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The Dear sorority sugar page is your HQ for Greek life question and answers. sorority sugar answers questions about recruitment, big/little problems, chapter life, personal development, sorority leadership and more. Submit a question via the form below, or use the submit button on the HQ sidebar. All Q&As are posted anonymously, subject to editing and are published on this page, or as a featured post, at sorority sugar's discretion. 


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• Going Bid-Less on Bid Day •

Dear sorority sugar, This fall I am planning on rushing, but I am very nervous. Is there a possibility that I would not be able to get a bid on bid day?

Dear Worried PNM, There is a remote possibility that you could find yourself "bid-less" on bid day, but the chances of that happening are slim. The sorority voting process is quite complex. Sometimes a PNM's final rankings do not match with each chapter's rankings after the Preference Round. In rare cases that leads to no bid due to something called cross cutting. But that's an odd occurrence and not something you should worry about. You can't control the membership selection process and there's no point in stressing about what might go wrong in weird ways. 

Usually if you make it to the Preference Round, you will receive a bid on bid day. It may not be your #1 choice, but as a PNM, you must trust the system. Your bid may be from the sorority you ranked #2 or #3. The goal is to receive a bid from one of your final choices at the end of the week. It's best to keep an open mind about which one of the remaining sororities will invite you to join.

PNMs who do not get bids typically choose (on their own) to drop out of recruitment in the middle of the week, or they're cut from most/all of the chapters before the Preference Round. If you're not going to make a match, you should know prior to bid day. Anything can happen, but the norm is to have two chapters interested in you during the final round, one of which offers you a bid. Stay positive, do your best and assume that your experience will be like the majority of girls who choose to go Greek. Your new sisterhood is out there and they're waiting to welcome you to their sorority!

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• British Transfer PNM •

 Dear sorority sugar, I took a gap year and am an incoming junior transfer (so I'll be the same age as the seniors). I'd really love to join a sorority, but do you think it will be awkward being so much older than my pledge class? Can you be close with the older girls or is that kind of looked down on? And is informal recruitment a way of joining but being with girls your own age? Can you ever join an already existing pledge class? I'm British so I don't really now how it all works and would love your advice!

Dear British Transfer PNM, All great questions! If you’re transferring as a junior, and you have two years left in college, that’s a good thing. Sororities want members to have the maximum amount of time in their collegiate chapters. Juniors join all the time. So your chances are pretty good, depending on the sororities and their policies for pledging older PNMs. Usually each house will reserve several spots for upperclassmen to fill. You will be competing against the pool of older girls for a place in the pledge class, not going head to head with all the freshman. Most new member classes have a majority of freshmen with a sprinkling of other class levels and ages mixed in. 

Being one year older than a typical junior is not a big deal. If you were five or ten years older it might be a problem, but you’re very close in age. If your attitude is young and vibrant, that’s what really counts. Even some freshman are older than others if they took a year off between high school and college. So don’t worry about the age issue. 

When you join a sorority you are part of a “new member class.” Formal and informal recruitment both have pledge classes. After formal recruitment the class size will be large and after informal recruitment the class will be smaller. But either way, you will be grouped with the other girls who join at the same time. You can’t join a class ahead of you because they’ve already completed their new member education and they have been initiated. You will have to start at the beginning and go through the process whenever and however you pledge. 

In deciding whether to join formally or informally, I highly recommend doing whichever comes first! You have no time to waste. If your new school allows older PNMs to rush in the fall, go for it. Seize the soonest opportunity. 

Once you have joined a sorority, you will be matched with a big sister. She may be your age (or older) and hopefully a junior or senior. The big/little program is a great way to socialize with older sisters. There are lots of chapter events where everyone comes together, so you can meet and become friends with the juniors and seniors. You will have an entire sisterhood to bond with. Participate in every chapter event so you can get to know a wide range of members. 

I strongly recommend you don’t get hung up on age. Look forward to meeting some super nice girls, even if they’re a few years younger than you. In college, the lines between ages and class levels blur a bit more than in high school. Be enthusiastic, positive and outgoing during recruitment and I know you will make a happy match!

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• Sorority Apparel Requirements • 

Dear sorority sugar, I'm the first in family and friends to be even thinking about Greek life and I have so many questions. My main one though is if in my religion I'm not allowed to wear short skirts or shorts, can I still join? I know this seems like a silly question, but I am really am curious and worried about this.

Dear Modest PNM, There are no silly questions when it comes to the complex world of Greek life. Be assured that Panhellenic sororities don't want to distress their members or get in the way of their religious practices. All 26 NPC chapters have strong policies against discrimination. There are sisters who don't drink, some wear head scarves, many attend church services, etc... 

That said, sororities have LOTS of events where they dress alike. Being attired in matching outfits is a very common occurrence. For example, during recruitment you will see all the sisters wearing matching tee shirts and shorts or pants. For the Preference round, sisters will be attired in matching cocktail dresses. During the year they wear matching clothes for rituals, retreats, reveal, volunteering, special events and more. There are also lots of athletic events in Greek life, such as Greek Week games and numerous sporty fundraisers. You will need to wear some kind of sportswear like athletic shorts, yoga pants, or leggings. And hopefully you're okay with denim, because sorority girls wear jeans all the time.  

If your religion allows you to wear a longer skirt and longer shorts, I don't see any problem at all. I believe most sororities will be accommodating if your black/white ritual dress has more coverage than the other sisters. Maybe you can wear white pants instead of white shorts with your Greek tee shirt. Many chapters allow for a choice like that within the parameters of dressing similar. If you respect the idea of a "uniform" sisterhood presentation, a sorority should accommodate your limitations. Most chapters don't want their members to be scantily clad anyway!

I recommend that you keep your eyes wide open during recruitment and be honest about your personal preferences when you speak with the sorority sisters. Some chapters will be more "hot" in their attire than others. Those sexy sororities are not really your type. It's to your benefit to seek the sisters who are in sync with your values and lifestyle choices. Happily, there are plenty of sisterhoods who are more traditional in their appearance and behavior. One of those more down-to-earth sororities for you. You should also consider the religious and service sororities on campus (outside the NPC). Look for a house that's dedicated to what you value most. It's all about making an ideal MATCH within the NPC or outside of it.

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• Be Sweet on Chapter Promotion •

Dear sorority sugar, I am in a local sorority at Weber State in Utah. So far our sorority has made 4 years going strong, but people are starting to be less interested, or they don't know about Greek life on campus. Is there a way to reach out to the students besides just tabling? Thanks!

Dear Sorority Sister, Chapter promotion is a never ending, year in and year out job. Since students keep coming and going, sorority publicity must repetitively happen on schedule each season. The first thing I would suggest is for your local chapter to establish a strong relationship with your Panhellenic Council or Greek Life office. Make sure you're closely connected to any and all Greek promotions, both online and in person. Your sisterhood may have to work extra hard to be included in all-Panhellenic events, but it's worth the effort to be involved with your school's broader sorority and fraternity scene. 

The next step is to target your sorority and Greek community social media. If you don't have them already, create attractive social media sites for your chapter and keep them active. Share other chapter's events and posts. Make sure you're engaged and communicating online at maximum levels. Build a network of sites that can be used for advertising, marketing, educating and sharing. Showing a beautiful image of your sisterhood online should help you reach PNMs who don't know much about going Greek. Get the word out on the internet wherever you can. 

In addition, almost everything your sorority does can be considered promotion. A lively fundraiser for example is an excellent way to garner publicity. Advertise your chapter's events in student publications, post flyers in dorms, hang banners, post signs, etc... Tabling isn't the only way to raise your sorority profile. I suggest you make a calendar for the year and schedule fun activities every month if possible. For example, consider hosting a "free" coffee and donut table one morning. Sing Christmas carols in the dorms. Plan an annual sporty or foodie fundraiser. Each holiday and each season brings an opportunity for a simple, fun event that will put your sorority "in the news." Often, just being active and involved on campus is the best publicity of all. 

Some activities that reach out to students on campus and show how wonderful your sisters are:  

  • Hosting a free food or drink table.
  • Delivering sweet treats on campus - a great holiday fundraiser. 
  • Volunteering as ambassadors to assist with campus events such as freshman move-in day. 
  • A tasty food fundraiser.
  • An active sporty fundraiser.
  • A booth that raises funds (or just for fun) such as a puppy kissing booth.
  • Game tournaments, movie marathons, costume contests and other festive socials.
  • Events such as Trick or Treating, a Haunted House, a Christmas wrapping station, Easter Egg decorating table and other holiday related celebrations.
  • Hand out small promotional favors to keep your sorority name out front. For promo product ideas, link here: 47 Promotional Product Ideas Beyond Pens.  
  • Weekly wear your Greek letters to class, display your sorority pride and be living examples of what it's like to be a sister in your sorority. 

❥  For MORE helpful publicity tips please visit the HQ Chapter Life Page where you can link to posts from the sorority sugar Archives. Also check out this public relations post: Top 10 Sorority Public Relations Tips.

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• Studying Abroad PNM •

Dear sorority sugar, I'm a British student and I'm going to be doing a year abroad in the U.S (I'll be 20 when I do my year abroad). I really want to get the most out of my American college experience, so have been considering going through recruitment. I was wondering if any sorority would consider me since I'm only going to be in the country for a year, and because I'm slightly older than the other girls rushing? I'm aware it might put me at a slight disadvantage but I'm willing to give it a go. Thank you!

Dear Brit Potential New Member, Your chances of getting a bid as a one-year-only foreign student, all depend on the sororities at your university. Some may welcome a short term active member, while others will not be able to pledge a student with only one year on campus. It's not personal. And your age is not a factor. Sororities want and need members who can commit to four years as active, dues paying sisters. That's why Juniors have a more difficult time going Greek. Chapters must favor freshmen who have the maximum time to give back to the organization.

But that said, some sororities DO pledge seniors, transfers and foreign students studying abroad. It's not impossible! If a sorority has the space available on their membership roster, and you're a personality match, it can happen. The key to success is keeping your mind and your heart wide open to the possibilities. Recruitment is a competition for everyone, so you probably won't get into the most popular, hottest house on sorority row. Accept that reality in advance and you won't be devastated by the inevitable cuts during rush week. 

But... know that there may be several other perfectly wonderful sisterhoods who will welcome you with open arms. Those are the sororities you should set your sights on. All chapters do similar things, so you will still get the full American sorority experience, no matter which organization you pledge.  

And fingers crossed that your future college has formal recruitment in the fall, so you have a full year to be involved. Look for new colonies launching in the fall as well. Also investigate the non-NPC Greek organizations on campus.  Sororities outside of the Panhellenic mainstream are more open to unique PNMs. Go for any opportunity available to you. After that, enjoy the experience and see where it leads. I hope your year in the USA is filled with amazing sorority life experiences! 

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• Never Too Old to Go Greek •

Dear sorority sugar, I am what one could call a "non-traditional" student. I started university at 20, but wound up leaving to pursue other interests. I am now 24, prepping to go back to school, and wondering if it's too late for me to join a sorority? I intend on at least 6 full semesters of undergrad, and I have always wanted to take part in Greek Life...but would any sorority consider someone as old and non-traditional as me?

Dear Oldster, It's not too late to join sorority life! Your class level and how many years you have on campus as an undergrad are much more important than your age. And thankfully you're 24, not 34. Not that far off from your younger classmates. In addition, there are quite a few "non-traditional" chapters in the Panhellenic who welcome PNMs of all ages, lifestyles and backgrounds. Not to mention the many organizations outside of the 26 NPC sororities who happily pledge older students. Not everyone participating in recruitment fits the 18 year old freshman student mold. 

For an older, non-traditional student like you, I recommend this course of action:

Start with the mainstream NPC sororities on your future campus. Check out their social media, visit their websites and see if you think they're your type of friends. Some may not be your style at all. But there will probably be a few chapters with sisters who look more diverse in terms of age, appearance and interests. You can tell a lot about each sorority by looking at their activities online and seeing what they're all about. Make sure you can see yourself as part of their sisterhood for the next three years and beyond. 

Determine when students in your class level are encouraged to rush. I'm not sure if you're entering as a freshman or as a transfer student. But either way, visit the Panhellenic Council website and confirm when you can participate. Some schools prefer transfer students and upperclassmen to rush informally instead of being lost in the mobs of freshman doing formal recruitment. Your age doesn't matter at this point, your participation is determined by your class standing. Also look for any new colonies coming to your campus in the fall. A brand new sorority would be very beneficial for you. 

• Actively explore non-traditional sororities on campus. Attend "Go Greek" tabling events, open house tours and visit websites for other fraternal organizations as well. Service sororities, religious chapters, multicultural groups and special interest sororities are much more welcoming to those PNMs who are a little "outside the box." Most of them still do all the same sorority things like big/little, retreats, socials, crafting, fundraising, etc... You can have a full sorority experience outside of the NPC and your chances of getting a bid are greatly increased. 

When you've gathered all the information - go for it! After you've researched your options, the next step is to jump in and give recruitment a try. Rush as many chapters as possible. Formally or informally, you can meet the sisters in each house and talk to them about your interesting life experiences. Don't be ashamed of your age or your unusual path to Greek life. Explain what you've been doing during the last four years and I know the sorority sisters will be interested. You will stand out as a PNM, so be sure to stand out in a totally positive way. Share your unique story happily and with self confidence.

To increase your chances for success, be the best PNM you can be. If you really want to join a sorority as an older PNMs, you will also need to "fit in" with a younger pledge class. Emphasize your youthfulness, your ability to get along with all ages, your flexibly and your easy going nature. The active sisters must see that you mesh well with the other girls. Also spotlight your leadership experience and maturity, which can help balance a young new member class. During your recruitment conversations, share all the talents you can bring to a chapter so the sisters will see the value in offering you a bid. If you are enthusiastic, friendly and warm hearted, I am sure you can find a sorority home. Keep an open heart and an open mind to all the possibilities that come your way! 

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• Big/Little Reveal Inspiration •

Dear sorority sugar, Pretty soon my chapter will have their Big/Little Reveal! As a soon-to-be GGBig, I'm very excited to meet the next generation in my family. Unfortunately my GLittle is unable to attend Reveal and her Big transferred. Therefore, I will be the one to be revealed to the GGLittle. Do you have any fun, creative ideas for revealing myself but also including my GLittle in someway? Sincerely, Granny

Dear Granny, I am so happy that you are stepping in to make reveal a special moment for your GGLittle. If your chapter is hosting a group reveal for the new member class, you will probably do whatever all the Bigs are doing, such as jumping out of a wrapped gift box or standing behind a curtain with matching socks. But if you have some freedom in planning your own reveal, I have several posts that will give you LOTS of inspiration! These are links from the Big/Little HQ page:

As for including your absent GLittle... there are several ways to share the presence of a missing sister at your reveal:

  • Ask her to write down a heartfelt message for your GGLittle that you read out loud at reveal.
  • Enlarge a photo of your GLittle's face, cut it out and attach it to a stick (like a bid day notifier). Then hold it up during reveal and share it in photos.
  • Shoot a short video of your GLittle expressing her best wishes to the new family member and play it at reveal.
  • Decorate a large poster with photos of your absent sister and hold it up during reveal. Include a special sorority saying on the sign. 
  • Design custom reveal tee shirts that feature photos of all family members, including the absent sister. 
  • Your GLittle can order a custom coffee mug, pair of socks, tote bag, or tee shirt or with her photo on it to be included in the reveal gift giving. 
  • Hook up with your GLittle online and let her be there "live" from wherever she is. 
  • Be the gift basket ambassador for your GLittle and present her gifts to your GGLittle in her absence. 

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• Being Thoughtful is Always Right •

Dear sorority sugar, I’m a senior and I met a freshman during the first night of recruitment and fell in love with her, but I didn’t get to talk to her again until Pref Tea.  We have a lot in common and she really opened up to me but she went to a different chapter. Is it weird if I friend her on Facebook and write a message like “I’m sad you didn’t run home to my chapter but i’m glad you found a home in XYZ and I wish you the best of luck in your college/sorority life?”

Dear Sweet Senior, Being nice and wishing someone well is never weird! After recruitment, being friendly in a Panhellenic way is a good thing. I would leave off the “sad” part and keep your message totally positive instead. Say you enjoyed meeting her and then wish her the best. It’s okay to be friendly, even if you’re in different chapters.

When in doubt about doing something, ask yourself if you would like to be on the receiving end of the same action. For example, would you like to get an encouraging message from a nice older girl you met during recruitment? I’m sure your would answer yes. The same goes for thank you notes, small gestures of appreciation, little encouragements, etc. Being kind, courteous and warm hearted is always a good choice.

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• Accepting What "Is" •

Dear sorority sugar, I had a question regarding going through recruitment a second time. I just completed and decided to accept a bid from a house at my university. The only issue is I don’t think that particular house is for me. I really like the girls and I’ve been trying to get involved, attending chapter, planned events, working on stuff required for initiation, but something still feels off. I can “be myself” but I don’t feel quite as understood as I did in another house that, eventually, dropped me for whatever reason Round 3. 

I think I can “make XYZ my home” but I can’t help but feel the chapter that did drop me would of been a better choice, those girls are more academic, do more volunteering and don’t do as many socials (sounds odd but I’m not one for going out if I know I have homework or studying to do). Unfortunately it took me accepting a bid from another house to realize it would of behoved me to drop out, take a step back and try for COB or spring rush with the house that dropped me (more akin to my values and personality). 

How bad would it be to wait a whole year (ugh) and go through formal recruitment as a sophomore having already gone through once without dropping out? I’m worried that the houses will know that I rushed freshman year, went all the way, so to speak, dropped out, and not want to consider me because I was already dropped by them or pledged another house and have commitment issues. I would hate to wait a whole YEAR only to be dropped by the house I was crushed that dropped me in the first place. I definitely don’t want to freak that house out by letting them know I waited a whole year to basically get another chance to join that ONE house (kind of a lot of pressure to place on them).

I’ve been going back and forth about dropping and waiting but I already have my new member pin, attended chapter, and was assigned a big. This year I had letters of rec./support but don’t even know what would be proper to do potentially next year if I end up subjecting myself to the whole rush process another time. Thanks!

Dear Unsure, This is going to sound harsh, but I want to get through to you… The sorority you are pining away for DROPPED YOU. That means they did NOT see you as a sister. As a chapter they decided to not invite you back and they didn’t think you were a good fit. All the wonderful things you mentioned about them, they did not feel the same in return. Dumping your current chapter and re-rushing is NOT going to change the minds of the sisters who already decided against you. COB or formal recruitment next year will not change their minds. You are who you are and they already voted on you. It was a no. And you have absolutely no control over that as a PNM.

That doesn’t mean you are lacking in any way. You’re just not suited for that specific chapter. But there IS a sorority where all the sisters wanted you to be a part of their house forever. They’re the ones who offered you a bid. They have welcomed you with open arms and they want you to be a part of their lives. The other chapter did not want to spend time with you, and no matter how much you admire them, they felt differently.

It’s not uncommon to get “hung up” on what might have been, but that door is closed. Please accept what happened and spend your time making friends in your new sorority instead of fantasizing about the chapter that rejected you. Leaving your current sisterhood for another shot at recruitment is not a good idea. You won’t get a bid from the other chapter and you could end up in a much worse situation. 

The best thing to do is to come to terms with what happened during recruitment and start moving forward. Your new sisters wanted you when others did not. There’s a gold mind of friendships waiting for you if you take advantage of the gift you’ve been given. Count your blessings and give your all to your sorority. Sometimes it takes awhile to fit in and feel completely comfortable. Give yourself more time. Soon you will realize you really did find your home! 

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• Bonding with a New Grand Little •

Dear sorority sugar,  Today my little informed she's taking a little of her own! The only problem is my soon-to-be grand little and I don't get along. How would you recommend me trying to bond with her for the sake of my little?

Dear Future Grand Big, How you work things out depends on how serious the problems are with your future grand little. If things are really bad, you should speak to the girl, apologize and make amends for whatever happened in the past. Clearing the air right up front will help you get things off on the right foot. Be the bigger person for the sake of family harmony. 

If you just don't like her very much, then changing your attitude may be all that's needed. Hang out with her a little. People change and mature. Maybe she's improved since you last interacted. Explore what you have in common. You're in the same sorority, so you can probably find a few things to agree on. Ignore your differences and focus on one or two positive aspects of her personality. Unless your new grand little is a pure devil, I'm sure you can tolerate her on a basic level for short periods of time. 

Learning to get along with people you don't especially like is a valuable skill to have in the work world. Consider this a learning experience and important prep for your life after college! You don't have to like your grand little, you just have to ACT like you do. That means being polite, kind and pleasant. Give her a small 'welcome to the family' gift. Treat her the same as a sister you adore. You'll be amazed at what happens. 

Also, if your little likes her - and you like your little - then maybe there's something you're missing. Open your mind and your heart. By being mature, positive and not holding a grudge, I think you can at least be with your new family member without anxiety. It's to everyone's benefit if you rise above your bad past. Behave in the best possible way, and a change in feelings will follow. You can do it! 

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• Colony Twin Matchmaking •

Dear sorority sugar, My chapter is just colonizing, so we're getting twins instead of bigs/littles. How are twins determined?

Dear Future Twin, In a new colony the matching of twins can be pretty random. Since everyone is new, it's a roll of the dice in some ways. Your sorority may ask all the new members to fill out a short form about their interests and major and then try to match girls by compatibility. They may also hold a "speed dating" session, or host a couple of sisterhood socials so everyone can get better acquainted. You may be given the chance to submit several names of who you would like to be paired with.

That said, a new chapter may choose to not do those things, and instead, a committee will just assign twins. If that happens, it's best to go with the flow. Accept whoever you're matched with and make it work. There are growing pains within a new colony and perfect families are not created in a day. If you have patience and kindness in your heart, it will go a long way to getting your new family launched on a positive note. However your chapter handles twin matchmaking, be proud that you are a founding member, and look forward to building your sisterhood with love and strength. 

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• Second Time's the Charm •

Dear sorority sugar, I am currently a first-year, and I recently rushed for an associate Panhellenic sorority at my school (they held their fall recruitment separate from the rest). I absolutely fell in love with the chapter's kind sisters and amazing values, and I thought I had really connected with them; I made it through to the last invite-only event, but I was not given a final bid. I'm feeling absolutely discouraged right now because I had been looking forward to this organization since before the school year started. I would definitely love to participate in their winter rush, but do you think it's a good idea to rush again? Do you have any other pieces of advice?

Dear Discouraged, It's odd that you made it so far in the recruitment process and then didn't get a bid. That tells me the chapter was interested, but there was just wasn't room for one more new member, the competition was too stiff, or you were on the borderline with your GPA or other qualifications. In your case I would strongly encourage you to rush again at the next opportunity.

When you're being considered by only one chapter, it can be very challenging to make it to the finish line. The more chapters you engage with, the better your odds of having a happy bid day. As a freshman, you should participate in formal recruitment and visit ALL the sororities on campus. Don't limit yourself in any way. Look for informal opportunities this semester, sign up for winter/spring recruitment, have rec letters submitted and do everything you can to make yourself a top PNM. The wider your reach, the more chances for success.

If you open yourself up to all the possibilities, including your original favorite sorority, I think you will make a match. Being a first year student is the optimal time to join a chapter. So dust yourself off and focus on going greek this semester or in the spring. Consider your first attempt as a dress rehearsal, learn from it and you will be in top PNM next time around.

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• Dealing With Sorority Resignation•

Dear sorority sugar,  I was recently kicked out of my sorority, or as nationals calls it "Volunteer Resignation". My membership was revoked due to major, live changing financial issues and I was wondering if there was ANYTHING I can do for nationals to allow me back into the sorority? I am extremely upset and am willing to do anything. I need some positivity. Thank you for taking the time to read and answer this question!

Dear Disaffiliated, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but for nearly all NPC sororities, there is no way back in once you have officially left your chapter. There are some exceptions in some organizations, but as a rule the decision is for life. That is why I strongly recommend members avoid dropping out at all costs. It's an unchangeable situation for most former sisters.

I feel your anguish and having money troubles is a totally legitimate reason to leave greek life. A financial downturn happens to the best of people. Don't beat yourself up about it. One option is to join a non-Panhellenic sorority. You can enjoy some of the same traditions, volunteer in the community and make new friends. Look for service sororities, religious chapters and special interest sororities on your campus. Another idea is to get involved with a different kind of club. There are lots of other groups that provide good times and camaraderie. You can replace the empty place in your heart with a new activity, a new sport, a new hobby, or something related to your major. Think about taking a part time job, taking an internship, or studying abroad.

Please don't sit and agonize about what was lost. You can't turn back the hands of time. Accepting what happened is important. Instead, move forward in a positive way and fill your life with things you enjoy doing. After you graduate you can join some women's organizations and get back that feeling of female esprit de corps. Once "chapter" in your life has concluded, but there are many more adventures to come! 

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• The Scoop on Big/Little Adoption •

Dear sorority sugar, What's the deal with adopting littles? My whole family has graduated and gone alum and my little disaffiliated. I'm a senior this year so taking a little this semester was my only option, but I was "denied" from doing so due to some messed up chapter politics and a specific sister's opinion of me. I'm really disappointed that I am going to graduate from school having never had a little. I'll be jumping back to my chapter having been a recruitment counselor these past few weeks with no family to jump back to. There's a younger girl in my chapter who I'm pretty close with who had a pretty terrible relationship with her big who has since gone alum. She's taking a little this semester and has no family either. I'd like to adopt her as my own little and her future little would be my G. Is this a big no no? Could I maybe reach out to her big whose gone alum and ask for permission? I'm not sure what the common courtesy on all of this would be but I'd really like to build a stronger relationship and adopt this little and have her be a part of my family. I really need some advice.

Dear Little-Less, I think your plan of "adopting" the stranded little in your chapter is a fantastic idea. The two of you are in the same boat and it would create a happy family unit for both of you. I don't think there are any standard rules for big/little adoptions other than individual chapter traditions. Some sororities are easy going about it and some are more strict. You may have to make it "official" in some way by declaring your new arrangement during a reveal, or at a chapter meeting. 

To be safe, ask your Membership VP, (or whoever handles your big/little program) and get the okay for moving forward. Explain the situation just like you did to me. Find out how your sisterhood prefers to handle adoptions. How you manage it depends on your sorority and the personalities involved. As long as you're polite and kind, you should be alright. Stay positive and show how your new partnership benefits everyone involved. And please don't have a chip on your shoulder about your recent experience. You don't want any negativity effecting your new big/little idea. 

Also.... I know politics and favoritism can happen inside a sorority, but the reason you didn't get a little this fall may have more to do with you being a senior than anything else. Chapters usually want new littles to have several years with their big sister on campus. And you did have a little before, even though she disaffiliated. All of those factors probably went into the decision about your eligibility to be a big again. I wouldn't be too hard on the sisters who made that decision. Hopefully your brilliant plan with come together soon and you can start enjoying a family once again! 

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• Winter/Spring Rec Letter Timeline •

Dear sorority sugar,  I was wondering when the ideal time to send recommendation letters is? IU does their rush in January, so when would the perfect time be? Thanks, and I love Sorority Sugar!

Dear IU PNM, The ideal time to send recommendation letters is after you receive the submission information from the Panhellenic Council. Typically, the organizers of sorority recruitment will publish a Handbook several months before rush week starts. Or they may just post the information on their website. PNMs will be given names, sorority house addresses and other information needed for completing the rec letter process. Some chapters may prefer electronic submissions instead of regular mail. Follow the instructions for each sorority individually. 

Once the rec letter details are provided to you, then you can pass the information onto your letter writers. You personally are not part of the letter mailing, but you do need to give the women complete instructions. For example, if you need a letter for Kappa Kappa Gamma, you will give the KKG alum on your list the name of the Assistant Recruitment Chair, the house address and the deadline for accepting letters. She will then write a letter and send it to KKG on your campus. As long as it is received before the cut-off date (which is usually several weeks before recruitment starts) you are okay.

For a January rush you will probably need to get your letters done in mid November or early December. Plan for holiday breaks and your letter writers being extra busy as well. Sororities should happily accept recs anytime between the "start date" and the "end date" of the pre-recruitment recommendation period.

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• Rec Letter Stress •

Dear sorority sugar, I need recommendation letters from alum in the following sororities: Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Delta Pi, Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Pi Beta Phi and
Zeta Tau Alpha. But I don't know of any alums. Could you help me get connected?

Dear Rec Letter Seeker, I know rec letters seem like an impossible task, but you don't have to personally know each letter writer. The trick is to network with women in your town, your extended family and even strangers to find members from each organization on your list. The first step is to start asking everyone your family knows, if they (or someone they know) was Greek in college. Connect with friends of friends or friends, contact alum chapters and search for volunteer groups that have sorority women as members. 

If you want lots of helpful advice on how to ace PNM rec letters from A to Z, please download the sorority sugar REC LETTER GUIDE from the Digital Sweet Shop! I have created a bite-size booklet with all my top tips on writing your PNM resume, finding the alums you need and much more. It's the booklet with the pink bow and it's available for iPad and Kindle. 

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• Colony Rec Letters •

Dear sorority sugar, I am interviewing to join a sorority colonizing my campus this fall. I unfortunately didn't get a bid from any sororities when I went through formal recruitment, probably because I wasn't really prepared, I didn't know anyone and had no letters of rec. I want to maximize my chances this time. Should I get a letter of rec for a colony? Also, how competitive are colonies?

Dear Colony PNM, Interviewing for a new sorority on campus is an excellent way for you to still go greek this fall! Usually they're "easier" to join and a colony is eagerly seeking new members. You still must meet the membership requirements though. Not every PNM who interviews will get a bid. It's still a competitive process, just not as demanding as formal rush week. 

To put your best foot forward, take what you learned during recruitment and make the most of your conversations with the colony recruiters. Now you know how to make sorority small talk and you have experience with how the process works in general. You will probably visit with colony advisors and some active sisters from a nearby college several times before they extend bids. You may be interviewed in a group, or interviewed individually by a panel of women. Highlight your best traits, your top accomplishments, your GPA and your future goals. Formal recruitment was your dress rehearsal, now your colony interviews are the main event.

If you have one or two recommendations from women in the colonizing sorority, you can certainly have rec letters submitted on your behalf. Find out who they should be mailed to, or how to electronically submit them. If the Greek women know you personally that's even better. Rec letters are never a bad idea. Even though you don't absolutely have to have them for a colony, references never ever hurt your chances. Pull out all the stops and keep an optimistic attitude. 

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• Colony Twin Assignments •

Dear sorority sugar,  I'm in the process of joining a colony at my school and I was wondering how are twins assigned in a colony?

Dear Colonist, Since everyone is new, and there are no bigs to take little sisters, most charter chapters will match new members with each other to get families started. Most founding members don't know each other, so the assignments will probably be a bit random. Your goal should be to get to know as many sisters as possible, so whoever you're matched with, try to make the best of it. The advisors assigning the twins may take into account similar interests, personality and compatibility. But don't be shocked if you get a twin you've never met before.

In the early days of a brand new sorority, everyone needs to be positive and flexible. You may or may not have a say in the twin matchmaking. If you're asked about your preference, then write down the names of several nice girls you've met. But if not, don't stress about it. Keep in mind, you will have more control over picking your future little when the time comes. For now, go with whatever happens as your colony grows.

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• Married PNM •

Dear sorority sugar,  I’m married and want to join a sorority but not as an alum sister. Where or how can I find the information for this for each chapter?

Dear Married, I suggest you visit the national websites for each of the NPC sororities and review their membership policies. You can also email them for information about being married. To find links to each national organization, please go to my Panhellenic Preview page and click on the HQ links. Each chapter sets their own guidelines within the Panhellenic rules. So you may find some variation between chapters. Typically sisters are single, but I believe some sororities make exceptions. 

You can also check out non-NPC chapters. Other Greek organizations are more flexible when it comes to membership requirements. A service sorority or local chapter might be perfect for you. Don't limit your search. There are lots of different ways to "go greek."

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• Painted Cooler Search •

Dear sorority sugar,  How can I purchase a painted cooler?

Dear Cooler Seeker, There may be some artistic types that will paint a Greek cooler for you on Etsy, but most likely, you will need to paint one yourself. It's a challenging process, but with skillful tracing and careful painting, you can create a cooler masterpiece. Please check out this post on the sorority sugar Tumblr: The Super Ultimate Greek Cooler Painting Guide! There are step by step instructions and top tips for painting a sorority or fraternity cooler.

For more crafting instructions, please visit the "How To" Guides Page for a list of helpful LINKS!  

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• New Member Struggles •

Dear sorority sugar, I recently received a bid to a sorority, but I’m having a little trouble finding my group. I already had a friendship, or what I thought was a friendship, with an older girl in my chapter before I joined. Now that I’m a new member, we’ve been matched up with active members to show us the ropes, but my friend was not the girl I was matched up with. I feel almost betrayed and lead on because as my friend she should want to be matched with me right? The other girl I was matched with has not made any effort to contact me to hang out, like I know they are supposed to do. I’m started to feel like maybe I don’t belong in my chapter and that my friend only lead me on so the chapter would meet quota. What should I do and how can I get over this feeling of disappointment/jealousy?

Dear Feeling Betrayed, Your friend did exactly what sorority members do; they recruit girls they know and like to join their chapter. Please don't blame your friend, or feel she lead you on in any way. She was your "introduction" to the sisterhood, but not necessarily your new member mentor, or future big sister. The whole point after you pledge, is to become friends with NEW people. Your chapter purposefully matched you with another sister, so you can branch out socially. Building friendships with lots of different members is what sorority life is all about. It's up to you to be assertive and proactive in making place for yourself in the house. Your friend opened the door for you, now you must walk through it and make the most of your golden opportunity.

After you've put the recruitment process in perspective, you can deal with the older sister you're currently paired with. She may be a dud. That happens. Hopefully she's a temporary partner, instead of your permanent big sister. Do your best to make the relationship work on some level. But at the same time, socialize with lots of other girls. Your pledge class sisters are where you're going to find your new "friend group." So look to them for connections. Attend every chapter social and Greek event. Go to parties and hang out with other new members. All the pledges are in the same boat that you are. Find one or two who you click with and get out there. You also want to look for a terrific big sister candidate. So being heavily involved in chapter life is the way to accomplish all your goals. Membership takes effort and it's time to get moving. You have a wonderful sorority, now it's your time to get to know most of them. 

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• Rec Letter Panic •

Dear sorority sugar, I need a recommendation for Alpha Delta Pi and unfortunately do not know any members of ADPi. Can you help me please? This is my last resort and if I cannot get this, my lifelong dream of being in a sorority will be ruined! Please help me!

Dear Last Resort, No need to panic! If you don't get a rec letter for every sorority, it's not an automatic death sentence. More often than not, recommendations are encouraged, but not mandatory for every house. As a PNM you do your best and then move on to other aspects of recruitment. Letters are just one piece of the puzzle. 

Most likely, there are ADPi alums in your town or county, you just have to find them. I suggest emailing ADPi alumnae chapters in your area, contact Panhellenic alum chapters and philanthropy organizations that have sorority women as members, like the Junior League. Also ask everyone you know if they have any ADPi women in their families or group of friends. You personally don't have to be friends with a rec letter writer, she can be a total stranger you locate one way or another. 

For more tips on locating recruitment recommendations, please download the sorority sugar REC LETTER GUIDE from the Sweet Shop. In it, you will find additional advice for networking and discovering potential letter writers. Do your best and then look forward toward rush week with total confidence. 

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• Looking for Local Sororities •

Dear sorority sugar, I was wondering if you could tell me about local sororities? I'm trying to find a directory of local chapters throughout the country.

Dear Looking, By nature, local chapters are independent. They're not a part of a national umbrella organization like the National Panhellenic Conference. I don't believe there is a master list of all the local sororities across the country. To locate them, I think you will need to visit the Greek Life websites for each college and see if there are local chapters on the lists. 

Local sororities offer a more intimate experience than some of the larger NPC houses. They set their own policies, they have more flexibility and they enjoy their own unique traditions. Members usually enjoy a more hands on sorority experience. Typically local chapters participate in events with the mainstream sorority and fraternity houses, but sometimes they don't. That's something to think about if you are considering joining a local chapter. Take a look at how integrated the chapter is with the rest of greek life. Having some unity is helpful. Local sororities can feel left out if they aren't part of some campus-wide Greek activities. 

Local chapters have their benefits. And they're a perfect fit for some PNMs. If you're looking for a smaller, more personal approach, a local chapter might be just the ticket. There is a place for everyone in the Greek community!

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• Informal Recruitment Options •

Dear sorority sugar, I ended up being dirty rushed by the house I thought I would get a bid from. Now my school is starting a brand new sorority this semester, or I can wait and do Continuous Open Bidding, or accept a snap bid from a sorority I don't mesh with in any fashion. I have no idea what to do, and I've talked to everyone close to me who know greek life. I know that sometimes you can get a COB bid from a sorority if you become friends with enough girls and they like you a bunch, but it's not talked about and kinda under the table. So I'm at a complete loss.

Dear Complete Loss, I'm sorry that formal recruitment didn't work out for you the first time around. But you do have options going forward. First I would say "no" to a snap bid from a chapter you don't like at all. If you really don't match with them, it seems pointless. That narrows things down to COB or a new colony. I would explore both avenues and any other opportunities that present themselves. 

It's true, often COB is on a more personal level. A chapter will have a few available openings and their members will network informally with friends on campus. It's okay to be open to that possibility. Sometimes informal recruitment is more organized with casual events and activities. Spring semester will certainly bring quite a few organized informal recruitment parties.

Keep your eyes open for announcements about the new sorority colonizing at your school. They will probably be interviewing soon and you should definitely get involved in that. The new chapter is your best bet for getting a bid this semester.

  • Right now ~ maybe a COB situation and colony recruitment for sure.
  • Spring semester ~ informal recruitment. 

Hang in there and keep trying!

"Be of good cheer. Do not think of today's failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourself a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost." ~ Helen Keller

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• Anxious PNM •

Dear sorority sugar, I'm currently going through recruitment and I easily know what my favorite house is. If they asked me back to day 2 and day 3, what are the odds that I'll get asked back for Pref Night?

Dear PNM, The odds are in your favor so far. But I also encourage you to keep on open mind and stay flexible. ANYTHING can happen during sorority recruitment. Even after Pref Night. You're headed in the right direction for sure, but each round some PNMs will be cut, so you never know for certain. Remain cautiously optimistic, stay positive, keep smiling and sparkling bright. If your favorite house is where you're mean to be, they will keep inviting you to return. Fingers crossed.

"Choose to be optimistic, it feels better." ~ Dalai Lama XIV  

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• Older Transfer Student PNM •

Dear sorority sugar,  I'm worried. I just transferred to a new college as a freshman and before I never wanted to be a part of Greek Life, but now I'm really interested in it. Thing is, I'm an older PNM (27) and I haven't done any volunteering. Now I want to join a sorority, but I'm worried that I won't be able to join since I haven't done any volunteering or leadership (I was homeschooled all my life and got a GED). So what should I do? Should I try joining one now, or do an informal recruitment, or what? I'm sorry I'm just so confused.

Dear Worried, If you're able to participate in recruitment this fall then jump on it! You're not getting any younger. Your age is probably the biggest road block to getting a bid. The other girls in your pledge class will be mostly 18 years old. But not every sorority is cookie cutter and some take a wide range of new members. There's no reason to not give it a shot. 

Look for chapters that are a little outside-the-box. You need a flexible sorority that's willing to stretch the age range a bit. Even though you don't have any leadership or volunteer work, you have had a unique life experience being home schooled. I personally would be interested in learning more about what that's like. Hopefully you also have some hobbies, sports, or other interests to talk about as well. Trips, crafting, and favorite movies are also topics for recruitment conversations. As long as you have a complete life, it can be your own individual style. 

If formal recruitment doesn't work out, you can try attending informal parties the next semester. But definitely try formal rush week first. You're a freshman with four years ahead on campus, and that's what sororities are looking for. Hopefully you have a young "spirit" and you will match with a sisterhood who appreciates your special personality. Keep your expectations realistic and give it your all. You have nothing to loose and everything to gain! xoxo ;)

"Always make the total effort, even then the odds are against you." ~ Arnold Palmer
 

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