Some recruitment questions are asked frequently by Potential New Members (PNMs) and sorority sugar has the helpful answers you're looking for. Please use this quick and easy reference page for answers to some of the most popular pre-recruitment questions.
Q: Is it Ok to rush as a sophomore or junior?
A: YES! It is perfectly acceptable and normal for a PNM to rush as an upperclassman! Many, many girls do it. Some even join as seniors or grad students. It totally depends on the chapter’s policies for offering bids to older girls. While some sororities, in highly competitive greek systems, only bid freshman, most chapters make allowances for sophomores and juniors.
An older PNM will not be competing directly against the freshman, but instead she will be evaluated in relation to the other older rushees. Sophomores/juniors need to emphasize their added maturity, experience, stability and desire for leadership. A strong college GPA is also a huge plus. It proves stability and experience with university academics.
An older PNM should focus on what she can bring to the chapter in her remaining years on campus. The ability to lead is an attractive selling point. She must also be flexible and adaptable when it comes to age. Many of the other pledge class members will be freshman, so fitting in with them is important. The sorority needs to ensure that the new member class is cohesive.
As long as a older PNM keeps an open mind and an open heart during recruitment ~ everything should work out. Even if one or two chapters cut because of age, there will still be plenty of sororities to choose from. Enter recruitment with no worries about class level. Highlight your personality, charisma, charm and intelligence instead!
Q: Can I afford greek life should I receive a bid? How much are sorority dues?
A: Sorority dues and fees range widely from school to school and chapter to chapter. And how much you spend on crafts, clothing and extras all depends on you. But a “general” break down could be similar to this:
To budget you could take the maximum amount for the semester, say $3,000 in dues, add $200 a month in tee shirt, tickets, events, crafts and another $300 a month in fashions, trips and other extras, which add up to approx. $3,500 per semester, or $7,000 per year. That would be be the top end estimate for figuring all your costs and fees. Most campuses will be less than that. Keep in mind that living in a sorority house takes the place of your dorm fees and dining hall meal plan. So the budgeted amount for those things moves from the college column over to the sorority column on your budget.
Sororities set their dues based on their national organization, sorority house operating expenses, housing and meal plans, sisterhood activities, social involvement, membership education, etc… It varies dramatically from place to place.
Q: I plan on being on a college sports team. Can I join a sorority too?
A: The subject of playing serious sports and belonging to a sorority comes up frequently. It can be done, but you will need to look for a chapter which is willing to work with your athletic schedule. The same goes for very demanding majors, musicians and drama students who have rehearsals and special shows to attend. Sorority chapters also have lots of mandatory requirements, such as chapter meetings, trips, volunteering, recruitment and more. Some student athletes feel it’s too much to do both. But others find a way to manage their time. It will be challenging for sure. But depending on your sport, your schedule and your personal abilities ~ there is a way to be in a sorority and play college level sports.
I advise you to be up front with the chapters and let them know your commitments when you rush. It’s better to make a match with all your cards on the table. Some sororities love to have star athletes in their house and they will accommodate your needs. That’s the kind of chapter you should look for. Often team members will join the same sorority. For example, the cheerleaders are members of XYZ and the rowing team girls belong to ABC.
If in the end you don’t join a sorority, the good news is, many sports teams serve as “sisterhoods” for their members, since they spend so much time together anyway. Often teams live together and their houses/dorms become like a sorority. So you should win-win either way.
Q: What is the minimum GPA for sorority rush?
A: To successfully participate in NPC recruitment, typically a 2.5 GPA is required. Some chapters allow a 2.3 minimum. At universities with competitive recruitments, it's very common for chapters to have a 3.0 or 3.2 minimum GPA threshold.
Technically, each chapter sets it's own academic standards for PNMs. But sometimes a panhellenic council will establish a pre-qualifying, "across the board" minimum GPA. For example, PNMs must have a 2.5 in order to register and participate in rush week. At other schools, all PNMs are welcome to sign-up, but they will be cut by individual houses during the week if they don't reach the minimum grade level at each sorority. One way or the other, PNMs are screened by GPA.
It’s best to be as far above the 2.3/2.5 minimum as possible. After joining a sorority, a member must maintain a minimum GPA each semester. Getting good grades is a big part of sorority life all through college.
Q: How does a PNM get recommendation letters?
A: One of the biggest challenges of pre-recruitment is rounding up recommendation letters! Especially if the PNM doesn't come from a greek family and she doesn't have a lot of sorority connections.
Q: What's the difference between rushing/joining a new colony v.s. rushing/joining an established chapter?
A: Colonies offer an excellent opportunity for joining greek life! They are especially beneficial for transfer students and older PNMs, who need membership openings. Basically this is how a colony recruitment works:
BENEFITS of joining a colony:
Q: How does rush week work? There's a basic schedule: orientation, round robin, sisterhood night, philanthropy night, preference night and bid day. What do all these mean and what do you wear to each?
A: Everything will become more understandable once you register for recruitment and receive your Recruitment Handbook. Many things will be explained in the Handbook and more details can be found on the panhellenic recruitment website. Read both closely so you can understand all the information, learn the apparel requirements and meet the necessary deadlines.
All PNMs begin with an overview of rush week at a group session called Orientation. Then the PNMs visit all of the sorority houses during the first day or two. Following that, the chapters spotlight their sisterhood during the next round. On philanthropy day they will explain everything about their special charity. Pref Night is when the sororities hold serious ceremonies for the PNMs they want as sisters. On bid day, the PNMs open their bid envelopes to find out which chapter invited them to join. The fashions go from casual to very dressy. You will start out in shorts and sundresses, progress to a daytime interview dress and conclude with a fancier cocktail dress. Please visit the sorority sugar Recruitment Style Guide for an outline of what to wear and examples of the styles needed.
Q: Do you have some tips for what bigger girls, who like a little more coverage, should wear going through recruitment?
A: I say, wear whatever YOU are most comfortable in! What counts is that you feel confident and attractive. If a lightweight cardigan over a sleeveless sundress suits you, it will look totally appropriate. Dresses with sleeves are very acceptable as well. Not everyone wears tank tops and sundresses with spaghetti straps ~ no matter what their weight. It’s ok to wear your most flattering styles each round. Pick fashions in lightweight fabrics so you stay cool, no matter what the garment design. As long as you go from casual to dressy during recruitment week, you will look amazing.
Q: Can you be in a NPC sorority and a service sorority at the same time? Or do you have to choose between the two?
A: Yes, you can have dual membership in a service sorority, religious chapter, pre-professional organization, or special interest sorority and a NPC chapter. It’s time consuming, but possible. You just can’t be in two NPC chapters. Once you are an initiated NPC sister that’s IT for the council of 26.
Q: How does a PNM handle friend requests and other social media contact from sorority sisters before recruitment? Should you meet members on campus prior to rush week?
A: You can accept Facebook friend requests, just be cautious about meeting in person before rush week. There are policies and restrictions on “contact.” These differ from school to school. Double check the policies on PNM and sister mingling before hanging out with a sorority member in the weeks before recruitment. There's usually is a “silence period” that everyone must honor. Get the facts and then let the sister take the lead on whether you get together or not. If recruitment is months away, it's probably ok to meet in person. But as rush week gets closer, it's becomes more and more tricky. Avoid putting yourself in any "dirty rushing" situation.
Q: How does a PNM get into a sorority? How does a sorority pick their new members?
A: To get into a sorority, you present your BEST self in all ways, by looking nice, making interesting conversation, connecting with sisters, having good grades and showing your leadership experience. It’s very similar to a job interview. You sparkle your brightest, so you can get the position. The chapters have a long list of criteria that they use to select sisters. A PNM must be “XYZ sorority material” in many ways. They look at character, values, charm, personality, experiences, activities, etc.. and see if a PNM matches with the standards and creed of their greek organization. They want productive achievers who will be active in the chapter during their collegiate years and beyond. And they love fun, friendly girls who will fit in with their sisterhood!
Q: What if a PNM can't afford sorority membership? Is there anything that can be done?
A: Where there’s a will there’s a way! If you can handle a part time job on campus, and working during the summer, you can probably pay your dues and fees. Maybe your parents will pick up a portion, if you offer to pay half of your sorority expenses. I highly recommend waitressing for tips, or working in sales where you make commission. Those are some of the best ways to earn money in the shortest hours. Think about becoming a Campus Rep, freelance photographer, or work for cash as a babysitter. Maybe you can sell crafts online via Etsy. If you really want to go greek, and with some creative thinking, you can find a way to make it happen. Working is the answer.
Q: What if a PNM is not the typical sorority type and is being discouraged from even trying recruitment?
A: Recruitment is hard enough without being undermined by others. Tune out the critics and just be yourself. There are ALL types in greek life. Even if you're not the “typical” sorority girl ~ you can find a place to call home. If you follow the sorority sugar blog, you will see every style of college girl represented in greek life. In fact, most members are average looking girl-next-door types. Sorority sisters are not all blonde, 5’10” and perfectly spray tanned. Sisters come in all shapes and sizes. Some are big, some are small, some wear glasses, some win beauty pageants and some are in wheelchairs. Shine bright during recruitment and look for similar girls in a house where you feel most comfortable. There are lots of chapters looking for unique, natural, down to earth PNMs just like you.
Q: Why is it that some panhellenic sororities allow “pledges” to wear greek letters before being initiated?
A: NPC chapters have different rules about this practice. Some sororities encourage wearing greek letters as early as bid day. Other sororities are ok with greek letters during the new member period, but not their crest. And there are chapters that still prefer to wait until after initiation for wearing greek letters and the crest. Back in the day, chapters waited until after education and initiation, so their members knew what the letters truly represented. Receiving your letters was an important sign of initiation.
But now, some consider it hazing to make new members wait. So many chapters do not restrict a new member from doing anything an initiated sister can do. They emphasize being all inclusive from day one. It’s an honor to wear greek letters and hopefully all new members will respect this and learn what they represent.
Q: What is the difference between social and service sororities?
A: There are many similarities... But service sororities are mainly focused on community service and volunteering as their primary mission. They usually emphasize a multicultural viewpoint as well. Service chapters still participate in many of the same greek traditions like having big/little families, but service is their #1 focus.
The NPC social sororities also do a tremendous amount of philanthropy work and raise millions and millions of dollars nationwide for excellent causes. In addition, they emphasize social events, partnering with sororities and fraternities on campus and sharing lots of good times with other greeks. Social sororities typically have large sorority houses, many terrific events and they are actively involved in the mainstream greek community on campus.
The key is discovering where you fit in best. There's a sorority for everyone. It's all about picking the type, style, council and chapter where you can blossom.
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