Recently I was lucky enough to spend some great quality time with a group of current member sorority women. These amazing ladies represented 8 different sororities on 5 different campuses across the United States. We were working on different aspects of the recruitment process, RFM and party themes. There was lots of conversation, laughter and even a few tears were shed ( we had been singing our Preference sisterhood songs and well…since they are all seniors it kind of got a little emotional!!).
I decided since I had a panel of “experts” with me I might as well pick their brains (they were picking ) and so I asked the question, “Knowing now what you do about sorority recruitment what would you have done differently as a pnm going through the process?” FYI…when names are mentioned they have been changed to give the members privacy.
Leah was the first to jump in with her two cents…..she went through recruitment at a VERY competitive school that was a considerable distance from her home. She had parents who were Greek in college as well as her brother and a sister. Neither sibling was at competitive Greek school but both enjoyed their sorority/fraternity experiences. Here’s what she said , “truthfully I had no clue what I was getting into. I was so overwhelmed with just going so far from home, in a different part of the US that I guess I was a little blind. My mom was amazing!! I couldn’t have done it with out her. She jumped right in finding me recommendations, setting up coffees and meet and greets. She read everything she could bout the recruitment process and was super organized. since I was a double legacy (through my mom and my grandma) she called both sets of national GLOs to let them know that I was going through recruitment. Back when she was in a sorority if you were a legacy you could just assume that you be offered a bid but isn’t that way any more and so that made both of us a little nervous. We had to redo my wardrobe a bit…the clothes they wore on the campus I was going through recruitment at were a little more “southern” and girly. I’m an athlete so that was an adjustment. In the end we got recs for all of the house (most had at least 2). I felt pretty good going onto recruitment (yep..was not even prepared for the emotional roller coaster). It was a long hard week and I got really tired about day 4. I’m kind of what you see is what you get and I was just through being all sweet and smily, carrying on small talk. Small talk is not my thing!”
Maggie also went through recruitment on the same campus as Leah..she added..”I think I too wasn’t really prepared for the competitiveness of he process. I did competitive cheer from the time I was little. I’ve tried out for lots of squads and so I have the composure and stuff but going from house to house, meeting and talking with so many girls made my head spin! After a while they all seemed to blend together. I was really glad I took a little notebook and a pen to make notes after each party.. I did a little ranking system…okay I have to confess…I had heard that the sororities score you after each party and so when I ranked the houses after each party it was my kind of “well nanny nanny poo poo on you..I can do this too” thing. But yeah…making notes helped a lot.
McKenzie jumped in..”Hey you guys my school wasn’t super competitive..I still got recs for each house and had them sent and I also took notes to compare houses but I think that it was equally emotional! I wasn’t a legacy or anything..in fact no one in my family has ever been in a sorority so I had nothing to go on but what my friends and heir mothers told me. My campus is petty Greek socially so I knew hat if I didn’t get into a sorority that I might not have that much of a social life. That really worried me.
Leah…”I told my parents if I didn’t get a bid I was coming home and transferring schools…they weren’t very happy to hear that!”
Annamaria….”so you guys all know that I go to a big state college. I wouldn’t say we are uber competitive but we are getting more and more competitive each year. I knew los of girls who were already members in houses as well as girls who were going through at the same time as me. I had a real sense of security going through. All my friends told me not to worry that i would be fine. I had been down both my junior and senior year to hang out, go to a couple of football games…so yeah..I thought I was golden. WOW!!! was i ever shocked when the first party invite card came out. Two of the houses where i had friends didn’t invite me back and they had been replaced by (she now sticks her finger in her mouth) the “gag’ houses. I was just devastated! I burst into tears and my recruitment counselor hustled me into the bathroom. She was great…she explained to me that it really wasn’t personal and that several girls just can’t pull a friend in. She also told me to give the “ag” houses a second chance…they had seen something in me that made them want to get to know me better (I really thought they just invited everyone back..surprise..they make cuts too!). To top it off I then had to go back to the girls I knew who all , “what houses did you get/” and then “Oh wow you got dropped by xYZ… thought you had friends in that house?” I really learned who my true friends were during that week.
Kasey…..”SO my experience was so not like you guys. My school has deferred recruitment..we do it right after Winter Break.. We come back a week early. there was snow on the ground and we had to walk to Pref in high heels…I nearly wiped out like 10 times!!! We are not very competitive but since Leah had told me all about her school and how you had to have recs I kind of panicked and got them. I’ve now learned that they actually helped me since I’m from out-of-state. Of course I kind of have a big mouth and so my brother says that they probably all heard me on campus all of first semester. We had some little party things…kind of meet and greet first semester but nothing organized until January.. I always thought going through at a deferred school would be easier..you get to see all the members first semester and so you can know about the different houses going in but in a way it’s harder. I had to be on my best behavior all of the time and you guys know that’s hard for me!!(everyone laughs). No getting drunk at fraternity parties..I was afraid to date for fear I was stealing some sister’s boyfriend. I constantly felt like i was being watched. So now i know that wasn’t true but i think as a PNM you are so hyper worried about doing something wrong and not getting bid.
Beth jumped in at this point….”So I think I have you all beat…remember guys….I am a triple legacy. My mom and both of my sisters all were members of the same house on the same campus that I was going through recruitment at. Talk about pressure…I’d been hanging around that house since I was born..oh yeah even before that since my mom was recruitment advisor when she was pregnant with me. Everyone just assumed I’d pledge that house. Yeah and here’s the hard part…I wasn’t really sure I wanted to. My mom and my sisters were great…they encourage me to look at every house carefully and it was okay to choose the house that was right for me. I remember being so worried that everyone world drop me after the first round of parties. My sisters were great about letting the other houses know that I wasn’t set on their house and for the most part I think that the other sororities did give me a chance but I took a really big hit after day 3. In then end I went my legacy house and I do kind of wonder if I hadn’t been a triple legacy what it might have been like.”
Zoey and Maisy are identical twins…Zoey is the out going of the two…Maisy the quieter but it was Maisy who spoke up. “So you guys know that we went through at a competitive school that was also far from home. We each got our own recs..well okay so Zoey went out there and just started taking them all and I had to beg her for a few but in the end we had quite a few recs from different ladies. Our school also relied pretty heavily on Letters of Support so we had to get those as well. Our local Panhellenic really helps us out a lot. They come to our high school and give a presentation to all of the girls who are wanting to go through recruitment. Later in the Spring they have this meeting/tea thing and we all went. We had to take our resume, pics and a copy of our transcript. They then said they would help to secure recs and LOS for each house. ”
Zoey jumped in…”My mom is a nervous nelly and so she told us that we had better go out there and get a rec for every house on our own just in case….yeah so I did. I know a ton of people from pageants and so it was pretty easy. I think the most upsetting thing was that everyone we talked to told us that since we were identical twins that most sororities would consider us a package deal. Hey I love you Mais but I gotta tell you I really wanted to be my own person. I think it kind of upset mom too. She’s always encouraged us to be our own person (okay..gotta jump in here because as the twins were on the hot seat both were twirling a piece of hair with their left hand…), she never dressed us the same and we were never in the same class. We both decided to go to the same college because we both really LOVED the campus and what it had to offer.”sy
Maisy….”I felt the same way. We worked really hard not to be a package deal….but the minute we arrived on campus everyone was very excited and curious about us. Apparently all of the sororities were excited as well and I can’t tell you how many times I’d go to a party on the first couple of days and one of the members would say ,”Oh your twin was just here.” So you guys can guess where this is going right??? Yup we both had identical party cards all week, went to Pref at the same house (different parties) and yup both got a bid to the same house. I’ll tell you the interesting part though. As the week wore on Zoey and I both liked different houses in the set that we had. This was true all the way up to Pref. When it came down to bid day the house that Zoey loved wanted to bid her but not me. I guess their recruitment chair told them that we ere a package deal and so they didn’t bid her. The house I loved have Zoey farther down on the list. Panhellenic intervened and asked them to bid us both and they agreed.”
I asked, “Who told yo this story?”
Maisy…”My big”….it was last year when she was doing her candle passing. She asked Zoey to be in her wedding, not me…which is totally okay…they are better friends but the whole story came out. You should know neither of us were upset….we love our house, our sisters and are convinced that we ended up where we were supposed to.”
So I asked again, “What would you do differently?”
Leah…”I think I would try hard afer the first round. By the time I got to day 2 of the second round of parties I was just tired of chit chatting. I took a pretty big cut for third round parties and I think that’s why. Also start preparing in high school…get good grades, join clubs, be a leader, do lots of volunteering..sororities LOVE that!”
Maggie..”I listened to a lot of tent talk…yep not good! I ended up ranking houses low because of what others said. I now know lots of girls in those houses and they are nothing like the gossip I heard.”
McKenzie…..”I self sick! I would have just relaxed a little bit more. I was so worried about getting a bid I almost made myself sick! you need to eat and take care of yourself during the week. If you don’t you won’t be your best.”
Annamaria….”The one person you can count on is you. If you do your homework, get those recs, be all smily and personable then you will be ok. Don’t rely on anyone else to get you a bid..you have to do it yourself. Remember to maximize your options…that’s really important.”
Kasey…”I worried way too much about what “image” I was presenting and well..I didn’t have a whole lot of fun first semester. I spent a lot of times studying..okay so that wasn’t that bad but I didn’t do a ton socially because i was so worried that I would make a fool of my self (so lots of chuckles here….you gotta know and love Kasey…she’s got a BIG personality) or make someone mad.”
Beth….” My biggest suggestion is to BE TRUE TO WHO YOU ARE!” Be yourself and you will end up where you belong. I think I tried too hard to not be me (like my mom and sisters)…hey genetics are genetics. there’s an old saying …”an apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree” and that’s true!”
Zoey…”I think I tried too hard. It was exhausting trying to be upbeat and bubbly 24/7. Even when we were back at the dorm i was always “on”. I should have taken time for me.”
I asked…”recs or no recs?”….all 8 said recs… definitely!
Who helped you the most?
Leah, Beth, Zoey and Maisy…”our mom!!!”
Last words of advice for PNMs?
McKenzie….”Smile..if you have trouble smiling them put a layer of vaseline on you upper gums.”
Beth…”dress for success…not labels but wear something you feel comfortable and confident in.”
Maisy….” market yourself..give the sororities something to remember you by”.
Zoey….”don’t be afraid to act like you normally do…hey if you’re goofy then be goofy. If you are quite and shy then make sure and practice your conversation skills before recruitment starts.”
Annamaria……” don’t judge a book by it’s cover..in other words give each sorority at least two chances before you put them in the bottom group…have an open mind and heart.”
Kasey….”when you get to Preference look around the room at the other PNMs. These girls could be your sisters….can you see yourself sitting in your pjs watching “How I Met Your Mother”…if yes then they’re the one..if no then keep looking.”
Maggie….”Make a list of what you are looking for in a sorority. During recruitment visit it often.”
I have so much more from these lovely ladies I may post it later…great pearls of wisdom above ;).