The Five Steps of Sorority Recruitment

Sorority recruitment can look different on every campus, and each sorority member has a unique story as to how they joined their sisterhood. We recommend researching sorority recruitment on your university’s Panhellenic website to find out which types of recruitment are offered, and check out our blog posts on the other recruitment styles so you can be fully prepared when going into it! In this post, we will break down one form of recruitment that you might experience at your university, called primary recruitment.

Step 1: Find Your Panhellenic & Register

The first step for deciding whether to participate in primary recruitment at your college campus is learning if your university has a Panhellenic community by visiting our Panhellenic Locator Map and searching for your university. The Panhellenic Locator Map gives you easy access to university Panhellenic websites and social media accounts.

Most primary recruitment experiences require a deadline. It is important to register before your university’s deadline to complete any registration forms, pay any required fees and ensure that you can move in early for sorority recruitment if your university requires.

Step 2: Potential New Member (PNM) Education

Sorority woman wearing a Rho Gamma recruitment guide shirt

PNM Orientation is often held for you to learn all of the essential information for your university’s recruitment. You will meet your recruitment counselors and other women going through recruitment. 

Recruitment counselors are called many different names across universities ( “Pi Chi”, “Rho Gamma,” etc.), and no matter what they are called, their purpose is similar. Recruitment counselors are active sorority members who volunteer to lead potential new members through primary recruitment. All recruitment counselors, whether associated or disassociated, are unbiased guides and sorority ambassadors through the process. 

Step 3: Rounds, Rank & Repeat

The primary recruitment process consists of multiple different rounds across several days. The length of recruitment is different based on the campus hosting the process, as some campuses will have it be consecutive days while others will opt for weekends. Most campuses hold recruitment during the fall semester and others will host recruitment in the winter/spring term.

The first round of recruitment, also may be called the open house round, is where you meet every sorority on your campus and get to know more about each chapter. This may be in video format, or you may be able to visit the chapter facilities, commonly referred to as “houses,” even if they are not physical houses. For chapters who do not have permanent residences, they will have a specific meeting space such as a room in the student center or room on campus. 

Throughout recruitment, as you continue to go through various rounds, you will have deeper conversations with the sorority sisters as you tell them more about yourself and learn more about their sisterhood. Typically, each round will consist of a different theme to help guide conversations, such as sisterhood and philanthropy.

Recruitment is a mutually selective process, which means both you and the chapters will communicate interest in getting to know each other more. At the end of each round, you will list your chapters in preferential order.  There is a limit of chapters to choose from each round, you will list them based on who you would like to see again during the next round. You can still get asked back to chapters that you ranked outside of that spot. 

Here is a sample ranking sheet:

PNM Sally attended five chapters because that is how many chapters participated in primary recruitment. For the next round, PNM Sally can only attend up to three chapters, so she is asked to priority rank or cluster rank the chapters she visited she might list those chapters in this order:

Sally preferred Alpha Alpha, Beta Beta and Gamma Gamma from her events in the first round, so she clustered them into the first ranking spot. Because Sally ideally has three options or events to attend in round two, she then lists the remaining chapters in priority order and for her it is Chi Chi in the second spot and Delta Delta in the third spot. 

To clarify, priority ranking does not guarantee Sally her top three choices. She could be invited back to any one of these five sororities for the second round.

Remember, any chapter you list in priority order could be on your schedule the next day. Simply listing a chapter last on your list does not mean you would not attend their event. As a PNM you do not make any releases to your list, you simply priority rank them.

As the rounds continue, your schedule will have fewer chapters than previous rounds as you get closer to Bid Day. This allows PNMs and chapters to spend more time together and make deeper connections. 

The process continues until the preference round, the last round of recruitment, where you will make your final ranking. PNMs will have the opportunity to visit one or two chapters during the preference round.

Step 4: Final Selections & Membership Recruitment Acceptance Binding Agreement (MRABA)

During your final selections, you will rank the remaining chapters in order of preference and sign the MRABA.

The MRABA is a contract signed by the potential new member following preference round during fully structured, partially structured recruitment and continuous open bidding. By signing the MRABA, a PNM agrees to accept a bid from any chapter she lists.

Bid Day is the day of recruitment when potential new members receive invitations (bids) to membership. It is common for chapters to host celebratory sisterhood events, though these events will vary based on chapter and campus. Bid Day marks the beginning of your new member process and the start of your journey in lifelong membership!

Sorority women on bid day laying down with their sisters and dressed in tie dye shirts and colorful accessories.

The sorority recruitment process will look different across college campuses. Every recruitment consists of values-based recruitment methods to help you find your forever family and home away from home at college.

While primary recruitment is one option to join a sorority, there are other methods, such as continuous open bidding (COB), to join a Panhellenic sorority.

Emma Gill

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