The Sorority Recruitment Experience

As mentioned in my previous post, I promised an interview with my roommate, Megan, about why she chose to go through sorority recruitment and what it was like for her. Without further ado, here it is!

Why did you decide to join Greek life?

After coming to IU from a very small high school (I’m talking 300 kids tops) I knew I wanted to come to a big university. However, once I got here I quickly realized that it’s pretty difficult to meet people and you rarely ever pass people that you know when you’re walking through campus. Joining a sorority would definitely help to make the campus feel smaller because you would see more people that you know and get the chance to interact with them on an everyday basis.

In your opinion, what is the best thing about being in a sorority?

That’s an easy one! A sorority is a family. It’s a place to call home, a support system, and a place where you can be yourself. If you’ve had a bad day, there would be girls there to eat a tub of ice cream with you and cry. If you had a really good day, they’ll celebrate with you and want you to tell them all about it. I’m not saying that you can’t get this from outside of Greek life. However, the idea of having 100 or more girls who all share a common interest with me to make an endless amount of memories with sounds like something I wouldn’t pass up.

The worst?

This is hard to answer since I haven’t experienced being a part of a sorority yet, but it seems like a highly social setting. If you’re someone who really values having alone time or a more quiet atmosphere, then I’m not sure a sorority is for you. If you join a chapter that has a house, it’s required for you to live there for at least 2 years. You’d still have roommates, and with 100 girls in a house, I can’t see it being super quiet all the time. However, if you’re concerned about studying in a quiet place, every house has a silent library/study room that you can use.

Explain the recruitment process.

Oh boy, where to begin! Well, IU’s recruitment process is VERY competitive. This past year, 2000 girls registered to go through recruitment with only about 1000 receiving a bid, which is basically a request to join a chapter. IU Greek life runs on a bed quota, so the chapters can only give bids based on the number of available beds that they have. So, the process begins the week before classes start for spring semester. The parties that you will go to (which means the chapters you will visit/talk with) are 22 party, 16 party, 9 party, and 3 party. Don’t be fooled, these aren’t actually parties. They’re more like interviews.

For 22 party, you walk around with about 80 girls and visit every single chapter that IU has. You might get a house tour and see a short skit from the girls about their chapter, and you’ll talk to 3-5 girls about things such as where you’re from, your major, etc. After that, you rank your top 16 chapters that you liked the most in no particular order, and then your least favorite 6 chapters in order. Your least favorite are always in order just in case you get dropped by a house that was in your top, meaning that they didn’t think you were a good fit for their chapter.

For 16 party, you go back to the chapters that mutually wanted you back as well. This round is about their philanthropy and how they give back to the community. Your conversations will be a little longer this time. After that, you rank your top 9, again in no order, and your bottom 6, in order.

Then 9 party comes and things are pretty serious by now. You dress up more (the theme was business casual), and the girls talk to you about their sisterhood.  You will most likely only talk to 1-2 girls at each chapter and the conversations get more in depth. At the end of 9 party, you rank your top 3 chapters that you would like to return to, and your bottom 6. At this point, a lot of girls will drop out of recruitment because they don’t get the chapters back that they wanted. The 3 houses that you get back are really important because you could possibly receive a bid from them.

For 3 party, you wear a cocktail dress and are served drinks and a dessert at each chapter. The rounds are 1 hour and 15 minutes, and you listen to girls speak about why the chapter means so much to them, and often times the girls in the chapter cry due how emotional it is!  The chapter members are looking to see how you feel about their chapter and how you interact with their sisters. You will most likely talk to one girl the entire time, and it will probably be someone that you have spoken with at a previous party, so you should feel comfortable talking with them. After this day is the hardest part.

As a PNM (potential new member), you must take those 3 houses and rank them in the order in which you would prefer to get a bid. So your number one spot is for the house that you want the bid from the most. This can either be very easy for girls if they know which house they fit into best or it could be challenging if you are unsure of where you belong or you’re really stuck between two or all three houses. After you submit this list, it is the longest wait of your life for Bid Night. For me, I had to wait all day Monday and all day Tuesday until 4 PM to see if I received a bid. It’s a complicated process but it really does work out in the end.

Favorite part of the rushing?

It was exciting and fun! Of course the early mornings and late nights were absolutely exhausting, and walking around in the cold wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, but it was fun to meet so many people and to experience finding the place where you truly belong.

Worst thing about the experience?

While it was fun, it was also physically and emotionally draining. I walked about 4-7 miles a day, woke up at 5:30 AM to get ready each day, and had many sleepless nights wondering what chapters I would get invited back to or if I would receive a bid at all.

Did you encounter anything that you weren’t expecting?

I don’t think any girls were mentally prepared for the cuts that the chapters make.  When you rank your top chapters at the end of each party, you hope that you get invited back to those houses, but very rarely do you get asked back to every chapter that you want. A lot of girls end up dropping out of recruitment because they were cut from the house that they had their heart set on. But, something to understand is that the chapters don’t do it because you weren’t good enough or anything like that. Each chapter has a different personality. I know that sounds weird but it really is true! So as the parties go on, they’re looking for girls whose personalities are similar to those of the chapters. You might be in love with a chapter because you had a great conversation with a girl, but you’re looking for a house, not a roommate, so you have to be able to get along with and feel comfortable with everyone in the chapter.  That was the hardest thing for myself and other girls to come to terms with.

What sorority did you receive a bid from, and why did you decide to join that chapter?

Sorority Invite

I happily received a bid from Kappa Delta. It got difficult to rank my top 3, but I ended up going with my gut feeling and ranking them first. The main reason I loved KD so much was because of the heart to heart conversations I was able to have at 9 and 3 party. I feel like if you’re comfortable enough to have a heart to heart then you’re at home.

Girl holding her sorority invite

Any advice for future PNMs (Potential New Members)?

All through the process everyone kept saying to “trust the system”. It sounds cliche, but honestly it really does work! You get matched with houses that fit your personality.  My biggest advice is to keep an open mind and go into the process blind. Don’t research the tiers or rumors or rankings for the chapters, because subconsciously it will effect you. Also, if you don’t get back chapters that you wanted for one of the rounds, don’t get too upset, but instead realize that the houses that you did get invited back to saw qualities in you that they liked. So give them another chance because you might have been blind to them before, but they could be your perfect fit.

What are you most excited for as far as being a sorority sister goes?

Definitely creating bonds with the girls in the chapter! I received such a warm welcome at Bid Night and I can already see myself getting super close with these girls! I can’t wait to create memories with them all!

Any regrets?

I honestly don’t think I have any. I had a great recruitment experience, and I think the fact that I was so open minded really helped make it a positive experience.

Are there any misconceptions about Greek life that you would like to debunk?

A lot of girls think that sororities only want people with designer everything and super flashy stuff! However, during rush they actually tell you NOT to talk about money and NOT to wear super expensive and flashy things! Of course there are still the girls that insist on wearing their Michael Kors watches and carrying their Louis Vuitton tote bags, but that’s not what they are interested in at all! They are more concerned with whether or not you can keep a conversation going, if you could fit into their chapter, and if you are a genuine person, NOT about how materialistic you are.

Is there anything else that you would like to mention?

Just be yourself! You’re going to be around these girls for the next 3 years of your life. The last thing you want is to fake your way through recruitment only to find that you don’t get along with the girls in the chapter or vice versa!

If you have any other questions about what the process was like, don’t hesitate to leave a comment! Megan and I will be more than happy to respond. We hope this helped to settle some curiosity and to provide useful information to anyone who is interested in Greek life!

Alyssa Modos

English Major, Future Book Editor, Class of 2018, Fort Wayne, IN

I'm an English major and Marketing minor with the dream of working for a Big Five publisher in the Big Apple. I'm obsessed with my cat, I'm newly addicted to pineapple, and I like to go running for fun. When I'm not at the gym, you can find me buried under blankets in bed watching The Walking Dead. Every Friday is Pizza Friday at my place; it's my own little "slice" (heh heh) of IU Traditions and Spirit. Follow me around online and through social media to get to know IU and how amazing it is. You'll get to know me, too -- I'm a pretty cool person, just throwing that out there. (: Be sure to check me out on Spoon University (where I write about delicious, life-changing food) and The Odyssey (where I write about a little bit of everything).

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