There are only two weeks left until rush week at JMU and I know every chapter on campus is getting ready to meet all of the PNM's and invite the most fitting group of women into their chapter. I truly can't wait to welcome 60 new incredible ladies into ADPi in a few weeks. As much as we initiated members are so excited and a little nervous about rush week, I know the ladies finding their new home are all having pre-recruitment jitters too.
I was once in your shoes, I totally understand how nerve wracking the entire process of rushing a sorority will be. I have had so many ladies from all over America email me asking for advice, sending me pictures of their outfits, and spilling about their nervousness. I have tried to ease as many nerves as possible while setting y'all up for success.
Let's Start at the beginning. The first day or two of recruitment are known as Open House Round. This is where you spend a short amount of time in every panhellenic sorority house on your school's campus. You will talk to a few members of that sorority and let the girls know about you. You can talk about everything from your major, to your family, to hobbies, and what draws you to a joining a sorority. As you are speaking to the already initiated members, you might speak to a few different girls. You shouldn't read too far into this. Tons of girls want to meet you and see if you're a great fit for their chapter. The more girls you talk to, the more girls can vote on you to try to get you into the sorority. They want to get to know you and your interests. Each chapter is very unique and has different values and looks for different things in a member. As hard as it is, you need to trust the process and believe that you will end up where you belong.
After you go through the Open House Rounds, you will vote on chapters. You will choose a certain amount of them that you want to go back to. However, this doesn't mean that you will go back to all of them. While you vote on sororities, they also vote on you. They will evaluate every girl going through recruitment and those who meet the chapter's requirements, rules, or whatever they may be looking for, will be invited back to the house. If they don't invite you, you sadly cannot go back to the house again. This is called "dropping". You may also drop sororities. Say Alpha Phi wasn't your favorite place, you don't have to ask to go back to that -- you can show disinterest in them as they can show disinterest in you. This doesn't happen often but, say there are 12 houses on the row. After Open House round, 11 houses can drop you -- leaving you with only one house for the rest of rush. It just depends on your interactions with each house.
The next round of recruitment is known as Philanthropy round. You can expect for this round to be more formal and expect to go into a deeper subject matter. You will learn about each chapters charity and learn about how the chapter gives back to the community. As fun a sorority looks and as much as people think that it's a group of spoiled college girls jumping around, we actually do give back to the community. For example, JMU ADPi travels to the local Ronald McDonald house every Friday to cook and clean for them. We hold philanthropy events around campus and donate money to help keep the houses up and running. There are tons of great charities benefitting from sororities, and this is the day to learn about them. Each PNM will connect to different foundations which will help you figure out which sorority is for you. There are chapters that benefit the deaf & blind, kids research hospitals, and heart disease. After this round you, again, will rank these sororities. You rank less than you did before and the sorority houses will vote on you again and invite even fewer girls back to their houses.
The third round of recruitment is sisterhood round where you really dive into what the sisterhood of the sorority is like. You learn about what their morals and standards are, what they do together, and how the girls get along. You will have more opportunities to get to talk to initiated members one on one or in small groups. You can gauge if you truly believe you fit into the chapter or not. Pay close attention to how you feel during these moments and if you're enjoying your conversations and interactions with the girls in the house. This again, is a formal round.
After this round you will vote on your top two houses. They will vote on you for a third and time and up to two houses can invite you back. Some girls going through recruitment will be asked back to two, some to only one, and others will be dropped by the rest of the houses and recruitment will be over. This depends on your previous interactions with the houses and how well they see you fitting in and how much you show your interest in the houses as well.
Once preference night comes, it is very serious. You should dress in a nice outfit and heels and have your hair and makeup done. Each house that you are invited back to has their own preference night rituals and truly I only know what Zeta and Alpha Delta Pi do because those were my two houses on Pref Night so I can't really be too much help on what each chapter does. Know that whatever house invited you back for Pref Night is very interested in you. They know another house might be fighting for you so it is up to you to express your interest in whatever house you love most. This is a very sentimental and serious time. You will most likely have a one on one chat with an already initiated sister and on my preference night, my chat at Alpha Delta Pi was much more meaningful and personal than my chat at Zeta Tau Alpha was. I didn't fee any sort of connection with the sister in ZTA but at ADPi, I felt like I was talking to an old friend. It was then that I knew how much I liked ADPi, even though I was still hooked on Zeta.
After you visit each house, you will go and put in your preference cards. You will rank the two sororities. They will also, for the last time rank the girls at preference round. If they ask for you, and they're you're number one on your preference card, you will be given a bid. If you put, say, tri Sigma first and Phi Mu second, but Tri Sigma drops you and Phi Mu wants you, you will receive bid from Phi Mu. If you go to Pref Night and there is a clear favorite of your two Pref Night houses some choose to only put their favorite and drop their other house. This means that if you loved ADPi more than you loved Alpha Phi, you only put down ADPi in your preference card and not Alpha Phi. This is called a Suicide Bid. This is because if ADPi passes on you after Pref Night but Alpha Phi gives you a bid, because you didn't write them down on your preference card, you won't receive a bid at all.
I know which is all super confusing and your Rho Gamma will help explain everything further, but that is what to expect during each round of the recruitment process. The best way to go through recruitment is by feeling confident and by being yourself. As much as it's hard to hear, you need to trust the process and go with your gut. You will know where you feel a connection to and where you don't. Judge this by the conversations you have with each sister at different houses and by your love for the charities. Make sure to go in with an open mind and pay no attention to rankings online. Most of those rankings are all by people who only care about parties and physical appearances -- what matters is your personal attraction to the chapters!