Starting your freshman year at UCLA can be daunting in a plethora of ways. Including but not limited to meeting your roommates, arranging cute dorm decor in a literal 2×2 living space, going to your first massive college lecture, making new friends and navigating the cutthroat (but delicious) UCLA dining halls. Another terrifying (yet sometimes rewarding) task you may choose to subject yourself to is sorority recruitment at UCLA.
Recruitment is a grueling process that can (and did for me) include several identity crises, many feelings of inadequacy, a few painfully awkward interactions, and dozens of blisters. Thousands of eager young women endure the brutal 4 days that is recruitment in hopes that at the end of the 4th day, a night termed “Bid Night,” they will receive a small card with their name on it, a T-shirt with their new letters, and hundreds of best friends.
If you’re considering embarking on this journey, or if you’re just intrigued by all the sketchiness surrounding it, here’s a brutally honest run down on what exactly happens during Sorority Recruitment at UCLA.
Day 1: Open House Round
The first day of recruitment is especially terrifying.
You probably spent the night before trying on dozens of different outfits, sending pictures to literally everyone you know who is rushing, and searching the internet for any information to prepare yourself. (Quick tip: as long as you look cute and put together, whether you’re wearing aqua or sea-green will not be a game changer. Some girls literally look like they’re going to prom, and some look like they’re going to their drug dealer’s house)
Open House Round starts bright and early at the Inverted Fountain (the meeting spot before every round).
You will find your assigned group of girls who you will be with for the entirety of the first round. Your group is led by a Rho Gamma, a current member of one of the sororities (which one is kept secret until Bid Night).
You are going to judge each of these girls immediately upon meeting them, and they’re going to do the same to you. After this initial judgment, put aside the competitive aspect of rush and become friends with these girls. At the end of the process, you will probably end up in different houses, and you’re going to want to have friends on the row.
Then you will walk down to Hilgard with your Rho Gamma, and she will tell you your schedule for the day.
As a group, you will go to all 12 houses in one day. Your Rho Gamma will have snacks but you should bring some too because girls are savage, stressed and hungry which basically leads to shoveling their faces with food during every break.
This process will probably be unnecessarily hectic because of the ridiculous rules and regulations of recruitment (sororities get fined for being even 2 minutes behind schedule).
You will be told to shut up, and face the house. Then two impeccably groomed, and incredibly intimidating barbies will walk out of the house, and say something along the lines of “Hey girlies! We are so totally hyped for you to check out our sorority! Come on in!” If you’re anything like me, this will make you immediately rethink recruitment as a whole, but by now it’s too late.
You will walk in the house one by one, shake the hands of Barbie 1 and Barbie 2, then get paired up with Barbie 3 (a slightly less intimidating version of 1 & 2). She will give you some kind of fruit-infused water that you won’t be able to drink due to the incessant talking and sit you down to talk. About half way through the round, another member of the sorority will be not-so-gracefully introduced to the conversation, and she will take over from there.
No matter what house you’re in, or which girl you’re talking to, this is how the conversation will more than likely go.
Introductions & superficial compliments:
Questions: Where are you from? What’s your major? What dorm are you in? What classes are you taking? Why did you want to rush?
Short interlude probably about food or how tired you are
More Questions: How has rush been going so far? How has your transition into college been? Why’d you choose to go to UCLA?
Then (thank god) Barbie 1 will ring a bell and say something like “OMG! We so totally loved having you, but you have to go have this conversation 22 more times at 11 other houses. BYE!”
You’ll walk out and have a very short (and probably awkward) conversation with whichever girl you were talking to before, probably do the little “shit should we hug or shake hands” dance then leave.
1 down. 11 to go.
At the end of the day, you will fill out a survey ranking your favorite houses. You probably won’t remember half of them by then, so just try to remember the ones you hated.
Day 2: House Tours Round
Day 2 will start the same way as Day 1: Bright and Early at the Inverted fountain.
You will walk down with your group and Rho Gamma, but today you will not be going from house to house with them. Your Rho Gamma will give you a piece of paper with your schedule. Today you will go to 8 houses at the most.
How many you go to depends on how many invited you back. If any of your bottom 4 houses are on your schedule, that means you got dropped from one of your top 8. Your Rho Gamma is going to tell you not to talk to any of the other girls about your schedule, but fuck that we’re girls and we talk about everything.
You’re going to feel shitty if you didn’t get your top 8, but trust me- if they don’t want you, you don’t want them.
Depending on how many you get invited back to, you will have some off-periods which will probably be filled with face-stuffing and makeup-fixing.
Before you go into a house, you will line up the same way you did before.
Barbies will come out with a new routine that’s more personal and thoughtful : “Chicas!! We loved you yesterday! Check out our crib!” You will get paired off again, but this time you will be taken upstairs for a house tour. Another member will come pick you up and take you to talk. You will most likely have the same conversation you had 24 times the day before.
This round is going to make a big difference.
That night, when you pick your top 5, you will remember each house by the shoes, Polaroids, bedspreads, and posters you saw. You will see yourself living in some of those rooms.
Day 3: Philanthropy Round
By now, you have probably lost your voice and are definitely over recruitment. Same drill in the morning, except now you’re doing it in heels. Your Rho Gamma will give you your schedule with up to 5 houses on it. Again, she will tell you not to discuss your schedule and again, you totally will.
This time when you get paired up in a house, you will be taken to a room and will watch some sort of presentation on the sorority’s philanthropy.
Most of the top houses will show you a video that could be straight from a chick-flick girl power montage. You will either love this and be sold on being in a top house, or you will hate it and prefer the cut-and-dry presentations on the actually money being raised for the actual charities.
After the presentation, you will have yet another conversation with yet another sorority member.
She will ask what you thought about the presentation, and you will probably lie, telling her how “inspiring” the hair flips and bikini car washes were. Then (shocker) you will get into the questions you’ve been asked 12327653 times before. Maybe, if you’re lucky, this time she’ll throw in a “What’s your favorite store?”
Tonight you will pick your top 2 houses.
If you’re anything like the rest of us, the philanthropy itself will have little impact on your decision. You’ll choose the house based on the girls in it. After all, they will be your “best friends.”
Day 4: Preference Round & Bid Night
Pref is the most intense round.
Hopefully at this point you’ve ended up with 2 houses that you could see yourself living in, 2 sets of girls you could see being your sisters, and 2 sets of letters you’d be proud to wear. Whichever houses invite you back feel the same way about you.
For Pref, each house pulls out the big guns.
The decorations will be tumblr- worthy, the girls will look like supermodels, and instead of fruit infused water you get, wait for it, real food!!
You will be paired with a girl you have talked to before which is supposed to make the conversation deeper because you already used up the generic topics in your first convo.
Odds are she only remembers your face, and will ask the exact same questions as the first time and the conversation will be replicated exactly aside from some “oh yeah’s” and “of course. I totally remember that now’s.”
Just like that, it’s all over.
You’ll pick your #1 house then wait until Bid Night. If you don’t receive a text from your Rho Gamma telling you you’ve been dropped by both houses and won’t receive a bid, you’re golden.
Bid Night is in Ackerman Grand Ballroom.
Basically your Rho Gamma will hand you an envelope and tell you not to open it. Then they torture you by revealing the Rho Gamma’s houses very very slowly while you’re just staring at this fucking envelope trying to summon your hidden x-ray vision to see the name at the top of the card inside. Finally, they will tell you to open it.
There will be tears. There will be cheers.
All the girls will start sprinting toward the girls wearing shirts with their new letters on it. Once you find yours, you will be given a shirt then you will do more sprinting. This time…all the way to Hilgard. Once you reach your house, there will be girls to greet you and then…finally… to celebrate the end of an arduous journey.
Did you rush during sorority recruitment at UCLA!? Share your experience in the comments below!
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