The academic and social organizations available to college freshmen can be overwhelming. There's an organization that meets the needs of every college major, hobby and interest. One of the largest of these organizations on college campuses will be the Greek system.
Entering the Greek system and joining a sorority is a rite of passage for many college women, whether continuing a family legacy or creating a lifestyle that promotes friendship, academic accountability and socializing.
Don't take the decision lightly though. Everything from determining if sorority life is ideal for you to choosing a house in which you'll fit are important points to consider. This guide can provide some insight from sorority alumni on getting through sorority rush (the recruitment week), determining which house is best for you, and even leave you with some questions you'll need to answer.
Choosing Sorority Life
One of the first things you should do is determine if being a part of a sorority is the best choice for you. And that's a decision only you can make. However, you should reach out to friends, family or college advisors to help you weigh the pros and cons. Consider reaching out to college students who are both part of a sorority, and those who are not, to get a balanced perspective on life inside and outside of the house.
Also take into account your financial standing when you get to college. Will you be able to afford the dues, housing fees, social and charitable obligations, as well as the swag?
You will complete one application for your college's sorority recruitment which will be distributed to each house for review in the summer. Members will meet to review the resumes and pictures received by rushees. They study them and get an idea of whom they may be interested in based on paper. They will appear to know everything about you when you arrive, so don't panic or freak out as this is normal. It's also a reminder to be as thorough as possible and bring yourself to life in your application. A few things to keep in mind for your application:
1. While in high school preparing for college, be involved. Your resume needs to show that you are academically capable, involved in a variety of clubs or sports, and that you volunteer in some capacity.
2. Request letters of recommendation. You'll especially want these from Greek alumnae, even if they are not from one of your college's houses. Talk to your parents' friends, your teachers, your clergy, coaches, employers, etc. The more people you talk to who are greek the better off you are.
3. Include a quality photograph. Your senior pictures will likely do the trick. Make sure they are professionally done and represent who you are. You should probably not include a random snapshot.
4. Clean-up your online image. Make sure there aren't any inappropriate photos or stories posted on Facebook or a blog that sorority members could stumble upon during a Google search.
Recruitment or Rush Week
For one week, potential sorority girls will converge on campus to visit each house multiple times and go through a rigorous interview process. Here are a few pieces of advice to help you thrive and survive.
1. If none of the houses feel right to you, don't join. Recruitment is for you to find out if the Greek system is a good fit.
2. Go with your gut, you'll be more likely to end up where you belong.
3. Choose a house based on who is in your incoming class, not current members, as you'll be closer to your classmates.
4. During rush, wear comfortable shoes to walk to the sorority houses and carry your fancy shoes with you.
5. Prepare yourself to repeatedly answer the same inane questions.
6. If you like a house, let the member rushing you know. They can't read your mind and you'll be more likely to stand-out if you speak-up. If you are interested in going back say so.
7. Smile, even though your cheeks will ache and you will be tired, hot, overwhelmed and maybe even a little scared, keep smiling. You have a few short minutes to make a good impression, you don't want to come across as uninterested.
8. When you arrive at a new house they will throw open the door and you will see a legion of girls clapping, bouncing, singing, talking to and touching you. Don't freak out, this is completely normal.
9. Deal with the guys. Some of the fraternity boys will put couches on their lawns, grab cases of beer and yell things at the passing girls. Obviously you'll want to ignore them.
10. Find out if your college offers a spring rush. This will give you time to really shop the houses, find out where you fit in, and make a more informed decision during your second semester.