Ivy (and other schools) Greek life

I’ve never heard Dirty Rush used as a synonym for Continuous Open Bidding.

Dirty Rush - not following the Panhellenic rush rules… primarily along the lines of contacting PNMs before the formal rush process.

Continuous Open Bidding - after formal rush ends, COB is a more informal rush experience to fill any additional spaces at sororities that did not meet quota or lost members for whatever reason.

ETA: But bottom line, rush differs at each school so research the experience at schools you are considering.


Where I’m from, dirty rush is when sororities start recruiting girls they want starting in the spring of high school and extending throughout the summer. It’s called “dirty” because it’s against the panhellenic rules. My daughter was contacted in high school by the head of recruitment and invited to spend the weekend, where she went to 6 frat parties in 2 days and met tons of the house’s sorority sisters, including the president and other members of the recruitment committee. Had multiple additional invites throughout the summer as well. Still was dropped. Continuous open bidding happens after rush, when a sorority hasn’t filled their pledge class and has open spots. Then there’s snap bidding, which happens on bid day, when a sorority finds they didn’t fill but (gasp!) doesn’t want anyone to know so they will reach out and offer a girl that they previously rejected, only to be able to say they filled their class. The only people who know about the snap bid is the girl and the sorority’s recruitment team.


I find the notion of rush coaches and tic-toc videos to be disturbing in a comical sort of way. Less comical is the fact that until 2013 Alabama’s sororities were racially segregated, and the diversity in such organizations is still abysmal.

Added. Here’s a photo from one of the videos above.


That picture shows why my daughter was dropped. Hair, teeth, clothes, whatever. She does not look like those girls. But to me, she’s still beautiful, inside and out! She feels crushed however, and is trying to find her footing.


I do too. But that is largely because my D will never have to live through that experience. It would be less comical were it my child, niece, etc.

I could make a tongue in cheek comment about your picture having the token brunette, but the fact is diversity in sororities still has a long way to go. In 1990, my sorority at another SEC school initiated the first African American on our campus. It was a big deal which highlighted why it was so overdue. I wish I could say that was just the beginning, but the reality is that racial diversity remains a challenge, particularly at southern chapters.

ETA: I believe we could have a lively parent discussion in the Parent Forum about Greek life (southern Greek life?), where we can make fun of social media stereotypes, ourselves and also commiserate over disappointments in our and our kids’ experiences. But in this forum perhaps the discussion should remain focused for the students reading this. I am definitely guilty of taking it off topic. Sorry, OP.


Still relevant to the OP, since she is in the south and has “other schools” in title. All good information for the OP to know.

1 Like

I completely missed that. I thought she was focusing on Ivy and Ivy-like.

1 Like

Good point. That is a trend I am seeing as well, within my own sorority and from talking to friends in others. It has been a bit controversial with alums, but the intent is to make the rush process more inclusive which is not a bad thing.

To the OP, most colleges host some sort of informational session for girls considering rush. During that session, they should explain the rush process at that school. They will address whether recommendations are considered and whether legacy status matters. Sometimes within the same college those answers will depend on the sorority. They also talk about the dress for each round of parties. It gets dressier as the week goes on. Additionally there are women who temporarily disaffiliate from their sororities to act as rush guides (Rho Gammas) to the PNMs. They are available to answer any possible question or concern.

That seemed to be the consensus as to why she didn’t receive a bid. Not too hard to stay off social media for a couple of weeks.

I heard about this for the first time this year. Before I left the FB group because my D picked another school, a large group of moms were planning to come in from all over the northeast for UofSC’s bid day. I also never heard of the baskets, which is evidently a big SEC thing. I’m glad it wasn’t a thing at my older daughter’s ACC school (they didn’t even wear Greek letters there, which I thought was odd).

One of D21’s friends just rushed there as well. I was nervous for her, as she definitely has her own unique style and is not a really a “girly-girl” (D21 was shocked that she would go through recruitment) - but she did fine - got a bid and is happy.


My oldest was a Rho Gam - mainly so she could get out of the endless hours of recruitment practice :laughing:


At Columbia, Greek life exists for those who seek it - and is irrelevant to the majority who doesn’t. Most certainly it is not the key to having an active social life by any means (assuming you have basic social skills) - or you can choose from a large catalogue of clubs where you’ll be with people of mutual interests.

An interesting alternative to joining a sorority at Columbia U, would be to attend their Barnard College. While fully integrated in the co-ed University, it is a women’s college (with their dining and academic facilities open to and used by all University students).
So you can think of your entire college as being one large sorority of “Barnard Girls”.

1 Like

My Barnard sophomore rushed last year, as did a number of her friends. The sororities at Columbia are made up of about 1/2 Columbia College and 1/2 Barnard women. Of her large friend group, approximately 1/3 rushed out of curiosity and 1/4 actually joined.

The big difference between sororities at a school like Columbia (I’d add Cornell and a number of NE schools to this group) and sororities in the south is that the stakes are so much lower. My daughter rushed on a whim, because a couple of her friends and roommates were doing it at the beginning of spring semester and she thought she might meet a few people and make a few useful connections. We didn’t need letters of recommendation or buy special outfits or talk to consultants or any of that stuff. I’m not saying there weren’t moments when people didn’t feel bad when they were cut (there were), but no-one treated it as the most important decision of their college life and post-rush, my daughter’s large friend group stayed roughly the same, with a few nice additions and social options.


As it should be. There’s nothing wrong with it being selective due to limited space (like some other music ensembles or sports teams will be), but from what I’ve learned about some “big-Greek schools”, there it becomes yet another examination of self-worth and another way to further segregate those with resources to pay consultants (really???), buy outfits,… from those who don’t.

After these high-schoolers just went through years of mental stress about whether they’ll eventually be “good enough” for college X, be able able to afford it, the stress of thinking they are making live-changing (but baseless) decisions by committing to major as teenagers… – now they need to admit to themselves that they are from the “wrong side of the track” if their family doesn’t have a few tens of thousands of dollars of spare money, and let themselves be judged by their adolescent peers, if they are “good enough” to become part of an implied friend-circle!?

Shouldn’t the academic (and for some financial/existential) stress suffice - or what exactly is the point of seeking “higher education”, Scarlett?

1 Like

Not only that, but the sororities (at some Southern schools) already have their lists before rush begins. The first day all potential new members (PNMs) have to visit every house, and every house has to welcome every PNM. One house at one school is known for welcoming everyone in, but about 5 minutes into the conversation, music comes on, and the sisters will say let’s have some fun and dance. Meanwhile, the PNMs that the sorority is actually interested get pulled into a private room where the sisters can actually talk to the ones they are interested in. If you don’t get pulled, you have to stand there and “enjoy” the dance party. Another house carries the PNMs they are interested in out the door piggyback style. PNMs who are not even being considered by these houses feel the humiliation and it’s really just an extension of the hierarchy/mean girls of high school. I wish the school could step in because it’s awful for the self-esteem of these young girls.


They don’t have to. Joining Greek life is optional. Even at schools like Alabama, more than half the students don’t join.


At other schools, when 2/3rds or more are members - you wonder how huge the perceived pressure is to be “in”:

I couldn’t find any numbers (other than sororities), what the acceptance/rejection rate is. But I stumbled across more likely factors playing into this:

That pretty much tells me what I needed to know: For the first-listed association, the average first year fees $4,170.03/semester, followed by average $3,621.52 for the next 6 semesters – and that is NOT ‘in-house’ living.

Can’t help but wonder if honestly “more than half the students don’t joint”, because it “is optional”, vs. how many would have chosen (and see a genuine need) to join, but simply might not have an additional $30,000 in cash laying around to afford breaking the glass ceiling?

This thread has actually been educational/eye-opening to me. I had been completely clueless…


Yes it is crazy expensive. You could be in a sorority for 4 years or have a new car. Hummm.
But it really is its own subculture. I know more than a handful of young girls who were accepted to 4-year universities who turned them down because they really wanted to be in a sorority at XXX University. They didn’t get admitted to XXX University, however, so they turned down other 4-year universities to attend community college for a year and then transfer into XXX University their sophomore year, at which time they could rush and join their future sisters. It didn’t matter what major they would be accepted to when they transferred in, they would/will take anything.

@DigitalDad - not all Greek Life is as expensive as Alabama. At other schools it can be just a few hundred dollars per semester. A lot depends if the chapter maintains a property.

Half the fee at Alabama is for a meal plan: the chapter houses serve 3 meals a day M-F. We pay this part of the dues for my daughter, the rest she covers out of part time earnings. Many girls, although not all, are in a similar situation.

You are correct, however, at this campus, Greek Life is for the affluent. At other universities, it is more financially accessible.

1 Like

It’s a private group, and I’m sure some students can’t afford it. I was pretty poor in college and didn’t have a car, didn’t travel to spring break vacations (considered it an extra week for working more hours), but was able to afford the sorority (it was a couple hundred dollars). For my own kids, it wasn’t expensive. One didn’t live in the house and I paid about $350/semester (for national dues, local dues, a few social events). If she had lived in the house, room was exactly the same as the dorms because the university owned the housing, and having a meal plan was optional (there was a kitchen in the Greek housing (also a pool as it used to be an apartment complex). The other D did live in the house and it was $4000/semester, which included dues, room and board; to live in the dorms was about $5000/semester, so it was actually cheaper (including dues). She didn’t have to pay dues for the semesters she was away (semester abroad, internship).

At some of the southern sororities, it is pretty expensive. I think those costs you quoted at the southern houses do include meals as it is common for all members to eat at the house, even if living in the dorms or off campus.

Not every college kid can afford it. Not every college student can afford to live on campus or buy football tickets or study abroad or play club sports. Life isn’t fair. Or cheap.

1 Like

UT Austin, about $20,000 for all 4 years (that’s without R&B)