So I am finally home and able to sit down and write a post!!! What a crazy, exciting week :). I had a great time at The University of Alabama helping with recruitment. I met some great moms, had a chance to help and met some very interesting and colorful characters. I can’t elaborate on this but lets just say that some people who are in powerful positions shouldn’t be :/.
So now it’s back to keeping you all in the “know” about sorority recruitment and life after “Bid Day”.
Since we’ve last chatted several “Big” campuses have finished up their recruitment. I have heard LOTS of stories about different experiences but I wanted to talk a little today about expectations and reality. It’s just an observation but some girls who have gone through the process of recruitment don’t seem to have the two balance. I have droned on and on about recommendations and how important they are yet I still have girls who don’t get them, or only get them for “some” houses and then are upset because they are cut from houses. If your panhellenic website says that recommendations are not required but suggested ; and I would go so far to say if your panhellenic website mentions recommendations then YOU NEED THEM! Period, that’s it…you need them.
I had a mom stop me on Bid Day and tell me that her daughter received a bid to a house that she had not secured a rec for. In some cases if a house finds a girl that they are seriously interested in they will call an alum and get a rec for her. Trust me when I say this…that girl had a rec on file when it came to preference. How do I know this? Because…I have been called to do exactly that.
For some girls there were some surprises along the way. I had one sweet girl who was dropped by every house but one after Round One parties. She knew that this might happen due to a GPA issue but was willing to try. She was devastated when she got her Round 2 party card, but I encouraged her to continue through the process and keep an open mind. Each round of parties she was invited back to this one house and as the week progressed she began to develop a bond with the young women of the house and I am proud to say she received a bid and accepted it!!! This young woman truly kept an open mind, trusted the process and I think had realistic expectations going into the process.
Many young women have reached out to me during their recruitment experiences and I think one common misconception they all shared was not expecting to be cut by their top choices. I know they have all read my blog. I know that I have written many times that girls need to be prepared for big cuts… especially if they are out of state and especially from houses that generally take members from a certain area, town or high school. In many cases the first cuts after Round One parties are grade cuts. Remember that Panhellenic tells each sorority how many girls that they can invite back to the next round of parties. That number is loosely related to the return rate for the house from the previous year. So….really popular houses who have a high rate of return (meaning that many girls want to go back to this house for the next round of parties) will have to invites less girls back (make deeper cuts) than a house that does not have a high return rate. So…for many young women they will get a full party schedule (or at least almost full) for Round Two parties.
After Round Two parties houses now have to go into their 3 list girls. I have said it before and I will say it again…it’s not personal. Girls are listed by their scores. EAch sorority uses its own system but based on what they are looking for in a PNM they will give each girl a score. Usually a girls first score is related to her resume and recommendations (or lack there of ). The next score is from who she talked with during Round One parties. This is where good conversation skills come into play. If you have a house with a high return rate for Round Two parties then most likely they will again have to make pretty big cuts (not invite girls back). Since they have first eliminated the grade girls now they have to go into the end of their list. You may have felt that you made a connection and had a good conversation but the unknown factor is that there were girls who had better conversations and connections than you.
When girls receive their Third Round party cards they are often upset and surprised to find that they may only be invited back to 3 or 4 parties while other girls may be going to 7 or 8. It’s okay to be shocked…even though I have told many girls to expect this it always seems that it still has the “wow…I can’t believe it factor”. As I spoke to several of these girls I shared with them that generally they will now carry most of these houses through to Preference and guess what????? Yep..most did..they may have lost one along the way but a lot of the girls had a full three Pref parties to attend.
One thing about Round Three parties……it’s at this time that many sororities have to do some serious soul searching. Just as PNMs soul search for the right houses to pref so do sororities. IF they invite a girl to Preference they have to be ready for her to possibly become a “sister”. Because of this some girls who have had a good number of parties might find that they might not get invited back to any of their “top” houses but instead are now going to Pref at the 3 houses that were their safety net houses (the ones they listed as not wanting to return to). Are they shocked??? Yep…but I always tell the girls that those houses saw in them the qualities that they think are necessary to be a member of that house so they should go to the party with an open mind and heart.
If you haven’t experienced this phenomena called “Recruitment” then I think it might be hard for you to understand the emotional roller coaster these girls (and their families…especially their moms) are riding!!! Even though they hear over and over again..”don’t listen to the tent talk”, “keep an open mind”, “maximize your options”…many still jump in with both feet and often don’t surface until the process is over. Some “fall in love” with certain houses …houses that are not necessarily a right fit. It’s just like my shoe fetish…I am still convinced that I will be able to squeeze into the Louboutins even though I secretly know I have no chance of having them fit :/. So girls set themselves up for disappointment. The sororities don’t help.. especially if they carry a girl through until Pref and then drop her. This seems to be true for what some call “top-tier” houses or houses that tend to take girls that are in-state or local. Sometimes referred to as “old row” on some campuses these houses will generally drop out of state girls before Pref. Is it fair..no…does it happen?? All the time! I would caution bot parents and girls alike….don’t buy in or think that there are “Right” and “wrong” houses on campus. the truth is if the sorority is thriving and functioning on a college campus then most likely it is filled with lovely young women with whom any of us would be proud to call sisters!!
So Bid Day arrives and all of a sudden a PNM doesn’t get her first choice and in some cases maybe not her second choice! How does this happen??? RFM is a confusing process but again it has to do with what list the PNM is on. Another factor is whether the PNM is a legacy. If a PNM is a legacy and prefs her legacy house but does not put her legacy house first there is still a chance she could receive a bid from that house. How?? If she is far down on her #1 choice then she will match with her #2 if she is higher…if that’s the legacy house then she will definitely match because most sororities require PNMs who are legacies to be placed at the top of the #1 list.
So what’s next??? What if you get a bid to a house you don’t want? What if you want to quit? So many questions and lots of answers….tomorrow …hang in there ladies!