Okay so this sorority girl is back in her letters again!!  Seriously after surgery on Tuesday I am now recuping again…taking baby steps and am still being held hostage at home..sans car keys.  The good news is that baristas at Starbucks WILL deliver for a price (everyone has their price and $25 delivery fee will get you a 140 degree Pumpkin Spice latte 🙂  ).  To all of you who have sent well wishes, cards, flowers and prayers for a speedy recovery THANK YOU!!!

I just told our youngest I have days worth of blog built up inside of me so here goes….

So what’s new in sorority world?  Well let’s see..first of all recruitment is still going on..Ole Miss starts this weekend and I am sending hugs and well wishes to all of the girls who are participating!!!  In addition I know that AOPi is holding their colonization at Purdue…hugs to a sweet girl I know going through this process.  I also have a great girl going through at UCLA in a week and another going through at UC Santa Barbara….so lots of excitement here at sorority girl 101.

Did any of you by chance watch Good Morning America or the Today Show this week..in specific the spots they did on “Sorority Image Consultants”? Being stuck in bed I have had a chance to watch lots of tv and both of these programs did spots on how sorority PNMs are hiring women to help them prepare for recruitment.  Remember back in July The New York Times did an article on this very same topic?  I have to tell you this whole thing has rubbed me the wrong way.  When I first started this blog it was to share knowledge that I had gained by going through this process with my daughter.  Not for one minute can I ever imagine charging for my time or services.  I think that everyone needs a “go to” person who has some knowledge of the process and what a PNM needs to do to be prepared but I don’t believe that a PNM needs to be transformed to be able to fit into what she perceives to be the “best” house on campus.

Even more so, I am a little distraught over the image that these continuing stories portray.  What the media wants YOU to believe is that if you hire these women they will be the key to getting YOU, the PNM, into “your top choice sorority”. I have big ole issues with this.

First of all I struggle with this idea, “How does a PNM KNOW what sorority is her first choice before she even attends a single recruitment party?”  Hmmmm…I get that perhaps she (and her mother) have decided that a top tier sorority is what they desire but I really do worry about making this choice and assumption before every going through the process.   It’s this exact thing that the media thrives on.  The message this sends is not that you are choosing a sisterhood for the rest of your life but rather a socially correct circle of friends to enfold oneself with.  This is not what being a member of a sorority is.  There are statistics that show that when young women join a sorority for only the social connection they often drop or become inactive after graduation.

I had a mom ask me this past week if I was one of the above mentioned women…was I a sorority coach?  I had to think about that question, had a moment of panic and then realized that I can be a sorority coach and not be like those women showcased in pink boas charging up to $8000 to share knowledge about sorority recruitment.

Yes…I am here to help young women successfully go through recruitment.  No…I make no promises about getting a bid to a “top tier house”, in fact if you talk with any of the girls and their mothers who I have helped through this process (now in the 100’s) you will hear the same thing…I always tell them to keep and open mind, maximize their options and trust the process.  Really..it does work….most of the time.

So as a “coach” what is it that I do..for free?  Well, first of all I help young women to understand that they will get out of the process what they put into it.  If you are willing to work hard, get all your ducks in a row early (ie: recommendations), be organized and gracious you will be off to a good start.  Do I mean that if you get recs for all of the houses on campus…even really good recs, that you are guaranteed a bid…NOPE!  I had a girl call me in tears after her recruitment because she sis not get a bid to any of the houses she though she should have but rather got a bid to a house that she thought was “beneath” her.  She was actually mad at me because she thought that if she had contacted me for help and she did what I told her to do that she would have her pick of houses.  Unfortunately there is so much more to recruitment than just getting recs.

In addition you have to have a great GPA.  I am always amazed at how many girls reach out to me because they have a lower GPA and they think that I can magically help.  Granted I have worked with some really great girls who have really legitimate reasons why their GPAs are below the standard 3.0.  In this case we try really hard to let the different sororities know the circumstances involved but I always let them know that nothing is guaranteed.  Are you wondering if they got bids?  Yes..in most cases the girls who had a really good reason for a low GPA did get a bid.  I also have to say that these sweet girls went into recruitment understanding that they would receive big cuts and they were very open to each and every house on campus, didn’t listen to the “tent talk”  and there fore had no preconceived opinions about the different houses on campus.  I had one very sweet girl who was cut by EVERY house but one after the first round of parties at a very competitive recruitment campus.  She could have quit but she didn’t. Instead she embraced the one house she had and carried that house all the way to Bid Day where she was welcomed to this sorority’s lawn with open arms!  Now that’s a happily ever after story!

So I help with recs, and GPAs…what else you ask?  Well I am happy to share my knowledge about the “little things”, clothes, conversation, accessories, fitting in and looking the part.  I know that your ears have perked up after reading the words “fitting in and looking the part”.  Do I change girls so they can get a bid?  No.  Do I make them cut their hair and dress differently so they will morph into a Stepford Sorority Girl look?  No.

What I do is make subtle suggestions on ways that the PNM can take their clothes and back ground and feel confident in new and different surroundings.  This is especially helpful for girls who are going through recruitment in another area of the country.  If you live in the Northeast and you are going through recruitment in the deep south…well you are in for a culture shock.  It’s just a plain fact.  The girls in the south dress differently that the girls in NYC.  Lily Pulitzer is a foreign language only spoken on vacations.  In addition you will find that short skirts and basic black doesn’t exist, you don’t wear white before Easter and after Labor Day and pastel is your friend.  It’s just a bit different.  Do I expect my girls to totally change their look to “fit in”…nope but a few tweaks here and there can help a PNM feel more confident and comfortable..leading to easier conversations and a successful recruitment.

What a successful recruitment boils down to is this…making sure that if you need recs you get recs.  That’s number one.  After getting recs make sure that you go into recruitment confident in who you are.  Great conversations will lead to good connections and good connections are important.  If you make good connections then you open you heart to finding your sorority home and isn’t that what recruitment is all about.

I already have mommas and daughters reaching out for “help” with recruitment 2013…see they read my previous posts about getting started early…yay!!  I am so excited for what the future has to offer.  I am so glad to be back and feeling better…more posts to come!!!