Raise your hand if this buzz about electronic sorority recommendations has you feeling 10 different kinds of confused! Sweet PNM (that's Potential New Member for the record—AKA, you), we'll be honest. We've been confused too. While Recruitment Information Packets have typically been submitted by snail mail, now more than ever before, we're seeing sororities embrace digital submissions of Recruitment Information Forms (RIFs) and Letters of Support (LOS). So let's break down what that means.
As a refresher, the purpose of a Recruitment Information Packet is to obtain at least one RIF and/or LOS for every single sorority house represented on your college campus. While all sororities do not require RIFs and LOS, they are at the very least considered a nice "bonus" by most houses. Why? Because receiving advance information about PNMs allows chapter members to "meet" you before rush ever begins! This leads to quicker connections, legacy identifications, meaningful conversations...the works!
Now, here's how the recommendation-gathering process traditionally works.
STEP 1: You compile a Recruitment Information Packet that includes...
- A large pre-addressed envelope with postage included: An envelope should be addressed to the recruitment director of each chapter on your campus. You will find the appropriate mailing information on the chapter website of each sorority house on your campus!
ATTN: Kaleigh Brown
2000 Sorority Street
Austin, Texas 78705
- 1 copy of your résumé
- 1 copy of your high school transcript
- 1 copy of your ACT and/or SAT scores (No need to include a printed copy if this information is listed on your resume)
- Cover letter: Your cover letter should be addressed to the alumna writing a recommendation on your behalf, NOT the sorority house your packet will be forwarded on to.
- Three pictures: Most sororities will ask for a variety of shots—at least one headshot, a full body pose, and a three-quarter view (learn more about the types of photographs to include in your Recruitment Information Packet here).
STEP 2: You deliver your completed Recruitment Information Packet to an alumna of every sorority house represented on your college campus, either in-person or by mail.
STEP 3: Each alumna uses the information you have provided—i.e., your cover letter, resume, transcript, and ACT/SAT scores—to complete a Recruitment Information Form and/or a Letter of Support on your behalf.
STEP 4: Upon completion, each alumna sends her RIF and/or LOS along with your information to the appropriate chapter house using the pre-paid, pre-addressed envelope and stamps you have provided.
But seriously is your head spinning yet? We hope not, because now it's time to talk about the latest development in recruitment land...electronic recommendations. Let's do this!
First things first: You should know that every college campus—and every sorority house—does things differently when it comes to recruitment. Take, for example, the University of Alabama—this campus exclusively accepts RIFs and does NOT accept Letters of Support. Here's how their website puts it:
"Please note that additional 'Letters of Support,' personal letters written on stationery by alumnae recommending a PMN whom they know personally for membership into the sorority, which are commonplace in Texas, are not encouraged or recognized at The University of Alabama."
Also, while Delta Gamma as a national entity does accept electronic recommendations, the Beta Eta chapter at the University of Texas still prefers snail mail. Here are their thoughts on the matter:
"Sponsorship forms can be emailed, but we prefer snail mail."
So, what's a modern PNM to do when compiling her packet and gathering letters of recommendation? Here's the workflow we recommend:
STEP 1: Do your research! A quick Google search will reveal your college's Panhellenic website. Read the guidelines listed on the website, and make sure that your Recruitment Information Packet meets your university's standards. This website should also contain links to all of the sorority houses on your campus—take a look at The University of Arkansas's website to see an excellent example of the type of information you're looking for. Next, explore each sorority's website and identify the director of recruitment for each house. Even if the women writing your recommendations will be submitting your information electronically, it will be useful to provide them with the recruitment director's first and last name as well as a link to the chapter's website.
STEP 2: Compile your Recruitment Information Packet according to the guidelines listed on your college's Panhellenic website.
If every single one of the houses on your campus only accept electronic submissions: You can go green! Send the contents of your Recruitment Information Packet—including your three photographs—to each alumnae on your list via email. She will be responsible for filling out a RIF and/or writing a Letter of Support, and digitally submitting the appropriate documents and photos on your behalf. If you are working with a local Alumnae Panhellenic Organization to gather recommendations, you may still need to provide printed copies of your packet. Be sure to check their guidelines, too!
If they only accept snail mail: Follow the traditional steps listed above, and deliver all of your Recruitment Information Packets in printed form.
If they accept both forms of submission: We recommend delivering your Recruitment Information Packets to alumnae in print and digital form. In other words, place a printed copy in their hands, but be sure to follow up with an email that contains all of your documents and photos as attachments as well.
Are you tired? We won't lie, we're a little tired.
Here's some good news for you, though, straight from the mouth (okay, more like the Facebook page) of the Dallas Alumnae Panhellenic Association:
"Previous years, PNMs have included the name and address of where alumnae should send their completed sponsorship packets. Today, because so many sororities are using electronic recommendations only (online), different sororities have different addresses and requirements. After canvasing local area sponsorship chairs, it was concluded that alumnae, if they are unsure of where to send the completed PNM packet, should check their local and/or national website for instructions where to send. This is an attempt to take some of the extra work off of the PNMs."
In other words?
Do your research. Google those websites. Familiarize yourself with guidelines. But after doing all of this, if you're still confused...don't worry. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the alumna who is completing a RIF and writing a LOS on your behalf to ensure that she is submitting your information correctly—i.e., in accordance with the guidelines established by her national sorority and your college's chapter.
But hey, we thought we'd share all of this anyway because it's true what they say: Knowledge is power!
Now get out there and start Googling. We're cheering for you!