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You may hear about recommendation letters as you prepare for Panhellenic sorority recruitment on your campus. While not all sororities accept/request them, we want you to be fully informed about letters of recommendation, what they are, what they should include and how to submit them if you decide to.

What is a sorority letter of recommendation? 

This recommendation letter differs from letters you might use for a job or scholarship. A letter of recommendation for the sorority experience is an opportunity for a sorority member to introduce you to a chapter.

This letter can highlight pieces of your life and experience that will show how you plan to be an engaged sorority member and how you uphold the values and expectations of membership. It can cover themes such as volunteer work, extracurricular activities and academic excellence/grades. It can help distinguish you as an individual beyond what you provide to chapters through recruitment registration.

A letter of recommendation is only an introduction. It does not guarantee additional opportunities to visit with a chapter or a bid for membership. It is important to participate fully in the recruitment process with an open mind to get to know all the sororities on your campus.

Do I need one? Are Letters of recommendation required?

No, and no. The 26 National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) member organizations have agreed that providing letters of recommendation for potential new members rests with the members of NPC sororities. This means you can participate in recruitment whether or not you have letters of recommendation. If one of the NPC sororities requires letters of recommendation to be submitted, and you do not have one, the member organization will follow its process to ensure you receive one. The responsibility is on the chapter and member organization – not on you.

Each chapter differs in the importance and opportunity that letters of recommendation may bring. At some campuses, letters of recommendation may be unnecessary and unwanted. At others, letters of recommendation may be accepted and help chapters become better acquainted with you. contact the fraternity/sorority life office, if you want to know if the chapters on your campus accept letters of recommendation.

If you decide to get a letter of recommendation, please note any form of compensation from a potential new member or her family for a letter is unacceptable.

How do I get a letter of recommendation? What if I don’t know any sorority women? 

Like any letter of recommendation, strong recommendations come from individuals who know you personally and can speak to your strengths, values and character.

First, try utilizing your network. While you may not think someone is a sorority woman, you never know until you ask around. Even if they aren’t, perhaps someone you know does know a sorority woman who might be willing to write you a letter. Luckily, the sorority woman who writes you a letter does not have to be an alumna of the campus chapter you’re interested in joining – she just needs to be a member of the inter/national organization. Try asking your parents’ friends, community members, teachers, etc. 

Second, contact alumnae chapters in your city or the city where you will attend school. Sororities have alumnae chapters just like collegiate chapters. These alumnae are often very willing to submit a letter of recommendation for potential new members going through recruitment. You can find them by doing quick Google searches for alumnae chapters in your area.

Similarly, there may be local Alumnae Panhellenic Associations (bringing together sorority alumnae from the region) that provide letter of recommendation opportunities and sorority recruitment information events. You can find them on the Panhellenic Locator Map where they are sorted by city, state or region.

If you need a different route, you can always contact the sorority’s inter/national office to get a recommendation letter. You can find contact information on this page to contact the organizations you need recommendation letters for to learn about their specific requirements and see if they can connect you with an alumna.

While having a letter of recommendation may be beneficial for each chapter that is at your campus, know that you will still be able to participate in recruitment even if you are missing one

What is a timeline for getting a letter of recommendation? What should I provide to my recommendation writer? How are letters submitted?

The rule of thumb is to have your recommendation letters to the organizations before recruitment begins. While this may seem overwhelming, just take it one step at a time and give yourself plenty of time to get all the recommendations that you need.

After you have found women to write your recommendation letters, there are some things they will need to complete the process. It helps to provide your resume and any list of activities, awards and scholarships that you have received. Each NPC member organization is different and could need varying documents to complete the request of providing a recommendation letter.

Check to see if your College Panhellenic, the chapters or your recommendation letter writers have preferred deadlines for receiving materials to write the letters or dates to submit letters to the sorority organization or chapter.

For the most part, NPC sororities are now utilizing online tools, such as a form on the sorority’s website, to submit letters of recommendation. Each sorority has its own policy and forms to fill out, so it will be important that recommenders use the system that is most appropriate for their member organization. If the alumna who agrees to complete a letter of recommendation for you is unsure how to do so, they can contact their inter/national headquarters to seek instructions.

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