Mailbag: I’m Not A Freshman But I’m Going Through Recruitment


Hi Rachel!

I’m in need of some serious recruitment advice. I went through recruitment last year as a freshman and it didn’t work out. I dropped the day before preference when my favorite house dropped me. On the third day of recruitment (the first day after touring all the houses) I got dropped by a lot of houses, I would like to think that some of that was due to my semi-low GPA (a lot of the “top” houses on my campus cut below a 3.4-3.5 GPA), and for the other houses that dropped me; I just didn’t click with the sisters. I was supposed to visit up to 10 houses, but I got dropped by so many houses that I only ended up visiting four. I was devastated, and a couple days later when my favorite house dropped me, I decided to drop out.

Although I was a little disappointed, I still had an amazing freshman year. I made friends with girls on my floor who were in sororities, raised my GPA, and have been convinced to rush again. Now that I’ll be rushing with freshman are there any differences that I should be aware of? I don’t want to make any mistakes this time around. I’m also worried that houses wouldn’t want me because I would only be paying dues for three years, opposed to four.


Hey A,

First of all, props to you for deciding to give recruitment another shot. It can be scary going back into that situation, but I promise you won’t regret it. If you would have asked me my advice back during recruitment when your top houses dropped you, I would have told you to stick around. Sometimes the best houses for you are the ones you weren’t expecting. I ended up in a house that wasn’t my first pick, but now I can’t imagine my college experience going any other way.

That being said, you made the personal decision to leave last year. What’s done is done, and it seems like it was a good choice for you. I’m glad you had a fantastic freshman year. That does, however, leave us in a slightly different situation.

You’re not new to college. You’re a little older and a little wiser (and most likely a little more confident in yourself). But the downside? You’re not a freshman.

I’m going to be completely honest. At some schools, I even teeter on “most” schools, what grade you are *does* make a difference. Think of PNMs as assets to a chapter. The ones who will be there for four years have more time to accomplish something in the chapter, get involved, and of course, pay more dues. Those are just the business facts. But you’re ahead of the game because you already know this. As someone who went through recruitment as a sophomore, I can give you a few tricks and truths about rushing alongside younger girls.

Be More Prepared
You’re being compared to younger girls, so in theory, you’ve had another year (or more, depending if you’re rushing after sophomore year) to develop yourself as an individual. Chapters don’t want all blonde, freshman girls who are the same. But they do want a variety of girls who will all be assets to the chapter. You’ll need a way to make up for the “lost” year. Spend a little time practicing your answers to common questions (“What’s your major?” “What are your hobbies?” “Why did you decide to go through recruitment now?”). If you’re confident, engaging, and charming in your answers, they’ll see you as an older girl who is polished, instead of a girl who got hurt last year and came crawling back. And you *are* an older girl who is polished. Remember that.

Be Confident
Just like in dating or in an interview, the first step is being confident. Once you’ve prepared your answers and have some talking points in the back of your head (if all else fails, TV shows are always an easy topic), spend some time making sure your delivery is flawless. Make sure your body language is good. Practice active listening (that’s where you listen to what someone is saying instead of just thinking about what you want to say next). Go into this situation as just a way of getting to know girls like you instead of as something that determines what letters you wear.

Look The Part
I’m not saying you necessarily need to dress in Lilly and turn your brunette locks blonde. What I am saying is that whatever your personal style is, look polished. Don’t have chipped nails. Comb your hair. Put on clean clothes and research when needed. Some schools don’t suggest wearing heels every day. For other schools, it’s a necessity. Get feedback from friends and check out your school’s Panhellenic website or Facebook pages for a better idea of what to expect.

Keep An Open Mind
As horribly chiché as it sounds, you really do want to go into recruitment with an open mind. As a freshman, that’s hard. As anything other than a freshman it’s even harder. You’ve been on campus. You’ve gone to parties. You’ve been at the bars. You’ve seen the girls who are in the chapters and you’ve interacted wth them in classes and life. Do your best to keep biases out of the chapters as you visit them. Not doing this is how girls end up dropping out of recruitment early. Just because you *want* be to “top tier” it doesn’t mean that’s the house you’ll be happiest at. If every girl who didn’t get her first choice dropped, our sororities would be much, much smaller. Give other chapters a chance.

At the end of it all, whether your college involves letters or not, you’ll find great friends and have great times if you’re open to the opportunity. Embrace the experience, and know that no matter where you end up, there will be people who love you.

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Rachel Varina

(yeahokaywhat) Aspiring to be the next Tina Fey, Rachel spends her free time doing nothing to reach that goal. While judging people based on how they use "they're" vs. "there" on social media, she likes eating buffalo chicken dip, watching other people's Netflix, and wearing sweatpants way more than is socially acceptable.

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