For those of you who don't know, I am a freshman at the University of Alabama. We have the biggest formal recruitment in the entire country, so completing the whole week is an accomplishment. This post will explain the process as well as calm your nerves if you're planning on going through it for yourself! Every school is different, so feel free to comment below and let me know how your school does it!
If you haven't already, check out the Panhellenic Website. It will answer so many questions for you (dates, chapters, etc). UA Panhellenic has a great publication called Greek Chic. For me it was a LIFE SAVER. I had no idea what to wear or what I was supposed to do each day and this truly helped me so much.
Make sure you get involved in high school and maintain a 3.0 + GPA. This is so important because of the insane amount of girls rushing. Poor grades are a quick and easy weed out process. Unfortunately, If you did poorly in high school, your options may not be as great.
Letters of Recommendation -
These letters are written by alumni to the sorority on your behalf. It makes the sorority take a second (or third) look at you as a person. Try to get one or two letters for each house on campus. Some schools do allow active members to write letters, but it's better to find an alum. Ask your mom's friends, your friend's moms, ask on Facebook, or search for alumni/Panhellenic groups in your area. My best advice for this is do not wait until the last minute. If you can't find one for every house, it is not the end of the world!
This was the night before formal recruitment started. We met with our Rho Chi as well as a "small" group. Our group was almost 100 girls! Rho Chi's are basically your counselor for the week (as well as after the week is over). They have disaffiliated from their sorority in order to help lead the way for all of us lost freshman. At convocation, we received our two t-shirts for philanthropy day and our own hard copy of Greek Chic.
These parties last 20 minutes each and you will attend every single house. You will line up in alphabetical order and be "snaked" into the house (this is done at every house, every day). Make sure you google a few door songs! I was definitely unprepared for that. I spoke to one or two girls at different houses. The best advice I can give you for this round is to be bubbly but be yourself. Try to form connections with the girls you're speaking to. Don't talk trash about other sororities because you never know who may end up there!
I cannot express how important it is to take good detailed notes about each house after you leave. Seriously, don't wait five minutes after you have left the house. Write down what you liked, what you didn't like, the girls names that you talked to, what you talked about, what the decorations were, etc. Write down anything that will help you remember how you felt in that moment in time. It helps tremendously when you have to go back and rank your houses, even later in the rounds.
After Open House, your list narrows down from 16 to 12. You rank the bottom 4 in order of which you liked. If you don't get invited back to one of your 12, the bottom 4 will replace your open spots (if they wanted you back). It's not normal to receive back the maximum options each day.
These parties last 25 minutes. Both philanthropy days were my favorite days of the whole week. It was clear who truly got involved with their charity and that was important to me. I talked to one or two girls at each house and then they played a slideshow explaining their charity. Again, be sure to keep track of what you liked and didn't like and be prepared to be cut from some of your top houses. Remember that you only have to end up with one at the end of the week!
After these two days, you go from 12 houses to 8 houses. You will use the same process as before as you rank your bottom four (if you have more than 8).
These parties last 40 minutes. This is for the houses to show YOU what types of girls they have. Be prepared to laugh! The skit will last about 15-20 minutes and the rest of the time will be spent talking to more members. It was nice to be able to relax and actually get to know people in each sorority.
After this round your options will narrow again, this time from 8 to 3 houses.
These parties will last 50 minutes. There will be no more door songs. This day is extremely serious and emotional for a lot of girls. It's a calm quiet environment and you will leave knowing which house is truly your home.
After your last house, you will rank your three houses in order of preference.
We met our Rho Chi groups inside the football stadium (ROLL TIDE). Bids were passed out and we sat on them. At 10:20ish, bids were ripped open and I found out I was a new member of Kappa Alpha Theta! We ran from the stadium to our houses and were greeted by our temporary bigs. The week was an absolute blast and I have made so many life long friends because of it!
All in all, I think everyone should go through recruitment. Rush week was honestly one of the best times I have ever had. Not only was I pushed to be more outgoing, but I got to meet tons of different people which was important for me as an out-of-state student.