I was having coffee with a friend the other morning and we were talking about our daughter’s different sorority recruitment experiences. My daughter went through recruitment at a larger, very competitive SEC school in the south while her daughter went through at a school that was Big 12 and now has joined the SEC. Our girls are two years apart in age so while mine is now a junior her daughter will be initiated this weekend.
The experiences the girls had were different but we both agreed that knowing girls inside each sorority on their respective campuses was helpful…networking while going through recruitment helped and benefitted each girl tremendously.
I remember when my daughter first started the process. We knew absolutely no one at the school had decided upon much less any sorority members. Since I am not shy I made phone calls to the two different national offices of which she was a legacy. While one was very receptive to her legacy status the other gave us a polite but cool welcome. I knew even at that early point and with relatively little experience that networking was going to be essential.
My sorority was more than happy to connect my daughter with members on campus and she was lucky enough to actually stay with one while visiting for Spring Preview Weekend. This experience allowed her not only to meet other active members of her legacy house but also she met a variety of other girls who were in different houses on campus but all lived in the same dorm as the young woman who was her host for the weekend. She did go to several different events with her other legacy house and actually met some members while staying in the dorm.
Jump now two years later and the story of my friend’s daughter. She had several friends from high school who were sorority members and during her senior year she had gone down to a couple of different football games and had stayed at the apartment of an older sorority girl. She spent time at not only the sororities that her friends were in but she also got to visit a few others and make some connections.
So why is this networking so important? Simply put recruitment across the US is on the rise. More and more girls are signing up and wanting to become part of a sorority on their campus. In some instances on some campuses almost 2000 girls signed up this year. I am asked over and over again, “How do girls, both actives and PNMs alike, make connections and truly “know” which house is for them in several days and while only chatting with girls for minutes.?” It’s a process. the actives are trained and practice what types of questions to ask the PNMs in order to get information in the responses they receive to make membership decisions and the PNMs also ask their own questions, searching for answers that will give them the feeling of “belonging” they are looking for.
Recommendations and letters of support can help a sorority sort through PNMs and find those with who they have common interests. Another way for the sorority members to get to know PNMs is if alum members call and introduce or recommend that the sorority take some time to get to know this PNM. The sorority then reaches out to the PNM (this has to be done before “no contact” comes into play) and they might invite her down to a tea during the weekend or a barbecue with a fraternity (note: each campus and Panhellenic will have different rules regarding this). The members of the sorority then have a chance to meet the PNM and see if a connection is made.
Does this assure that a PNM will receive a bid from that sorority? No it doesn’t but it at least puts the PNM on their radar and they know she’s coming through recruitment and what she has to offer to their sisterhood.
I would also add that if your campus offers any type of Pre-recruitment events GO. These meet and greets are great ways of making connections inside your campuses sorority system.
Alums who are reading this….please reach out to the Panhellenics and the high schools in your areas and offer to help girls through this process. There are so many young women out there that have no clue where to begin and go into the recruitment process totally unprepared. Often times they will drop from recruitment completely because they are overwhelmed or did not receive invites back to houses because they had not sent in recommendations.
Parents of girls who are active members….if your daughter went through at a competitive recruitment campus she will most likely be asked to get names of girls from her home town that are considering going through recruitment. Help her network..not only will this benefit her sorority but the PNMs who are going through recruitment.
Finally if you are interested in making phone calls or emails to help introduce young women to sororities across the country please let me know as I help young women go through this process I will make connections. I know several women have already reached out tome and for that I am very thankful.