There's something we have to say before we begin, though. Whether you did not receive a bid at the end of your first recruitment experience or you chose to remove yourself from the process before bids were extended, you are NOT the only woman in this situation. Sorority recruitment is more competitive than ever before simply due to the fact that college enrollment and interest in joining a sorority has increased over the years. Questions about going through recruitment for a second time, rushing as a sophomore, and creating a social resume as an upperclassman are among the most frequently asked questions that hit our inboxes each week. We value every single inquiry that comes our way and want to do everything we can to help make your sorority recruitment week a success. With that in our hearts + your emails in our inbox, we reached out to McKinney Alumnae Panhellenic President Denise Currin to help us tackle the topic of going through recruitment for a second time following a disappointing freshman year experience. Read on for our complete, honest interview!
What You Need to Know About Rushing for a Second Time
DC: "I feel any young woman going through recruitment should put together a completed packet, no matter what their year in college. A recruitment packet is the first impression you will be giving your writer(s) who are sharing this information with their sorority on your behalf. The compilation of a great packet will also showcase a PNM’s organizational skills and attention to detail. Create your packet as if you are going through recruitment for the first time. Update your resume to include both high school and college accolades, activities, and pertinent information. Include all academic information and pen a cover letter with additional personal information. Secure letters of recommendation and letters of support. Put together a well-thought packet, complete with an informative resume, academic information from both high school and college, a personal and detailed cover letter, updated photos, etc. We always recommend giving your letter writers a printed packet, as well as digital files. Do your homework. Read your university’s Panhellenic website AND research each chapter to find out how they want their packets delivered. Being organized and informed will ease the stress of package assembly and your overall recruitment experience."
SP: How can an Alumnae Panhellenic help women in this scenario?
DC: "A local Panhellenic can help in many ways. Not only can we help PNMs secure letter writers, but we can review their resumes and cover letters, etc before packet assembly/delivery and help them maximize their options. We also communicate with many of the Panhellenic organizations at various universities and can help them make connections which is very important in sorority recruitment, especially at more competitive schools. Our goal is to make sure that all of our local women going through recruitment have a happy and successful experience."
SP: Should women going through sorority recruitment for the second time give rec writers any background information about their first recruitment experience/why they did not pledge? If so, what is the best way to provide this information?
DC: "I don’t think anyone can go wrong with being upfront and honest. Share your experience and your reasons for not pledging with your letter writers so there are no surprises, but keep it positive. It is possible that someone will get in touch and ask for more information. Stay away from discussing taboo reasons such as, 'I got cut from my favorite house and didn’t want to pledge any of the other houses I had left on my schedule.' Turn a negative into a positive by saying something like, 'I was not confident with my place in the recruitment process during my first experience, but I have had a chance to see what Greek life is all about and am excited to find a home where I can grow as a member and also share my strengths with my sorority. I have also learned to balance my academics with my social life and feel that I am in a much better position to contribute and be successful as a sorority member.' Also, be prepared to be asked during recruitment and keep your response short, to the point, and positive. Don’t dwell on the topic and turn the discussion to the present by asking the active a question about the sorority you are visiting that round."
*Extra Tip From Sorority Packets: Emphasize in conversations that you are going through rush a second time because you truly want to go Greek—not because you want to be a Kappa or a Theta—and because you value the opportunities that come from being in a sorority. Mention other involvements that you currently enjoy on campus. Talk honestly and openly with chapter members about your experience rushing as a freshman and what you have learned/how you have grown since then. Let them know why, despite maybe feeling some disappointment at the end of that experience, being in a sorority still appeals to you. What are you looking for in a sorority? How do you feel that you can contribute to the chapter? As sorority women, we were always drawn to upperclassmen who were looking to take a leadership role in their pledge class. i.e., 'Having already been at UT for a full year, I feel that I can provide advice and encouragement to younger girls in my pledge class who are struggling academically or just feeling homesick. I would hope to be a leader within my pledge class, and set a great example by attending as many functions as possible.' If you've noticed specific things about a certain sorority throughout the year, it's okay to mention this! For example: 'I attended your philanthropy event, Anchor Splash, last year and had a great time. Your philanthropy really appeals to me because I have experience volunteering with vision-impaired individuals, so I loved seeing how much funding you raised for that cause.' You don't have to suck up or go out of your way to do this, but if there really is something you've genuinely noticed that convinced you to go back through the recruitment process for a second time, don't be afraid to say so!
SP: Should different people write recommendations the second time around?
DC: "I don’t think you need to find different writers! In fact, someone who knows you well can also explain in a positive way why you chose not to pledge your freshman year and why you decided to go through recruitment again as a sophomore. Remember, it is about finding the right fit for you. Someone who knows your personality, and what you stand for, can share that more efficiently than someone who doesn’t know you very well."
SP: What advice would you give a woman going through sorority recruitment for the second time?
DC: "I don’t believe there is such a thing as 'trying too hard' when going through sorority recruitment. It is wonderful preparation for the future and going through the job application/interview process. Just as in applying for a job, you need to highlight your strengths through your resume, give more details about yourself and how well you would fit with the position. If you did not find success through the first round of job interviews, you would actually try to improve your resume so that your qualities would be more appealing to your future employer. Sorority recruitment is similar in that you want to share your best qualities through your resume and recommendations. We encourage 'maximizing your options' and delivering a quality packet with a great resume and sound alumni support will help to accomplish this goal."
SP: Anything else you would like to add?
DC: "Don’t forget that your social media tells a story about you. Even as a sophomore college student, you need to make sure that your social media accounts represent you in the best possible way. Take the time to clean them up well in advance of recruitment week! Grades are also very important so take any time you have before recruitment to work on getting your grades as high as possible. Also...trust the process. If a house you love is no longer on your schedule after a round, then remember it was not the right place for you. Open your heart and your mind to ALL houses and you will find your forever home!"
Still have questions? Drop a comment or send us an email to keep the conversation going.