AS many of you who read this blog know, I help a lot of girls who go through recruitment. Most of these lovely ladies are from out of state but some are as close to their college as a neighboring state and a few (ok a very few) are from the state that their college is situated in. Each year I get a smattering of girls who are going through the process as sophomores. The first question they always ask is “Do I stand a chance of receiving a bid?” I always tell them to try, because they will never know, but the truth is it’s much harder as an upper classman…let me explain why.
You need to remember not only is a sorority a social and philanthropic organization but it is also a business. You pay dues for a reason. Obviously they want girls who will “pay” for 4 years! If you take a girl who is a sophomore you lose a year of income.
When a sorority bids a girl they are hoping she becomes involved on campus, representing them in a positive light. Remember that if they pledge a sophomore they lose a year of that but they also are taking a girl who may have already become involved in clubs and activities. The question they ask themselves is, ” how do the organizations this PNM is involved in represent our sisterhood?”. It could be possible that they decide that these clubs do not mesh with their particular sorority and the PNM will be cut.
If the sophomore is not a transfer student then there is also a possibility that she may be “known” to the sorority women on campus. By this I mean she may have friends in acquaintances in the different houses. Unfortunately, it also means that an “opinion” may have been formed about this young woman. I hate to bring this up but it is true. She is no longer an unknown PNM on a rec sheet but they have seen her on campus and how she interacts with others. If her “reputation” is not clean (by this I mean they have seem her lying drunk at a band party or she has stolen a sorority girls boyfriend) then this will also hurt her chances of a bid.
So that’s the basic lay of the land for sophomores rushing..let’s talk about the different types of sophomores rushing.
There are a lot of different scenarios when it comes to sophomore recruitment.
First of all you have the girl who just didn’t go through as a freshman at that particular campus. Whether it’s she didn’t think she wanted to be Greek, she didn’t know anything about sororities or perhaps she had a negative view of Greek life, once she got involved in college life she became interested in sorority life and decided to go through recruitment. What I tell them is if you are at a super competitive recruitment school you need to do everything that an incoming freshman would do. Yup…recs and letters of introduction for each house (I always say 2…just to be safe). Your GPA needs to be good. I always tell the girls a 3.0 but truth is some chapters will take a little below that. Hopefully they have made connections with some sorority women on campus but I always warn them that just because they are “friends”, this does not guarantee a bid. It’s up to you to shine. At most competitive recruitment schools in addition to regular quota they will also have an “upper classmen” quota. This can be a benefit for sophomores going through recruitment in this scenario. Fingers crossed and good luck…if your reputation is squeaky clean, your GPA is great, you are involved in some great clubs and activities on campus, you are friendly, out going, you have all your recs and letters AND you are keeping an open mind and maximizing your options…hopefully this will have a positive outcome!
Secondly, you have the sophomore who went through recruitment at her campus but either quit, dropped out, did not accept a bid or depledged. Truth is that most of the sororities on campus will recognize you from the year before. If part of the problem was that you were just so nervous, conversation was hard and you didn’t represent the “best you” then you need to make sure that this is not going to be the same situation this year. For some young women this is the case and after a year on campus they feel more confident and secure. I helped a young woman this past fall who had dropped out of recruitment the year before, went through the following year and received a bid. It can and does happen. All of the above about grades ect applies. You most likely will have to answer the question of “why” and how you respond will be important. Be truthful and honest in your answer, if you don’t it will come back to haunt you. Remember you too will have to have all of the recs, letters ect that a freshman going through will need..just because you have done it one time before doesn’t count. You will need to start all over getting your recs and submitting them to each sorority. HINT: if the previous year you did not get recs for each house and you were released this could have been part of your problem…GET RECS!!!!!! Also as you go through a second time keep an open mind. Houses you may have previously written off have a whole group of girls (last years pledge class). Where you might not have meshed with girls you spoke with before, you might find a connection this year.
The next sophomore scenario is the girl who transfers in. Again, she will need to do everything that a freshman young woman is doing to prepared for recruitment. So recs, letters, head shots ect. If you are transferring from out of state and your school has a Preview Weekend of some sort I would encourage you to go, see and learn. For most transfers this is an eye opening experience and good idea of what recruitment will be like. Chances are the school you came from does not have the same type of recruitment as the school you are transferring to. All of the above advice is true, maximize your options, keep an open mind. share what you were involved in at the college you previously attended and what you are interested in becoming involved in at this particular campus. Make sure your GPA is with in the accepted range. Sorority life is demanding and as a sophomore your GPA will be scrutinized a little more than a freshman coming in out of high school. With the incoming freshman girls many sororities look for rigorous schedules (lots of extra curricular activities and AP or College credit classes) but for a sophomore you have “lived” the college life and so they will be looking to see if you can maintain going to class, studying, getting good grades, being involved on campus and being an active part of the sorority itself.
Finally there is the sophomore who is transferring in but had gone through recruitment at her previous school and did not receive a bid, dropped out or depledged. Again…be ready for the question “why?” Are you transferring just to go through recruitment? All of the above preparations apply. Remember if you have chapters on your new campus that were on your old campus the stereotypes and reputations will not be the same. If you are going in to pledge a chapter that you “LOVED” at your previous school then you need to rethink recruitment.
A little about the girls who are going through who either received a bid and either did not accept it or accepted the bid and then depledged before initiation. You are most likely the most challenged in recruitment as sophomore. Greeks are a tight knit community. Chances are they know of your “situation” (this will less true for a transfer student but can be a factor). I am not saying it’s impossible but it will be challenging and on some campuses where recruitment is EXTREMELY competitive it will be very difficult. Honesty is your best policy. Go in with an open mind and heart and be prepared that perhaps the outcome will not be what you desire.
I would also warn you about “Talking” (and it may be too late) about the sororities on campus. I did a whole post on social media and the truth is you don’t know who’s reading your twitter account or face book page, listening in your class, in the student center, the rec center, or in line at a fast food restaurant. Be careful..choose your words wisely.
Don’t be discouraged about going through recruitment as a sophomore but do be aware of the challenges involved. Many women on college campuses across the US and Canada do it every year and are successful. Good Luck!!!!