I received an email yesterday from a young woman who wanted an honest opinion about how much size, weight and clothes come into play for a girl going through recruitment at a super competitive school in the SEC.  I answered her email personally and then struggled whether to address the subject here as well.  I REALLY dislike what I call the “SUPERFICIAL” side of recruitment but felt like there may be a few of you out there who are harboring the same thoughts and questions so here goes.

I *WISH* that when we look at people we first see all the good in them, not the snap shot image, a picture of sorts, of “what they look like”.  Unfortunately in today’s world that snap shot image is EXACTLY what we are trained to see.  We are a visual society..eye candy everywhere, so of course the visually judgmental world is also alive and well and living in recruitment land.

My husband is leaning over my shoulder saying..”Come on, just answer the question, “Does a plus size girl have a chance to get a bid at a super competitive recruitment school?”  I think that the answer is yes….maybe :/.

I think the first thing that is so important, is to make sure that you have all of the “paper work” items in place.  If your school says 2 recommendations and 2 letters of support for every house, then I would make sure I HAD just that!  In addition I would make sure that my resume was top notch (remember I told you that’s the first impression that a sorority gets of you).  If the “you” they see on paper is **spectacular** they will be hooked in.  It is more likely they will see the real “YOU” as opposed as to the picture you.  I also would make sure that your pictures that you send in are well done, professional photographs that are complimentary to your image.  Make sure you are in clothing that fits properly and that accentuates your assets and minimizes the things that …well need minimizing.  Make up should not be dramatic and overstated, no skin (you know what I mean right???), I am not sure I would advertise a tattoo and I think that your hair color should be a natural hair color (no pink or green stripes please!).

So I feel like I am dancing around the answer so I will just come out and say it..YES…weight is an important factor in recruitment at super competitive schools.  There will be chapters that cut you simply because you are what they consider to be over weight, point blank, end of discussion.  Is it right? NO!  Does it happen?  All the time.  The question then really becomes would you, personally want to be friends and sisters with girls who judge you on what you look like.  I can’t imagine being part of a group of girls who were obsessed about looks and body image 24/7.

Unfortunately what you “look” like will also come into play for some houses.  As you flip through your  “look book” that panhellenic has sent out you will be able to tell the “look” of some of the sororities on campus.  Yes, there are some sororities that are full of blonde haired girls…it’s just their particular look.  If you have dark brown hair there is a pretty good chance they will cut you…is this fair and right?  NO.  Does it happen?  Yes..all the time.  It just is what it is.  Ugg!!!  this all sounds so negative…I REALLY dislike it!

So let’s look at what you can do positively to present a great “YOU”!

I would just like to say that we cannot control our genetic make up.  We are who we are but you can control how you present yourself.  SO……make sure that you present a super neat, well groomed appearance.  Enhance your great features and downplay you’re not so great ones.  Clothing comes into the mix here. Make sure it fits well.  If you are a size 12 trying to fit into a size 8 it’s just not going to be flattering.  On the flip side if you are a size 12 and you are wearing size 14 clothes that are too big, this too won’t be flattering.  Wear clothes that fit well and accentuate your positive body features while minimizing those “trouble” spots (which I might add we ALL have).

Again…”Some” sororities on “some” campuses will make judgements on girls based on labels.  I know…it’s bad but it does happen.  They will want a certain “look” and it will include certain types of clothing as well as jewelry, shoes and accessories.  I hit on this a little when I blogged about 10 things a sorority girl needed to have.  Yeah…well…that was label surfing (as we call it at my house).  When our youngest got ready to go through recruitment at a super competitive school she noticed the sorority girls all wearing a certain type of bracelet.  She had never seen it before but his child is good at picking up “looks” and “trends”.  As soon as we hit the car she started talking about these bracelets.  We made a call to her big sister in NYC.  With in minutes she informed us the bracelets were by David Yurman and they came with a hefty price tag of $500 or more.  My daughter of course wanted them.  I was not thrilled about forking over thousands of dollars, especially since we had just seen glimpses of what was going to be a “hefty” sorority bill for joining at Alabama.  So…we did the next best thing.  We sent her big sis up to Canal Street in NYC and secured 3 “fake” Yurmans.

Now I will tell you I was advised “Not to do this” by some women.  They told me that certain sororities would be able to “tell” and it would get my daughter dropped.  We decided to give it a try and I have to tell you I think it was quite successful.  The copies my oldest daughter secured looked real and in fact many of the girls who were going through recruitment wanted to borrow them.  Am I proud that I succumbed to the label image frenzy..no..but it served it’s purpose.  I know you are all wondering if she has the real deal now??? the answer is “YES”…several actually and a ring and earrings.

I wish I could say that your geographic location didn’t come into play but in some cases it does.  some sororities will bid girls from certain, cities, towns, high schools and states. In addition I would be not telling the facts if I omitted that again..”Some sororities” (oh and I can’t give you specific names because it will vary from campus to campus) will also look at what your parents do for a living..for some social status is important.  Sad fact but true.

So what can you do to give yourself the ****BEST**** shot at a bid, especially at a super competitive recruitment campus?  My suggestion is just to work very hard on being the very best “YOU” that you can be.  You don’t have to have designer clothes and jewelry (especially if you can’t afford them).  If you portray a fake you (like my bracelets), end up in a house where you have no connections with any of the sisters then there is a pretty good chance that you will not be happy and statistics show those girls often deactivate.

Recruitment is an emotional roller coaster, that is just a fact.  It’s at time superficial and unfair but I have to tell you the majority of the time it really does work out.  Go in with an open mind, a good attitude and ready to shine.