Chances are you might get to chat with girls you have already had “surface” conversations with  earlier in the week.   By the time you get to preference the conversation will turn to how they see you as a member of their house.  Most likely they will also ask you if you see yourself as a member?  I remember my one daughter telling me about a particular house that gave her a mirror to hold telling her “picture yourself as a XZY”.   She said she wasn’t feeling it and had to repress laughing….needless to say she did put that house first on her Pref card.  What I am saying is that you need to be prepared to be honest yet tactful.  There will be a lot of emotions flowing on Pref Day.  Remember…..the sororities are not supposed to ask you what parties you have attended and it really isn’t a great idea to share that information with them.  You can imagine what they might think if you gush..”oh I was just at ZDE and they had the most wonderful candle light ceremony and I cried”.  You can bet that when it comes to a discussion later that evening they are going to be questioning if you put ZDE first….don’t cut your own throat.  I actually know a little girl who shared just a little too much and even though she attended three pref parties she did not get a bid because each house thought they would be last on her list.

Now don’t panic..it will be fine! I promise that 99% of your conversations flow smoothly and you will be a pro by the time you get to the second house.  If you don’t want to play recruitment with your mom..then get the cat or the dog.  “So when you get a snack do you prefer Milk Bone or Meaty Bites”??????