The past few days I have connected with some parents and girls who I became acquainted with this summer/fall during recruitment.  They didn’t ask me for help with resumes nor did I help them before they went through recruitment. Most of them either talked to me just before, during or after recruitment was over.  We have been talking about their experiences and what life is like for them now that they are in a sorority.  Its been fun to catch up and see how they are adjusting to college life and sorority life.

All of our conversations got me thinking.  How could theses young women and the rest of you who read this blog, help girls who are going through recruitment in the future?  Remember, that’s how Sorority Girl 101 was born.  I helped my daughter go through her recruitment process and in doing that, I learned so much that I decided to share with others so that they would have a positive experience.  It’s kind of a “pay it forward” type of thing.

So how do YOU “pay it forward” with your recruitment experiences?

I think the first thing you can do is share.  Be open and willing to share your experiences with other girls who may want to go through recruitment.  Open yourself and your experiences up to girls that live in your home town.  Offer to talk to high school seniors at your high school….about your experience and what you learned.  Remember in most cases you may not talk about your life in your sorority but rather it will have to generalized observations.  What would you have done differently?  Did you got to a school that really needed recommendations and you just didn’t have them? Did you start too late?

As far as recommendations go I have to tell you that is the most common complaint that I hear from mothers and girls alike.  I’d be rich if I had a dome for every time a mother said, “I didn’t know we needed recommendations for every house.  Panhellenic didn’t say they were required.  Panhellenic said that it was the sororities job to get the recommendations.”   I had so many mothers emailing during their daughter’s recruitment with these comments.  These emails usually arrived right after their daughter had taken big cuts due to the fact that they didn’t have recommendations.

Just a refresher…..recommendations will NOT get you a bid but what they do is put you on the radar of the sorority.  If you are from “out-of-state” and you plan on going through recruitment they are even more important!

We were down at Mizzou yesterday and as I drove past several of the sorority houses that I knew girls in I remembered how many times those girls had come down on weekends and stayed at these sororities with girls they knew from their high school.  This kind of is a double-edged sword because if the girl does this and she doesn’t behave and she does something that could be considered a standards liability then she just might find herself bidless.  Usually this doesn’t happen.  These girls form bonds with the sorority members..not only the members in the house they are visiting but also the other members they meet during their visit.

The point is if you are from OOS make sure you share with your home town girls how important recs are.  I remember my daughter pouring through them..looking at pictures and resumes from girls who lived across the country…girls she’d never met except for on paper, yet through this process she identified girls she wanted to get to know.  If you don’t send in a rec how in the world is a sorority ever going to “want to get to know you” if they don’t even know you exist?  Makes sense right???

If you are from OOS reach out to your college’s local recruiter.  Enlist her help in making sure that the girls who are going to go through recruitment understand that they need recommendations.  Offer to sit and share with her any information that you think will be helpful to PNM’s.  Truth is that many recruiters were in sororities and fraternities.  They are all very open to being helpful in this capacity.

Another person to reach out to is your local guidance counselor at your high school.  Again it’s as simple as making an appointment to come in and sit and chat about you experience.  Sharing with the guidance counselor what you learned and what you thought would be helpful to girls who are considering sorority recruitment will help them then pass on the information.  In some cases they might ask if you are willing to talk with girls and share your experience.  I would just caution you to be careful about recruitment violations.  You might check with your local Panhellenic on campus and see what their thoughts on this would be.

For those of you who had help with recommendations from a local Panhellenic group or a local alumni group (even if you didn’t pledge their sorority) you might touch base with them and share the “important facts” that young women going through recruitment in your region need to know.  Of course not everyone from your hometown or high school will all attend the same college but you can share general info that could help.  Perhaps you could suggest that if they don’t do it already the local Panhellenic group host a night for mothers and daughters too can “pay it forward”sorority style.  Reaching out to other mothers in your area and sharing your story will help tremendously.  In addition share your resources.  Did you read a blog, did you know someone who helped you and might be willing to help other girls and mothers?  Maybe you used  a sorority coach…what ever you used (or didn’t use and wished you would have) during your daughter’s recruitment process.  Many of you probably kept files or had different organizational methods that worked well…share them! I know that many moms would really appreciate any suggestions or insight into the process that you would be willing to share.

Just an observation but it seems that once a girl is “in” a sorority that she often forgets just how it is she got there.  She forgets the trauma of being a PNM and the recruitment process.  I guess what I’m asking is while it’s still fresh…make a pledge to “remember” and “help”.  Better prepared PNMs will only benefit your sorority and others across the US.  Recommendations and Resumes will help to bring to the foreground PNMs that other wise might be over looked.  I can tell you that they won’t guarantee that a PNM will get her first choice but it will at least make sororities aware that she is out there before the first round of parties.

So make the pledge….”pay it forward” sorority style.