Sorority Recruitment

The process of joining a sorority is similar to applying for a job.  Your resume, accomplishments and appearance is important as well as the personal interaction that takes place.  Sorority recruitment is more than finding the perfect girl to join your house, but an opportunity to practice your networking and interviewing skills.  Laura Collins, Panhellenic Recruitment Coordinator for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, describes the process and its benefits.

How does the process work?

There are two ways a potential new member can enter the process of sorority recruitment.  The first and more common is Formal Membership Recruitment and the other is Continuous Open Bidding.  Generally the processes are similar from school to school with minor differences. At UNL, formal recruitment is a week-long process that is organized by the Office of Greek Affairs and consists of structured activities.

"At UNL, the best option to recruit the Panhellenic community is through Formal Membership Recruitment in the fall," said Collins.  "All fifteen UNL chapters participate in formal recruitment, and this year a little over 800 potential new members went through the process."

Continuous Open Bidding or open recruitment, allows chapters who did not reach their quota to recruit more members.  This happens after formal recruitment and allows potential new members or PNMs to attend activities hosted by the sorority.

Why do sororities recruit?

"Recruitment is the lifeblood of every single Greek organization," said Collins.  "Without taking in new members, the chapter would cease to exist."

With all of the preparation and the involvement from the members, recruitment is often seen as the most important activity during the year.

"When you come back in 30 years to visit your chapter, not only do you want the chapter to still be there, but you also want to know that the girls you recruited, and then the girls they recruited, and so on over the years, have maintained the same standards of quality you instituted all those years ago. You hope that the caliber of woman you recruited has remained intact over time," she said.

Who does the recruiting?

With advisers overseeing the process and Greek Affairs doing behind-the-scenes work, it is the active members in each sorority who do the actual recruiting. The selection of candidates, the conversations with the PNMs and the voting are all done by girls who are currently in the chapter.

Who do the sororities recruit?

Collins said that sororities try to create a "target woman."

"They vote on characteristics they would like to find in a PNM and work to recruit those PNMs more strongly than others," she said. "For example, the most sought-after characteristics are intelligent, classy, sweet, fun, genuine, energetic, and philanthropic."



While these are not the only women that are recruited, they are the ones who are the most heavily recruited.  GPA is also important during sorority recruitment as well as well-rounded women who were involved in high school and their years before college.

Every chapter has a unique scoring system for the PNMs' applications.  The points will typically reflect what the recruitment target is.

What is the biggest challenge during recruitment?

"As Director this year, I first encountered challenges with the revision of recruitment bylaws in the spring," Collins said. "On a national level, Panhellenic is moving toward 'no-frills recruitment.'  Formerly significant aspects of recruitment like skits, videos, ostentatious decorations, etc. are being removed from the process to focus more on conversation and connection."

She said that many of the chapters were extremely resistant to these changes.

Other complications occur during recruitment when small issue come up such as health concerns, family conflicts or other involvement (athletics, band, etc...) for the PNMs.  Nonetheless, all concerns and issues are always dealt with either immediately or once the week is over.

What is the best part of recruitment?

"Hands down, the best part of recruitment is Bid Day," she said.

Bid Day is the final day of recruitment when the PNMs are matched with sororities.

"We play music and had a dance party to get them excited, and then we passed out the bids!  They scream and hug and yell and jump up and down.  The entire year of preparation is made worth it when I see their happy faces!"

Do you have any suggestions for those who are looking to take part in recruitment?

Collins said that if you're looking to Go Greek, the best way to approach the process is with a positive attitude and an open mind.

"You have no idea what kind of connections you will make during recruitment.  Every chapter is unique and will show you their true values throughout the process, so you just need to be open-minded, smile, and be yourself!"

 

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