Sorority Rush… what you can expect

College Info, Senior

June 15, 2023

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Sorority Rush-what to expect?

So, you are headed to college and you decided you want to rush! I can honestly say, it is such a great experience, and one that could lead to lifelong friendships, and higher school involvement. But I know its not for everyone! In this blog post, I will talk about some of the benefits of “going greek”, how rush works, and some tips and tricks! Please note this is not applicable to fraternity rush… I didn’t do that {obvi} and can’t speak to that side.

Why you should “go greek”

Contrary to what you hear, it’s not “one big party”, especially on the sorority side. Most national houses require school involvement, mandatory meetings, house involvement, a minimum GPA, and study hours. If you plan to rush, and your campus has “houses” they may provide food {and it’s usually one of the cheaper ways to eat on campus}, and housing {again, one of the cheaper places to live}. But, it is a commitment. Is it worth it? I think that depends on YOU and what you want. I do think being involved in Greek life helps you to be more involved in campus. Generally speaking, the Greeks are the leaders on campus. You will also find they are usually the most up to date on current events and open positions. This is because they are involved in so many of them. This helps other members find out about leadership positions, and groups, and different things to get involved in. Greeks also tend to stick together {which is what makes it hard for non-greeks} it’s not a bad thing, its just the way it goes when people have something common. You will have good friends in different houses. You will have good friends that aren’t greek as well. Remember, college is about branching out, meeting ALL the people, and making the most of those experiences.

What if you aren’t sure if Greek life is for you? My advice… try rush, see how it goes. You may be totally surprised. Every campus is different, and so is each house, on each campus. If you were an involved student in high School, its a great way to continue that. Is it social? yes… but some are more social than others. Does it have requirements? yep! But remember, anything worth being involved in is worth investing in, and that goes both ways!

But I am buying my friends!

This is my MOST HATED statement I have ever heard regarding being Greek. It’s just completely inaccurate. Do you pay to be in a sorority or fraternity, yes. But honestly, you pay for everything on a college campus. One of the aspects of being Greek, is you are surrounded by leaders and achievers, which leads to …. you guessed it, being a leader and achiever. Now, that doesn’t mean if you AREN’T greek you won’t be a leader or an achiever, it’s just, in my opinion, an easier way to meet those kinds of people. And guess what, it’s not just WHAT you know, but WHO you know! College is about getting out of your bubble and MEETING NEW PEOPLE. The more you do that, the better college will be for you. Whether that is in Greek life, clubs, your specific college, or any of the other billion options, get off social media, and go talk to people IRL!

The process of Rush {Recruitment} …

I am old school, it will always be RUSH, but technically the new name is “new member recruitment”. Girls are no longer called Rushees, they are called “potential new members” and in this blog will be called PNM. Recruitment is usually a week long process where you go to “parties” {think tea parties, not keg parties} and meet members at each house. After each party there is a ranking system for both the house, and the PNM. I will say this time and time again, but a lot of this is a NUMBERS GAME, statistical mathematics, if you will, all based on rankings and the number of PNM’s. The higher the PNM and the house have each other ranked, the greater the chance you will return to that house for subsequent parties. How many parties? that varies by campus- it depends on how many girls are participating on the PNM side, how many active houses there are and what Quota is for each house. Quota is the amount of PNM’s a house is allowed {required} to take. Again this varies by chapter, and by campus. One XYZ house at Auburn, may not have the same quota as ABC at Auburn, or at XYZ at Alabama. The sisters know the quota of their house, but PNM’s usually don’t, and it changes each year.

Should you go through Rush as a freshman or a sophomore?

I rushed as a freshmen, and so did my daughter. Is it the only way? Nope! But, houses take a larger amount of freshman than any other year. The reason? It allows the house to have that PNM involved for a longer period of time. And, generally, freshman are less involved in their majors at the beginning. I also think it’s a great way to meet other freshman, and get involved in campus organizations early. The earlier you start, the better you chance you have of reaching leadership positions. Generally by the time you are a Junior it is pretty difficult to get a bid, they want members who will be active for 3-4 years, and they want ones who may not be totally immersed in their higher level {read: more difficult classes}. That’s not to say it WON’t happen, but it is harder the older you are in college.

Can you do spring rush? Sure! if your college offers it. It is more prevalent now than when I rushed. But, I would make sure that most, if not all houses participate. It’s generally based on the number of members who graduated, or dropped out in Fall. It is usually less stressful, and less structured, but again, it may not be all of the houses, or many spots. I do think it’s harder to go in with open expectations after spending a semester or two on campus.

Is Recruitment Stressful?

HAHAHAHA! Can you hear that laughter, I am going to go with a strong affirmative on that… but let me preface that by saying,

1) that depends on your personality

2) it depends on your wishes.

What do I mean? If you are a worrier… then yes, it can be a crazy stressful time. If you are a laid back human, then you may not be bothered at all. Some advice on this, don’t call your mom after every party… she is stressed enough {trust me} and she cant fix any of it {also, trust me}- even if she is alumnae! That was the great thing about when I went through it {for my mom} and what I hated when my daughter went through it in 2021. For my moms out there reading this, try to not ride the wave of her emotions, because trust me, it will be A LOT! Try and be positive, and remind her, NO ONE HOUSE IS THE END ALL. Let me say that again… don’t read the reviews of the houses on your campus {they are mostly written by angry frat guys, and inactive members… kind of like yelp reviews} and are widely inaccurate and over-generalized. The #1 piece of advice I have, go in with an open mind, which leads me to #2.. your wishes. I promise, wherever you land, you will find your people. Every house has every personality. Please ignore “tiers”, try and ignore the “chatter” when you go from house to house, or when you talk to others on campus. This is where no expectations really helps! The more open you are to the whole process, the better off you are. Will there be let downs? Of course, thats life, but trust the process. I say this to both parents, and PNM’s… you have to trust the process, it really does work.

Tips for a successful recruitment?

So, you have decided you want to go through Rush- YEAH! I am super excited for you! Whether you love it, or hate it, stepping outside your comfort zone is a HUGE thing, and very adult of you. These are the kind of experiences that will shape you, no matter the outcome.

First, don’t have any preconceived ideas – Alabama rush tok, anyone?!?! Try and have a very open mind about the process, the houses, and the people. Second, rely on your rush advisors {they have many different names, but many use Pi Chi}. These are women who have disaffiliated from their chapter {and they will NOT tell you which one they are in till bid day} and are there to support you. They are especially helpful because they have been where you are, and they have helped others just like you! I know for my daughter her Pi Chi’s became some of her most trusted friends, even after recruitment was long done.

Second, talk to as many recruits as you can… they know EXACTLY how you feel. They are sweating with you {and in the south you will SWEAT}, running with you, and sharing all the emotions you are. They may someday be your new sister! Most of them are your age, and it’s such a great way to broaden your new circle of friends!

Third, be kind, and be happy. The girls rushing you are TIRED! Let me say that again, EXHAUSTED! They started the week before you got there… some of them have even worked all summer. They have been up early in the morning, gone till late at night. They are BEAT, but… they are there for you! They are excited to meet you! They are nervous if you will like them too! They want you to be happy to be there! They also want to get to know YOU! Not the fake you, the real YOU! The things you like, the things you have fun doing. I will be honest, its hard to go through this process as an introvert.. and it may convert you to an extrovert {maybe an introverted extrovert}. The more you TALK, the better it is. Now, that being said, you don’t need to share all the trials and tribulations you are having with your new roommate, or the fight you had with your boyfriend… and the meaty details of it {save that for your rush buddies} but being open and talkative is the name of the game.

Fourth, use a good photo for submission. Make sure you are smiling! Make sure you have on clothes you want them to see! Make sure its well lit. Side note, this is where your senior photo is SUPER helpful! A professional photo beats an iphone snap any day! But, you want to look like you! If you changed your hair color, I would probably add an updated photo that is accurate.

Lastly, dress appropriately. Dress for the weather {read HOT}, dress for the round you are in, dress for WHO YOU ARE. Now, I get it, you love sweats and T… who doesn’t, but you cant wear that! But, if you hate dresses, don’t wear them. Do a romper, a pantsuit, a dressy shorts outfit. There are loads of ideas… But stay covered. If you have to tug on a shirt or dress to keep it in the correct place… don’t wear it! You will be hot, and sweaty, and tugging and pulling is no way to spend the day! Spend some time on each sororities instagram, and see what they wear. But, remember, it’s better to be a bit more on the conservative side. Ain’t no one who wants their nipple cover to pop out!

What do I do about recs?

First off, a “rec” or recommendation, is a form done by an alumnae {in good standing} for a PNM for a specific sorority. Generally it is done on their sorority alumnae page. The alumnae will usually need their member number {so if you don’t have that, contact your national chapter office}. Every year I see frantic moms posting in Facebook for recs for their daughters as rush is starting. Is this helpful… generally speaking, no.

Are they required… yes… ish. So, in order to get a bid, you {generally speaking} must have a recommendation at that house. Now, there are advisors sitting at every meeting with the active girls, and any one of those advisors can write a rec. What does that mean? That means, if that house wants you, you WILL have a rec… and you just need it by bid day.

Should you get recs for every house in your campus? well that depends… IF, and this is a big IF, you KNOW someone that was a member at the house, AND they KNOW the PNM, then have it sent! Recs are used to HIGHLIGHT PNM’s. A generic “I recommend Becky Sue…” isn’t going to help. But, someone who knows Becky Sue, and can speak to her qualifications, and personality, and how it relates to that specific house, has a much stronger rec than just a general one, and that’s what chapters want to read. They want to know why you would make a great addition to their house, what sets you apart and any old person can’t do that {even with your resume} they need to know YOU. And trust me when I say, your resume looks like everyone else’s! But, if they know you, then they can speak to who you are… and thats what the sisters want to see. Most houses use recs to highlight PNM’s that would be a great fit for their specific chapter. So, moms, no need to get a bunch of random recs unless your school requires it. Focus on the people who little Becky Sue, and can write a thorough rec as to her strengths and assets!

**BONUS TIP** If someone is doing a rec for you, send them a resume with all the details as a beautiful PDF…. but then copy and paste those details into the email that you send, that way the alumnae can COPY AND PASTE your details quickly! Trust me, this will make their life so much easier, and make sure they include all your important details!

Does it help if I am a Legacy?

First off, what is a legacy? Direct Legacy is mother, sister, grandmother, etc. Indirect is cousins, Aunts, etc. I know of triple legacies dropped by houses after round one, don’t ever bank on a bid because you are a legacy! The only difference is if their is CURRENTLY a direct legacy ACTIVE in the chapter at the same campus. In other words, if your older sister is a XXX at XYZ university, and you are a PNM going through at XYZ university, then legacy matters.

So does it help? Generally… no. Some houses, on some campuses still rank it as a determining factor, but most don’t, and don’t bank on it. Many sororities changed their policy in 2020 due to the amount of girls going though recruitment. If houses kept all legacies, that could fill all their numbers for who is invited back after each round… and thats not fair to all the other girls going through who do not have ties to that specific house. It will defiantly make them highlight your application so make sure you include the information.

Do they really check social media?

Yes! from the MOMENT you attach your school link they see you! Once you sign up for recruitment, they defiantly do! And if someone in that house knows you {good or bad} they have been on your social! If you are private, they can’t see you, and their is no need to make yourself public. But, if you are public, make sure you insta shines. It should show your friends, you, and you should be CLOTHED! Ya’ll I am on a LOT of teen and college age instagrams, and I have seen it all! I advise keeping it PG, we know you have a cute tush, K? K! Can you have your boyfriend on there? Sure! But if your whole feed is the love of your life… that looks, well, not exactly like someone who CAN’T WAIT to meet her besties. Think of how you feel looking at theirs! You want to see friendship, and fun, and good things! This isn’t the time to rant politics {unless thats REALLY who you are} and just know it could turn a certain recruiter off to you. This isn’t the time to talk angry about all the people who made you angry lately. Is it cruddy you have to be happy on social, kind of… but remember they are only getting a small glimpse in to who you are, so make it positive.

What if I get dropped from the house I really wanted?

Oh sweet baby, it happens. I wish I could say it didn’t. And sometimes its just plain old math! But, there is a reason, and you have to trust the system. Try not to let it ruin you, cry if you need to, but, as Elsa said, “Let it GO”. I remember when I went through rush, a girl in my group was dropped by her moms house {she was a direct legacy} and she was devastated {that was more rare when I went through rush, now its pretty standard}. I still remember her crying and how sad she was. She ended up sticking with it, and went to a different house on bid day. She LOVED her four years with that house she ended up in! And honestly, looking back, she was not a good fit for the house that had dropped her. Now, as I said, every house, has every personality… but certain houses have more of certain sets. Maybe one is more of a party house… more of a study house… more involved on campus… more of whatever. But in the end, it really does workout. And I also say, it is what YOU make it!

Remember where I said going in with no expectations is important… this is where I really mean that. Don’t have an idea of where you HAVE to be… especially as an incoming freshman. Houses change so quickly, and personalities do too! Just because your sisters, best friends, boyfriends, mom’s niece loved XYZ sorority and said its the BEST is all subjective! Don’t get hung-up on that!

What if I don’t get a bid?

Well, I hate to say it, but that happens too! I was in the Panhellenic group for my daughter’s pledge year, and I read some sad stories for sure. Now, I cant speak to WHY they didn’t get a bid, but, I have a few guesses and many didn’t get a bid, they just dropped out bc of the reason above… and preconceived notions. First, math… again. If 2000 girls go through rush and there are 1800 spots, well, then it happens. And if your choice doesn’t put you high enough or vice versa, it can happen mathematically. Generally they say, if you make it to the final round you WILL get a bid. And while, it may not be two choices you want, I highly suggest you GO AND TRY it! Don’t get initiated if you are unsure, but at least try! I can’t stress that enough!

Second, you really didn’t want to be there… maybe you THOUGHT you did. Maybe your mom talked you in to it, but if after a few days it’s not in your heart, then don’t keep going. The members can tell who doesn’t really want to be there… and it makes them sad too.

Third, maybe you hated talking… and you realized you are an introvert. I get it, in rush, that is hard! That’s when your other factors help- you are super involved, you have a great GPA, you have other factors that make you a great PNM! And lord, if you know you are an introvert, practice with some older college girls over the summer! Trust me, they would love to do lunch and help you! But if you spent most of high school studying, and you hate doing small talk, I won’t lie, rush is tough! The sisters are CRAVING a connection! They want to love you too! Work hard on giving them parts of you so they can have that. Ya’ll I can promise you those sisters fall in love with you too, and are so sad when they don’t see your name on that list for the next party, or bid day! This is hard for them as well.. and remember they have been you! They know how you feel!

And lastly, numbers… I bring this up again because its just the fact of the lottery of rush. The computers do the best they can, but know, sometimes it’s that more girls on their list ranked them as their #1. Generally, you wont NOT get a bid on bid day. It is relatively rare… unless you suicide {select only ONE house} and I suggest you NEVER do that! NEVER EVER!

I hope that helps you if you ever find yourself {or your daughter} in that situation. And please know, Greek life isn’t for everyone, and the process does not make or break your college experience or your future. It’s just another little bit that makes you YOU!

How much does it cost?

Hmm, another loaded question. EVERY house on EVERY campus is different. If they have houses and they are NEW and GIGANTIC {I’m talking to you Bama} then expect it to be a larger investment. As I said in the beginning, they usually serve food, which is generally, one of the cheaper ways to eat at college. Living there is also generally cheaper {than an apartment} and is usually on campus. And while a house makes dues more expensive, it gives you a gathering place, an eating place, a studying place. Some of my favorite memories were at my house watching Friends and Days of our lives with my sisters in the TV room. And now ya’ll know why I love friends. The scene were Ross kisses Rachel for the first time, we all screamed so loud! I bet there were easily 30 of us in there, maybe more… and was easily one of my greatest memories!

Being in a sorority means socials, date functions, philanthropy events, and loads of get togethers. You will leave college with enough T shirts to wall paper a house! These events are usually covered in dues, but T’s are NOT, LOL! So plan to spend a pretty penny on those! Be glad there is no photos anymore… I think I spent a solid year of mortgage payments on FLASH… IYKYK!

So, how much… who knows, but they will disclose that during rush, and they will give you an estimate on the schools Panhellenic site. I suggest you and your family review it. You should know going in if it’s something you can and will afford. If not, then you are taking a spot from someone who could. Houses are looking for women who will be involved the entire time they are at college, so make sure you are prepared to make that commitment. Usually the only way to stay in good standing and become an alumnae is getting married, changing schools, or graduating. 5th year seniors are usually exempt… but I stuck around for my 5th fall!

So, is Rush and Greek life for you?

Only you know the answer to that! It’s funny, when my oldest went to college she decided last minute to Rush, and I wasn’t sure she would love it. I can say, it was truly the best thing she did. She has met so many amazing people- and not just in her house. She is very involved with another organization that she found through greek life, and is so happy with her choice, as was I back in the day. Did it sometimes drive me nuts, YOU BET! Did chapter make me crazy… YEP! But, I am still thankful for the friends I made and would not change a thing! They were my bridesmaids, my life support, my people… even 30 years later! I am so thankful for each and every one of them! And I would say, with social media, staying connected is even better!

Is it for everyone… no, and thats ok. But make sure you make that choice with informed information and if you decide not to be a part of it, make some greek friends. You will be surprised how it changes your circle. Remember what I said, college is about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, about meeting people, trying new things, and growing in to who you are becoming. You can never meet too many people in college… it’s somtimes who you know, not just what you know!

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