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Joining a sorority comes with new terminology. One of the new terms you might hear is “legacy.” As part of our goal to empower potential members, we want you to be fully informed about what a legacy is, who is a legacy and what it means to be one.

What is a sorority legacy?

A legacy is someone who has a special relationship to a sorority because of a biological relationship to someone who is already a member, such as a mother or sister. If a potential member’s mother is a sorority member, the potential member is a legacy for that sorority. Because a legacy has typically grown up with a family member who has shared sorority experiences and values with her, a legacy may receive special consideration during the recruitment process. For this reason, sororities want to identify their legacies before recruitment begins. However, many organizations have updated their policy for legacies and are no longer placing special consideration for legacies during recruitment. This means that the legacy relationship is celebrated, but the legacy isn’t given special consideration over any other potential member as they previously have been.

How can I determine if I am a legacy?

Legacies are defined differently by each of the 26 National Panhellenic Conference member organizations. Since there are varied definitions among the sororities, you should visit a sorority’s inter/national website to find their specific definition of legacy and to determine if you are a legacy to that particular organization.

What if I am not a legacy? Does that hurt my chances of joining a sorority?

No! Recruitment is a process of mutual selection, and every sorority is looking for a variety of members. This means that if you aren’t a legacy, you will still be recruited the same as those who are. You are still invited and encouraged to participate in recruitment. As mentioned above, many NPC organizations are moving away from special consideration to legacies.

Am I guaranteed an invitation to join the sorority that I am a legacy of?

No. While legacies are given special consideration during the recruitment process, they are not guaranteed a bid to become a member of that organization or even an invitation to the second round of recruitment events. If you are a legacy, you are also not obligated to join your legacy sorority.

What does it mean if I don’t receive a bid from my legacy sorority?

While a sorority will want to know who their legacies are, there are other considerations when extending a bid. The sorority will still consider whether a potential member meets their overall membership and eligibility requirements, like their academic requirements.

Legacies are not uncommon in recruitment. Due to the number of women participating in recruitment, it isn’t feasible for a sorority to offer invitations to all of its legacies. Remember that the sorority is still meeting other non-legacy potential members and will be making connections with them as well. Each sorority is seeking members who will be the best fit for that sorority’s new member class, regardless of legacy status.

How do I let a sorority know I am a legacy?

If you want a sorority to know you are their legacy, you should indicate that on your recruitment registration. When you don’t disclose it, the sorority won’t know that you are a legacy. If you have questions about how to do this on your campus, we suggest contacting your College Panhellenic with any questions.

How will being a legacy affect my opportunity with the other sororities on campus?

Every Panhellenic sorority has legacies and understands that they are given special consideration in the recruitment process. However, there are a lot of other considerations that influence a sorority’s decision to invite or not invite a potential new member to join their organization. As a result, legacy status to one sorority should not negatively influence your opportunities with the other sororities on your campus.

What if I feel more at home with another sorority on campus?

Recruitment is an opportunity for you to find your home away from home. You should choose the sorority where you feel most comfortable and not where you feel others want you to be. The best thing to do is to keep an open mind and be true to yourself.

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