Some helpful advice when deciding on which Sorority or Fraternity to choose… and how they choose you!
It may not look like it yet, but spring is just around the corner. And just as spring break is a steadfast college tradition, so too is the spring sorority and fraternity rush. It’s to be certain that anxious times are ahead, but don’t let that stand in your way of what should be considered a positive and memorable chapter in your college career.
Making the decision to join the “Greek Life” is a big step, and deciding which house to join can be a real challenge. Potential New Members (PNMs) should therefore practice due diligence and get informed before making a decision that will heavily impact their college experience.
The other half of the anxiety is the personal stuff. What if they don’t like me? Will they talk about me when I leave? How do they vote on me? What if the only sorority/fraternity I know anybody in drops me? What the heck should I wear?
The rush experience is a definite thrill (or as some might describe, a roller coaster ride of ups and downs) but can be totally different depending if you’re a guy or a girl. In fact, the recruitment process couldn’t be more entirely opposite in terms of structure and organization.
Sorority recruitment follows the Pan Hellenic Association (PHA) and their rush is very serious and strict on formality. Consisting of house tours, multiple meet and greets with members, charitable activities and various other performance related examinations. As for the frat rush, their mandate is simple, informal, and relies on whether or not a brotherly bond can be established over a tall pint and greasy food. Choosing not to follow any real set of rules, the International Fraternity Council (IFC) controls the process.
In terms of questions that should be asked when house visiting – It’s recommended that PNMs have a pre-made list of five questions for the first round of parties. Those questions could include: How many hours per week do the sisters/brothers typically spend together? What is your involvement in the community? What is an event that you look forward to each year?
You may also ask more personal, but still sorority or fraternity-related, questions such as: What made you pledge this sorority? And how did you get over being nervous?
Avoid asking intrusive questions and follow their lead. Just like your attire sends a message about who you are, so does your mouth. Keep it clean. The best guide is your campus’ rush handbook. It gives detailed information about each day’s parties and their degree of formality.
It’s important for any PNM to remember and respect the fact that the sisters and brothers of each house have also been busy – organizing members, decorating, ordering food and ensuring their events run as smoothly as possible in order to spark the attention of their recruits.
It is easy to get wrapped up in the stereotypes for each Greek house, but it’s important for PNMs to base their decision solely on his/her personal experience with the visit and level of comfort with the brothers or sisters.
In the end, the house you choose has to fit you. It’s kind of like finding the perfect pair of shoes, as soon as you put them on, you just know. There will probably be a certain feeling you get from each house (are they bookish, snobby, too party driven, socialites, etc). Just look for a place that makes you feel most like yourself and most of all, keep things in perspective.
Stay focused and calm throughout the process. Bring a journal and take notes, as things can become a blur after it’s all over. Remember that the members you talk to have been in your position before.
Have fun, and good luck!