Round 2 (DAYS 3 and 4) are finished and now it’s time to go back to your designated place to rank/vote/ list the set of sororities you visited the past two days. If you happened to visit a couple of houses that had been in your bottom list I hope you had a positive experience and maybe made a better connection :).  The decision is at hand…how will you decided?

Since we are using the model of 16 to 12 to 8 to 3, you now need to list you top 8 houses (again for the purpose of this post, in no particular order) and your bottom 4 in the same order as you did after Round 1.  A couple of things….first of all since our PNM only visited 10 houses she will list her top 8 and only 2 houses in the bottom 4 slots. Why you ask???  What is she only wants to list 6 and wants to put 4 houses in the bottom 4 slots? I would always encourage a PNM to discuss any questions that she has about this process with her Rho Chi.  That’s exactly what Rho Chis are for!  If I were your Rho Chi this would be my suggestion.  List 8 houses in the top 8 slot and only list 2 houses in the bottom slots.  If a PNM only has 6 houses she wants to return then I would suggest that she take the top 2 houses and put them in the top 8 list.

Here’s my reasoning. For Round 3 (DAYS 5 and 6) you can attend the maximum of 8 parties.  If you only list 6 houses then you only have the potential to return to 6 houses at the most… are already starting the hole.  Yep..I know…it only takes one but why flirt with the potential to give yourself a smaller pool.

Now’s a good time to talk about “maximizing your options”.  PNMs will hear this term frequently during recruitment. Basically what it means is that a PNM should always attend every party she is invited to. When it comes time to list/vote/rank she should write down every house she visited for that round.  Simply….rank and visit every house on your party card!  Many panhellenics are now telling PNMs that if you follow this practice and make it through Preference then they will guarantee that you will receive a bid.  Now granted “guarantee” is a potent word but I can tell you that I have seen this concept in practice and I would say it works 99% of the time. So “maximize your options”, write down all of your houses and go to all of the parties you are invited to (even if you don’t want to!).

Back to ranking houses. Now that you understand maximizing your options then you understand why our PNM needs to list 8 houses in the top spots and only 2 in the bottom.  What would have happened if our PNM had received less than 8 invites to Round 2? The answer is that she would list all of the houses she visited in Round 2 in the top slots. So let’s just say our PNM lists 8 in her top spot and 2 in her bottom.  She has put ADPi, Alpha Gam, Chi O, Zeta, Pi Phi, Kappas, Gamma Phi and Zetas in her top 8.  She listed KD and AOPi in her bottom 2. You will notice that AOPi was in her bottom list after Round 1.  Try as she might she just didn’t feel a connection again.  However after revisiting Gamma Phi Beta she had several great conversations and really enjoyed their presentation about their philanthropy, Building Strong Girls.  She listed them in her top 8 this time and is hopeful she will be invited to return.

The next day, Round 3 (DAY 5) you will again meet your Rho Chi at the designated spot to get your party card for Round 3 (DAYS 5 and 6).  Nervous doesn’t even begin to describe the emotions that girls feel as they wait for their party cards. I always tell girls that they need to trust the process.  It really does work and the majority of the time a PNM who goes into the process with an open mind will find her home.

When Suzy PNM receives her party card she finds that she has been invited back to 5 houses : ADPi, Chi O, Zeta’s Pi Phi and KD. Missing from the list is Alpha Gam, APhi, and Kappas. In addition AOPI did not invite her back but KD did come up from her bottom 2. In some cases PNMs will be shocked that they do not have a full 8 houses.  Remember that when we talked about how many PNMs could be invited back that I shared that the more popular houses had to make big cuts early on..well now its time for the less popular houses to begin to make cuts.  Undoubtedly, some PNMs will be upset not to see a particular house that they thought they had a connection with not on the list.  It’s okay to mourn this loss but only briefly.  My advice is this: take a few minutes to feel sad and then take another look at that party card.  Instead of viewing it as “these are all the houses that I have left”, think “wow , I wonder what great opportunities these houses will show me today?” If you approach the parties negatively then you will have trouble making connections and having good conversations.  However if you approach the parties with a positive attitude then you will be open to what each house has to offer and will most likely continue to forge connections.

Since the parties are stretched over 2 days and Suzy only has 5 parties (3 on DAY 5 and 2 on DAY 6) she is going to have some time to fill.  Hopefully she has made friends with other PNMs and will be able to find some friends to spend some time with.  This is not a time to obsess over the fact that others are attending parties while you are not.  It always seems like many girls have more parties that you do but in fact this most likely is not the case. Take a walk, do laundry, keep busy.  Remember the sororities that invited you back invited YOU because they really are beginning to feel a connection to you and are beginning to potentially see you as a possible member.  Get excited!!!! Great things are in store.

While waiting for a party to begin or resting between parties PNMs might sit in a designated area and chat with other PNMs.  In the south tents are erected and fans are set up to cool PNMs.  While sitting and chatting more times than not the conversation will turn to the various houses the PNMs have visited.  It’s fine to casually talk about the different parties but the minute the talk turns to opinions formed about houses, the sharing of gossip or negative comments then you’ve crossed the line of what’s okay and what’s not.  This is called “tent talk” and yep it happens a lot.  It is in a PNMs best interest to not participate.  If that means standing up and moving to another it!  I always tell girls that you do not know who’s listening.  While you are trash talking a sorority, the Rho Chi who is sitting with you might be a member.  Perhaps the PNM across the tent is a legacy.  Maybe a PNM over hears tent talk and due to the gossip she hears drops a house that is a perfect fit.  FYI….tent talk…don’t do it!!!

On many campuses Round 3 parties are skits.  Again the party times are longer.  You will go to the lawn/sidewalk of your first party on your schedule, line up in alphabetical order, the doors will open and the members are singing, ready to meet you! This party may be set up similarly to the Philanthropy parties.  You will be led in the sorority house (or conference room) by the member who picked you up at the door.  You might be led to a chair where the member will sit either beside you or on the floor in front of you.  The two of you will engage in conversation for a while (10 minutes maybe?). In that time you may be bumped once or twice. The lights will flicker and that’s the signal for you to move to a different room where on Philanthropy Day you would see a video about the sorority’s philanthropy, maybe hear members speak about what it means to them, there’s usually a song and a little more conversation.  Skit Day follows the same format, it’s just a little longer. When you go to the area where the skit is chances are you will be offered a drink. It’s okay to take it and not drink it. You can hold onto it and it will be taken from you before you leave.

You should know that you make take nothing in or out of a sorority house during recruitment.  When you get ready to leave the party there will be members or alums waiting to collect glasses, plates and napkins.  PNMs often ask what happens if you have to use the bathroom.  If at all possible you need to wait.  Hopefully between parties you will have an opportunity to use the restroom.  I kind of feel like I am lecturing my kindergarten students but it’s true…if the opportunity is there…try an use the potty!!!!

Skit Day really shows the personality of a sorority!  You will be able to see the sisters interact with each other.  You will be able to tell if a house has musicians, dancers, comedians just by watching the skit.  Some girls will notice that they are being led to the front of the room.  They will notice that some girls are the last out, while members are waving and calling them by name.  While not true for all houses, some houses will use preferential seating to show a PNM that they are interested in her.  During Skit Day you will notice that members may make it a point to introduce you to specific members.  If you are being “courted” by a particular house you may meet the recruitment chair and president this day.  Rest assured that the member that picked you up at the door probably was either assigned to you or chose you because she is part of a group of members that need/want to get you know better. For those of you who have friends in houses remember just because they didn’t pick you up at the door it’s not because they don’t want to talk to you.  They know you . They want their friends and sisters to get to know as well.

When the skit is finished there will be a few more minutes to chat before it is time to leave.  These few minutes are a great time to talk about the different personalities that you saw in the skit.  Let me explain.  Perhaps the skit was a parody of American Idol.  One of the sisters who portrayed a contestant may have had an amazing voice.  You might say, “Wow, the girl who played contestant a had an amazing voice.  Do you have lots of girls who are musical?”  These kinds of questions will shed more light on what types of girls are members.  It will give you some insight into what different members might be involved in on campus.  This is also a good day to talk about sisterhoods (these are themed get togethers for the whole house), why the member you are talking to choose this house,  what was her favorite memory from recruitment, pledging…now is the time to get a more personal feel for each sorority.

At the end of this round it is entirely possible that you will have developed a “rush crush” on a particular house (and maybe member).  A rush crush is just what it sounds like…a crush on a specific house.  You can see yourself as a member, sitting in their informal living room or other gathering area, totally comfortable watching the Bachelorette with your sisters, while laughing and interjecting comments about the various guys.  You have bonded with at least one member (she may have picked you up on day 1 and you’ve been chatting ever since).  You hum their door songs, have checked out their Lilly accessories on-line and love their sorority colors.  Rush crushes are common among PNMs.  Hopefully your rush crush is crushing on you as well.

What if after the skit you still feel a disconnect with a house.  Be polite, carry on good conversations.   Parties are not the time to let sororities that you are not interested.  that come when you rank houses.  It is important that you use your manners.  It has been the practice on some campuses that if a PNM is not interested in a sorority, when she is leaving a party she will turn her card around so that members cannot see her name, signifying that she is not interested and wishes not to be invited back.  Do not do this.  It is rude and unacceptable.

FYI…if you are legacy to a house you have visited during this round you should know that tonight is the last night they can let you go.  If they invite you to Preference then it is usually the case that they must put you on their first bid list.

At the end of two fun-filled days it will again be time to make the walk over to the room where you will rank the 5 houses you have visited.  For Suzy PNM the decision will now be…what 3 houses can she see herself in???? Lots of head conversations will occur.  Remember this is your decision and your decision alone.

To be continued………