Rushing a sorority may well be one of the most bizarre things you ever do in your life. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever spend another week running from mansion to mansion being sung to, smiled at and chatted to by groups of girls who are all mysteriously wearing the exact same outfit. Feeling a bit nervous is completely normal, but it’s no reason not to rush. Even though you might be apprehensive now, when you find the right house, you’ll be happy you took a chance.
One common worry of potential rushees is that they don’t know enough about the rush process, so we put together some info that we wish we’d known before setting off down Greek Row. With this insider advice, you’ll feel like a recruitment veteran before rush even begins! Here are the four things they won’t tell you on your school’s recruitment website.
1. Rush will be your entire life (for a week, that is)
Warning: Once the week starts, you are going to eat, breathe and speak nothing but rush. Most rush events are all-day affairs, and even when the day is over, you’ll likely be consumed with thinking about which houses you liked best and planning your outfit for the next round. On the first day you’ll end up going to every single house on campus—which, at many schools, is an extensive list. Though subsequent rounds require you to go to fewer houses, each “party” (i.e., the time spent in each house talking to its members) lasts longer as recruitment week progresses.
Rush is more or less a nonstop talk-a-thon. At every house, you’ll chat with multiple girls, and for the first few days, you’ll likely have the same conversations (answering questions like, “Where are you from?” and, “What’s your major?”) over and over again.
“I didn't know how tiring simply talking to people would be,” says Hannah, a sorority sister and senior at Indiana University Bloomington. “I basically passed out ASAP afterwards when I went through rush.”
Because rush is such a long and tiring process, it’s important not to try to pack much else into your week. If you’re serious about finding the right house, it’s essential to be well rested and give rush your full attention. If you feel like you’re missing out on all the exciting things happening at the beginning of the semester, just remember that recruitment only lasts a few days, and you’ll be free to do whatever you want before you know it. So get those eight hours of sleep in—you’ll be happy you did.
If you still feel a bit sleepy, you can always use makeup to look more awake!
2. If you don’t keep yourself well fueled, you’ll regret it
Eat! It seems so simple, but it can be easy to overlook. Rush moves at a nonstop pace, so you likely won’t have time to snack in between rounds. Make sure to have a good breakfast and lunch, or you’ll be regretting it. Remember, it’s not just important to eat enough—it’s important to eat well. Sticking to healthy foods will help keep you energized and feeling good.
The same goes for staying hydrated. Bring a water bottle with you and leave it outside the house when you go inside. This will save your voice, too!
3. When in doubt, look nicer than you’re told to
When Oscar Wilde famously stated, “You can never be overdressed or overeducated,” he was probably talking about sorority recruitment. Pay attention to the suggested outfits for each round, and as a general rule, dress as well as you can within the parameters of a given day’s dress code. For example, if the suggested outfit for the first day is “casual,” dress as you might for the first day of school: better than usual, but not over the top.
Brittany, a Zeta Tau Alpha sister in California, says presenting yourself well is the fastest way to make a good first impression. “There are hundreds of girls—you want to stand out in a positive way,” she says. Not to mention when you look good, you feel good. Putting your best foot forward will give you a total confidence boost. Let’s be honest, you can never go wrong being the best-dressed one in the room!
Bonus tip: Bring comfortable shoes in your bag to wear when you walk between houses. Your feet will thank you!
4. Active members are just as nervous as you are
This might bring back childhood memories of adults telling you that the large and terrifying bug you encountered “is just as scared of you as you are of it.” You didn’t believe it then, and you probably don’t believe it now, but we promise it’s the truth! Every active member you talk to wants you to like her and her sorority. Remember that the selection process is mutual. Your opinion of the women you’ve met at a house is used (along with their opinions of you) to determine if you return to that house for the next round.
The thought of having to impress every potential new member who walks through the door is a scary one. “The idea of having an awkward conversation is the most worrying,” says Iris, a junior at UCLA. “The [active] girls are actually as nervous as [the potential new members], and at least as tired – if not more.” Keeping this in mind is a great way to quell your fears about rush.
Another good way to keep your own nerves at bay is to keep in mind the reason you’re rushing in the first place. Ideally, you want to join a sorority because you’re interested in finding a group of women who share your values and who will become your best friends. Thus, treat each girl you meet as a potential new sister. “Make a friend,” Brittany says. “You are first and foremost joining a group of women, not a national organization.”
If you still feel intimidated, just remember that every current sorority member was in your shoes once. Of course, they may act like pros now, but as little as a year ago, they were in your position and feeling just as nervous you are!
With this insider knowledge under your belt, you’ll be a rush pro. Good luck!