For those of you attending the University of Alabama’s Panhellenic Preview Weekend next Saturday I wanted to pass onto you that just as the brochure states…dress is casual.  In fact, the sororities are all wearing jeans.  So ladies if you want to wear jeans and a really cute top go right ahead.  I will tell you that I think that you will also see girls in skirts and tops and maybe even a few dresses.

Okay so if you are heading to Preview this next weekend what kinds of questions can you ask the sorority members you are talking with? Here’s a few questions as well as some good points to make.

1.  Tell me about your new member program.  Every sorority will have a new member program.   Usually its in a meeting format with homework assigned.  In some cases there will be tests.  This is where you will learn the history of the sorority you will soon be initiated into.

2.  Tell me about our Big Sister/Little sister program.  Is there anything special about the reveal?  On Bid Day you will get a Bid Day buddy, she will help you with Bid Day and the first few days/weeks of sorority life.  Within a month or so of getting your bid you will receive a Big Sis.  Usually a “big” is someone who is a year ahead of you that you have bonded with and are close to.  In some cases you may be asked to list several girls you would like to have as a “big” and the older girls are asked to list several pledges that they would like as their “little”.  Matching takes place.  Many sororities have a Big/Little reveal…kind of like a party.  Some are themed, like “Famous couples”.  Sometimes the reveal can happen over a period of time with the “big” leaving little gifts, notes ect for her “little” and on the last day she might leave a costume to wear (one sorority I know did famous couples and the big left her little a Wilma Flintstone costume..the big was dressed as Fred) , a note saying meet me at a special place some way of telling the “little” who her big is.

3.  How do you manage balancing sorority life and school?  In some cases being involved in a sorority and balancing a heavy work load can be tough.  Grades are very important! It’s helpful to hear different strategies on how to do both..well.

4.  Tell me about study hall hours.  All sororities will have study hall hours for their pledges.  Each sorority will have its own amount.  Good questions to ask..Are they proctored?  Do I have to do them at the house or do I have choices?  What happens if I get below a 3.0?  do you have scholarship banquets?  Are there awards for high GPAs?

5. How much time commitment is sorority life?  What am I required to attend?  In some cases you might have sorority commitments 4 or 5 nights of the week as a pledge. Most sororities will excuse you for class but if you have a test and have to study that generally is not an excuse.  Some sororities use a point system where attendance gets you points and points get you privileges like being able to go to a formal.  Other sororities will use a fine system.  In this case you are assessed a monetary fine and if the fine is not paid then social privileges are revoked.

6.  Tell me about Swaps?  What has been your favorite one?    Swaps are get togethers with fraternities.  Sometimes it will be just one sorority and one fraternity but it can also be a couple sororities and fraternities.  Swaps are usually themed.  depending on your campus either just the pledges will have to get dressed up or it might be that everyone does.

7.  Tell me about Homecoming Week/ Greek Week.  Homecoming is usually in the Fall while on many campuses Greek Week falls in the spring.  Usually sororities and fraternities are paired together to do the house decs, floats, paint windows, compete in sporting events.  A large college campuses this can be a time where you will be expected to be at the house a lot!!!  Ask if the sorority you are visiting has ever won either of these events.

8.  Tell me about the different majors girls have?  What you are really asking is “is there anyone with my major” and you are trying to get a feel for what they might be looking for in a member.

9.  Tell me…what is the best part of being an XYZ? You are looking for a reaction that this girl LOVE her sorority.

10.  What is your favorite part about being Greek on this campus?  Again…you are looking for what opportunities and advantages there are in being Greek.

11.  Tell me about your philanthropy?  How often do you do activities pertaining to it? Each sorority has a philanthropy that they support.  Find out about what type of fundraising events they have to support their philanthropy?  You might also want to ask about the time commitment.

12.  How can I get involved as a new member? When can I run for an office? Most sororities have tons of way that it’s members can be involved.  If you are passionate about something or have a skill now is the time to share that.  There should be small jobs (like Prayer Sister) and there’s big jobs like President,

13.  If there’s a sorority house is it mandatory to live in? In some cases and on some campuses it is.  Find out when and if it occurs.  How long do you have to live in?  Is there an annex house that you can move into as an upper classmen? What’s the best part about living in the sorority house? If you are going through recruitment as a sophomore or above but you will at school longer than another 2 years make sure that you mention this. Sororities may have a preference for those girls who will be at school for the maximum amount of time.  these PNMs are more of a long-term investment.

14.  Ask about meals and meal plans.  Are there meals 7 days a week?  In you don’t live in are you still required to eat there?  How’s the food?  What’s her favorite meal? I know that the cooks at my daughter’s sorority house sent all the mother’s emails asking for their daughter’s favorite recipe.  They then made them throughout the year.

Make sure that you, the PNM share about your involvement in high school/college.  Sororities love leaders, athletes, dancers, singers, artists, honor society members ect!

Finally here’s a few things you don’t ask!

Don’t ask ..”do you know so and so in your sorority?”

If you plan to name drop stick to the girls you may know in that particular sorority. If you are asked if you are a sister to a member or a member in a different house it’s okay to say honest. Don’t spend time talking about other girls…they want to get to know you.

Avoid yes and no questions.  they will disrupt the flow of the conversation.

Don’t talk about Boys, booze or money.  You are trying to gain entry into an exclusive organization.  Spend your time getting to know the members, what the sorority is all about, it’s values and activities.  You also to show them why YOU would be a great member.

If your GPA is borderline don’t spend valuable conversation time talking about how you were sick in high school or you go the mean teacher.  The member you are talking with doesn’t know your GPA off the top of her head and she can’t reveal any membership selection policies.

So some more things to think and talk about….you may have few of your own to add.