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When your baby is headed off to college there are plenty of things you need to know as a parent. What the is dorm safety situation, who will be their roommate, how far are they from the community bathroom at night. Understanding all of these things can help you sleep more soundly. If your daughter is headed to a school with sororities, you might also need to understand the process for joining, other wise known as sorority recruitment or rush.
While not every campus has an Office of Fraternity and Sorority life, those that do are part of a long-standing tradition of leadership training, community engagement and philanthropic endeavors. If you happen to be a member of a fraternity or sorority yourself, you likely understand the benefits of joining, but the process has changed over the last several decades. If you were not a member of a fraternal organization, navigating the process for sorority recruitment can be a bit overwhelming.
Read More: Things to do before your baby heads off to college
Now that your child is a adult (or close to), most of their decisions, including whether to join a sorority or not, are their own. We’ve put this quick guide together to help you understand the process for sorority recruitment [fraternity recruitment is different] and allow you to be a resource should your child make this decision.
Determine when Sorority Recruitment is scheduled
For the 26 National Panhellenic Council (NPC) sororities all universities have a set time frame called formal recruitment. Each university is different and it is important to confirm with that specific university’s office of fraternity and sorority life when that time frame occurs.
Important Note: There are other groups of fraternal organizations that use alternate recruitment methods. For this guide we will focus on the NPC sororities.
Most universities host formal recruitment in the fall, soon after the start of school, but some may begin recruitment before the semester even begins! Contact the Office of Fraternity and Sorority life to confirm the timeframe and register to participate.
Sorority recruitment typically takes place over 4-5 days. It is important to attend all events and not miss any of the scheduled activities.
Read more: Preparing your student for college over the summer
Identify Whether your daughter will need references to begin Sorority Recruitment
At some campuses a letter of reference must be provided by an alumni of each sorority on campus in order for them to consider your daughter as a member. A reference is typically a letter sharing your daughters accomplishments and a note of why she would be the ideal member for that specific sorority. References are not required at all universities, but it does not hurt to obtain them. Typically references are mandatory at large southern schools.
Most universities have a total of 8 – 15 sororities on campus. During the recruitment process your daughter will meet all sororities to be considered for membership. If you do not currently know a member of any specific sorority you can request a reference on your daughters behalf from the local alumni organizations in your hometown. The best way to identify those groups is by googling HOMETOWN GREEK NAME ALUMNI.
Each local alumni group will have a volunteer member who assists with the writing of references. Contact their communications chair or president to identify who this individual is.
Understand the sorority recruitment schedule
Sorority recruitment takes place over the course of several days and it is important for your daughter to attend all events.
Standard Sorority Recruitment Schedule
Day 1: Meet all sororities on campus.
Day 2: Chapter facility tours. Your daughter will tour homes or meeting spaces for 75% of the chapters on campus.
Day 3: Philanthropy day. Chapters will share their philanthropic activities with your daughter on this day and she will usually visit with 50% – 30% of the chapters on campus.
Day 4: Preference day. This is the typically the last day of sorority recruitment and your daughter may only visit 2 of the chapters on campus.
Day 5: Bid Day. Bid Day is the day that potential new members receive an invitation to join a specific sorority.
Every campus is unique and your daughter’s school may have a different schedule. Sorority recruitment is time consuming and exhausting. Your daughter may not have a lot of time to discuss her experience with you during the process.
How Sorority Recruitment Works
Throughout the recruitment process your daughter will meet with several members of each sorority. Sorority recruitment is a process of mutual selection, meaning your daughter will decide what group she is interested in joining, while the members she meets with will decide if they wish to offer her a spot in their membership.
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At the end of each night your daughter will meet with her recruitment counselor (or Rho Gamma / Rho Chi) and assign a list of preferences for the sororities she is most interested in. The sororities will do the same, creating a list of the women they wish to invite to participate in the next round.
While it is possible for a potential new member to not be invited back to a chapter she loved, it is always best to continue through the process and see what she might learn from the other organizations who did extend continued invitations.
Sorority Recruitment Questions
Does it cost anything to participate in sorority recruitment? Typically yes. There may be a small fee to cover the cost of transportation throughout the recruitment weekend for your daughter.
Does a woman going through recruitment have to join a sorority at the end? No, she may decline any bids for membership she receives and choose to not join at all.
Are sororities expensive? Every campus and sorority is different but yes, there is typically a cost associated with joining. This is an important question for your daughter to ask during the recruitment process and discuss with you if she needs assistance covering the cost. Sorority dues cover leadership development, chapter activities, and occasionally several meals each week.
What are the benefits of joining a sorority? Sorority membership is a joining a lifelong organization with opportunities for leadership training, community service and ascribing to a shared set of values.
Do sororities haze? No, sororities are not allowed to haze new members. There is a new member program to help new members learn about the sorority’s background and members, but anything harmful is not allowed. Beyond being against the law, anti-hazing policies for each national sorority are enforced by national organizations run by adult professionals.
Whether your daughter chooses to join a sorority or not, college is an exciting time! As a parent remember what it was like when you were that age and enjoy watching as your child spreads their wings for the first time.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Everything you need to know about Greek Life for non-Greek parents.
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