When talking about recruitment we just all assume that PNMs are recently graduated high school seniors who are headed off to college for the first time and are wanting to go through recruitment and join a sorority.  Yes….while the majority of young women who go through recruitment on campuses across the United States do fit this profile, there is also a group of young women who do not.

Theses non-traditional PNMs are made up of upper classmen who for one reason or another did not go through recruitment as a Freshman.  It could be that they started the process and found it overwhelming or perhaps they wanted to get a year of college under their belt before taking on a sorority and the monetary and time commitments involved.  Of course there’s also the girls who may transfer in form either a junior college or a campus that did not have a strong Greek presence.

Recently I have had a fair amount of girls reach out to me asking for help with navigating the recruitment process for non-traditional PNMs so I thought today I post some pointers.

First of all, just because you are not a freshman does not mean that you will not receive a bid.  Granted on some campuses it can be a little more challenging and with that being said you really need to go into the process with an open mind.  But seriously it can be done.

If you are going through recruitment at what is a competitive recruitment school then you need to follow the same protocol as the Freshmen PNMs.  You WILL NEED recommendations for every house on campus.  It doesn’t make any difference whether you are a sophomore or a transfer student IF it’s a competitive recruitment school then recs are a MUST.  Of course in order to put together rec packages you will also need to make a resume.  I’ve posted a lot on here about what makes up a great sorority resume.  The question everyone asks is, “I don’t have a ton of activities from college so if I just use those my resume is going to look pretty this.” Yep..you are right and so you will need to use your high school activities, awards and honors and philanthropy BUT you also need to add in those activities and experiences you had in your first year(s) of college.  You will also need to add a section for your college GPA.

Sororities will look to see if you were involved in your first year at college.  So a word to the wise. IF you are reading this now and are thinking of going through recruitment choose an activity or two to get involved in.  Join a club, do some philanthropy, participate in an intramural sport.  The understand that yo have class and studying to do and of course they will be looking at your GPA.  Most sororities want girls who have good GPAs preferably a 3.0 or above.  I have noticed that some sororities will state that a transfer student or an upper classmen with a 2.5 GPA is acceptable but honestly the better the GPA the more options you will have.

What about girls who maybe have stayed out of college for a year or so?  Ladies you make a resume and just use your high school GPA, test scores, activities ect. If you entering as a Freshman then just put that on your resume and the alum who is writing your rec will note it on her forma s well.

Many girls in this situation wonder…”am I competing with all of the other incoming freshmen for a bid. The answer is yes…and no.  If you are entering as a freshman then yes, you are competing for a bid along with all of the 18-year-old girls (even though you might be 19 or 20). If you are a transfer student and will be coming in as a sophomore or junior, depending upon if you campus has an upper classmen quota then you may not.

What I mean is that on some campuses Panhellenic tells the chapters that in addition to their quota number they may also give out x number of bids to girls who are going through recruitment as sophomores or above.  That Upper Classmen quota is determined by how many Upper Classmen go through recruitment and get to Preference.  So for example Panhellenic might tell chapters at a certain campus that they can take a quota of 85 plus 8 Upper Classmen.  Now you should know that they do not have to take quota nor do they have to take all 8 Upper classmen but if they chose to they have that option available to them.

A couple of things about going through recruitment as a sophomore on the campus where you attended as a freshman.  Reputation, reputation, reputation. If you were a wild, party hearty girl then chances are your reputation has preceded you and you may be a liability concern.  Hopefully this isn’t the case but know that you have most likely been “seen” your freshman year. Whether it was at parties or in class chances are you have had contact with sorority women and yes they will remember how you acted and behaved.

I would also like to point out that just because you have “friends” in particular houses does not guarantee you a bid to that house.  One or two girls are not able to “pull” a girl into a house.  This is where the “keep an open mind” discussion occurs.  Your friends may tell you that this or that house is “not good”.  Be your own person, think for yourself.  AS much as you love your friends and seem to like their sisters there just might another house that is a better fit for you.

I helped a very sweet girl go through recruitment this last fall who was a sophomore and had friends in several houses on campus. As recruitment week progressed she found herself not being asked back to these houses.  It was hard on her and hard on her friends but when it came to ranking PNMs she was just too far down on the list. That being said she attended 2 Pref parties and was sure she would get a bid from the house that was her favorite.  She did not.  Instead she received a bid from a house that she said “I don’t want”.  After a heart to heart she went to their Bid Day party and guess what???? When she got there and met some of the other girls she discovered they were very much like her and she had tons in common with them.  She called me the night of her initiation to thank me for convincing her to go.  Moral of the story….keep an open mind.

So for those of you who are taking the road less traveled when it comes to sorority recruitment I would suggest that you do the following. contact the Greek Life office at your campus and ask how your specific situation is treated (transfer student, going through recruitment as a sophomore, maybe as a non-traditional freshman).  Ask if there is an Upper Classmen quota and how that works.  Go to any Preview events or meetings that are held.  Mind your manners and behave yourself. If your campus is a competitive recruitment campus then get recs!!!

One final thing. If you were a girl who went through recruitment and either quit, did not accept a bid or was released you need to do some soul-searching as to what happened and if you are open and willing to try again and accept the outcome.  Truth is the sororities will remember you.  If you were released due to a GPA issue and you have fixed that problem then I would say by all means give it a try. If you quit because you were released by the only houses you liked chances are that this may not have any different results. If you quit because you were truly overwhelmed make sure you are ready for the process.  If you received a bid and did not accept it the sororities will remember that.  There is a bit of a astigmatism associated with this…will another sorority take a chance on extending a bid only to be turned down? Also…if you are at a school where recs are a MUST then you WILL need to get them again.  Chapters destroy recs after formal recruitment.  And hey..if not having recs was part of your problem now you know you need them so get out there and get them!

I wish all of you who fall into this very special group luck on finding your letters!!!