Congratulations on potentially joining a sorority! Since you’re considering rushing, you’ve probably heard your fair share of anecdotes about sorority life, the constant parties and the superficiality of the rush process. Thankfully, you can throw those stereotypes out the window. We asked college women to share the real truth about sorority recruitment, and everything they wished they had known before rushing. Although your Greek life experience will be different at every college, here are the key things all future sorority women should know.
1. You’re going to feel overwhelmed
To be completely honest, it is really easy to become emotionally unstable during rush week, but it all depends onhow you handle it. A whole week of feeling hungry and tired, wearing heels, staying out for hours and constantly feeling like you’re being judged is enough to make any girl have a breakdown. After all that, it can feel even worse when you’ve been cut from multiple houses and aren’t sure whether you’ll get a bid from your first choice.
Nicole Hayashida, a recruitment counselor at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and member of Kappa Alpha Theta, has some real talk for you about maintaining your chill. “If you feel completely overwhelmed, you can be honest about it. If you get cut from a house, don’t cry. If your feet are killing you, then make sure to pack flats in your bag,” she says. “The quality of your experience during rush has a lot to do with how you handle it. Being prepared: acting thick-skinned and having fun is going to make you more attractive to active members than another rushee who’s having a bummer time.”
We know the rush process isn’t easy. But managing a few laughs and handling uncomfortable circumstances with grace is totally worth it for the reward of finding your sisterhood.
2. Personality is more important than appearance
While some sororities are certainly invested in the pageantry of formal recruitment, the golden rule is to be yourself and show your true personality, because authenticity will carry you further than frills.
Nicole goes on to explain what active members are looking for. “We are sometimes seeing hundreds of girls in one night,” she says. “You are more likely to be remembered for having a great personality and a lot of passion instead of having the most expensive dress or being able to walk in the highest heels.”
Additionally, recruitment boards are looking to bid on women that are enthusiastic about their chapter. If you were the Regina George of your high school and you come into rush acting too cool to be there, you’ll definitely get cut. Above all, the sorority recruiters will be looking for girls who are eager about making new friends, have a love of philanthropy and are willing to dedicate time to the house. In this contest, looks and a cool card won’t get you past pref night.
3. Be extremely open-minded
If you enter rush with your heart set on only one sorority and nothing else, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. In reality, your opinions about what you want will change so much through the rush process that you should open yourself to all the possibilities.
Kate Klammer, a sophomore at the University of Oregon and member of Chi Omega, shares the importance of keeping your options flexible. “I rushed freshman year and only got a bid from Chi O, which was fine, but it wasn’t the sorority I wanted to be in,” she explains. “I dropped, rushed again this year, and got a bid from Chi O again. Instead of taking the opportunity initially and accepting a really great sorority even though it wasn’t my first option, I wasted a year I could have spent with my sisters. Just consider various options, and don’t go in with an all-or-nothing game plan.”
Go where you feel comfortable and have people you click with, not the sorority that has the best Instagram pics or is considered the “hottest” on campus. Staying open-minded is going to land you in the right spot come bid night.
4. Current members are also tired and nervous
The sororities you’re rushing have been working since last semester and through the summer to put on recruitment, and believe us when we say that they are just as nervous about it going well as you. Talking to a bunch of strangers is never easy, and while you’ll be trying hard to sell yourself, they’ll be working to sell their sorority as the absolute best choice for you.
“The women you’re mingling with have probably been up all night, are feeling tons of pressure from their recruitment chair and want nothing more than for you to want to join their sorority,” says Kayla Steinforth, a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo graduate and Kappa Kappa Gamma alumna. “They’re concerned about making a good impression too.”
All the people you’re meeting have already gone through the same recruitment process, so you can rest easy knowing that they feel tons of sympathy and want to just have a good time with you. You can feel comfortable being yourself with them.
5. It’s okay to be on the fence
Based on portrayals of Greek life in movies, television and even crazy stories you hear on the news, you likely have some preconceived notions about what goes on in sororities. Maybe these portrayals have left you on the fence and unsure whether you’ll fit into the “partying” culture of sororities, or worried that you’re not quite extroverted enough to maintain this lifestyle. It’s okay to question whether committing to a sorority is right for you, but we promise that sororities are a lot more multidimensional than you think.
“I was on the fence about rushing, and I had never thought of myself as the stereotypical sorority girl,” explains Jenny McClintock, a senior and member of Delta Gamma at the University of Florida. “I ended up dropping, and then rushing again a year later. What I didn’t realize is how rich sorority life actually is. It’s easy to find your niche, especially when you’re in a group of 200 girls, and it’s easy to find your favorite events.”
Sororities offer a little something for everyone. There’s opportunity for friendship, philanthropy, leadership, post-grad connections and access to countless events throughout the year. While yes, parties will be regularly occurring, you won’t necessarily be forced out of your comfort zone. There’s always something to gain from joining a sorority, and very little to be lost.
6. The time commitment is heavy
Depending on your college, some rushes last three days and others can last almost two weeks. While there’s usually a skit night, philanthropy night and pref night, actual rush week can end up as a huge time commitment. On top of all the time spent getting ready, expect to be visiting different houses and mingling for three to five hours per day.
The time commitment doesn’t stop after rush. Allison Martin, a senior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, shares what she wishes she knew before rushing. “I wish I had known before joining the amount of commitment in terms of going to events and meetings,” she says. “I don’t regret it at all, but it was a huge life adjustment when I incorporated my sorority into my academics sophomore year.”
Once you begin sorority life, you’ll have chapter meetings, parties, volunteering and so many other events to attend that a really significant amount of your time each week will be spent in your sisterhood. We recommend asking someone who goes to your college about the sorority commitments before you rush. They’ll be able to give you the most honest and accurate representation of how Greek life operates on your campus.
We hope you have a great rush week, collegiettes! Recruitment and sorority life will have their ups and downs, but the friendships and experiences you make along the way will be invaluable. If rush ever has you stressed, just have fun and remember that you are good enough. You’ll find your sisters in no time.