What is COB...and is it right for me?

Written with love by Caroline Hudson | SororityPackets.com collegiate blog contributor 

Have you ever heard the term "COB" and wondered what it meant pertaining to sorority recruitment? Wonder no more! We've got the scoop directly from collegiate blogger Caroline Hudson, who served as VP Membership for Delta Gamma at the University of Alabama! Keep reading to learn what COB is, who is eligible to go through COB, and what to expect from this form of sorority recruitment. (Hint: A relaxed recruitment environment and lots of fun!) 

What is COB, and what does it have to do with sorority recruitment?

"COB" is short for Continuous Open Bidding, a form of informal recruitment that sorority chapters can participate in at any time outside of primary recruitment. Most people think that COB only happens the semester after a school’s primary recruitment (formerly known as "formal recruitment"). However, COB can actually occur any time during the school year when a chapter is under Panhellenic’s chapter total. Let's break down what that means even further!

For example, if chapter total—the total number of members an individual sorority is allowed to have, as determined by the College Panhellenic—was set at 100 members, but XYZ sorority only has 92 members, XYZ can participate in COB and pledge up to 100 members. In other words, they are eligible to give out 8 bids during the Continuous Open Bidding process, but no more. Some sorority nationals require their chapters to participate in COB if they are under chapter total in order to balance their numbers. With that said, please know that COB is not a bad thing for PNMs or for sorority chapters! Chapters often fall below chapter total when they have a lot of seniors graduate early at the end of the semester. The great thing about COB is that it is completely informal, rules are much more relaxed for chapters, and all chapters typically do things differently than others which gives you a great opportunity to see their individual personalities shine.

Should I go through Continuous Open Bidding?

COB is a great option, but it is not for everyone. If there are certain houses you are targeting that are participating in Continuous Open Bidding, I would suggest doing it. 

Two things to keep in mind:

1. COB is something you typically participate in after you have started school.

2. You are not eligible to participate in COB at many schools if you participated in primary recruitment and signed what is commonly called an "MRABA" agreement—a document stating that you will accept a bid if you receive one (even if the bid is not from your top choice sorority). By receiving a bid, you are ineligible to participate in any form of recruitment for a full year even if you do not get initiated into a sorority. I will go into further detail about these types of documents later on so that you fully understand the process before signing anything—detailed information about the MRABA and other aspects of the sorority recruitment process are also detailed in Sorority Scoop's eBook, Everything You Need to Know About Sorority Recruitment!

With all of that said, if you are in fact eligible, I would highly suggest participating in COB (or at least attending the recruitment events)—especially if you get anxiety from big events like primary recruitment. The Continuous Open Bidding process is much more laid back and you get to interact with the members in a comfortable environment! I personally like COB because both the chapter members and Potential New Members are much more comfortable, and conversations typically last longer because you aren’t under a time constraint. Typical COB recruitment activities include movie nights, dinners, and crafting—all things that take place in a relaxed social environment. Enjoy the process. It really is a fun one!


About the Blogger: Caroline is a senior at the University of Alabama and served as a former VP of Membership for her sorority, Delta Gamma. Stay tuned for more of her insights—they are truly invaluable for PNMs and chapter members alike! | Follow Caroline: @chudson09

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