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Sorority process?

glamfairydustglamfairydust Registered User Posts: 111 Junior Member
edited January 2008 in College Life

i'm pretty confused with the process of joining a sorority, especially with things like "bidding", "pledging", etc.

would someone give me a simple explanation of the whole process? thanks
Post edited by glamfairydust on

Replies to: Sorority process?

  • alethiometeralethiometer Registered User Posts: 275 Junior Member
    Different schools have different processes, but essentially, there is a rush period in which you are introduced to each of the sororities, and they meet you along with the other pledges (ie the other girls who want to join a sorority). Then, a certain amount invite you back at a later date, and this process continues for a certain amount of time (like a week), with the number of sororities inviting you back diminishing each time. Finally, at the end of the process, a sorority submits a bid to you and you can chose to accept it, and join their sorority, or not.

    Hope this helps!

    Note: I have never pledged, but I know a lot of people who have, so this is based off my observations and what I hear
  • glamfairydustglamfairydust Registered User Posts: 111 Junior Member
    yes this has helped a lot. thanks!
  • BigredmedBigredmed Registered User Posts: 3,731 Senior Member
    So it's a complicated thing, and it varies slightly from school to school but in general it goes as follows.

    Before recruitment starts you usually have to fill out some sort of form to register. At a lot of schools this will include your contact information, your GPA, your SAT/ACT scores, hometown, intended major, etc. Chapters use this for different things, but many have minimum GPA requirements that must be met, so they need that data. At this time, before recruitment starts, if you have family friends who are alumnae of any of the sorority chapters on your campus it would be a good time to see if they'll write a letter of rec/introduction for you. The letters are sort of an iffy thing, some organizations require them, and at some schools they're very important. However in general, unless you're at a major Greek school in the South - ie an SEC school - the letters aren't mission critical. If a chapter wants you to be a member, and you don't have a letter, they'll figure out a way to get one for you.

    Day 1 of recruitment is usually some sort of orientation session. You'll meet your recruitment counselors (girls in sororities that disaffiliate from their chapters to help you go through the process), you'll get some cursory info about each chapter, a run down of the schedule, how to dress for each day and so on. Usually pretty informal. At my school the standard thing to wear to this day were denim skirts and casual tops.

    Day 2 - this day will be the longest and you'll see the most chapters. Obviously if you go to a campus with three chapters, it's going to be different than going to one with 14. At some places with many chapters, this first day will be split in two so that you see all the chapters. At others, like my undergrad, you actually get invitations to chapters, and must cut from 13 houses down to 8, sight unseen. Girls with poor HS GPA's might find themselves without invitations from some chapters so they have fewer to turn down. During your time at each house you'll likely get a tour (if your campus has chapter houses) and have a short presentation on the chapter, what they like to do, what it means to be an "XYZ" and so on. You'll get a chance to talk with a couple of the members. Your goal is to allow them to get to know you and for you to get to know the chapter. The general advice here is to avoid "The Four B's": Booze, Boys, Bible, Bank account.

    At the end of this day, you'll be tired, and your feet will hurt. Lucky for you, your day is largely over, and you can go back to your dorm and think about what you saw, which houses you liked, which you didn't and so on. The sorority members have to stay up and decide if there are any potential new members that they wish not to invite back to the next day's party. They'll submit their list of invites to the Office of Greek Affairs.

    Day 3 - This morning you'll get a list of chapters which have invited you back to their parties. Again it varies by school, but you have to cut a certain number of chapters. At my school you had to go from 8 to 5. You'll then revisit those 5 chapters, again learning more about what the house, and getting the chance to meet more members of the chapter. Again same process as the day before, you go home and think about the chapters, the chapters stay up and figure out who they are going to invite to the next days.

    Day 4 - Preference or "Pref" Day - you again get invites back and have to make cuts. This round is classically limited to 3 chapters. You'll again go back to those three chapters, spending even more time with those girls. Typically chapters have a small ritual they'll perform which has significance for that organization. I'm told that they are often emotional, and when I was in college and helping to get HS seniors interested in going through recruitment, I'd tell girls that if they cried at 2 houses, but not the third, then the 3rd house probably wasn't for them. (And of course I'm not saying that all girls cry either).

    At the end of the this round of parties, you, as the PNM, must rank the chapters 1st, 2nd, 3rd. Meanwhile the chapters are ranking all the girls they saw during the pref round 1-(however many girls they saw). Most schools have gone to computer systems to match, but it's easier for me to explain with real people. So imagine that each house sends a representative to a meeting. They'll go through the list of girls and announce their #1 choice. So if Abigail Abers is first, they'll find out she preffed XYZ. XYZ will check their list, see how high she is and if they like her and ranked her high enough, they'll put her in their pile of bids to hand out the next day. All the other chapters will mark her off their list and everyone below her is moved up one spot. If the chapter ranked her very low, they'll set her card aside until later and move on to the next girl, and the process will repeat until they've been through the list once. Then they'll return to Abigail's card and read her second choice and see how she fits on their list. This will continue until they've been through all the girls choices. Again this is done on computer, but the concept is the same and it's based on giving the advantage to the girl rather than the chapter.

    Day 5 - Bid Day. Another emotional day. You go to the appointed spot at the appointed time and get an envelope that has your bid in it, open it up and find out what you've become! Most chapters have some sort of sisterhood night that night so you can spend time with your new pledgesisters and the members of the chapter.

    There are some detailed aspects of the process, like "playing fair" and such that I'll get to later. Feel free to ask questions.
  • glamfairydustglamfairydust Registered User Posts: 111 Junior Member
    Wow, thank you...this has been EXTREMELY helpful! I'm definitely more excited now, it sounds like such a fun week.

    I do have a question though...with this process, are there usually plenty of girls who don't get invited into any sorority? is it rare to not get an invitation from any?
  • BigredmedBigredmed Registered User Posts: 3,731 Senior Member
    That's an excellent question and one that is VERY common.

    Again, it does vary from school to school, but there are somethings that you can do to improve your chances of getting a bid.

    The biggest thing you can do, is to "play fair". If you "play fair" you'll be guaranteed a bid at the end of the week. In general this means that you go to the maximum number of parties you're allowed to for any given day. This is easy when you have more invites than parties you can attend, but could be a little tougher if you get fewer invites than parties for a given day. So for example at my school, lets say that after 8 party day, you only get 4 invites back the next day - and one of them is a house that you have absolutely ZERO interest in joining, in fact, you walked in the first day and immediately thought that the world would be better off without this assemblage of girls existing and began contemplating ways you could set the house on fire but get all the rushees out unhurt (I'm being melodramatic of course, but it's to illustrate a point). So you have three houses you love, and then number 4 which you absolutely can't stand. "Playing fair" requires that you attend all four parties, even the one you want to set the house on fire.

    This principle continues on through pref day AND in ranking your chapters on your final rank. Say you come in pref day morning only to find that one of your favorites cut you. So now you're left with the house you hate and two others you like. Again, you have to go to all 3 parties. You're also required to rank all three chapters on your rank-order list at the end of the day to keep "playing fair".

    Now, as I said, if you play fair, you're guaranteed a bid...But it's possible that the bid might come from the house you ranked #3, at which point you'd have to make a decision on whether you want to accept that bid or not. There are rules, which vary by institution, about what happens when girls are offered a bid but decline it and when they will be allowed to go through formal recruitment again, and so on, but those are small concerns at the moment. So, bottom line though, if you play fair, you'll get a bid - it just might be from a house that you have no interest in joining.

    It does happen that sometimes a girl gets cut from all the houses she still has on her list. And there are plenty of times when a girl gets cut by her favorite(s) and decides that if she can't be an ABC or an XYZ she'd rather be nothing at all and drops from rush. But I'll get into rush mindset and things to look for in a chapter some other time.

    One other thing, I realized I made a small error in my explanation of bid matching. In my example, poor Abigail didn't rank high enough on the initial list of XYZ at the beginning of the night. They placed her card to the side and then went on with the list. I incorrectly said that when they returned to her, they went to her second choice. Actually, they'll first look to see if now, after XYZ has had to cross some people off their list, if Abigail ranks high enough to get a bid from XYZ. They'll do this again for all the girls, as many rounds through the list as needed to make sure that as many first choice matches are made, then move on to second choices. The process really truly is aimed in favor of the girls going through the process. And this methodology is actually even used to place graduating medical students into their residency programs as well, so it's not just a sorority thing.
  • glamfairydustglamfairydust Registered User Posts: 111 Junior Member
    thank you for that very thorough explanation! I actually get it now...and I love your example ;-)

    were you part of any sorority? you seem to know so much about it...sorority president, perhaps?

    anyways thanks again...you have no idea how much you've helped me =)
  • JTKayJTKay Registered User Posts: 132 Junior Member
    Wow, great answers! My idea of the process comes entirely from the movie Sydney White...
  • BigredmedBigredmed Registered User Posts: 3,731 Senior Member
    Actually, I'm a guy. But I was in a fraternity (and fraternity rush is infinitely less complicated and easier to go through), and one of my big activities on campus was being part of a group called Greek Ambassadors, even serving as president for a year - our main focus was to get HS students interested in going through recruitment. For nearly 2 years I gave the Greek Life presentation at the Campus Visit days. So even though I was a guy, I had to be able to answer questions - including things like what to wear.
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