Since I am now held captive in my own home AND I know that I can actually type and think today since no pain meds…thought I’d post :).  Tomorrow it’s off to the plastic surgeon.  I am hoping and praying fervently that he can fix this mess in his office…any prayers for this are GREATLY appreciated!!

I have been thinking about recommendations all day.  I still have a couple to write and what the girls have sent me is less than helpful.  The lack of info (no addressed envelope…no pics…no thank you notes) is frustrating!!!  As an alum who is being asked to write a rec I really do expect the PNM to go the extra mile to make sure I have everything possible so that I can not only fill out my rec form but also sing the praises of this dear girl.  Maybe I am the only one who feels this way but it’s almost as if I expect the PNM to do this as a rite of passage.  She should want this REALLY bad!  She should be willing to anything and everything in order to make sure that I write the very best rec ever!!

The question then becomes and I just being silly or are rec packets totally necessary and helpful? Granted it’s just my opinion but the answer is most definitely “YES”!!!  Let me explain…

In my opinion it is up to the PNM to give the alum any and everything she could possibly need to complete the recommendation process.  This is the helpful part.  When you are putting together your resume every item on it is tailored towards making the alums job of filling in her rec form easier and (wait for it) COMPLETE. A complete form really  does give the sorority tons of very useful information.  Information that is not only beneficial to the sorority but also it then becomes beneficial to the PNM in that the sorority gets a more complete picture of this young woman and what she can bring to their sisterhood. So make sure that your resume is complete, well written and comprehensive.  If you need help then ask for it.  You can certainly email me here at, reach out to your local Panhelenic or Google for an example to go off of.

And that then brings me to the next part of the rec packet.If you are able to (some sorority pages require a password), you can download and print the recommendation form and include it in the rec packet.  This saves the alum time and it shows her that you are paying attention to detail and are trying to be as appreciative as possible by giving the alum a complete and comprehensive rec packet.

Please include 2 pictures of YOU, only you and no one else but you!  I cannot even begin to tell you how big of a deal this is to me!!! Even after stating this over and over agin I still get pics that have little sisters, boy friends, even got one with Granny in it.  WE just need you.  HINT: when you order your senior pics get some extra wallets..both head shots and full body shots since you will ned both.  In fact since you have been preparing for this process since at least the beginning of your senior year you should just factor into your picture order the pics you will need for rec packets.

Another tid bit about pics…they need to look like you when you go through recruitment and the need to be appropriate.  What does that mean?  No Glamour Shots, low-cut dresses or really short dresses.  They need to be clear not blurry and they need to be a decent size.  What I mean by this is don’t send 8 1/2 by 11 photos and don’t fold them! I know some of you are shaking your heads because you are trying to figure out why I would list all of these faux pas…well, because they have all  arrived at my house in one form or kidding!!!

So we’ve covered resumes and pics…next is a personal note to the alum who is writing your rec.  This letter should be the “highlights” of the best of you.  What do I mean?  Well it’s just 3 or 4 paragraphs about what you are passionate about, why you are going to this particular college or university, what you love to do and why you want to go Greek.  Again this is under the “helpful” umbrella. This just gives the alum more information to fill in her rec form and address the character traits that are first and foremost important to her sorority.  You might also want to include in this letter a line that asks the alum to email you when she sends off your rec…it’s an easy way to keep track of what recs are actually sent in and a reminder to you, the PNM to then mail (not email) a personal, handwritten thank you note. If you need help ask for it!!!  I have examples I am happy to send you or you can again Google for an  online example.

Please, please, please include an addressed and properly stamped envelope for the alum to mail her rec form, your resume and pics in.  Please….before you send/give the rec packet to the alum take it to the post office to make sure it gets the correct postage.  NOthing is more frustrating for alums than to be asked to write a rec and then not know where to send it to, who to send it to and then having to go to the post office and pay for the postage.  I wrote over 100 recs this past recruitment season.  Can you imagine if I had to pay the postage for each and every one of those (I did have to pay for some)?  Yep that big $$$$$.  If a girl doesn’t send an envelope do I still do the rec?  Usually but I often will mention to her that she should have included the envelope.

You should also included a personal handwritten thank you note.  This should not be confused with the thank you note you will send in the mail at a later date.  Writing recs is time-consuming and you, the PNM need to acknowledge this by properly thanking the alum who is writing your rec.

Include a copy of your most current transcript. It doesn’t have to be an official one but it should be from your high school and be as current as possible.

An there you have it …tah dah!!!  A rec packet..they are time-consuming but once you get going and get organized they are pretty easy….Hint: start putting them together NOW!!!!!!!  Time seems to get away from PNMs

A couple of last things….since we become a more computer generated society, sorority recruitment  jumping into the world of online recs.  Now not all sororities have online form submits but quite a few do.  Does this change the rec packet status? Nope…just plain and simple alum should get a rec packet whether she is going to submit your rec online or not. She may ask you to email her your resume and pics and of course you should but you should also offer to her a paper rec packet.  I know for a fact that some of the sororities that do online recs ask their alums to physically send the pics and resume of the PNM to the sorority.  Best bet isto have a conversation with your alum rec writer and ask them what they would like you to do and more importantly what is the easiest for them!

Finally, this past recruitment season I had several girls who had their picture on the top of their resume.  When I asked for pics to attach to my rec they balked and said then had just scanned their pics to the top of the resume to eliminate the whole picture thing.  Ladies…most sororities ask for pictures, hard copy pictures.  While I like the look of the pics on the resume this does not replace the head shot and body shot that are needed for your rec packet.

So the answer to the question posed at the top of this post…..Are recommendation packets helpful and necessary?  You bet they are!!!!  After reading the above I hope you now know why!