Greek life is unlike any club you’ve been a part of before. While you may be accustomed to simply signing up and immediately getting access to the club of your choice, sorority recruitment, otherwise known as rush, can be one of the most intense (yet exciting) things you experience in college. No matter your year in college, there are a few ways you can prepare for rush so you don’t go into the experience blind.
1. Round up your letters of recommendation
Summer is the time to secure your recommendation letters from collegiate members or sorority alumna. Some college chapters require recommendation letters, other chapters only suggest them and others make no mention of needing them. Find out your college’s policy before you do too much or too little work to get them.
If you do plan on going through with the letters of recommendation, they should all be mailed and received by each sorority prior to the start of recruitment. Depending on your college, you may be required to submit one to two letters of recommendation for each sorority on campus. While that may seem like a daunting task, finding alumni from each chapter is easier than you may think.
Megan Christi, a sophomore at the University of Alabama, found all 32 letters of recommendation that she needed through mutual connections. “I was the first person in my family to get involved with Greek life,” she says. “All I did was create a post on Facebook of the sororities I needed letters of recommendation from, and asked for alumni of the chapter to reach out to me. My friends shared my post over and over again, and left comments tagging people who could help.” You’d be surprised how many people in your life have Greek affiliations.
2. Perfect your resume
Every person you ask for a letter of recommendation from may not be familiar with every aspect of your life, so it’ll be important for them to have your resume so they can personalize your letter. The resume you create will be different than a resume you use to apply for jobs. It should highlight your academic achievements, community involvement, hobbies and interests.
Your resume should be divided into the following sections. To keep it brief, each section is as follows:
- Your name and contact information such as your email, phone number and address
- Education: Your high school, graduation year, class rank, GPA weighted and unweighted, AP/IB classes and ACT and/or SAT scores
- Personal information: Date of birth, college attending, major, classification, your parents’ names, the colleges they attended, their degrees and occupations if applicable
- Greek affiliations: If anyone you know is affiliated with Greek life, include them here
- Activities: Clubs you spend a significant amount of time participating in
- Honors: Academic and nonacademic awards
- Volunteer: Community service
- Hobbies: Anything you’re interested in that was not mentioned before
- Work experience: Any current or former jobs you’ve held and your title there
Be sure to include what year you participated in each item. Include a very short description of anything that wouldn’t be clear to a complete stranger.
3. Clean up your social media
You’ve probably been told by your parents that whatever you post online will follow you for the rest of your life. You’ve also probably ignored that statement at some point and posted whatever you wanted.
While social media is a great place to express yourself, sororities may browse your page to get a feel for who you are. You shouldn’t alter who you are for recruitment, but getting rid of any incriminating Instagram posts from a crazy summer night or setting your alcoholic recipes board on Pinterest to secret will benefit you in the long run.
Paula* works as the vice president of her chapter’s standards committee at Louisiana State University. “During recruitment, my sisters and I would look up the girls on social media,” she says. “Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr were the big four. I remember going to a potential new member’s Twitter account and she was essentially bragging about how drunk she got the night before. She was instantly cut.”
For starters, change your profile picture to a cute, up-to-date photo with only you in it. Delete anything you wouldn’t want your grandma seeing, and if you’re unsure that your page is up to par, make your account private. However, if you make your account private, don’t make all of your information private. Keep your school, occupation, hometown, interest and hobbies available to the public.
4. Prepare for questions with mock interviews
Be prepared to answer lots of questions during rush week. You have to be quick on your feet and confident in your answers, just like you would be in a job interview. The goal is to leave an impression on everyone you talk to so that you’re lingering on their minds far after the conversation has ended.
It’s very common to hear questions pertaining to your involvement in high school and on campus if you’re an upperclassman. Talk up any clubs you participated in and any leadership positions you held. If you haven’t been formally involved with many organizations, don’t sweat it too much. Talk about your aspirations and what you do around campus to make it a better place.
Practice mock interviews with your friends and family. It may seem silly, but you’ll become more relaxed while talking about yourself and all your good attributes.
5. Plan out outfits ahead of time
Do not dress like somebody you’re not! Rather, dress as the best version of you and stay true to your style. Of course, you’ll want to make sure that whatever you wear you wouldn’t mind being introduced to your SO’s family in it. So if you think you lack a classy but cute outfit, it doesn’t hurt to start shopping for clothes now.
Katie Elsworth, a recent graduate of the University of Georgia, rushed her freshman year, so she’s seen plenty of recruitment outfits during her time in a sorority. “Lilly Pulitzer dresses are probably what a lot of girls associate with rush week,” she says. “But don’t just limit yourself to that! Yes, it can be a safe bet, but it’s also pretty expensive. Stores like Forever 21 or Charlotte Russe will definitely have what you need without breaking the bank.”
As far as specifics, she recommends sundresses, cardigans, rompers, jumpsuits and a little black dress. Heels or wedges pair well with any of those looks.
6. Don't schedule anything during rush week
During rush week, do not make any other commitments. You will be tired. There’s no telling how long a day of rush might last, so take some time off of work and don’t schedule any appointments during that window of time.
Amy Wagner, a junior at Georgia Southern University, quickly realized that her job and rush week was a lot to balance at the same time. "At first, I didn't take off work because I thought I could handle the two," she says. "I realized that people aren't kidding when they say rush week will consume all your time and energy. Thankfully, my boss was understanding when I had to call out for a few days. Not everyone will be as understanding, though, so just take the time off ahead of time."
You want to put your best foot forward, so this should be your only focus if possible.
7. Don’t limit yourself to a certain house…
All of your friends may be in a sorority together, or your mom may be hoping and praying that her sorority gives you a bid. Despite your connections, don’t have your sights set on one specific house. You are your own person, so their sorority may or may not be the perfect fit.
Elana Golub, a junior at Northwestern University, knows that the sorority that is your home will find you—you don’t go out and seek it yourself. “The process itself is supposed to help you figure out where you fit best—nothing else should influence that,” she says. “Just pick out your favorite outfits, come with an open mind and don’t try to be someone that you are not.”
Don’t try to force anyone to like you. You’ll naturally click with the right group of girls.
8. …Unless you’re rushing a non-traditional sorority
Before you decide to rush, you should be knowledgeable about the different kinds of sororities. The majority of sororities on campus will be social ones, but there is Greek life outside of the social realm. Other types of sororities focus on service, religion, academics, career and culture and do not participate in formal rush. Social sororities that are new may not participate in formal rush either.
Kaitlin Manion, a recent graduate of Temple University, found her home in a new sorority on campus. “I did research on the sorority I wanted to join because mine was new to campus,” she says. “I did that so that I could see if their ideas, values and philanthropy aligned with who I was as a person and what I wanted to gain from a sorority. You shouldn’t go in there reciting their entire history, but you should know the basics.”
Whatever your passion may be, there is a group of people ready to welcome you into their family.
Yes, it may be summer and relaxing poolside may be your full-time hobby. However, you can start preparing for sorority recruitment now. Instead of walking into rush with a stomach full of butterflies, you’ll walk in with a confident strut and your head held high. Good luck, ladies!
*Name has been changed