Last night I had dinner with the young woman who was my daughter’s Rho Chi when she went through recruitment. She’s an amazing young woman who has been selected to participate in the “Teach America” program and will be based in our area. I am so excited because I will have an “adopted” child to love on and hang out with! We spent a big portion of the evening talking about how competitive recruitment has become, especially at the SEC schools. However, the SEC schools aren’t alone in their competitive nature..the Texas schools are very competitive and the California, Midwest and bigger state schools where Greek life is becoming more popular are all suggesting (remember that’s code word for “must have”) recommendations.
So I am standing here…beating my chest and telling all of you who are reading this (ESPECIALLY the OUT OF STATE GIRLS)…you MUST have at least ONE (preferably TWO) recommendations for each house on campus. I think that I need to clarify …each house participating in FORMAL recruitment. If you have sororities on campus that do not participate in formal recruitment and you are planning to go through the recruitment process with them, then I would say get a rec but honestly they are not going to be as competitive as the houses that are participating in formal recruitment.
IF you have scoured the earth for friends, neighbors, friends of friends, parents co-workers, teachers (you get the picture) and you STILL are missing recommendations then you need to turn to Google. I am here to tell you that this is a time consuming process, recommendations just don’t fall into your lay (ok so some do but generally you have to do some leg work to secure all that you need). So you get on Google and you type in the sorority, alumnae association and the name of the largest metropolitan city closest to where you live. Most sorority alumnae groups have a website and 99% of the time you will find some sort of email or “contact us” information. If you are able to find the name of the woman who is responsible for collegiate recommendations all the better but if not choose the President. You then need to send a very polite email explaining who you are, what college you are attending and that you are inquiring about the possibility of securing a recommendation. Please let these women know that you are willing to personally meet with them. MOST of the time these alumnae women are more that happy to help and will either write the recommendation themselves or they will put you in contact with a member who will write it for you. Very rarely will they say “no” but it has happened. Often times it is because they feel that they are unable to “endorse” you as a member ..usually this is due solely to the fact that a GPA is below the level their sorority accepts. If am alum seems overly critical of your resume (and you have had it checked by someone who is familiar with what a sorority resume should include) or seems hesitant to write you a recommendation then I would simply say “thank you” and look for another alum. On recommendation forms alumnae members will have to check a box that says whether they will “endorse” you as a member. Even if they write you a recommendation they don not have to “endorse” you. Kind of an oxymoron but a fact and I have seen recs arrive with a non-endorsement .
If you are unsuccessful with the “Google” option then you can resort to stalking alum groups on Facebook, messaging them and hopefully they will be receptive to writing a recommendation. Again the best option is people who know people….secondly you can turn to Goggle, thirdly you can become a Facebook stalker and FINALLY….if you have exhausted all other options and you are DESPERATE you can reach out to the sororities on the campus you will be going through recruitment at and see if they have a contact that will write recs for them…you will be amazed but MOST of them do. This person is usually a local alum. It is always preferable to have a rec from someone who personally “KNOWS” you (or your family) but desperate times call for desperate measures so do what you need to do to get those recs. I am telling you this BECAUSE at a competitive recruitment school with close to 2000 young women going through recruitment this is the first way cuts are made. It’s just a fact of life and I don’t care what any Panhellenic says…..many will tell you that recs are “strongly suggested”…AGAIN code word for REQUIRED and that a sorority can’t cut/won’t cut you because you don’t have a rec…they will and they do….YOU NEED at least 1 rec for each house. You will also hear that the burden of getting a rec for a girl falls on the sorority and that is true if they have a girl they LOVE and they want to bid here (they must have a rec )..they will call an alum and ask her to write a rec for that girl. I have been asked to do this but it does not happen regularly. It is unusual for a young women to make it all the way to Preference at a competitive recruitment school without having arrived with a recommendation.
So NOW you have all of your recommendations, it’s time to put together the BEST, MOST FANTASTIC resume EVER!!!!! This is especially true for those of you who are giving this to someone who doesn’t know you. In most cases you will have met with the woman briefly or chatted on the phone (I won’t write a rec for anyone unless I have spoken to them) but they don’t really “KNOW” you. So ladies on your resume you need to include ALL of the information that this woman needs to complete her recommendation form (go back and read past posts on what to include). It is also important to remember that this woman will be attaching your resume to her recommendation. When it arrives at the chapter on the campus where you will be attending and going through recruitment the recruitment chair and her committee will not only look over and score your recommendation but they will also look at your resume. What are they looking for??? That depends on each individual sorority, but I can tell you that they will specifically look at GPA, Philanthropy, if you are a legacy (remember that this will give you a courtesy invite back to the second round of parties…that’s all that is guaranteed!), your extra curricular activities, awards and honors. Many, many, many girls will have great GPA’s…fantastic EC’s (extra curriculars), lots of volunteer activities…but if you don’t “toot your own horn” about how wonderful you are no one else is going to do it for you. This is especially true for out of state girls who do not have “connections” to the sororities on campus. Make sure your resume is complete, concise, easy to read and grammatically correct!
You also will need to include a NEATLY addressed and STAMPED envelope for the recommendation and resume to be mailed in. Please MAKE SURE you have the CORRECT POSTAGE!!!! Most of you will be using big manila envelopes…they require MORE postage than a regular stamp. WE took ours to the post office and had them weigh it. Usually they are about 90 cents but in my daughters case, her envelope came to $1.10. This is IMPORTANT…you don’t want the recommendation to come postage due (since many of these are sent to PO Boxes they are returned to the sender) and you don’t want the woman who is writing your recommendation to have to add postage (I recently had to do this). When you address the envelope make sure you not only put the sorority name and correct address but you also need to put the name of the recruitment chair or who is going to receive the rec.
Finally…..in your rec packet you need to include 2 pictures. One needs to be a head shot and the other should be a full body shot. NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT…..on the back of each picture put your full name as it appears on your resumes, rec and registration for recruitment, your high school, and the name of your home town. So far this year every single resume I have gotten has not had this on the back of the pics and so I have had to write it in. If your name if Elizabeth and you go by Liz then write Elizabeth (Liz). these pics are usually the wallet, trading size senior pics. I say this because most girls who go through recruitment are incoming freshmen. If you are a sophomore don’t go out and have professional photos done. You should include 2 small 2×3 or 3×5) photos that look as professional as possible. I know it sounds superficial but the sororities don’t know “YOU” and so they unfortunately have to judge you this way until they personally meet you. This is the part I really don’t like but it is a fact. It is just so important to present the very best “YOU” that you can be.
You can also include a “letter of support”, also called a “letter of introduction”. Some campuses will tell you they “don’t do these” but I still think if you are going to a competitive recruitment school it’s an added tool to help chapters get to know your assets better. If an alum takes the time to write a personal note about a girl sometimes a sorority will look at her a little closer….anything you can do to give yourself a leg up at a competitive recruitment school is a bonus in my book.
I know many young women are in the middle or just finishing up this process. Take a minute and look over your packet again….make sure that it presents the best image of you possible!!!!