As you prepare for sorority recruitment on your campus, you may be told about recommendation letters. While not all campuses and sororities require them, we want you to be fully informed about letters of recommendation; what they are, what should be included, and how to submit them if you decide to do so.
What is a sorority letter of recommendation?
This recommendation is a little different than the one you might use for a job or a scholarship. A letter of recommendation for the sorority experience is an opportunity for a member of a sorority 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 member of a sorority and how you uphold the values and expectations of membership. This letter can cover themes such as volunteer work, extracurricular activities and information about academic excellence and grades. It can help distinguish you as an individual beyond what is provided to chapters through recruitment registration.
A letter of recommendation is only an introduction. It does not guarantee additional opportunities to visit with a chapter, nor will it guarantee a bid of membership. It is still 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?
The 26 National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) member organizations have agreed that the responsibility for providing letters of recommendation for potential new members rests with the members of NPC sororities. Any recruitment information distributed by College and/or Alumnae Panhellenics may not state or infer that letters of recommendation are to be secured by potential new members. Any form of compensation from a potential new member or her family for a letter is not acceptable.
What this means is that you can still participate in recruitment, whether or not you have letters of recommendation. If one of the NPC sororities has a requirement that letters of recommendation must be submitted, and if you do not submit one, the member organization will follow their own process to make sure you will receive one. The responsibility will be on the chapter and member organization – it will not be on you.
However, without letters of recommendation, you won’t have the opportunity to be introduced to the chapter before the recruitment process begins.
Each campus and chapter differ in the importance and opportunity that letters of recommendation may bring. At some campuses, letters of recommendation may be unnecessary. At others, letters of recommendation may be important introductions for chapters to become better acquainted with you on a whole. Letters of recommendation are not required to participate overall in the recruitment process; however, letters of recommendation can provide an advantage. Ask your campus this question by calling the campus fraternity/sorority life office or looking to see if it is addressed on the campus’ sorority website.
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 that know you personally and can speak to your strengths and values.
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 organization. Try asking your parents’ friends, people in your community, teachers, etc. Second, contact alumnae chapters. Sororities have alumnae chapters just like collegiate chapters. These alumnae are often very willing to submit a letter of recommendation for potential members. 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 may be providing letter of recommendation opportunities and sorority recruitment information events.
If none of those routes work out you can always contact the national office of the sorority you are trying to get a recommendation letter for. You can find contact information on this page to reach out to 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 letters of recommendation.
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 might 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.
Check to see if your campus, 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 form to fill out, so it will be important that recommenders use the system that is most appropriate for their member organization.