Many OOS (Out of State) girls reach out to me for help and advice about going through recruitment in the South .  I feel so bad because they really are at a disadvantage in so many ways.  First of all, many of them don’t know a lot of women who have sorority affiliations.  The women who are alumnae often times are from sororities that don’t have chapters on southern campuses.  Getting a recommendation can be a challenge but 2 can be almost impossible.

Secondly I am pretty sure that none of their high schools have sororities.  As I mentioned yesterday many southern high schools have sororities that are feeders to the sororities on campus.  I have also noticed that there doesn’t seem to be any larger service organizations where mothers and daughters volunteer (kind of like a Junior League geared to only philanthropy).

Since what I consider to be OOS means “northerners” (sorry..don’t mean to offend but it’s just my opinion that the border states around the big southern universities send girls that understand the southern culture and just seem to be more prepared)…there are not a lot of high school connections and so many of the girls don’t get invited to the pre-recruitment teas, bbq’s and other events.  Many girls do make the trip for Preview itself however.  I really believe IF you are planning on going through recruitment at a highly competitive “southern” school and they have a Preview event that you should move heaven and hell to attend.  It will help you begin to understand what you are getting into and introduce you to southern culture.

Which brings me to the third disadvantage…just not understanding the way things “work” in the south.  There is a definite social protocol that exists.  I have a friend who suggests her OOS girls read the book “A Southern Belle Primer or why PAris Hilton will never be a Kappa Kappa Gamma” by Marilyn Schwartz.  It’s a bit “over the top” but does a great job explaining the southern attitude and way of life.  Seriously…get on and get it.  It’s a small book, a short read and is good for some giggles along the way.

So now that you are panicking…don’t!  I am here to tell you that are several things you can do to “level the playing field” so to speak,

First of all you need to go into the process with an OPEN MIND.  If you don’t you are setting yourself up for disappointment and a miserable experience.  Undoubtedly there will one or two chapters that will be predominately “southern”.  These are not “unattainable” but realistically they will be a stretch.  I’m not telling you just give up on these houses but falling in love with them and only writing their names down might set you up for a big disappointment.

LEGACY STATUS from the “north” is different that legacy status from the south.  Back in the day if you were a legacy it was a 99% guaranteed bid…not so today.  Being a legacy (mother or sister were initiated members of this sorority..some times grandmothers), will get you through the first round of parties and invited back to day 2 parties….that’s it.  If you are a sister sister (your sister was a member of a sorority on the campus you are rushing at) then you might be given greater consideration but even that doesn’t guarantee bid.  I know several sister sisters who were let go from the house their sister had been a member of.  What I’m telling you is that if you are a legacy make sure and have your mom or sister fill out the legacy form and get it to the chapter ASAP!!!  You need to be on THEIR radar.  It is also helpful to have your legacy person get in contact with several alumnae who are tied to that particular chapter on campus.  If you are able to meet with these ladies while visiting campus that would be best but even just touching base with them is great.  After reaching out to them it would be even more helpful, if they are willing, to have them reach out to the chapter endorsing you as a potential new member.  They can do this by a phone call but a letter of support would be even better.

RESUME RESUME RESUME!!!  I have preached and preached about the importance of a RESUME.  If you are OOS make sure that your resume is a sorority resume, having the correct information and look.  In addition make sure it is complete and that it has every club, honor, award, philanthropy listed.  Every single girl who comes from the south will have a killer resume.  some of these young women have been preparing for recruitment since they were kidding.  They have tons of extra-curriculars, philanthropy projects and many of their resumes look like a who’s who of social status.  But with a little planning you can have lots of EC’s and philanthropy listings.

STATIONARY…make sure that when you print your resume it’s on high-end resume paper.  In addition in your rec packet you will need to include a thank you to the woman writing the rec.  The thank you card should match the resume paper.  Many young women have thank you notes that have their initials or name embossed on the front.  Some even go as far as to have their return address printed on the envelope.  It’s the little things that make a great impression.

CONVERSATION…..many southern girls are groomed in the social graces of how to carry themselves as well a good conversation skills.  As silly as it may sound practice talking…..having a complete conversation.  There are a few publications (SureSister Rush Right) that come complete with dvds and suggestions as to how to have meaningful conversations.  If you are shy or uncomfortable in these types of social setting then practice!  Enlist friends, family even the dog……talk talk talk!

CLOTHES and ACCESSORIES…….you don’t have to take out a loan to go buy clothes and jewelry for recruitment but looking “put together” is important.  I always tell girls to wear something that the different sororities will remember you by.  Whether it’s a great heirloom ring or a cute pair of shoes…wear something that will set you apart from the rest.  Make sure your clothes a pressed.  Recruitment in the south is HOT..if you start the day out a hot bothered mess imagine what you will look like at the end of an 8 party day!  If you are able to borrow jewelry then great…most girls will have a string of pearls as well as earrings to match.  You will see a lot of Tiffanys and David Yurman.  Purses and handbags are not important can’t take them into the houses and leaving them on the lawn just invites a problem.

MAKEUP….if you are not a makeup girl that’s ok..but you might want to take a trip to the Clinique counter or Sephora or Bare Escentuals to have your makeup done.  If you explain to the clinician that you are going to recruitment they will show a “natural” look.  It has come to my attention that one way to preserve your makeup when it stiffing hot out is to spray a fine mist of hair spray over your face when it’s will hold your makeup in place.

PICTURES…make SURE that the pics you send in with your recs look like the YOU that is showing up at recruitment.  We ask for those pictures so we can pick you up at the door…..if you don’t look like you ..well then that’s a problem.  the week before recruitment is NOT the time to try a next hair color or cut your hair.

CONFIDENCE….Arrive with an air of confidence.  Fell good about the “you” that you are portraying.  Smile!!!! Make sure you have had a mani and pedi….be the very best YOU that you can be.

Be GENUINE…be yourself…you will find your letters.. Remember that recruitment is a mutual selection process.  Maximize your options….don’t listen to tent talk,  Get those RECS in…2 per house.  Letters of support are invaluable.  I know one VERY competitive recruitment school says not to send them…they will throw them away.  Instead of having them sent separately, have you rec write attach one to her rec.  Make an attempt to connect with alumnae who have direct affiliations with the chapters on campus.  Be willing to make a road trip down to have tea.  If you need help reach out to people like myself or others who know and understand the process.  We are there to help you!!!  Listen to what we have to say, take our advice…we’ve helped many girls!

So if you do all of the above I am confident, despite the fact you are from OOS, that you will have a successful recruitment.  It’s exciting!