If you ask PNMs, some will tell you this has been the longest week of their life and others will tell you the week flew by, either way on Bid Day the process of Formal Recruitment is finally over. Bid Day is the moment PNMs have been working towards (in some case over a year) and looking forward to.
Before going to bed the night before Bid Day, your Rho Chi will give you a period of time that you need to be in your room in case the dreaded phone call comes. Today the phone call will be to tell you that you did not receive a bid. Should you be worried? Only if…you suicided (only listed 1 or 2 houses even though you attended more than 2 parties). If you maximized your options and listed all of the houses whose Preference parties you attended then you will be fine :).
So how many girls will receive bids? How many will get their first choice? How many will not get their first choice? What will quota be? If you are an upperclassmen you may be wondering what upperclassmen quota will be?
You should know that it is a panhellenic’s intention to have as many girls as possible receive bids. How does that happen? Remember back several days ago I told you that most campuses used RFM short for Release Figures Methodology. According to this plan those PNMs who have attended a Preference party MUST be on a sorority’s bid list. What this means is that a sorority may not “drop” a PNM if she attended their Preference party.
So sororities create list(s) of the PNMs who attended their Preference parties. If you are a legacy and you attended your legacy house Preference Party then you will be put at the top of their first list. The lists the sororities make and the rankings that the PNMs did are then fed into a computer and using a complicated system they are “matched”. The very basic explanation is: If you put sorority XYZ first on your bid card and they have you on their first list and they have not made quota (the number of PNMs that panhellenic says they can extend bids to) then you match. If however, you are not on their first list or they have already filled quota then it is attempted to match the PNM with her second house. It is interesting to note that if a girl on XYZ’s first list matches with a different chapter then chapter XYZ now has an open spot on their first list. So, the first name on the second list moves up onto the first list. Let’s say that you are not on XYZ’s first list even though you ranked them first. When the house you ranked second gets to your name (which is on their first list) they notice that you did not rank them the highest and so they will put you aside to see if you match with chapter XYZ. Sometimes it can happen that you will not make a match with your first choice because you were not high enough on their list and by the time your second house gets back to you they have filled their quota. This can continue onto your third choice and on a rare occasion there is no match or bid.
What happens if a PNM attended all three Preference parties but did not match because by the time they got to her each house had already filled quota? This is called cross- cutting but the good news is that many campuses have put a system in place that prevents cross-cuts. According to RFM, the PNM then would be what we call a “quota add”, which means she will be added at the end of bid matching to one of the three sororities bid lists whose Preference parties she attended. In most cases, after looking at the names of all the girls who did not match, the house presidents will vote to allow quota plus and a number will set to allow chapters to extend bids to those girls who did not receive a bid. Remember house total is the total number of members a sorority may have as dictated by Panhellenic and their national organization. PNMs do not know that they are a quota add. Their name will appear on the bid list with the other pledges.
So I be you are wondering what happened to our PNM. I guess now is a good time to tell you that Suzy PNM is a real person and this was her recruitment story. While Suzy did not get the dreaded phone call one of her roommates did. This girl single-preferenced at bid signing, listing only one house instead of all three whose Preference parties she attended. As I warned earlier this is not advised. I am happy to tell you that although the girl was quite upset, she stayed at school and accepted a bid during Spring COB.
Suzy and her other two roommates went to the assigned spot to receive their bid cards and then make the run to their new sorority home. The three girls were not in the same Rho Chi groups but agreed they would text each other pictures of their bid cards. Usually when Bid Day activities the PNMs file into a specified area and are handed sealed envelopes with their bids in them. There is always a ‘reveal” where the PNMs will find out what houses the Rho Chis are members of. This is always fun for the PNMs…and Suzy was excited to find out that her Rho Chi was a Kappa Delta (which was the house she ranked first on her bid card). Isn’t it a good thing that she didn’t talk negatively about KD when she kept putting them on her bottom list. Even though Rho Chis take a pledge to be non-partial I can’t help but think how hard it would be to hear a PNM talk badly about your sisters.
After the reveal the time comes for the big count down and the opening of the bid envelopes! Campuses across the United States have different names for this like, “squeal day”, or “the running of the bulls”, but rest assured PNMs are excited and thrilled to find out the name of their new sisterhood!
I know what you are thinking …what happens to the girls who don’t get their first choice? In many cases those girls are just happy to have a bid but there are pledges who are very disappointed and upset over the contents of their bid envelope. These girls may not be able to see through their disappointment and may choose to not accept the bid. Sometimes emotion clouds the ability to make decisions and in this case the wrong decision can have lasting implications. By not accepting the bid, the PNM has eliminated herself from going through recruitment for one calendar year. In addition if and when she does choose to go through recruitment there is a possibility that her options will be limited because she rejected this bid.
I always tell girls to not make an abrupt decision. While I am sure that PNMs are shocked when they open the envelope, wishing, hoping and praying to see one sorority name only to see a name that they sis not expect. Remember IF you go to a Preference Party, you are telling that sorority that you will accept a bid from them. So should you not go to a Preference party if you are not “in love” with a house. No, I would encourage all PNMS to attend all Preference parties and to accept the bid they receive.
I would tell those girls to go to the bid day activities, meet her new sisters and give them a chance. As I have said all along….there is no such thing as a pity bid. A sorority is not in the business to offer bids to girls who they know will not accept them or accept them and then quit. So give it a chance. Most girls find that they end up loving their new sisterhood and could not imagine being anywhere else.
After opening their bid cards PNMs (now pledges) will make their way to heir new sisters. There will be activities planned for the day or evening. You will get a sorority member who will be your bid day buddy. She will give you your jersey and a goody bag full of sorority items. On many campuses Bid Day is for pledges and members only. There are some campuses however where Bid Day is a family affair. Alabama, Oklahoma, Auburn, Oklahoma State just to name a few. Go..enjoy and have fun!!! It’s been a long week…let the fun begin :).
A bit about Bid Day clothing. It varies from campus to campus. Check your college panhellenic website for the correct dress. Some campuses will tell girls to wear cute shorts and tops, some campuses have girls dress in white dresses while others will suggest comfortable sun dresses. Start checking now so that you can shop accordingly.
So that is a day-to-day recruitment run down. After going through this with my daughters even writing it now makes me feel nervous and I actually am tired at this point. Whew!!! I was a week, especially the week of recruitment at the competitive recruitment school our youngest attends. But I have to tell you I wouldn’t trade the experiences for anything. I also wouldn’t trade my sorority experiences and I am sure my daughters would tell you that they would not trade their sorority experiences for non-sorority life. So if you haven’t gotten started get going. If you have been having trouble deciding whether you want to go through the process I urge you to give it some heartfelt consideration. Although it was a stressful week, everyday was worth it!