So You Want to Join a Sorority? What You Should Do First Semester

A group of girls posing for a picture

A recent article in the New York Times regarding the ever-growing competitive nature of sorority recruitment highlights IU’s recruitment as one of the toughest in the country. And this got me thinking… a lot of girls face dissapointment during recruitment and ultimately end up giving up on their dream to join a sorority at IU. There are usually a multitude of factors behind this. While some of the variables during recruitment are completely out of your control, such as whether or not a house chooses to invite you back for the next round, there are others that you absolutely CAN control. So, without further ado, I present to you my handy little guide on how to prepare yourself during fall so you can maximize your chances at having a successful rush. Don’t worry about the in’s and out’s of the actual recruitment process itself, as that doesn’t come until December-January. (But you can guarantee I’ll be writing a post about how to survive that, too!) Just worry about these things for now:

1) Make sure that this is something that you are able to commit your time to. Sorority life is MUCH more than parties (I do admit that the parties are lots of fun, however. But anyway!) and socializing. There’s chapter meetings, study tables, new member education sessions, philanthropy events, community service requirements, and other such events as designated by each individual chapter. I’ve seen instances where girls have had to unwillingly drop out of their sorority because they just couldn’t make time for it among their multitude of other commitments. You wouldn’t want to have to go through that brutal process and get into the sorority of your dreams only to realize that you have no time for it, right? First semester is an excellent time to learn time management skills so that you can have a healthy balance among school, your social life, and your sorority life.

2) Hit the ground running first semester in terms of extracurricular activities and schoolwork. Of course, don’t get TOO involved to the point where you have no time to breathe, much less join a sorority (see point #1), but definitely try to find a club or organization that you are passionate about (bonus points if it aligns with your future career goals). Sororities LOVE potential new members (PNMs) with campus involvement and good grades. It’ll help you stand out from the crowd and it really can make a difference in your overall recruitment experience. Also, note that there is a minimum Panhellenic GPA of 2.7 to go through recruitment, and most chapters have their GPA requirement set even higher than that (some go all the way up to a 3.0!) You don’t want to be released from recruitment before it even begins, so work hard and get good grades. (Not to mention that those good grades will help you out in many other aspects of your life too… but that’s a different story altogether).

3) Get to know sorority girls first semester (we don’t bite, I promise!). Strike up conversations in class, be classy at parties (yes, we are watching you!), and if you have any friends who are currently in IU sororities, make sure to maintain ties with them. An individual sorority member might not have the power to make sure you get into her house, but she CAN invite you over to pre-recruitment events during first semester to get to know the girls and get a glimspse of sorority life. Pre-recruitment events can really be anything from dinner to crafting to an ice cream social – but they are mostly for YOU and give you the opportunity to get to know a sorority on a more personal level before the mayhem of recruitment. While pre-recruitment does not factor into membership selection, we will most certainly remember those of you who stand out in a good (and bad) way! Basically, make sure that you maintain a clean reputation during first semester…. word travels even on this campus of thousands, and you definitely don’t want to be infamous among the Greek community before you even begin the recruitment process.

4) Do you know any alumnae of sororities? Do you have a mother, grandmother, or sister who was in a sorority during college? (Doesn’t matter what college or what year!) Awesome. Get them to write you reccomendation letters. IU recruitment is not like the southern schools, where you must secure a recommendation for every sorority prior to recruitment. In fact, reccomendations really aren’t required at all – so if you’re unable to get one for every IU chapter, don’t fret! However, recommendations and legacy status are awesome in the sense that they usually mean an automatic pre-recruitment invite at some point during fall. In terms of whether or not being a legacy/rec helps you get into a sorority, all I can say i that every sorority’s policy on how they choose to treat their recommendations and legacies during is different. However, in the long run they can only help you, not hurt you. So if you’re able to, get those recs!

5) Check out the Greek Opportunities for Women event, which usually takes place around October or so. (You’ll definitely be seeing chalkings and signs for it around campus). This event, which is put on by the IU Panhellenic Association (the main organization in charge of the 21 Panhellenc IU sororities) will introduce you to the recruitment process and what to expect. In addition, each of the 21 sororities will have representatives to answer any of your individual questions regarding their chapters. It’s a great way to get to know IU’s Greek community in a broader sense and get some valuable info regarding recruitment, so don’t miss it!

6) Have you heard any rumors about recruitment/IU sororities? Some popular ones I always hear are: “Oh, don’t even bother going through recruitment if you don’t know anybody or you’re not from Carmel or Chicago, you’ll never get in!” “It’s like impossible to join a sorority at IU unless you’re skinny and pretty, so what’s the point?” “All the girls in IU sororities are catty b******, why would you want to join something like that?” Forget them. Don’t listen to them. I know girls in many chapters who are not from a Chicago suburb, who are not stick-thin, and who aren’t catty or mean. Sorority life at IU might not be for everybody, but it’s not anything like those constantly perpetuated negative stereotypes. It should be your prerogative to go through recruitment if you want to… don’t let nasty talk hold you back or cloud your vision.

6) Educate yourself! and GreekChat are also great resources to find out more about sorority life from current members and alumnae from all across the country. The more informed you are, the more you can ascertain whether or not sorority life is for you.

Leila Palizi
Leila Palizi

Class of 2014, journalism major, Los Angeles native

I am just another IU student absolutely in love with my school.

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