As promised…. part 2 of going through recruitment with challenges and issues.  Today’s post is directed towards transfer students, sophomore and upperclassman who may have issues (GPA, been through recruitment before, ect).

So…let’s talk strictly about upperclassmen recruitment.  I guess the first question is “why” did you wait until you were a sophomore to decide to go through formal recruitment? I have heard a lot of different replies when I have asked this question. For some girls it’s because their parents wanted them to get a firm foundation academically before they committed the time to a sorority. For others it’s that they were too afraid and unsure of themselves to go through as a freshman.  And still for others, it was that their GPA was below what was recommended and they wanted time to bring it up to a more acceptable level. Whether it the reasons listed above or other reasons I have had quite a few girls contact me with questions and concerns about going through formal recruitment as a sophomore or above.

If you are a sophomore or a transfer student and have decided to go through formal recruitment at a competitive recruitment school there are some things you need to know.  At many competitive recruitment schools there is what is called an “upperclassman quota”.  What this means is that in addition to the regular quota number set by panhellenic (sometimes called freshman quota but know that this number can include upperclassman as well), panhellenic will also tell sororities that they may take a certain number of upperclassman in addition to the freshman quota.  This is very helpful to girls who are sophomores or above, or transfer students.  I gives then a better chance of securing a bid and allows the sororities to not have to use their freshman quota numbers.

Here are a few of the schools that use upperclassman quota: U of Alabama, U of South Carolina, Florida State, UCLA, UAB, Georgia, Ole Miss, Clemson, Depaul, North Alabama, UC-Davis, UC-Berkeley, USC (California), Iowa, Southern Mississippi,
St. Louis (Missouri), UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Wilmington, University of Tulsa, Pennsylvania State, Tennessee, SMU, Tarleton State (Texas), TCU, Texas, Mississippi State, Samford, Troy, Houston (seniors only), University of Florida, Texas A&M, Kansas State, University of Washington. As for LSU and Auburn I have had mixed reports…while their RFM does not indicate upperclassman quotas being used I have heard that they have in the past.

So let’s go back to upperclassman recruitment.  Just like freshman PNMs, IF you are going through formal recruitment at a competitive recruitment school you will need letters of recommendation for each house.  Make sure that your resume has both your high school info (if you are a sophomore) and your college info (GPA, activities, philanthropy, clubs ect).  You will also need copies of your high school transcript (this is optional but if you took a lot of APs, Dual Enrollments or if you have a great high school GPA then I would include it) as well as your college transcripts. Make sure when you are composing your resume that you put your college GPA.  If you have GPA issues and are taking summer school classes in hopes of rasing it then it’s ok to put your current GPA and then add (anticipated GPA August 2013 and write what you think that will be.  Remember that your university will send a grade report to all of the sororities to cross check GPAs..make sure what you are projecting is actually VERY close to what your new GPA will be.

Many campuses and sororities will have a GPA that is advised for Freshman and a GPA that is advised for upperclassman girls.  Your best bet is to contact your schools panhellenic and ask about GPAs.  If you school has a competitive recruitment you should know that your GPA may be scrutinized even more than those of the freshmen girls who are going through.  While many panhellenics will have the upperclassman GPA lower than the  high school GPA, many sororities want girls who actually have a fairly high GPA (think over a 3.0).  For some girls this can be a challenge.  How do you explain away a low GPA?

I wish I could tell you that the sororities will be open to listening to, understanding or reading about why your GPA is below that accepted level.  The truth is that in many cases they won’t.  At school where over 200 girls will register for formal recruitment sororities just don’t have the time to devote to understanding GPA issues.  Often times they will simply note that the girl is a grade risk. they do not want to bid a girl who is on academic probation from day 1. So what do you do?  Is it a hopeless cause?

I have always been a glass half full person.  My thought is this..if you don’t try you will never know.  Just as I posted yesterday you have to be prepared for the possibility that you will be let go by every sorority.  It can happen, it will happen to some and you need to be aware of the possibility.  I know that some of you are thinking”yeah but it’s not going to happen to me”..I want you to listen…it can!

You will need to do everything possible to make your self look so desirable on paper at first and later when you start round one that the sorority may forget your GPA problem.   Not easy but it can be done.  My suggestion is that you sit down and list anything and everything that you were involved in high school as well as college (I am really hoping you were involved in some clubs, activities and philanthropy events).  Remember that a sorority is looking for members who are going to be involved.  There are many different type of officer positions in a sorority, from corresponding secretary to chaplain there’s something for everyone.  Some of the different positions in a sorority are: President, Executive VP Membership, Executive VP Property, Executive VP Recruitment, Scholarship, Panhellenic Delegate, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, Chaplin, Homecoming Chair, Greek Week Chair, Social Chair, Philanthropy Chair, Sisterhood Chair, Alumni Relations, Historian, Webmaster, Parent Relations, just name some.  Hopefully by looking at this list you might find several different positions that you are interested in and more importantly that you have previous experiences that may make you the perfect girl for the job!

Since you can’t just call up the sororities and tell them you’d be great for a position or two, you are going to have to create your resume to highlight your skills.  Be can twist wording to make an activity sound/appear to be more important than it actually was. For example: let’s say you were involved in a spirit club in high school or college.  Instead of listing it a ACB High School Spirit group (2009-2012) put  Executive Member ABC High School Spirit Group..involved in executing themed spirit events for football, basketball and baseball 2009-2012.  Sure you may have only been a member who threw out an idea or two but the second description makes you sound like you were the inspiration behind the events. I am not asking you to lie just be creative with your words :).

Another thing you can do is to make sure that each woman who is writing your recommendation attaches a personal letter explaining what wonderful characteristics and qualities you have that would be beneficial to her sorority’s sisterhood.  You want the sorority to see you as a team player, someone who will give unselfishly, a hard worker who is committed to any task she is asked to take on and most importantly someone who is going to work very hard to make sure that her GPA continues to rise.  Words like loyal, kind, inspirational, dependable, respected, a leader, poised, congenial and compatible in a group , when used in a letter of support leap out as signals that this PNM despite a GPA issue might be worth a risk.

Another suggestion is when you are putting together your rec packets to give to the women who are writing your recs, include several letters from people who know your GPA struggles, are able to speak to the issues involved but are also able to speak to your personal character.  These letters are meant to show support, paint a favorable picture of you and to lend credibility to who you are.  Two or three letters are fine.  If you are reaching out to alums via email, searching to find recs, then make sure that these are attached to the email along with your resume and pictures.  I wish I could tell you that every alum who you reach out will be willing to write you a rec but unfortunately if they do not know you and they are concerned about your GPA they may refuse.  Not time to dwell on the rejection…just keep reaching out!

I want you to remember that honesty is the best policy.  If your GPA issues have to do with a medical condition then make sure you have the documentation to back it up.   As I mentioned in yesterday’s post some panhellenics will take this documentation and share it with the sororities.  What they choose to do with the information is up to them but it can’t hurt to put it out there. If your GPA issues are simply because you didn’t go to class, you partied too much or you just didn’t care then I think you most likely are going to have some problems.  Sure you can say this to the women who are writing your recs, be remorseful…hind sight is 20/20 but let’s be honest just saying you didn’t care doesn’t send a good message.  If you got in over your head with difficult classes and have been struggling to keep you head above water then say that.  There’s something to be said for someone who keeps trying even in the face of adversity.

For those of you are facing this situation currently my heart goes out to you.  I so wish that I cold magically have the ability to make each sorority see what amazing young women you are..but I can’t.  All I can do is pray and offer as much support and suggestions as I possibly can.  Be prepared for what may come, good or bad.  Use this experience to grow stronger.  If the worst happens then you will have decisions to make.  There is always Spring Informal although in many cases on competitive campuses very few houses participate.  There is also Formal the following year when hopefully you have worked hard and your GPA is stronger.

A couple more things….first…if you have friends in sororities who are telling you they can sway members to get you a bid…think twice!  Yes,,they are your “Friends” but several girls do not have the power or in some cases the ability to change national policies or convince 200 girls to take a grade risk. Be careful!  The same goes for you who are legacies.  In today’s world being a legacy or even knowing women who are in high positions in a national sorority cannot guarantee you a bid under the best of circumstances much less if there are issues.

Next…go into this process with an open mind.  Honestly your options are going to be very limited and if you go into the process only wanting several houses then you are going to be disappointed.  Remember that when/if you get invites it is not because they se you as a pity case or feel that they “have” to.  The sorority has looked at you and has determined that see something that makes them believe that your would make a great sister :).

Finally, as you remember me saying I am a glass half full person.  In the past year I have known two girls who went through recruitment as sophomore at two of the most competitive recruitment campuses in the United States.  Both girls had GPA issues.  Both girls took VERY heavy cuts after the first round of parties and BOTH girls received bids….Miracles do happen :)……stay positive..fight hard.. believe in yourself and the impossible might just come true!