While it may be just summer, the school year is quickly approaching and with it one of the most nerve racking times for many girls (besides the first day obviously) rush. Many schools do main rush in the fall, but make sure you check with yours because some favor spring rush. At Ohio State, this means preparing for the multi weekend rush activities, along with a few pre rush activities as well.
First things first
Sign up to rush. This is normally done through your schools Panhellenic council. Put aside some time to complete this sign up process because it normally requires some thinking. Many will ask you about previous involvement both in college and high school. Additionally, it will ask for things like your major, gpa, hometown, hobbies and most importantly: why you want to join a sorority. Make sure you take your time answering because many chapters will pair use this information to decide which active members you’re paired with during recruitment.
Pre Rush Activities
Many schools with spring rush offer pre rush activities. At Ohio State we have a fashion show in the fall that shows some real examples of what people wear to each round of rush. Additionally it allows PNMs to ask any questions they have so far in the process.
Many chapters also hold little meet and great events through the fall semester to garner interest and learn more about future PNMs. These can take place at activity fairs and be separate chapter specific events such as fundraisers and meet ups.
When you sign up for rush you’ll likely be assigned to a rho gam a few weeks before rush. These ladies are sorority members who decide to step away from their chapters during rush to help facilitate the process and answer any questions that you and other PNMs may have. In my case I had two. Pre rush they created a group chat for us to ask questions, reminded us about events, and more. When rush came around they helped tour us during meet the chapters, gave us weather updates, time reminders, and dress code tips. The biggest role that Rho Gams play is helping PNMs decide what chapters to keep on their preference lists and which to drop. Plus if you’re like the many who get dropped from an early favorite, they’ll console you and remind you to trust the process.
One super important thing to keep an eye on during rush is costs. Many sororities have dues and they can range greatly. At Ohio state they can be anywhere from $1000 a semester to $2100. Chapters looking to build a new house can cost more, along with those that hold more activities. Additionally, many sororities cost more as a new member than they do as an active. Costs can also be higher if you live in the sorority house, which is something to keep in mind for the future. It’s also important to keep in mind that you’ll likely have to pay a fee just to rush .which is used to maintain your schools PHA and at most schools, provide you with a rush T-shirt for the first round.
In the weeks leading up to rush it is important to make sure that you’re prepared. Pick your outfits for each round ahead of time, so you have one less thing to worry about day off. It’s also important to look into each sorority a little bit before rush starts. This is especially important when it comes to talking to actives during the rounds. What is their philanthropy? Their fundraisers? Their motto?
Another big prep step is thinking of your answers to the more common questions. What’s your major? What are you hobbies? Why are you rushing? Why are you interested in *insert sorority here*?
The most important step to rush though? Making sure you know how to properly pronounce the sororities name. Nothing is worse than say Chai instead of Ky (Chi) or Zy instead of Z (Xi).
Many schools offer a variety of rounds of rush, all of which take place during different days and last for different amounts of time depending on the amount of sororities at the school. These rounds normally consist of meet the chapters, philanthropy, sisterhood, and preference.
Meet The Chapters
This is always the first round and often takes place over multiple days. It is most likely that you’ll travel around with your Rho Gam for this day (or days) to help familiarize you with the different sorority locations. In this round and most others you’ll normally be greeted with a short speech from an executive member of the sorority such as the recruitment chair or president. Then you will be asked to line up in alphabetical order and attendance will be taken. This is done to help ensure that everyone is there and that you get matched with the right active when you enter the house. You’ll normally be asked to wear your assigned T-shirt and allowed to style it how you please. This round is normally shorter and gives you a quick introduction to each chapter. At the end of this round you’ll be tasked with ranking the houses from favorite to least favorite. They will do the same with PNMs and you’ll receive a narrowed down list of houses to visit for the next round.
One thing that is important for this round is the location of your school. If you’re going to a school in the south, be prepared for door chants. These occur at the first round where active members chant about their sorority and clap as a greeting. If you’re not expecting it, it can definitely be startling.
Philanthropy round is the second round of recruitment normally. This round is about learning about what philanthropy each sorority at your school partners with and fundraisers for. Every one has a national philanthropy and some have local ones as well. Some examples are St. Jude’s (Delta Delta Delta), Starkey Hearing Foundation (Delta Zeta), Reading is Fundamental (Kappa Kappa Gamma), or Think Pink (Zeta Tau Alpha).
Each sorority will likely have a variety of fundraisers that they do throughout the school year, but they often have one larger one each semester. At Delta Zeta we host The Doughnut Dash 5k in the fall and Battleship in the spring. Other sorority’s host things like Hockey Shootouts, Mac and Cheese stands, or even Pancake dinners.
Pay attention to what each sorority’s philanthropy is, it might help you narrow down which one you’re interested in.
After this round you will once again narrow down the sororities you are interested in for the next round.
This is normally the third round of recruitment. The focus of this round is to learn about what it means to be a sister and what the sorority does for fun and events. Feel free to ask questions about who many events the have a week, what they’re main ones are, what activities each girl likes to do with their sisters, and more. Here at Ohio State a great thing to ask about is Greek week. It involves a variety of events, ending in an awesome dance competition.
After this round you will be asked to list your top two or three sororities that you want to return to for pref. Think carefully, because you’ll only get a few options.
Preference Round or Pref Round is the final round of recruitment. For this round you’ll go to only two or three sororities. This is likely the longest round and it will give you a look into the sorority’s traditions. They often will sing their song and tell you about their history. They may mention their founders. Most sororities will have actives come in front of the group to tell you about why they chose their sorority.
For some people this round can be kind of emotional. This is when many girls say they find their “place” in a sorority. Be prepared to see some girls around you crying or getting emotional. Personally, I didn’t tear up (but my future big was bawling after her speech).
After this round you will have be asked to pick your top choice for a sorority. While some people know right away which one they’re most interested in, others may be in love with two and need to think long and hard about which they prefer. It is also important to think about whether you’d like to list a backup option or not. Personally, while I still had two houses left during pref round, I knew that I only felt like I truly belonged in the one. Therefor I only put down one option on my card, knowing that I may not get it. At many schools, if you still have a sorority left to attend for pref round, they guarantee you acceptance into one of your remaining houses. At OSU, if you had one option left you were guaranteed into that house, but if you had two left you were only guaranteed acceptance into one of them. If you did what I did and chose to pick only one sorority after pref despite having multiple left, they did not guarantee acceptance into this house, which was a risk I chose to take after thinking and talking to my mom about it.
Bid Day is the commencement of recruitment. Every school has different requirements on dress code for this round, so make sure you pay attention so you’re dressed appropriately. They’ll likely have your Rho Gam distribute your bid in a sealed envelope. Then they will have everyone open their envelopes at the same time. Expect it to be loud and full of girls screaming or even crying. There will also likely be some active members from each chapter spread out throughout the room dressed in their bid day theme. These girls will help run you home. This means they’ll gather your whole pledge class together and you get to run through campus until you make it to the house. Expect all the active members from each sorority to be standing in front of the house cheering you on, ready to great you. Additionally, if your school has fraternity houses near the sorority houses, you may expect some frat boys to stand outside and watch the festivities. For the most part they are all harmless during recruitment and just want to laugh at NMs running like idiots. Some may give you high fives or even make tunnels for you to run through. Just go with it or ignore them if you want.
Once you get to your house and are greeted you will likely get a Bid Day Buddy. These girls often have a sign of some kind with your name on it, greeting you personally. They’ll be responsible for taking you around the events and introducing you to some actives. They’ll also give you your bid day shirt/sweatshirt to match your fellow sisters. Have fun and take lots of pictures this day, as you’ll want to look back and remember it. Also, make sure you talk to as many fellow NMs as you can, this will help you make friends faster and even find girls who may live near you on campus. This can be helpful if you need to head to an event but don’t want to go alone.
Getting dropped from your dream house is every girls worst nightmare during recruitment, but it shouldn’t be. It’s incredibly important to make sure that you go into recruitment with an open mind and don’t judge any sorority before you meet them.
After each round you’ll likely have a few that you love, but remember they need to love you back. You can be a great person and still not be a great fit for the sorority you think you love. Especially in early rounds it’s important to keep an open mind because 30-45 minutes of conversation isn’t enough to know everyone in the sorority.
It’s also important to remember that getting dropped happens for a lot of reasons. These can be everything from grades, to interests, to more. Unfortunately, some schools do have a sorority or two who focuses solely on looks. While this is nowhere near what a sorority should focus on, mean girls never disappear and they may drop girls because they don’t fit their look. Remember that every school has lots of sororities for a reason, all looking for different things. Just because you don’t fit one house cookie cutter mold does not mean you are not great and worthy of finding a sisterhood you love. Sisters should love you unconditionally, not just because you look a certain way.
After each round of recruitment, it is possible to be dropped by every house that you have left. Prior to bid day, if you choose to do what I did (picking only one house aka suicide bidding), you risk receiving this dreaded call then too. Many schools choose to have your rho Gamma call you before the round, so that if you’re upset (as most girls are), you can react without the stares of your peers. Remember, some girls don’t find a house after their first recruitment but do through a second try, last minute bid, or unofficial recruitment in the next semester.
While no one ever explained what COB stood for during my recruitment, they definitely explained what one was. A COB is a bid that you may receive after being dropped from every sorority. Many houses are looking to add a specific amount of girls every year. If they drop too many or get dropped by too many, they often reach out to girls they remember dropping but still liked. This often only occurs the day of preference round or after they receive the number of bids they’re getting bids are handed out. Often you’ll receive a call from your Rho Gam, inviting you to join whomever offered you. Some people get one offer, some get multiple, and some get none, so don’t count on receiving one. However, if you do get a COB and accept you will often be asked to attend bid day like all the other girls, where you will open the bid card like everyone else. No one will know that you received a COB instead of a normal bid, so don’t feel embarrassed. It’s completely up to you on whether you share this information.
Picking a House
Picking a house can be hard for a lot of girls. There are a lot of aspects to consider when choosing a house, including their philanthropy, sisterhood events, and most importantly how you feel when you’re with them. Pick the house full of girls you could see yourself being friends with and hanging out with on the daily, not the one that you think is the coolest.
If you need help deciding which house is best for you, try talking to your Rho Gamma or a friend not taking part in recruitment. While it can be great to bounce ideas off of others, you want to pick people who are impartial and will not try and get you to favor their preferred sorority.
As recruitment draws nearer, make sure to check out some of my other sorority posts here.
youtube: Katelyn Leigh