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Clueless about Sororities

13

Replies to: Clueless about Sororities

  • MizzBeeMizzBee Registered User Posts: 4,577 Senior Member
    Missypie, I also think the "right" sorority thing has a lot more to do with life after college. If mom, grandma, aunties and neighbors are all XYZ, a young lady grows up thinking XYZ is for her. The problem comes at schools like Alabama and Texas where every house could fill 4 pledge classes with legacies alone. That is what is happening now, which is why there are those dreaded phone calls. Houses are on to the transfer school concept and do not need to invite the transfer sister to affiliate with their house when she comes back as a sophomore. The girl is then left with alumnae status, meaning she is in for life, but would miss out on things like mixers and collegiate events.
    It isn't just southern schools,however. I had friends that didthe same thing at IU 25 years ago when they had a bad recruitment. She came back and was unable to live in. If she had not dropped after she didn't get a "good" house, she would have had it all. In competitive schools there ARE no bad houses.

    lafalum84, I used to say recruitment here on CC, but realized that not everyone knew what I was talking about. On GC, I "mostly" use the correct terminology. After all my years working with chapters, I still slip. Last year I had a jar at the college while prepping so that I could toss in a buck every time I slipped. Made for a great pizza party for the girls.
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 22,173 Senior Member
    D1 just graduated this year, she still calls it rush. Not sure how out dated it is.
  • frazzled2thecorefrazzled2thecore Registered User Posts: 1,098 Senior Member
    From what I understood, at Frazzled D's school the number of allotted slots is equal to the number of girls going through recruitment, but it is still possible for a girl to reach a point during the week where she does not receive invitations to any parties and is thus released from the process.

    It seems that every year this happens to a number of girls, and I was terrified that my daughter would find herself in this tiny minority. I have to think it is probably more humiliating to find oneself not wanted anywhere in a non-competitive rush than in a competitive rush, FWIW, and applaud those schools that make sure every girl who is willing to stay to the end is invited back to at least one house.
  • mamitamamita Registered User Posts: 234 Junior Member
    I wasn't in a sorority in college. The Greek system was making a big comeback at my university, but had a very party-hardy reputation. I was a bit more alternative. My D1 joined a sorority at her school freshman year. It was no stress on me and still isn't. She pays any cost related to her sorority, just like she picks up the tabs on personal expenses and extracurricular activities. She has met wonderful, caring, smart, interesting young women! (Now, not to say that she would not have made close friends otherwise, because she would have.) But, it has been a very positive, growing experience for her. I'm glad I kept an open mind and trusted her to pick what was right for her. Best of luck to the OPs daughter!
  • deega123deega123 Registered User Posts: 689 Member
    Our recent experience at a large SEC school was that recruitment was predominantly junior league on steroids. Lots of cronyism. A little more than 1 in 5 girls dropped out because they didn't like the houses they were invited back to or were "released".

    My daughter just pledged so I can't comment on the sorority experience but the recruitment process at her school is extremely brutal. For the girls that were heartbroken by the process it's a very hard way to start college.
  • alhalh Registered User Posts: 8,368 Senior Member
    Please explain something to me. I have heard of many girls who just have to get into a specific sorority. I have even heard of one girl who didn't get into the sorority of choice at School A, so she actually transferred to School B for another shot at the same sorority (and got in.)

    It seems like a sorority is made up of the girls who are at the school at the time. If Mom or Big Sister loved a particular sorority, isn't it because there was a great group of girls there at the time? As the membership changes from year to year, doesn't the personality of the chapter change, so it may be great one year and not great three years later? Or is it more like branches of the military, where people join a specific branch for certain traits?

    Missy - I think this is such a good question and thought about how to answer. It seems to me it is sort of like asking "why are HYP so popular?" Just because your parents loved the school, it doesn't mean you will, though you probably will and the campus personality doesn't ever change so much that they don't have more applicants hoping to be accepted than they can take. There is a lot of effort every year taken by admissions to create an exceptional freshman class. I can think of other comparisons.
    Missypie, I also think the "right" sorority thing has a lot more to do with life after college. If mom, grandma, aunties and neighbors are all XYZ, a young lady grows up thinking XYZ is for her. The problem comes at schools like Alabama and Texas where every house could fill 4 pledge classes with legacies alone. That is what is happening now, which is why there are those dreaded phone calls. Houses are on to the transfer school concept and do not need to invite the transfer sister to affiliate with their house when she comes back as a sophomore. The girl is then left with alumnae status, meaning she is in for life, but would miss out on things like mixers and collegiate events.
    It isn't just southern schools,however. I had friends that didthe same thing at IU 25 years ago when they had a bad recruitment. She came back and was unable to live in. If she had not dropped after she didn't get a "good" house, she would have had it all. In competitive schools there ARE no bad houses.

    I agree with MizzBee but highlighted what seems to me especially important. Thirty-something years ago when I was leaving the south, my mother's friends gave me a small luncheon and advised me the very first thing to do in the new locale was to contact our alum group. I have lived many places in my adult life, have never contacted the alum group, never paid dues and have never given them a change of address. They always find me, send the magazines and invitations to join local alum activities. If I went they would, I'm sure, welcome me with open arms. Just this month a friend told me her daughter, an engineer, got a job through sorority networking.

    My family has four generations of fraternity and sorority members. All my siblings and siblings-in-law belong. My sister is president of the Mothers' Group of her daughter's sorority. My sister-in-law is president of her local alum group. Overall I find it a distasteful system and don't think the positives outweigh the negatives. I think college campuses would be better off without Greek groups. But the one positive I see is that sometimes sororities really do create an empowering and supportive bond of sisterhood. If I had an emergency I bet I could call my local alum group and someone would help me, even though I have given nothing at all the organization.

    When you join a sorority you join a national organization. A girl who joins a sorority is promising to be sisters with all the girls at any chapters of her sorority.... and all those who were and all those who will be. Since you are part of a national organization I don't think it is valid or becoming to say sororities in certain geographic regions are acceptable but others aren't. It really is the same group. Their flaws are your flaws. A lot of women seem not to take that very seriously, but I believe that the idea of sisterhood is one of the few redeeming features of sorority membership.
  • PizzagirlPizzagirl Registered User Posts: 40,488 Senior Member
    "When you join a sorority you join a national organization. A girl who joins a sorority is promising to be sisters with all the girls at any chapters of her sorority.... and all those who were and all those who will be."

    I think that's kind of silly in practicality, though. I joined XYZ at a certain college; my younger sister went to a large state u where the XYZ's were, to put it charitably, not the brightest. They even had a death allegedly due to hazing. Why would I have wanted my sister to have been an XYZ there, and why would I considered myself "sisters" with these girls?

    As for the alumnae clubs, I've done some activities with these clubs, and like anything, you like some people, are neutral towards others, and maybe even dislike a few. If I moved to a new city, I could certainly see joining an alumnae club as a way to meet people, but having all been XYZs in college would be just something we would have in common as a starting point, and pretty irrelevant to whether we would like one another / hit it off.

    I am "sisters for life" with the girls in MY chapter. But I know them!
  • missypiemissypie Registered User Posts: 18,389 Senior Member
    For the girls that were heartbroken by the process it's a very hard way to start college.

    I am aware of schools where 1) the girls arrive on campus a week (or two?) before classes start for "recruitment" (their moms still call it rush), (2) not every girl is placed, and thus 3) the process is brutal. I just cannot imagine a worse way to start college! It's not a situation where the girl just doesn't know people - instead, she has met lots of people and has been specifically rejected by all of them! I know I know, they don't know her well...but it is a specific, personal rejection. It makes my heart break to even think about it.
  • PizzagirlPizzagirl Registered User Posts: 40,488 Senior Member
    Just be careful with the "not every girl is placed." There is a difference between "I decided early on I wanted only to be an XYZ, so when the XYZ's didn't invite me back, even though the ABC's and DEF's did, I dropped out and was heartbroken" and "no one invited me back."
  • frazzled2thecorefrazzled2thecore Registered User Posts: 1,098 Senior Member
    PG - There are indeed schools where a small minority of girls is not placed because nobody invited them back, and others (only a few) that will guarantee a bid to each girl who does not take the initiative to drop out of the process. I think we understand the difference, and so do our daughters.
  • alhalh Registered User Posts: 8,368 Senior Member
    "When you join a sorority you join a national organization. A girl who joins a sorority is promising to be sisters with all the girls at any chapters of her sorority.... and all those who were and all those who will be."

    I think that's kind of silly in practicality, though. I joined XYZ at a certain college; my younger sister went to a large state u where the XYZ's were, to put it charitably, not the brightest. They even had a death allegedly due to hazing. Why would I have wanted my sister to have been an XYZ there, and why would I considered myself "sisters" with these girls?

    As for the alumnae clubs, I've done some activities with these clubs, and like anything, you like some people, are neutral towards others, and maybe even dislike a few. If I moved to a new city, I could certainly see joining an alumnae club as a way to meet people, but having all been XYZs in college would be just something we would have in common as a starting point, and pretty irrelevant to whether we would like one another / hit it off.

    I am "sisters for life" with the girls in MY chapter. But I know them!

    pizzagirl: I start to understand why you want to distance your chapter from other chapters of your sorority, (and I believe there are mechanisms for expelling sorority members who don't live up to the ideals of the organization) but are you allowed to make up your own rules about who in the sorority is and isn't your "sister for life"? Are you only going to acknowledge the brightest? If so, doesn't that create a system even more exclusive than it already is? Using those rules, active chapters could deny transfers and alum groups could pick and choose which women to associate with. (Yes, I know, this probably does already happen) And if your initiation was anything like mine, you did agree to be "sisters for life" with all the women in the sorority, each and every single one. Maybe you crossed your fingers when you promised? :) Maybe you don't take any of this seriously?

    One way around this is to not join a national sorority at all, but instead form a unique club on campus composed of like minded women you want to have as "sisters for life."

    Sincere apologies for being so off-topic.... I don't have anything else to add to the discussion, but wish all of your daughters best of luck! If they choose to join a sorority I wish them the very best bonds of sisterhood, and mean that in all seriousness.
  • missypiemissypie Registered User Posts: 18,389 Senior Member
    Just be careful with the "not every girl is placed." There is a difference between "I decided early on I wanted only to be an XYZ, so when the XYZ's didn't invite me back, even though the ABC's and DEF's did, I dropped out and was heartbroken" and "no one invited me back."

    So true. That is why I advised that the girls and moms you talk to not be drama queens. One girl's "slight disappointment with a happy ending" may be another's "I'm leaving this school." One mom might receive a single teary call from her D and take it in stride while another mom will forever tell whoever will listen what a horrible rush process X school has. I think we all know who the down to earth moms and daughters are....that is where we can get a realistic portrait of the process. (But when the most down to earth mom and her down to earth daughter - who got her first choice - call the process brutal, I trust that it truly is brutal.)
  • PizzagirlPizzagirl Registered User Posts: 40,488 Senior Member
    And if your initiation was anything like mine, you did agree to be "sisters for life" with all the women in the sorority, each and every single one. Maybe you crossed your fingers when you promised? Maybe you don't take any of this seriously?

    I took it very seriously when I was there in that stage of my life, was an officer and in other leadership positions, have kept in contact with lots of my friends there over the years and consider them my closest friends, and it's always a neat "huh! how about that!" when I discover someone else was an XYZ (including daughters of posters I've met through CC) - but please, I'm not obligated to be BFF's with every single woman who ever pledged a chapter of XYZ anywhere in the country, any more than I am obligated to be BFF's with every single person who ever graduated from the same college I did. As I said, if I were to move to a new city, an alumnae club would be a great way to get to know some people, but my loyalty is really more to the specific girls / chapter I was with, not just any random XYZ. It's a little ludicrous to consider other women "sisters for life" if I don't even know them. It would be a conversation-starter at that point. I mean, talk about that over-the-top, take-it-so-seriously mentality!
  • Lafalum84Lafalum84 Registered User Posts: 7,532 Senior Member
    I am not a fan of having kids go thru recruitment before they even start classes as a freshman. How can they know if Greek life is something they really want to do? And the pledging process often takes up so much time it limits the kids from trying out a lot of different clubs or activities so the sorority/frat could end up being their entire social life. I just don't think it makes any sense, and I would have strongly discouraged my kids from doing it. Even girls who successfully pledge a sorority they love will probably have been cut by a few other sororities. Feeling like there's a group on campus that does not want you is a horrid way to start college.

    That said, both of my kids went Greek and loved it - but one pledged sophomore year, and the other 2nd semester freshman year. They had time to try out different activities and meet people - and to watch the Greek system and individual houses to see how they worked and if it was something they were interested in.

    Pizzagirl, my D has two friends who are perfect examples of your post #40. One had her heart set on ABC, and had basically been "promised" a bid by a sister who should have known better. But apparently the girl had hooked up with a guy who turned out to be the boyfriend of an ABC sister, so they cut her. She was devastated, dropped out of recruitment, and seriously considered transferring. In the end she did not transfer, and now realizes that if she had stuck with the process its likely she would have ended up in D's sorority (DEF), who did not cut her, and where she would have been really happy. She is considering going thru recruitment again next year with a clearer head.

    OTOH, D's roommate had her heart set on DEF, which cut her. She was hurt but stayed with the process, and ended up pledging GHI and LOVING it. She had not known any GHI sisters before recruitment, but in the end the house seems to be a perfect fit for her and she's made a ton of new friends.
  • PizzagirlPizzagirl Registered User Posts: 40,488 Senior Member
    pizzagirl: I start to understand why you want to distance your chapter from other chapters of your sorority

    Oh, please! I'm not at all worried about the national reputation / strength of my house. But every single sorority has chapters that aren't up to snuff, who either fade away or have to leave campuses. Let's not play coy here or try to insinuate that I'm "ashamed."
This discussion has been closed.