When you enter the jungle of sorority rush week with active sisters on the prowl for fresh meat, you need to be prepared. To Greek or not to Greek is one of the bigger decision you make in your social collegiate career and, whether we want to admit it or not, it can resemble a Darwin-esque survival of the fittest battle.
Last week, Abigail Sullivan Moore wrote an article for The New York Times about the great lengths that young women go to prepare for the recruitment and pledging process. She cites that many college females attending universities in the South enlist the help of coaches who take them through a mock rush process to prepare them for the actual event.
But never fear! You don’t need a professional rush-army to get you through the recruitment events. Here are some steps that can help you along your way to conquering the jungle and being accepted into the perfect sisterhood for you.
1) Be yourself. While this may sound cliché or obvious, many girls will put on an act to appear more “likeable” with the hopes of seeming like a better fit. But, when rushing a sorority, you are choosing your family away from home (I mean, they are your sisters, after all). Would you want to be stuck with a family for the next four years that you really do not mesh with? Don’t try to fit the mold of the sorority, but see if it fits you!
2) Do your research. Most schools have several sororities that rush on campus. Each sorority has different values, culture, and pillars. Before rushing any or all sororities, make sure you look into the histories and culture of each so you get an idea of what they are looking for and whether this works for you. The sorority rush process is like a two-way job interview – you are looking to impress them and receive a bid, but they want to impress you into accepting their bid, too!
3) Do not rely on reputations. Use your own judgment. A lot of college life revolves around gossip that may or may not be true. Each sorority may have their own campus stereotype but, most of the time, there is little to no truth behind them! While you may hear this or that rumor about certain sororities, go into rush with an open-mind. Listen to what they say about their sorority and what they stand for, rather than what you heard. Your own self-formed opinion will serve as a better guide than false reputations.
4) Explore the different kinds of Greek life opportunities on campus. When it comes to Greek life, people assume that fraternities and sororities resemble those depicted on screen, like ABC Family’s Greek, or the movie Legally Blonde. While it is true that social Greek organizations dominate most campuses, there are other options! There are community service fraternities and sororities, which focus on a more thorough and hands-on service schedule, as well as the social aspects of Greek life. Business fraternities (co-ed) are also on the rise for those future business executives on campus looking to thrive with like-minded individuals. Don’t limit your opportunity to find your niche.
5) Learn how to best market yourself. Carry yourself with confidence and make sure to familiarize yourself with the leadership and community service aspects of your resume. Show your potential future sisters what makes you stand out from the rest of the rushees and why you would be the perfect fit for their sisterhood.
6) Be outgoing. This might be more difficult for some than others, but it is vital when trying to catch the eye of active sisters. In the sea of girls vying for a spot in their top choice sorority, you want to do everything you can to be remembered. Don’t be afraid to go up and introduce yourself to active sisters and ask them about their time in the sorority. Showing interest and initiative are the best way to get on the short-list to getting a bid! (Tip: It is really impressive and useful if you remember the names of the active sisters you talk to. Use whatever mnemonic device you can, repeat it to yourself 100,000 times, whatever helps you remember! Using a person’s name makes them feel good about the conversation, which could really be a plus in the recruitment process, and in making you more memorable!)
7) Dress the part. You want to put your best foot forward because first impressions are everything and, with events as hectic and short as rush, you only have a limited amount of time to really make sure you stick in the minds of active sisters. They are looking for girls who are really taking the process seriously, which means your appearance, as well! Exchange your Ugg boots and tennis shoes for cute flats or sensible heels, and ditch your distressed jeans for a pencil skirt or slacks. You want to ooze professionalism and respectability.
8) Be honest with yourself. Throughout the week, eliminate sororities that you cannot see yourself in. This is all about a mutual perfect fit. You want to be somewhere you feel the most comfortable being yourself. Furthermore, don’t feel like you can or cannot rush based on what your friends are doing. Greek life isn’t for everyone, but if it is for you, joining will be the best decision you could have made in your college social life.
9) Make your own decisions. Opting to go through the rush process with friends could be a great comfort, but it could also hold you back from making the decision that is best for you. It is all about being an individual. Your top choice may not be your friend’s top choice … and this should never sway your decision! In the end, you will both be happy for yourselves and each other when you find yourselves the sorority that is best suited for you.
10) Be appropriate. While television shows and movies might make you believe that sororities are all about partying and dating frat guys, this is far from the truth. Being in a sorority means forging relationships with your sisters, creating a network for outside of college, and learning real world skills like leadership, cooperation, and serving others. Do not talk about drinking, partying, or your finesse with the opposite sex. This is not impressive or becoming of a potential pledge and future sister. Make sure to reveal the best image of yourself.
11) Don’t be nervous. There is nothing to be scared about! Your fear of finding the best place for you parallels the active sisters’ fear of wanting to find the sisters that will be the best additions to their existing Greek family. Instead, look to the exciting future of the possibility of new friends, new experiences, and new skills. Take a deep breath and just be yourself.
12) Be passionate. As a founding member and current president of my campus’ first community service sorority, I remember falling in love with girls who really had a fire behind their words. Tell the active sisters why you love sisterhood, your university, community service, leadership, and friendship! Let your personality come through and the girls are bound to love you. Passion and individuality are king (or queen!) when it comes to recruitment.
13) Enjoy yourself! There is no other process in college – or even post-college – which can truly be compared to sorority rush. It is both exciting and memorable, it will also help to shape the remainder of your collegiate career. Don’t forget to take a moment or two and really appreciate the process, your fellow rushees and active sisters, and the entire Greek life culture.
Good luck and may the sisterhood be with you!