To continue College Week (you can read advice for middle/high school students here, advice for high school seniors here, and dorm room decorating tips here), I’ve decided to go Greek. For many, rush will be coming up in fall! If you didn’t already know, I’m Vice President of my sorority at UC Berkeley — Chi Omega. SO! I wanted to break down the rush process, featuring outfits linked below, and advice if you — like me — didn’t know how you felt about going Greek.
To Rush or Not to Rush?
That is the question. Or at least it was, for me. I didn’t know whether or not I was going to rush and signed up two days before because I figured, why not? And that’s the thing, if Greek life interests you at all, I recommend signing up!! You can go to the first few events and see what it’s like. If you decide to drop — no harm, no foul. If you don’t try, you won’t know.
Pros of Going Greek
Joining a sorority wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done. In fact, it has tested me in so many ways and at times made me question if it was the right choice. But over time, I have found such a love for the people in my house, as well as some of my best friends (I mean bridesmaid and wedding attendee material here!). Some of the other perks have been meeting people in the blogging world who are also sisters, like Megan from attn: To Detail, Allie from prêt-à-provost, and Sally from Sweetly Sally. Also networking is amazing, as are the resources I have in the house (a.k.a. older sisters who have incredible advice about classes, professors, and internships!!). My college experience would be completely different had I not gone Greek, and that’s something I can’t even fathom.
Fall Formal Recruitment: another name for rush, occurs in the fall, not all schools have a Fall Formal but may wait until spring
Spring Formal Recruitment: rush that occurs in the spring, many schools will wait until spring to do rush
PNM: Potential New Member, someone who is rushing — if you’re reading this post, probably you!
Panhellenic: the governing council of all sororities
Dirty rushing: when a sorority attempts to influence a PNM in a way that violates Panhellenic rules
Legacy: someone who has a family member who has been a member of that sorority
Recruitment Counselor: also called a rho chi or sigma rho chi (some schools have individualized names too), leaders of rush who have temporarily disaffiliated from their chapters to be completely unbiased throughout the rush process
Bid: an invitation to join a sorority chapter and become a sister 🙂
Suicide bid: occurs when you only preference one house — you risk not being in a sorority if that house doesn’t offer you a bid
Guaranteed bid: you are guaranteed a bid to one house if you go through all of recruitment, note — not all schools do this!!
Initiation: ceremony in which a new member is initiated into a sorority and becomes an active member
Active: a member who has been initiated
New Member: a member who has not yet been initiated (what you’re referred to as after receiving your bid)
Big: your mentor in the chapter, someone who is an active member in the sorority
Now, About Those Letters of Recommendation
In order to rush, certain schools require that you get a letter of recommendation from each sorority. I recommend flushing out your network of close friends, relatives, and Facebook friends. Most people are happy to write letters!
Rush is often spread over 4 days, with a 5th day celebrating your entrance into a house (Bid Day). Each day, you’ll be attending short parties at each house where you’ll meet girls, be given refreshments, take a tour of the house, hear about the philanthropy, and learn what it means to be a sister in that house. The first day is for visiting all houses, then through a mutual selection process the house visits get narrowed down — essentially, you rank the sororities you connect with most and the sororities invite back who they see as being a good fit in the house. Like peeling back the layers of an onion, each sisterhood you see progressively gets more in-depth about membership as the days progress.
You’re Meeting People — Have Fun!
In a word, rush is a whirlwind. By the end of it, I remember almost completely losing my voice from talking so much. Know that with each conversation you enter, you want to make a good impression and try to connect with whoever you’re speaking to. It might be easy to fall back in a rut of spitting out the same story over and over again to every girl you talk to, but try to actually get to know the people you’re talking to — you might see them around on campus or have a class with them somewhere along the way! You’ll probably only be talking to each person for no more than 5 minutes, so it goes fast, but! It can be a great opportunity to meet people. True story, one of the girls I met during rush is now one of my closest friends — we had so much more to talk about before I left the conversation, and I ended up in her house!!
Dressing up is one of the most fun parts of sorority recruitment. Remember, you’re going to “parties,” so it’s important to look the part. (Plus, everyone else will be dressed accordingly, so you definitely won’t be alone.) As the days go on, the dress code becomes more and more formal. Here is a breakdown on everything. I was able to scrounge up some old iPhone snaps of what I actually wore when I rushed my freshman year!
Day 1: Unity or Greek Day
Unity Day is the most casual of all the days. Some school might give you a t-shirt to wear, but if not, think pants, shorts, skirts, a casual dress, and sandals or clean tennis shoes. Here are some options:
Topshop Pink Gingham Dress // J.Crew Pink Striped Top // ASOS White Blouse // Old Navy Yellow Striped Top // Old Navy Red Ruffle Top // American Eagle Ruffle Skirt // Madewell Skirt // Old Navy White Shorts // Target Cognac Strap Sandals // Target Black Strap Low Wedge // White Superega Tennis Shoes
Day 2: Sisterhood Day or Philanthropy Day
Regardless if your school does Sisterhood or Philanthropy for the second day, the dress code will still be one step up from Day 1. Nice shorts or chinos, sundresses, skirts, blouses, and sandals or casual heels are recommended! Below you’ll find some ideas:
Topshop Ruffle Dress // Denim Embroidered Dress // J.Crew Floral Bow Shorts // Abercrombie Button Up Chambray Dress // Madewell Gingham Ruffle Top // J.Crew Green Cold Shoulder Top // Abercrombie Red Romper // J.Crew Pink Bow Shorts // J.Crew Blue Embroidered Shorts // Jack Rogers Lauren Sandals
Day 3: Sisterhood Day or Philanthropy Day
Day 3 means the dress code steps up one more notch. Aim for a dress, blouse, nice pants, skirt, romper, and then comfortable flats, sandals, or casual heels! See some options here:
Pink H&M Ruffle Romper // H&M Navy Bow Romper // Target Pink Palm Print Dress // Target Green Floral Ruffle Dress // J.Crew Rainbow Gingham Tie Neck Dress // J.Crew Blush Flats // J.Crew Black Suede Flats // Target Black Block Heels // Target Taupe Lace-Up Heels
Day 4: Preference Day
Preference Day is business, semi-formal wear. Wear a nice dress, blazer, formal pants, jumpsuit and heels. Here are a few ideas:
Lauren James Lavender Dress // Lauren James Fit-and-Flare Navy Dress // Loft Pink Eyelet One-Shoulder Dress // Target Pink Wrap Dress // H&M Black Strapless Jumpsuit // H&M Black Suit Pants // H&M Light Blue Ruffle One-Shoulder Blouse // Target One-Strap Black Heels // Target Black Wrap Heels
If Something Doesn’t Work Out
If you end up going through rush and decide sorority life isn’t for you, that’s ok! You can always rush again the next year if you feel the urge. At the least, you honed your conversation skills (hello, interview prep!!) and met some new people!
Now, if you didn’t receive a bid to your “favorite house,” think long and hard if you’re considering dropping. If you give your house a chance, it might surprise you by being the perfect fit. What you put into your house, you will get out…10 times over. It’s hard to understand the chemistry of a house in the craziness of rush, but I promise you, sometimes your sisters can see traits and assets in you that you don’t see in yourself. Bottom line — have an open mind.
If you’re planning on going Greek, good luck!! Also, if you have any questions/doubts, feel free to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.