Sorority recruitment (rush) preparation in the south.
Planning to participate in recruitment at a big, southern school? Don’t fret. Yes, recruitment is a big deal at big, southern schools, and it can be intimidating, but there’s a method to the madness. I hear lots of high school seniors and their moms talking about it every year, so I’m going to give a few suggestions. I don’t claim to know everything, but I do know it is likely to go more smoothly if you do your homework and prepare. I am a mom who joined a sorority at a big, southern school in the 80s, and I have a daughter in a sorority at a big, southern school now. I have lots of friends who have daughters in sororities at big, southern schools. That’s my background, so glean what you will from the information below.
I am not a rush consultant or coach.
Every year, I hear about people from different parts of the country who send their daughters to southern schools, and they are surprised at how popular and stressful sorority recruitment is in this part of the country. That’s why I say “do your homework.” If I had been sending my daughter to college in Michigan or California, I would have expected a different rush experience for her, and we would have had to do a lot of homework to see how it goes there. I, likely, would have started doing my homework as soon as she knew where she was going to school, but here is some information that might help if you don’t know how to deal with recruitment in the south. All the information might not apply to every southern college or university, but hopefully, you will find the information helpful.
How to prepare for recruitment in the south? It’s important that moms help. No, don’t do all the legwork, but be there to remind your daughter about deadlines and to edit/proofread the resumé. Preparation can depend on the school, but generally speaking, here are some things you can do:
- Update your social resumé. This is a good starting point, because you will need to give a social resumé to women who write recommendations for you (more on that below). There are different apps for creating a social resumé. My daughter used the Canva app. You can look for sample resumés online. Don’t panic if you see ads for “rush packets.” For most alumni who will be writing recommendations, those packets are not only not necessary, but they’re also not wanted. A resumé plus a headshot will be all you need, in most cases. I haven’t talked to any alumni or rush chairmen/advisors in the past five years who have wanted packets. For recruitment, make sure your social resumé includes:
- your full name,
- the name you actually use…example: legal name is Elizabeth, but you go by Betsy
- your home address/phone number/email address
- your parents’ names/colleges/Greek affiliations
- your standardized test scores/GPA/class rank (if your school ranks)
- your extracurricular activities/honors/leadership positions
- work experience/community service/interests
- other family Greek affiliations.
- Lots of girls, like my daughter and all her friends, also include a photo on the resumé.
- Register for recruitment. Do not miss the deadline. Read all the information. Know the cost of joining and being a member of a sorority. At some schools, it’s a few hundred dollars a year. At some larger schools with big sorority houses, it can be between $7,000 and $10,000 per year. Do your homework! At my daughter’s university, the student and the parents sign a contract saying they understand the cost. It is important to know this…and keep in mind the costs they post don’t include the dresses she’ll need for formals/parties, the t-shirts she will get afterward, pictures, and more! It is unfair to the student and to the chapter to join if you cannot afford it. ***See bottom of page for some southern schools’ recruitment info/guides.***
- Follow the Panhellenic Instagram and the Instagram accounts of all the sororities at the college or university you will be attending. This is a way of showing interest in the sororities, and it’s a great way for you to learn more about each chapter. You actually can learn a lot about the feel of a chapter by its posts, just like you can learn something about a person from his/her posts on social media. And that leads me to…
- Clean up social media. Southern sororities rely heavily on social media these days to get a bigger picture of the potential new member. If you’re planning to participate, go through the photos/posts on your social media accounts, including Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok. If there are risqué outfits or alcohol in your photos, remove those photos. If there are risqué outfits or dances in your Tiktok videos, remove them. You don’t have to look like you don’t have any fun, but you want your social media to be a clean representation of who you are. Sororities want to get a bigger picture of who you are and what you enjoy. *Sororities at some schools like for potential new members to have public Instagram accounts, so they can get to know you better.*
- Make and submit video, if required. *Some schools require potential new members to submit a video.* If you are required to submit a video before recruitment, you want your personality to shine through, but you also want it to be the best representation of you. You don’t want to be in a swimsuit or too casually dressed. You want to look your best. This is your first impression moment! There will be guidelines to follow. They often ask for a background that is not distracting, and you need to have good lighting that highlights you and not the area around you. Speak clearly and answer the prompts. My daughter had to pick three prompts from six or eight. I recommend having a loose script or some highlights to cover when making your video…or even a big cue card hanging on the wall. Be memorable…in a good way. And remember…a smile is your best accessory! *If the video is optional, do it.
- Get recommendations from sorority alumni. If at all possible, get recommendations from sorority alumni. Moms can ask on Facebook if they have friends who are sorority alumni who are willing to write recommendations. Some sororities do not require/accept recommendations, but some require them. For big, southern schools, it’s a good idea to have at least one to each house, if possible. Lots of people believe you need to give alumni “packets” containing a letter, your resume, and a headshot. That’s old school. Most sororities accept (and prefer) recommendations online now, so most alumni do not want packets. I do not want packets; they are the bane of my existence. I always ask girls to send me a resumé and photo online, and I include that with my online recommendation. The recommendations are actually done with online forms through a sorority’s national website. They are not personally-written letters. They are forms, but alumni can add comment to the forms. Recommendations do not guarantee anything. They are simply a “formal” introduction from an alum to a chapter.
- Make connections. Different schools have different rules about contact before recruitment. My daughter’s school has very strict rules regarding contact between potential new members and sorority members. Other schools allow contact right up until the start of recruitment. You can usually find the rules on the school’s Panhellenic website. Get the word out to friends and family that you will be participating in recruitment. You never know who might know a sorority member at a school.
- Start thinking about wardrobe, including shoes. Most southern schools have published information about 2023 recruitment, or they will soon. Read it, and learn what you’ll need to wear for each day. At my daughter’s school, the first round is watching videos of the chapters. The girls are issued t-shirts to wear for the second round; they wear them with cute shorts or skorts/skirts…and I don’t mean “booty” shorts. Cute dressier shorts or a skirt will be perfect. They need dresses for the next round, and they need a dress for the preference round, but all of that is different at different schools! Keep that in mind! Do your homework! Make sure you have an extra dress or two, in case of spills or if you need options, Obviously, different schools have different styles…even across the south. What is popular at Baylor might not work at SMU or South Carolina. What works at Georgia might not work at TCU or Florida State. Look at sorority Instagrams. Look at the Instagram accounts of girls who go there; you will likely see some pictures that will help. Don’t wear anything skimpy or too tight. Fitted is fine; too tight is a no-no. Last year, for our daughter going to Bama, we looked at Zara and Amanda Uprichard. There are some cute Amanda Uprichard styles on Amazon. For shoes, our daughter took nice sneakers for the first two days and comfortable low-heeled, nude-colored wedges for other days, except a dressier pair of shoes for Preference Day. The goal is to wear tasteful, flattering dresses that are comfortable. You don’t want to be fidgeting with your clothes, and if you aren’t comfortable, it will show. ***Also, some chapters require girls to have simple white dresses for formal pledging soon after Bid Day. It’s a good idea to have one on hand, just in case! They often go on sale after July 4 at lots of stores. Simple, modest, not low-cut, covered shoulders preferred. My daughter wore the white romper below, and no one was the wiser.***Here are a few simple styles I saw on some girls during recruitment last year. But keep in mind, you need to get what’s right for YOU and what’s right for the climate and vibe at the school you are attending:
Amanda Uprichard Allora Dress, some colors offered at $85 at time of writing. Several colors available here.
Amanda Uprichard Fiori Dress, some sizes offered at $93 at time of writing. Purchase here.
Amanda Uprichard Josephine Dress, $198. Purchase here. Purchase here.
Amanda Uprichard Marsha Romper, X-small $175 here. Other sizes $202 here.
*This is a romper simply because it has shorts built in underneath, but it does not show as a romper. It looks like a dress.*
Steve Madden Apparel Kianna Dress, $89. Click here.
These are a few things you can do to get prepared for the experience ahead of recruitment. It’s something most people will experience only once in their lives. Be prepared.
Recruitment can be a lot of fun. Be yourself, and be open-minded. Those are the two most important things. You got this!
***If you have suggestions you would like to add to the above, please leave a comment!***
University of Alabama Greek Chic Recruitment Guide and Recruitment Info Page
University of Florida Recruitment Info
University of Mississippi Recruitment Guide 2022 (2023 not available at time of writing) and Recruitment Info Page
University of Georgia Recruitment Guide 2022 (2023 not available at time of writing) and Recruitment Info Page
University of North Carolina Recruitment Guide and Recruitment Info Page
University of South Carolina Recruitment Information
Mississippi State University Recruitment Info
University of Arkansas Recruitment Info
Auburn University Recruitment Info
University of Tennessee Recruitment Info