There are so many new opportunities that college brings, but you may find yourself a little apprehensive. Being away from your family for the first time, making decisions that center around you, meeting new people, new surroundings, harder classes…it’s a lot to take in. Not only are the unknowns on your mind, but also questions like: How will I fit in? Will I know anyone? Am I choosing the right career? The list goes on and on. If you’re a female headed to college, then you have yet another question to ask yourself, “Do I want to join a sorority?”
By now, you may have been contacted by a current sorority member from your prospective college, or you learned about Greek life at new student orientation. Perhaps a family member has been or is currently in a sorority so you know the lingo and how it all works. But if you’re like me and my daughter when she started college, you have no clue about sororities! To help clarify a few things and make your decision a bit easier, we’ve compiled a list of 5 things you should know about sorority recruitment.
- Rush (aka: sorority recruitment): Each college and campus handles sorority recruitment a bit differently, but typically rush begins the week prior to the start of the fall term. However, some schools will hold their sorority rush during the spring term so they’ve had a chance to get to know the potential new members or PNMs prior to rushing them. Sorority rush is the process of the PNMs touring the sorority houses in groups, visiting with existing members of each house and getting to ask questions while there. This helps you to get a feel for each house and narrow down which sororities you are most interested in. The events held during rush week are upbeat, fun and informative. Usually rush can last anywhere from several days to a week to complete the entire process.
- Houses: There are many different sororities (or houses) on each campus. Some colleges have as few as 4 different sororities to choose from, whereas other colleges may have 6 to 15 different sororities. When you rush, you will get to tour each sorority and learn about each of their missions and philanthropies.
- Philanthropy: Each sorority has something called a philanthropy or charity that they focus on every year and different sororities choose different philanthropies. The purpose is to bring awareness to that particular cause and help to raise money for it by hosting several fundraising events throughout the year. Some examples of focus for sororities are; Women’s Cardiac Care, Prevention of Teen Suicide, and community organizations, to name a few.
- Pledge Class: If you are accepted into a sorority (Bid Day), you and the other ladies who joined at the same time are referred to as a Pledge Class. Your pledge class will be initiated together and attend meetings together to become familiar with house rules, sorority terminology, and the history of your sorority. Even though events throughout the school year include all members of the sorority, you will always be considered the pledge class of 20XX.
- Big & Little: After you have gone through recruitment, pledged a sorority, and have been initiated, you will have about a month before the Big/Little Reveal. This is an exciting week for new members (Littles) when your Big will secretly leave you gifts and treats to pamper you. The “reveal” happens at the end of the week when you find out who your Big is. A Big is a member of your sorority in the class ahead of you. The Big serves as a mentor to the Little and is someone you can call for advice, hang out with, learn from, and be your go-to person. Sometimes referred to as Mom/Dot, each year you move up in the ranks and take on another new member as a granddaughter or great-granddaughter.
There are many myths out there about sororities, but what you really need to know are the positives that come from being involved in Greek life. You will establish new friendships, become more involved on campus and throughout the community, have access to networking, opportunities to demonstrate leadership and you’ll always have a sisterhood with members of your house.
My daughter absolutely loved the idea of rushing, because she was able to move into her dorm room almost a week before all of the other students and she got to know so many girls during that time. When college classes actually began, she saw so many familiar faces and felt more comfortable walking into her classrooms, the cafeteria and around campus! The thing you need to keep in mind is, if you go through rush and love it, well great! But if you decide that it isn’t for you, you are not obligated to join….so why not give it a shot!