Recommendations….they are something that a majority of PNMs who will go through recruitment will need to have. Not only will they need to have recommendations but they will want to have them so that they are on the radar of the sorority chapters on their campus.
Why you ask? With the growing popularity of joining a sorority while attending college, record numbers of girls are signing up and going through recruitment. Recruitment parties spread over several days really only allow PNMs and members alike to scratch the surface when it come to getting to know each other and making a decision on sisterhood for a lifetime. Sororities look to recommendations to pick and choose those girls who they think will fit the character traits that they hold desirable.
So….bottom line if you are attending a school where you need recommendations then you get them, but from who and where?
The most desirable recommendation should come from an alum who knows you personally and was a member of a chapter on the campus you are attending. When filling out the recommendation form (yes it’s a form even though sometimes you hear it called letters of recommendation) alums are asked to speak on the PNMs character traits. Sororities look at these recommendations carefully. This type of recommendation carries a lot of weight. In state girls have an advantage here. Chances are there are teachers, friends, mother’s of friends, women who work with a PNMs parents, that know the PNM or her parents and have attended the college or university she has been admitted to. Unfortunately if you are an out-of-state girl these types of recommendations are hard to come by, especially if there are a large number of sororities on campus (for example Alabama has 16 chapters that participate in formal recruitment) and you need 2 per chapter.
So the next best choice is a recommendation from an alum who knows you but was not a member of the chapter on your campus. This woman can speak from her heart about you and your character. She can put into words how a PNM has the character traits that her sorority is looking for. Sororities prefer recommendations that come from an alum who personally knows the PNM. When an alum personally knows a PNM she is able speak and write about specific examples of those character traits her sorority is looking for. She is able to paint a very favorable picture of the PNM she is recommending.
Many PNMs are able to find some recommendations that are personally written by an alum who knows her or her family well however, finding 2 for every house on campus can be tough. So time to continue the search and the next best thing is a recommendation from and alum of the chapter on campus who doesn’t know the PNM personally. Chapters respect the opinions of their alumnae. Another great thing is that these alums know how to write recommendations. They are familiar with the form and the questions asked. Often times an alum will not write a recommendation unless she speaks with the PNM in a type of “interview”. Speaking as an alum who writes a lot of recommendations I will not even consider writing a rec unless I have spent some time “talking” with the PNM.
We call these recommendations “information only” recs. All recommendation forms ask if the alum personally knows the PNM and/or her family and for how long. If you don’t know a PNM then the alum must mark that box. When looking at the rec the sorority then knows that the rec is providing information that the PNM has given the alum or that the alum has gotten off the PNm’s resume (another reason why PNMs need to make sure that their resumes are top-notch!). Info recs can come from local alumnae, Panhellenic alumnae or alums who are members of a local alumnae association. Info recs are less desirable that personal recs but an info rec is better than no rec at all.
So I know what you’re thinking …what if I can’t find a recommendation for a house or houses on campus…does that mean I can’t receive a bid? Not necessarily, sometimes recommendations are sent to chapters with out the PNM knowing it. Should you rely on this..NO!!!! PNMs should try to secure at least one rec for every house.
Sometimes during recruitment Annie Active will have a rush crush only to discover that her crush doesn’t have a recommendation. So…she will call an alum that she knows or find a local alum to write a recommendation for her crush. I have had many a late night phone call, asking if I would write a rec for a girl. Of course I say yes.
Recommendations…they are a must for many colleges. They take a lot of time to find and secure. I think that many out-of-state girls just don’t understand HOW MUCH time it really does take. I am always amazed at how PNMs who do not have the help/support form her parents gets this done (most times they don’t). It’s a huge undertaking. Get started early.