Ahhh….it’s the world of politically correct sorority language.  We all use it, or misuse it actually.  I was explaining the sorority selection process to a mother and her daughter the other day and I used the language “cutting houses”.  The daughter and her mother seemed confused because I then went onto explain about listing the houses and used the word “voting” and I am pretty sure by the end of our conversation that neither of them actually understood what I was trying to tell them.

I called them back up and re-gave them the explanation below and I think I did a much better job and they actually understood what takes place.  I then got to thinking about the language we use as sorority alumnae and current active women. It’s language that to us makes perfect sense but to those unfamiliar with sorority life and recruitment might come across as confusing.

So today’s lesson ladies is on the term “cutting houses” as used during sorority recruitment.

Here’s what you need to know.  NEVER during sorority recruitment do you, the PNM, EVER “cut” a house .  There is an exception after Preference and i will explain that in a bit.

The language “cut a house” refers to getting rid of a sorority, eliminating it from your list forever, making sure you never, ever grace it’s door way again.  Here’s what happens.

Let’s say you are going through recruitment on a campus that has 15 sorority houses.  The first round of parties will take place over two days (there is NO WAY you could visit 15 houses in 1 day!!).  At the end of Day 2 you will go to a designated place and “VOTE” or “RANK” the predetermined number of houses as stated by Panhellenic. Let’s say the number is 11. Since Panhellenic has said the maximum amount of houses you can return to is 11 you first need to decide which houses make up your top 11 and which 4 houses you do not see as a fit for you (more about the bottom 4 in a minute).

Next, you rank the 11 houses you like the best and would want to be invited back to. In the number 1 spot you put the house you LOVE LOVE LOVE the most and so on numerically down to number 11 being the house you would least like to be invited back to.

Now…what to do about the 4 houses you do not see yourself returning to at all.  There will be a spot on paper or card or computer that you are working on that will allow you to list those houses as well (sometimes referred to “the bottom” houses although i prefer to call them alternates).  In this scenario there will be four slots.  The PNM would write one house’s name in each slot, #1 being the house you dislike (by this I mean not seeing yourself as a fit) the “least” to #4 being the house that you dislike the most. Some call this “cutting houses” but in reality you are not actually not listing houses but rather just ranking your bottom 4 as alternates to your top 11.

Why do you do this you ask?  Let me explain example.

Let’s say I listed my top 11 houses this way.

1. Alpha Phi

2. Chi Omega

3. ADPi

4. Tri Delt

5. AOPi

6. Alpha Gam

7. KD

8. Zeta

9. Kappa

10. Pi Phi

11. Theta

My bottom 4 (I like to call these alternates) are:

1. DZ

2.Alpha Chi

3. Phi Mu

4. Gamma Phi

So that’s the PNM’s list.

At the same time you are ranking and voting on the sororities the sororities are doing the same thing. They are taking all of the PNM’s who have gone to their round 1 parties and are listing them on three lists.  The #1 list contains the PNM’s they “LOVE” and want to return, the #2 list is girls who they still “LOVE” but are not “in love with (think major Rush Crushes), and then the #3 list of girls.  There will also be girls who the sororities have determined that they do not wish to invite back (thus the term “cutting” girls).

Okay..one quick diversion.  Some PNM’s get it into their head that they will only accept bids from “CERTAIN” houses.  Usually it’s a preconceived idea that they come in with.  These young women will not list or in some cases omit certain houses from their lists, leaving blank spots and not completing the entire list.  This IS NOT ADVISED!!!!! At some colleges you can actually be released from recruitment for doing this.  Even if you do not “see” yourself as a member of a particular house list them somewhere.  In cases where PNM’s leave gaps in the list things cannot turn out well and in fact some may find themselves on Bid Day without a bid.  (I should note” when this is done after Preference…where a PNM lists only 1 house even though she has attended more than 1 Preference party, it is called “suiciding” and appropriately so because the PNM only give herself 1 chance to be on the first list of that sorority and gambles that their first list will not be filled before her name can be matched).

The matching then begins.  Remember Panhellenic tells each sorority how many girls they can “invite” back based on RFM (I discussed this in an earlier post on May 25th called ” Recruitment..How do sororities release PNM’s? the big Mystery?”).  So the lists are matched. Obviously the PNM would love invites back to each and every house on her list and the sororities would like to match with every girl on their first list.  Unfortunately  it doesn’t usually go that way.  There are “some” girls who do get all of their first choices…they have what we call “the perfect recruitment” but it is NOT the norm.

My advice is to be prepared to find that your party list will contain some houses that you thought you “cut”, ie: put into that bottom list of “no returns”.  Why do these pop up again?  Simply put if one or more of the houses that is in your top 11 in this case, does not match with that particulars sororities list (you might be on the 2 or three list and their invited back quota is filled or you were not invited back at all) and any of the sororities you have listed as what I like to call “alternates”, does have you on an invite list and they have room then that sorority will move up and fill the empty slot.  Make sense???

Let’s go back to my list:

So I match with APhi, Chi o and ADPi but I am not on the Tri Delt list.  It’s then that the my “alternate houses come into play.  If I am on the DZ invite list then that sorority will move up into my invite to round 3 party list.  So now I have invites back to APhi, Chi O, ADPi and DZ.  Continuing down the list I match with AOPi, Alpha Gam, KD and Pi Phi….but not with Theta’s, Kappa’s, or Zeta’s…again matching goes down to the “alternate” list.  If I match with any of those houses then they will move up on my list of invites and for Round 2 I would attend the maximum amount of parties, which would be 11. What happens if I don’t match with those three houses? Then I would only be invited back to 8 parties instead of 11.

PNM’s often get upset and confused as they look at those party cards for round 2 and see houses that they put in the “alternate” or as they think”cut”position.  They think “I cut that house why has it returned?”, when the truth is you really didn’t “cut” it but rather placed it on an alternate list.

Okay so this is a lot to digest in one sitting.  Let’s leave it at this today and tomorrow we will continue to talk about how this wold play out for the rest of recruitment…fair?  Recruitment round 2, 3 and Preference…how does it turn out???? (sounds like a soap opera commercial LO!!)