Greek Speak: So You Want to Join a Sorority?

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[We scoured the country to find the ultimate sorority girl to share her expertise with you. After reading through tons of applications followed by hours Facebook-stalking all the candidates (which proved difficult thanks to FB's privacy settings....), we found her. And now, with sorority recruitment under way at many schools across the country, she's getting down to business and sharing some tried and true rules to ensure you make it from random PNM to adored active sister.]

As a die-hard sorority girl, I have no problem admitting that I know exactly what it takes to successfully join the sorority that is right for YOU. And trust me, there is one. It might not seem like it on the first day of rush when you’re being shuttled from house to house and having 3 minute conversations with tons of girls, but there is.  And when you get in there and connect with the members, you’ll know it.

But let’s get something straight. Everyone might be telling you how sororities are ‘values based organizations’ and members choose new members based on what’s on the inside.

And we are….
And we do….

Most of the time. But, much like in every other aspect of your life, first impressions are important. If you want to put your best foot forward/make that gorgeous old Victorian mansion your home for the next few years, be on your best behavior and avoid these 5 MAJOR don’ts for PNMs (potential new members). In Boilermaker Country, we call these no-nos the 5 Bs.

(Keep in mind, even if you don’t want to be in a particular house, it’s good to avoid these topics out of respect….or just to keep the convo from getting super awkward.)

1. Bush – Please, please, PLEASE don’t add your two cents on your political stance. A) Your luck, your overpowering and down right-scary obsession for the Democratic party is in total opposition of the woman rushing you, and B) how boring. There is no Panhellenic sorority based on political beliefs, so just avoid it. 

2. Buddha – Now, there are some sororities solely based on religion and believe me, they will let you know. For example, Sigma Delta Tau is historically Jewish, and it is important to them that they maintain a majority Jewish group of women in their chapter. It’s only when you are in a sorority like SDT that it is acceptable to bring up religion, because it is important to them, too. Make sense? It would be your best bet to look this up ahead of time before you begin the recruitment process.

3. Boys - Who doesn’t love them? But admitting to the members of a certain sorority that you recently hooked up with some guy on campus from a top fraternity isn’t going to get you in. Actually, it might hurt you. That hot guy (what was his name again?) that you hooked up with may be the ex-boyfriend of the girl rushing you. Ever think about that? Leave boys out of the conversation.

4. Booze – It is totally unattractive to talk about how wasted you got the night before in explanation of your current hangover. A) No one cares. B) That’s probably not the classiest thing you can say. If you feel like you need to make it a point of letting your rusher know that you like to have a good time, try adding in that you’ve noticed how fun campus is on the weekends. But really, if you are going through recruitment, she already knows that you are fun and outgoing.

5. Bucks - It might be your natural instinct to immediately talk about your (daddy’s) money as soon as you step foot into a sorority house. The houses are HUGE and decorated to the nines… every girl in that chapter HAS to be loaded, right?? Ummm no. Not at all. Sorority chapter houses are built from a variety of funds including chapter dues, alum donations and even chapter’s national funds. Talking about money might actually make your rusher feel awkward. Avoid it.

Now you know what not to do, but how do you get into that sorority that you have so desperately been trying to get in good with? (Side note: the week before MY sorority recruitment I noticed that ALL the sorority girls were gorgeous. I thought they must have gotten up at 5 every morning to curl their hair and do their make-up for class… so my roommate and I did, too. God we were naïve.) To get a bid to THE sorority that you HAVE to be in, I only have one word: don’t.

Don’t make up stuff to make yourself sound better than you think you are.
Don’t go out and buy all new outfits to impress the sorority women.
And don’t be intimidated by all the frills and craziness of sorority recruitment.

“Be yourself, trust the system,” are the two things that I was told over and over before I dove into the process… and it worked. By putting on a show, you’re only hurting yourself and pretty much guaranteeing that you’ll end up in a house with girls who are nothing like you. The sorority women want to have a REAL conversation with you and find out who you are, not who you’re trying to be.

Here’s the truth: I went into recruitment KNOWING what sorority I was going to be in. But I was wrong! Once I’d tried out all the other chapters and had really awesome conversations with the members – being totally myself – I went against my original plan and joined the chapter where I felt most comfortable. On the last day of rush, I looked around at the other PNMs rushing with me (Do this! It is your potential new pledge class!) and could see myself studying, partying, crying, laughing, and everything in between with those girls. And after all the long hours, conversations and late nights, I knew it was the house for me.

OK, enough of that sappy moment. What else do you want to know? Where are YOU going through recruitment this fall? Are you nervous about anything specific? Let’s talk sorority RECRUITMENT, women!

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