So the time has finally come. After months of waiting, worrying and Facebook-stalking sorority girls (it’s okay, we all do it), you’re finally ready for sorority recruitment. But as much as you may have dreamed—and/or freaked out—about this week, you still have no idea what to expect. But by the end of it, you’ll finally get to figure out which house will eventually become your home, and which group of girls will become your sisters. It helps to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into before you start, so you can focus on putting your best face forward! Keep in mind, every school does recruitment a little differently, so this may not exactly reflect your own experience; this is my personal experience at UCF. But to give you an idea of what rush is like, and to help you rise above all the other rushees, here’s a day-by-day guide to this crazy, crazy week.
An older sorority girl, who has temporarily disaffiliated from her chapter to be your guide (often known as a Rho Gamma), will lead you and a bunch of other PNMs—potential new members—from house to house. You will discuss a meeting spot and from there will go to your first house. The door will fly open and you’ll see dozens of sorority girls screaming and dancing. A sorority girl will grab your arm and lead you to a chair. You’ll talk for a little while, and then another girl will come over, so you can talk to her instead. This may happen once or twice, it varies on the school and the house. After about 20 minutes, the rush chair will make a speech, and you might hear a funny story or do a short activity before you’re ushered out. At the end of the day, you’ll write down which chapters you liked the best and cut a few houses. Tip #1: Write down your thoughts about that particular house after each one, be as descriptive as possible.
Outfit: Your shirt will be provided and it’s up to you to pick your bottoms, accessories, and anything else. The rule of thumb when it comes to dressing for recruitment is to always overdress a little.
The second day is the exact same as the first except you will be seeing the other half of the houses that you haven’t gone in yet. Tip #2: Drink plenty of water and bring some kind of fan. At the end of this day you will have to look through your notes and write down the houses you liked the least and/or want to drop.
Outfit: The outfit is the same as day 1 but it will be a different shirt. Don’t wear too much jewelry, and avoid low-cut or too-tight tops; you don’t want to look like you’re going clubbing. And take off your watch—nothing says you’re not interested in a conversation like checking the time, and it’s a good idea to just avoid any temptation altogether.
This day can possibly be the longest day possible. Tip #3: If you cut up coffee filters they can work as blotting sheets without messing up your makeup like a napkin does. You will attend every house that did not drop you again. This can be just a couple or it could be all of them besides three. Don’t be discouraged if you get dropped by a lot, some houses may drop you because they think you’re a better fit elsewhere. This day is Philanthropy day, this day will tug at your heartstrings. Most houses will show some kind of video or do an activity of some sort. You will talk to some girls again (may be the same girls as before) but this time it will be for longer. They will also talk to you about dues on this day so that you can see how much each sorority costs. Again, you rank the sororities you saw at the end of the day and cut a few more houses.
Outfit: This day is up to you decide and it will get a little fancier every day after this. Think brunch with your mom and step it up in a cute skirt or nice shorts and a pretty top. A lot of girls will be wearing wedges, but flats are still totally fine; comfort should still be the focus here.
This day is video day! This was personally my favorite day because it’s when you get to see into the sisterhood of the sorority. The houses will be nicely decorated, you’ll get some kind of drink when you come in and you’ll sit down with a girl and they’ll play a sisterhood video. You’ll talk to one or two girls this day as well, again for a longer period of time. This is also the day that you will get a house tour. You’ll rank the sororities again at the end of the day, leaving you with only two houses.
Outfit: Dress like you would for a dinner date. A sundress is a great idea with a pair of wedges and a statement necklace. Tip #4: If you decide to wear heels, bring a pair of sandals to change into while walking from house to house. You want to look very put-together, but not too formal, so leave the satin for pref round.
This is preference night and it’s the most serious, and you often only talk to one girl for the entire time—a full hour at most schools. This time there won’t be screaming and dancing when the doors open, it will be focused on the traditions, principles and values of each chapter. You’ll hear from the girls about what their sorority means to them, and see a ceremony that emphasizes the essence of each house. Often there is a presentation involving the seniors, and you learn a lot about the traditions of each chapter. At the end of this day you again have to rank the two, and your top choice is most likely where you’ll get a bid!
Outfit: This is the nicest day think a bar mitzvah, or a wedding rehearsal dinner. You can’t go wrong with a classy dress! Wear your nicest heels, and a nice necklace.
This is the most exciting day where everyone sits on the floor anxious to open their card. Everyone opens it at the same time and runs home, and there is screaming and crying and the Rho Gammas get to run home. You’ll then get a bid day shirt and do some kind of event that matches their theme.
Outfit: Since you will be getting a shirt again, you can just wear your shirt from the first day or a tank top, and then comfortable bottoms and running shoes!
The first couple days you’ll hear yourself talking about your hometown and your major so much you’ll think you’re going insane. try to have a more interesting conversation—the girls will remember you and keep you around if your conversation was more interesting than everyone else’s.
There are five topics that are absolutely off-limits for rush: boys, booze, Bible, ballot and bids. Gushing about a frat guy that you’re seeing when it turns out the girl who is rushing you used to date him will certainly hurt your chances at being invited back to her house, and bragging about all the shots you downed the night before doesn’t exactly showcase your poise and class to a group of women. As for religion and politics, these are way too controversial topics for recruitment—leave those conversations for when these strangers become your sisters. But the number one fatal flaw of rush is to talk about other houses, or ask outright if you can get a bid at a particular house. It makes you look desperate, catty and underhanded, and it completely goes against the rules of the Panhellenic Council. Resist temptation—you’ll find out where you belong soon enough. Simple things like eye contact and body language are also important. Make sure to be professional. Make eye and hold eye contact. Sit up straight. Actively listen.
What To Bring
Re-useable water bottle
Mini make-up bag
Extra pair of comfortable shoes for walking around (on days with heels and wedges)
Pen and small notebook (this may be provided to you)
Small umbrella in case of rain delays (actually had to use an umbrella one day and walked with another girl to help her as well)
Small hand-held fan
- Coffee filters or blotting sheets
This all will feel overwhelming no matter how many blog posts you read and youtube videos you watch. Try to make one friend in your Rho Gam group, it helps a ton. Be extremely open minded during all of it, don’t get set on one house before recruitment even starts. Current members are also tired and nervous, they’re probably more nervous than you are! You also won’t get much time in between houses so be sure to be taking notes and not on your phone. These are also super long days that start early so get your coffee in the morning, water all day, and tell your boyfriend and mom why you’re not going to answer your phone. But most importantly just be yourself. You are sure to end up in a sorority that’s perfect for you!