For those lucky ones who didn’t go to a school that participates in this, deferred recruitment is when your school has its formal recruitment at the start of the spring semester. It is also possibly the cruelest idea ever thought up by sadistic Panhel advisors and the dean of students.
1. Instead Of One Week Of Recruitment, It’s Six Months
Most people who go through sorority recruitment have one week of ecstatic stress and excitement. The PNMs put themselves out there during each round and try to make connections with their future sisters so they can find the house where they belong. That’s how it’s supposed to be, right? Unfortunately, that is not the case with deferred recruitment. When you have to wait an entire semester to go through formal recruitment, that semester becomes one long, drawn out recruitment. This means that as a first semester college freshman who is also a PNM, you have to be on your absolute best, recruitment-worthy behavior at all times. AT ALL TIMES. Do you know how impossible that is for a first semester freshman excited about experiencing college life? Extremely. What makes it worse is that the majority of schools that participate in deferred recruitment are often smaller, private schools.
Trying to stay on your best recruitment behavior for six months sucks. There is really no other word for it. If you go to a small school with deferred recruitment and know you are rushing, you will know exactly who is in every sorority within a month. You also know these girls are the people who decide your future, not only in Greek life, but at school in general. Your fate is quite literally in their hands. This mutual knowledge creates a bizarre environment, with those already initiated silently judging your every move and PNMs constantly walking on pins and needles. This insanity is only worsened by how easily you can screw up and ruin your chances without knowing what you have just done. How can you do that without knowing, you ask? One word: guys.
Being the new, pretty, young girl at a small school means there will be plenty of men fighting to get into your pants. However, you have to be extremely careful about who you let into your lady garden, especially in the first month — you haven’t had time to Facebook stalk every member of every sorority on campus, study up on every bit of gossip (true or false, it doesn’t matter), and most importantly, you don’t know who has slept together. You need to know every boyfriend, friend with benefits, and random one-night stand before you ruin your chances of getting into the sorority you want. There is no easier way to get blackballed by every sorority at a deferred recruitment school than by interacting with the small pool of guys while being uninformed of their sorted pasts with any member of a sorority. At schools like this, word spreads fast, so if one person knows “Clueless PNM” hooked up with “Prominent Active’s Ex,” everyone knows. Basically, it’s six months of mind games and being very, very, very cautious.
2. Social Media Is Your Worst Enemy
Dealing with social media while being in a sorority is never easy, especially when you are still trying to get into said sorority. It is common PNM knowledge that you have to clean up all your social media outlets before going through recruitment — that’s a no-brainer. It is also common knowledge that once you do become an active, you are under strict rules mandated by standards that anything you post (or someone else posts of you) must keep up with the reputation of your organization. As a PNM, your Facebook must also keep to the standards of the organization you want to be in. Having to keep your media outlets recruitment-clean for six months is not fun no matter how you slice it.
Doing deferred recruitment also adds another layer to the Facebook mess. Along with having to monitor everything at all times, you also get to watch your high school friends (the smart ones who didn’t go to a school with deferred recruitment) post photos all over Facebook of their bid days, formals, and adorably themed date parties. I openly admit that I spent more than a few nights in my first semester scrolling through Facebook and looking at all my friends’ awesome photos, bottle of wine in one hand and pint of Ben & Jerry’s in the other. Jealousy runs rampant in your mind, as do all the ways you are going to top your friends’ photos when you FINALLY rush.
3. It Creates A Messed Up Timeline
Fall recruitment is a thing for a reason, people. One of the biggest reasons is that it just makes sense in the timeline of the school year. With fall recruitment, you have the perfect timeline for bonding with not only your pledge class, but with your entire chapter. You have the first semester to really focus on bonding with your pledge class and giving your all to the new member program and initiation process, then you have the second semester to really become a part of the chapter as a whole, and to establish yourself as an active member representing your sorority on campus. Not to mention, there are all the formals, events, and parties that you can fully participate in.
With deferred recruitment, you miss a whole semester of events, particularly the philanthropy events that tend to fall in the first semester. Then when you actually go through recruitment in the spring, once you finish your new member program and are initiated, you really don’t have the time to fully integrate yourself as an active member before you leave for summer break. You lose lots of important bonding time.
4. Your Recruitment Packet Is Now Useless
You remember that beautiful, detailed recruitment packet you worked your butt off creating throughout your senior year? Remember the hours of questioning your friends’ mothers, your mother’s friends, and your local Panhel alumnae association asking for recommendation letters? Yeah, when your school does deferred recruitment, all of those hours and all of that work was for nothing. Your beautiful packets have been rendered useless. In the deferred recruitment world, packets almost never matter and they don’t make a difference in your chances. Packets are meant to introduce you to a chapter, but after months, the chapter already knows who you are, and a packet isn’t going to change their opinion about you as a PNM. The harsh reality of deferred recruitment is that a good 85 percent of their decisions are made before recruitment even begins. Unfortunate, but true.
5. Formal Recruitment Itself
When you go through recruitment in the fall semester, it is the end of the summer and everyone wears beautiful summer dresses. People play “spot the Lilly print” drinking games and black out in minutes. But, when you go through recruitment in the spring semester, you rush in January. January. That means it’s cold. Even in Texas it gets cold in January. In states farther north, not only is it really cold, but there is also a high possibility of snow or rain. I commend any girl who can manage walking from house to house, in January, in a gorgeous summer Lilly dress. I did it and I froze my ass off.