Thanksgiving..done.  Christmas is just around the corner.  Then comes Pre-recruitment season.  Yes…there really is a season for Pre-recruitment.  While snowflakes are hitting the ground in many areas, girls across the US are sweating it out trying to find recommendations and working on getting alums to contact their chapters to let them know that a special PNM is coming through.

So a couple of thoughts……IF you have not yet cleaned up your social media DO IT NOW!!!!  Seriously…..that’s the first place sorority women look to ‘research’ a PNM.  I have watched the process personally.  In the world of Instagram and the ability to alter and touch up pictures sorority women will look to your social media page to see the real you.  In addition they are looking at your moral character.  No sorority wants a girl who is going to be a liability to them.  I think I have told this story before but there was a PNM who was fabulous on paper….lots of extra-curriculars, leader in school, attractive, involved, pretty much a sorority’s dream PNM.  While searching (Google) the girls found this PNM’s Facebook page.  She had not made it private and while not totally offensive it had some language and a few pictures that showed her with friends, red solo cup in hand (probably not soda by the wording accompanying the pic) and a couple other pictures that showed her with her best friends hanging out and doing so crazy stunts that high school girls sometimes do.  There were some references to this PNM’s “bff’s” and so they dug a little deeper and hit the gold mine.  One one “bff’s” page was a video from her phone of this girl in let’s just say a compromising and unattractive situation.  This is exactly what we call a “deal breaker” in the recruitment world. The members made a note and started to check with resources and friends (from other sororities on campus who had members from this girl’s home town) as to her character. Again she seemed “perfect”  on paper but as info began to trickle in she was not so perfect in real life.  This bright, intelligent, witty, young woman was dropped by every house on campus but 2! (She was offered a bid but it was a house that she thought was “below” her…groan..and did not accept the bid)  You can guess why.  So ladies spend some time cleaning up your social media.  If you Tweet be careful what you say…the sorority world could be listening.  If you are worried about your Facebook page because friends post things that might be misunderstood they make it private.

I have had lots of girls ask if their Facebook page is private will that hurt them as far as recruitment goes. The answer is no.  As sorority women we all like to see as much information about a PNM as we can but a private Facebook page is not a blaring sign that the PNM will be a possible liability.  You will have to be the judge.

While chatting with my daughter this weekend she commented they were filling out Christmas cards and sending them out next week to PNM’s.  Many sororities do this type of thing.  So how do you get on the list?  There are a couple of ways.  First if there are members in sororities from your hometown or high school you can reach out to them (or have parents reach out to parents) to let them know that you are going to be going through recruitment the next year.  Many times this will get you added to the list and the mail will begin to flow in.  If you (the PNM) feels comfortable you personally can reach out to girls you might know or have a connection with and relay the information you’ll be going through recruitment.

What happens if you are out-of-state and know no one?  This is where networking comes in handy.  Hopefully you have been reaching out to women around you trying to secure recommendations. If this is the case then you can (actually you should ask when inquiring about them writing a rec) ask if they would be willing to contact their chapter and let them know that they will be writing a rec for you and that they would like you to  be added to their mailing list (make sure you have cleaned up your social media..they will look immediately).  Most sororities are glad to add PNM’s to their lists and again the mail should begin arriving.

A couple of things about sorority recruitment timelines.  For those of you with a deferred recruitment you are still on the hot seat, waiting for recruitment to start.  You have attended classes and walked past these women on campus all semester.  This is hard as undoubtedly you have formed opinions. REMEMBER as you go through the process even though you have had time to see the different sororities in action..keep an open mind.  It’s a process that has two sides.  While you have some power in this situation the sororities also are making choices based on what they have noticed about you as you have walked across campus and gotten involved.  If you are at a competitive recruitment school recommendations should be complete.  The holidays are crazy and recruitment will be here before you know it.

For those of you who will go through recruitment in the fall of ’13 just a little update on the timeline from now until move-in. Most sororities have had elections and so the month of December is officer transition.  Current officers are working with past officers to learn their jobs and be ready to hit the ground running in January.  This is especially true for the Recruitment chair and her team.  One of the first jobs will have is to send out the christmas correspondence.  They will also be working on the Pre-recruitment events for Spring (if their campus has them) and will be putting together the practice schedule.  Yep…the sorority members will begin practicing their door songs, skits ect as soon as January!  It’s a huge job to put on a successful, organized recruitment.  There’s a lot of work that goes into it and many hours of practice.

You should know that sorority women will be able to Facebook “friend request” you until April or May.  What that means is that you and the different sorority members can talk and be friendly.  Can you text, email and chat with them all the time…ummm probably not but as you attend Pre-recruitment events or as sororities become aware of you as a PNM, you may find that different sorority women will friend request you or if they have your phone number text you.  It’s okay to be friendly but here’s a little piece of advice. DO NOT see this as anything more that chatting or talking. I know that you can get really excited because you think they “like” you and they do but this chatter doesn’t mean that they are going to offer you a bid.  There’s a whole more that needs to happen before you get to that point. So enjoy the attention but don’t read too much into it.

Start looking in your local paper for Panhellenic events that will discuss the recruitment process.  Many Panhellenics will have info sessions (usually they start in March or later) that will address the recruitment process, resumes, conversations and such.  I have been to some that even have fashion consultants available. If there is one of these events in your area GO, even if you are done with recommendations, they are very worthwhile and great networking.  It’s a great place to make connections with sorority alumnae.  Make sure you are dressed appropriately ….you never know if alums will contact their respective chapters to mention a PNM they have met.  If you are missing recommendations these events are great places to fill the gaps.  If your resume is finished take a few copies along (don’t forget your pictures) to hand out if need be.

If you haven’t started your resume do it now or over Christmas break.  I have several already sitting in my inbox that I will look at in the next couple of days.  You can always add and amend them as the rest of the year unfolds but it usually takes a couple of tries to get a good one so start now.

As Spring unfolds and you begin to get some attention from sororities remember that “no contact” will start in April or May.  What that means is that sorority members may have no contact with potential PNMs.  If you have a friend or co-worker that you will have daily contact with over the summer that sorority member will contact her school’s Panhellenic and ask for special consideration.  What that means is that the two of you will be able to talk with one another just not about sorority recruitment.  If you see a sorority member at church you can say hello, just can’t talk about sorority recruitment. It’s nothing to really worry about but just a heads up.  I know that when my youngest went through she had talked to lots of sorority women throughout the Spring and once May arrived it all stopped.  It was hard because she had to keep reminding herself that it wasn’t personal.

Finally, if you haven’t already checked with your  school’s Panhellenic to see if there are any special Pre-recruitment events planned for Spring you should.  If at all possible you should plan to go, especially if you’re out-of-state.  Things like airplanes and hotel rooms need to be booked.  I know in the case of Alabama that as soon as their Pre-recruitment Weekend is announce hotel rooms fill up FAST!!!!, so do your homework early and be prepared.

You will find in January that life begins to get crazy….be prepared!