Each day I get emails from moms and daughters (and now even moms and sons) that say, “if I only known….”.  It seems there’s a good amount of people who go through recruitment that just don’t have a real idea of how it works on the campus they are attending.  I’m not criticizing….they really don’t have an idea.  It’s not as if they are choosing to ignore the process, I”m just pretty sure they just didn’t know what to look for and where to look.

So….I decided to post today on how to approach recruitment, kind of a mini guide of what to do and how to get ready.

The first thing you have to do is decide where you’re going to college.  For our youngest this was a lengthy process.  I know from talking with many different girls and their families that there are a lot of factors in this decision.  For us one of the big ones was Greek Life.  We were lucky because finances did not come into play and so that was one issue we didn’t have to deal with but for some of you scholarships and money might be a HUGE factor.  If you are going to go Greek I would encourage you to look into the recruitment process the campuses you are considering.  You see that even though the money might be right the Greek Life might not.  You have to make sure that you have all the tools for success you will need to make recruitment as positive experience that ultimately leads you to your goal: a bid to a sorority that you can see yourself as a contributing member.

Of course you won’t know what exact house is right for you until you go through recruitment but you can do your homework before hand to make sure you have the best experience possible.

How do you do this and what type of homework am I talking about?

Well…once you have chosen a college or university get on their Greek Life website and read, read, read…when you’ve read it once then read it again.  Read between the lines.  For example if the word recommendation is mentioned at all then it’s okay to get them. You have a sight that says, “Recommendations are not required”.  So you read this and go, “hmmm, so I don’t need recs”, WRONG!!!!  Read between the lines…. if it says this then what it means is that they are not required (you don’t have to have them) but by mentioning it that tells me that many girls will have them and so should you (at least I would get them if I were you).  If you see no mention of recs then email or call the Greek Life office.  Often times you will find that they will tell you they are not required but are gladly accepted…again code words for “Get recs!”  On these campuses not having a rec is not as catastrophic as if it were on a competitive campus but by having a rec for each house on campus you will have a leg up on the other girls.  What I mean is that the sororities will know that you are coming through recruitment, what wonderful qualities you have to offer and they will be looking for YOU.  It’s a good thing :).

Don’t be afraid to call the Greek Life office.  They are there to help YOU.  Ask questions…lots and lots of questions. Questions like: Do you have a Preview Weekend? Are there pre-recruitment teas and parties?  If so, how do I get invited? Will there be a Sorority presentation at orientation?  How many girls go through recruitment?  What is the average pledge class size? Do they do Spring COB?  What is Chapter total? What percentage of girls receive bids? Where are recommendations sent?  Are recommendations required?  Who can write a recommendation?  How many recommendations do you need per house?  What is the average GPA of PNMs going through recruitment? (This is an important question because often you will given a minimum GPA for recruitment but in fact many girls will have significantly higher GPAs than listed.  If you have the minimum GPA this can put you in jeopardy of being a grade release)  Ask where you can find statistics that show where girls who go through recruitment come from?  What are the release rates/drops for each day of parties? All of this is available for the asking.

It’s important to understand the culture of the campus where you will be going through recruitment.  If you are going out-of-state, far from home, to a different region of the US, make sure that you do a little research.  Chances are you will find that people dress differently, eat differently and in some instance speak differently.  Let’s say you live in California and are going to attend an SEC school, say the University of South Carolina.  Sweet tea and sundresses probably aren’t all that common in the suburbs of LA.  I’m not telling you to change who you are but it’s important to understand that the majority of the girls who go through recruitment will be wearing a different, perhaps more conservative type of clothing.  It goes the other way as well.  If you are from Alabama and going to school at UCLA you will notice a different type of dress.  Often times this difference is reflected in the outfits that girls wear to recruitment.  I was surprised at the relaxed dress at some California schools and also those in Washington State, which leads me to my next suggestion.

Look on the internet to see if the Panhellenic puts out publication for girls who are going through recruitment.  At many schools some sort of a publication is mailed to PNMS a month or so before recruitment begins.  These booklets are filled with valuable information!  Many will have pictures of suggested dress, recruitment schedules, information about recs (kind of late for this), questions and answers, maps of the sorority houses, costs of joining a sorority on that particular campus, a little bit about each sorority on campus and pictures of members,  just to name a few.

Another place to get information about sorority life on your campus is youtube.  Many sororities will post their door songs, philanthropy videos and chapter profile videos.  Again this will give you a visual of the members and maybe even the house itself.  In addition they are so fun to watch!

Reach out to your local alumni association.  Usually some members will have a Greek affiliation.  Not only is this a great resource for recommendations but it’s also a good “go to” person for questions about recruitment, life on campus ect.  If you don’t know if your area has an alumni association call the college/university and ask.

You can also reach out to your local recruiter.  I have found from past experience that many recruiters have Greek affiliations.  Recruiters are a wealth of information and networking capabilities.  If you have not had contact with your local recruiter then call your college/university.  They will have the contact information for the recruiter in your area.

DO NOT go onto Greek Rank to check out Greek Life. This site is nothing more than a rumor mill.

Remember don’t believe everything you read.  I am always happy to help with information and if I don’t have the answer I am happy to help you look.   So do your homework!!!!  Going through recruitment is not easy, even at the “laid back” schools.  you need to go into the process prepared.  Make sure you understand how the process works and exactly what you need in order to be successful!