Recommendations…many of you are done with this process…..whew!!!  If you aren’t you should be soon, especially those of you who are going through recruitment in less than a month!  For those of you who are sitting back stifling that yawn and telling yourself that perhaps I’m a little over the top, control freak about getting things done and in..guess what my daughter did last night?  Yep….she read recommendations and resumes of incoming PNM’s.  The recruitment for her campus starts in about a month and when she and the recruitment chair for her sorority picked up the mail on Friday they had over 400 recs!!!  At a large Super competitive recruitment campus recommendations have been arriving since Spring.  They are being scored and catalogued even as we speak.

So ladies we have hit the power hour of recs..if you haven’t secured them for all of the house you need then you need to get going….yesterday.  I have blogged before about what makes a good rec, where to find them, who can write them and why they are important but I have had so many questions (and so many girls ask for them just in the past 3 days..oh and many of those girls didn’t have a resume!) that I thought I’d do a refresher course.

First of all who needs recs?  I honestly would say everyone.  No kidding!  On campuses that are super competitive they are a necessity. Why? Let me explain.  At a competitive recruitment school a rec can mean the difference between being invited back to the next round of parties or not.  If a PNM is questionable most sororities will refer to the rec..hmmm no rec…probably no invite. At a non-competitive school a rec is a way to really let sororities know you are serious about the process.  simply put if you don’t toot your own horn no one else will.  A rec arriving at non-competitive campus recruitment sororities will definitely have an impact of “wow” this girl must be something really special.

In addition it brings the PNM into the sororities sight.  They at least have seen who she is and where she is from.  I have sat in a room where girls are going through recs only to have an active “discover” a girl from her hometown or even high school. It’s amazing how all of a sudden a new interest occurs in that particular PNM.  A rec can be an antennas up for a sorority if a girl is one of those “All Star PNM’s”. When a PNM like this comes onto a sororities radar they are going to make sure they have their best rusher pick her up. They will make sure she is with their best bump group.  In this case the rec can actually switch the power in recruitment from the sorority to the PNM.

A rec can mean the difference from being invited back to only bottom tier houses as opposed to top or even middle tier houses.  Since it is a tool used after GPA during the first round of parties to cut girls you can see how not having one for particular houses on campus can be devastating to a PNM’s recruitment future. Ladies..if you make a choice to not get a rec for some houses then you are most likely making a choice to be dropped by that house…plain and simple.

I am going to jump ship here for a minute to touch on the subject of choosing not to get recs for some houses. I get it…it’s often hard to find recs for every house on campus, especially if there are 17 houses and you are a first generation Greek, come from an area where girls don’t tend to go Greek, live rurally where there are not a lot of Greek Alumnae or just don’t have the resources and the process is foreign to you.  I have had so many (literally hundreds) reach out to me through this blog for help with the recommendation process because they simply just do not know how to even begin.  I applaud these young women for seeking help. They have at least made an effort to become educated in the process and to take a stab at what can be an overwhelming task to those who are not familiar with the process or don’t have the resources readily available.

I get emails every day from girls who can’t find recs for certain houses.  They have gone the people they know route, the friend of friend route, the google alumnae chapters route, local panhellenic route and they don’t know what to do next.  Many will say to me, “well I don’t really like that house anyway so I’m just not going to get a rec for it.” No!!!! No !!! No!!!  Have you met the girls at that house?  What are you basing your opinion on?  tent talk…5 minutes at Preview Weekend. Ladies, ladies, ladies… is most definitely in your best interest to obtain a rec for every single house on campus…even the ones you “think” you don’t like, have nothing in common with or are sure that they are going to cut you anyway.  don’t assume anything…strange things have happened.  Bottom line..get a rec for every house!

When you have exhausted all avenues of rec then it’s time to call the National Offices.  They should have lists of women who will write a rec for girls who could not secure one.  I will warn you that these ladies are tough sometimes.  They are apprehensive about calls for recs and they should be.  Some young women don’t want to search for recs..granted it can be an exhausting task.  You need to make sure that these ladies know you have done anything and everything in y our power to find recs..they will help..I promise! Usually they will ask you to send your resume and pics and they forward them onto a woman who will write you a rec.  I think the toughest part of going the National Organization route is that many times you won’t receive confirmation that someone has actually written and sent a rec. you just have to trust the process.

Yesterday I had a young woman tell me that she got a bid to a house, on what I would consider to be a pretty competitive campus, that she did not secure a bid for.  She questioned the system.  In many cases home town Panhellenics will go through the lists of girls who are going through recruitment from their area and have alums write recs for these young women without them knowing it.  This process doesn’t happen everywhere but it does happen.  does it mean you should work on securing recs…no…you still need to work as hard as you can to get them.

I was also asked yesterday (FYI…I had A LOT of email yesterday!) about which carried more weight..recs from people you know, recs from women at the national level or is just having a rec all you need.  If the woman who is wrting your rec knows you personally she will write a more personal rec.  She is able to speak about your strengths knowledgeably.  When actives read these types of recs they make an impression because the emotional tone comes out. If you have connections at the national level use them cautiously.  You don’t want the sorority to feel “pressured” by any means.  I remember during recruitment one year we had a girl go through whose mother held a position high up in the A Phi national organization.  Nationals called and made it know that this girl was to receive “top priority” status.  Let’s just say it was pretty obvious that when she came through our doors she wasn’t a match.  Oh the agony!!!  As officers we sat and panicked over who was going to call the mom and tell her that we felt we had to cut her daughter.  Ultimately none of us could do it and so we put her on our invite list.  Lucky for us she didn’t like us and cut us that night…whew!!!! Crisis averted! Pressure from one likes it so be careful how you play that card.

Sorry ..little diversion :).  So a rec from someone you know…a good thing but ultimately recs only get you on the radar and really have any power at all just through the first round or two of parties.  you need them and so get them anyway you can.

Know that after round 1 GPA grade cuts and no rec cuts and then round 2 ..legacy cuts, the playing field goes to the PNM, how she presents herself and the connections she makes.  Recs really don’t hold any power at that point but ladies you NEED them to get to that point.  So it’s the power hour…many recruitments start in a little over a month. Many of the “big ” ones start the Week of August 12th…if you are missing recs there’s still time.  Make it a priority :).