I am sitting here bleary eyed from working on the recruitment manual and trying to format a calendar to upload on this blog for you to be able to print off and have as a reference for recruitment.  A dear friend has referred to me as a “techno nerd” and that is quite evident today as I STILL can’t get the calendar project even close to working.  I thought I’d step away for a bit and write todays post.

When we left off yesterday (can you just hear the soap opera voice from TV saying that?? I can!!) we had just finished the month of September and I had been lecturing about starting to reach out to possible recommendation writers.  Okay so I wasn’t lecturing just imparting a lot of knowledge by virtuosity of experience.  I understand that many people have “connections” to women who have affiliations but there is also a pretty decent size group that do not.  I just want you to understand that unless you are one of the lucky ones who has a panhellenic that basically takes over this process for you it is time consuming and often frustrating.  In fact, some actually just give up on trying to get recs for some of the more elusive sororities.  I can’t list them as the elusiveness seems to be generated by your geographic location.  So tip of the day: Start finding women who will write you a recommendation NOW!!!!

One more thing about recommendations, the goal of course it to find women who will write you a rec who know you personally AND have a connection to the chapter on the campus you will be attending.  Now that’s in a perfect world and although it can and does happen chances are you aren’t going to get one of these for each house.  A personal connection to the PNM is very helpful. So that’s why I say start EARLY.

October seems far away but September will go fast so get out that planner and turn to October. Just like in September look at that resume and add anything new that has happened.  If you have been working on beefing up the philanthropy/volunteering section you might have some changes there.  If you put this aside because you were too busy try to address this during the month of October.  With the holidays just around the corner there should be some great volunteer opportunities and also so chances to start some of your own.

Choose a day early in October to go and visit the office supply store by you.  I LOVE Paper Source for paper but if you don’t have the luxury of having one of these AMAZING store close by then an office supply store such as Staples will do.  You are looking for the paper you will use to print your resumes on.  There are several options here.  You can go with a high standard resume paper or a paper that has a decorative border…the choice is yours.  You will need enough paper for at least 2 or 3 resumes for each sorority.  You will also need paper for your personal letter that you might want to include in your recommendation packet.  More about that letter later.  You will need matching Thank You notes and envelopes.  I tell the girls to get matching envelopes in case she wants to put the resume and pics inside of the envelope (kind of keeps it all in one place). All of this gets placed in a large white or cream-colored envelope (12×9) that will be addressed, stamped and mailed to the recruitment chair of the sorority.  you will also need large manilla envelopes (12 3/4x 10) to put everything in to hand to the woman who will be writing your recommendation.  In a few posts I will go through this whole process again and spend the whole post on it…today’s trip is just simply to look at the options..you don’t have to buy the first thing you see.

If you are going through recruitment at a school that requires Tea Cards and you don’t want to order extras of the ones you will put in your graduation announcements (these are actually mentioned as “ok to use” on the Kentucky website but some girls do have cards printed) then now is a good time to look at those options as well. Remember you only want your full name on the card.  You can have a bit of a decorative border but keep it classy!!  One girl put frogs all over the bottom of her cards and was hence known as “frog girl”..you don’t want that!  I would open that planner and make a note in February to revisit the tea cards….that will give you time to think about what you want to do and probably January or February is about when you will make your order for graduation announcements.

Turn to November and make a note to touch base with anyone you have as a “for sure” to write a recommendation for you.  By now most houses have initiated their pledges and are beginning to “look” at the next years recruitment.  I am totally serious here!!!  Usually in November (with the exception of campuses that do a deferred recruitment) chapters are getting ready to vote for a new slate of executive officers and committee chairs.  They also are getting ready to do a chapter assessment which will help them identify their strengths and weaknesses, which will ultimately generate the list of qualities and attributes they will be looking for in the pledge class of 2013.

What I am getting at is if you feel comfortable you might have your rec writers reach out to their chapters sometime before finals to let them know that she feels that you are an outstanding PNM.  She also should ask that you be invited to any pre-recruitment events and be placed on the mailing list for the sorority.  Many highly competitive recruitment campuses (especially in the SEC) will begin to have “invitation only” pre-recruitment events.  These usually start in January and the only way to get invited is if an alum calls or writes the chapter.  Some panhellenics have gone to an online registration where sororities can check and look at PNMs and invite them if they choose to.  Just like a bid..nothing is guaranteed and while not being invited to these events won’t hurt you, being invited gets your foot in the door, puts you on the sorority’s radar and you may begin to develop a relationship with them.  For some girls this may not be feasible…distance may be a factor as well as cost to travel to campus several months in a row to attend a tea or barbecue.  If at all possible I would encourage you to at least explore the possibility of attending, even if it’s only for just one.

Sororities will mail out Christmas cards, Valentines, invites to teas and parties, graduation congratulations to PNMs…the way to get on the list??? Well you have an alum give them your address.  How does she do this?  The same way she asked to have to put on the pre-recruitment party list, she calls or write the chapter telling them how WONDERFUL you are and that she wishes you would be included in these mailings.  You might also reach out to via facebook or twitter any girl who attended your high school, church..anyone you might even have the slightest connection with.  These connections can also help you get mailings and invitations.  Exhausting isn’t it?  I have to tell you it’s worth it though.  If you do all the hard work you will be so prepared for recruitment and it will be a better experience for you.  I wish you could ask the girls and their mothers who have been reading this blog since it started, followed my advice, reached out to me for help (remember I’m here..just an email away!).  They will tell you the more prepared they were the better the recruitment experience.

And that brings me to another subject before I call it quits for today (and November). GPA..other wise known as grades.  If you have a GPA of below a 3.0 you need to do some serious studying and damage control NOW!!!!  Most sororities will release a girl who has below a 3.0.  That’s not a hard and fast rule..some will take grade exceptions, especially if the girl has an absolutely AMAZING resume, but don’t count on it.  If you have a learning disability make panhellenic aware of it.  I wrote a rec and a letter of support for a delightful young woman who had an LD diagnosis.  While she was released by some sororities, since she was under the umbrella of the university many did not drop her and I am very pleased to say my chapter offered her a bid and I can now call her a sister!!!  YAY!!!

If you have grade issues meet with your guidance counselor.  Explore possibilities that might help raise it.  There’s been a lot of discussion about the whole weighted vs un-weighted GPA. Each panhellenic and campus handles it differently.  You might call you campuses panhellenic and see which they prefer to have on the recs and resumes.

So that takes us to December and January…the holidays.  Hmmm might need to get out the Santa hat to write tomorrows post….