The best days of your life that you never want to relive— that pretty much sums up recruitment in one sentence. But don’t worry too much, a lifetime of sisterhood definitely cancels out the six days of pure exhaustion and mixed emotions. This is everything you’ll need to know about sorority recruitment at James Madison University!
Six months ago I went through recruitment for the first time as a freshman.
I was scared and I honestly had no idea what awaited me in that dreaded, yet exciting week. I had an older sister that went through recruitment at another school, but she really didn’t know what to tell me in preparation.
The worst part is not knowing what to expect.
I went completely blind into recruitment and I am not just referring to not knowing what would happen, but I also didn’t do any research on the sororities. I did this because I didn’t want to have any prejudgments and I can honestly say that this was the best decision I could have possibly made in regards to recruitment. It’s so easy to be swayed by other people’s opinions and by the stereotypes of each sorority, which could in the end keep you from finding the sorority that’s meant for you.
After the long and tiring week I am happy to say that I found my home among an incredible group of girls.
I hope that my insight on the recruitment process helps to take away a little bit of your nerves so that when recruitment week finally arrives, you can focus on finding yours.
Formal Recruitment begins with an orientation session where the Panhellenic Committee walks you through the recruitment itinerary as well as goes through appropriate attire. During this evening you will meet your Rho Gamma, which is a sorority girl who is disaffiliated from her sorority for the entirety of recruitment. Her job is to provide support and to aid you in the tough decision-making process in a completely unbiased way.
You will also be given a recruitment booklet during orientation, which tells you bits of information about each sorority such as the dues and the philanthropy and it includes spaces to write notes after each round.
The first official round of recruitment is Open House Round.
This round takes place over a span of two days and you have the chance to meet all twelve sororities for thirty minutes each.
When you arrive to the Greek Row you will find your Rho Gamma group.
Your Rho Gamma will tell you which sororities you will go to for each round that day. From there you will line up in front of the house you were assigned to in order based on the number on your name tag.
This is a very exciting and scary round of recruitment.
The girls at the houses will be screaming and chanting and banging on the windows and the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Recruitment Officer, and the Recruitment Director will be outside the house all dolled up.
After a countdown you will walk into the house and link arms with a sorority sister who will lead you to the basement.
Here you will talk to multiple girls, but the room will be so crammed of girls screaming over each other to be heard, that it will be very overwhelming.
After the second day you will rank the sororities and the sororities will vote on the girls.
You can be asked back to a maximum of nine sororities, so if you and a sorority mutually select each other, then you will be asked back. If your top nine ask you back, then you will return to those nine. But if you don’t get asked back to all of your top nine, but any in your bottom three ask you back, then you will also return to those sororities in the following round.
The second round is Philanthropy Round.
You will watch a short video on the philanthropy in the basement and then complete a craft in a bedroom of one of the sisters.
Following this round is Sisterhood Round and you can return to a maximum of six sororities and you will watch a video about sisterhood and then converse in one of the bedrooms again.
The final round is Preference Round and you may return to up to two sororities.
This is the night where you will decide which sorority you feel most at home at.
The following night is Bid Celebration and if you received a bid, you will attend.
If you went to two sororities in Preference Round, then you will rank both and if you only went to one, then you will only list that one. However, there is also the option of only listing one sorority if you went to two in Preference Round. This is called a “suicide bid” because it automatically decreases your chance of getting a bid and it is looked down upon. If your first choice wants you, then you will receive a bid from them and if your first choice does not vote on you, but your second choice does, then you will receive a bid from your second choice.
As mentioned above, it’s absolutely essential to be prepared to be the most tired you have ever been during this long week. Add in classes to the endless hours of recruitment and fatigue is all you will get. Chances are you’ll get sick too and lose your voice from screaming in order to be heard in your conversation in a room full of girls, but every girl on both sides of the recruitment process will be dealing with the same recruitment side effects.
No matter how exhausted and worn out you become, it’s important to remember not give up.
You might feel miserable in your exhaustion, but it’s beyond worth it in the end. Plus, it’s only a few days and after that you’ll have found your home.
In the meetings in preparation for recruitment and in between rounds, Panhel and my Rho Gamma kept on telling me to have faith in the process.
They continually said that it all works out and that everyone ends up where they are meant to be.
At first, I didn’t believe this for a second.
I actually didn’t believe this until I received my bid. I was so nervous about not getting a bid or not finding a sorority that fit me. It was so hard to believe in the process in the midst of getting dropped from sororities I thought I liked and while trying to find my home.
But as I look back, I really wish that I could tell myself to not worry so much.
I know that I say that now because I ended up getting a bid for a sorority that I love, but at the same time, when I look around myself, I can say the same for everyone I know.
The sororities that I thought were “the one”, really weren’t or at least not for me and now that I know what each sorority is like, I can’t picture myself in any other sorority than the one I ended up in.
If you listen to one thing I say here let it be to have faith in the process because no matter how hard it can be to see it at the moment, the process works and you will find your home.