There are two ways to participate in recruitment to join a sorority. You may already be familiar with primary recruitment as the most common way to join a sorority. The other way to be extended a bid from a sorority is through a process called continuous open bidding (COB).
COB provides women an additional opportunity to explore the possibility of joining a sorority.
COB looks very different from primary recruitment. It is more informal and, unlike primary recruitment, you do not need to attend events for all sororities. You are welcome to attend events for various sororities, though not all events take place during the same time frames, so it can be more complicated to do so.
When a sorority participates in COB, it hosts a number of different informal and intimate events to get to know potential members better. As a potential member, you get to meet a variety of women from the chapter in a relaxed setting, ask your questions and learn more about the organization and its members. Attending as many events as you can is still the best way to learn if you would like to be a member of that sorority.
These informal events will look different for each organization. Sorority chapters might host a game night, roller skating, bowling, potluck or similar types of events. COB events are designed to be less structured than primary recruitment, which can allow you to speak with more chapter members. These events may provide some insight into what being a member of that organization is like. That is because many of these COB events are very similar to sisterhood events the chapter might host.
COB is held after the primary recruitment period, which looks different on each campus so be sure to check the schedule for your college/university. Not every sorority on campus may participate in COB. Only those that still have spaces to fill in their chapter will keep recruiting. When a sorority is participating in COB, it will publicize this information on social media and around campus.
Unlike primary recruitment, which often takes place over a week or weekend, there are no set expectations for the duration of COB. The best way to learn about how it works is to ask the College Panhellenic on your campus. Sororities often spread out the timing of COB events to help increase the number of women who can attend. So, you might find the time frame ranges from one week to several, depending on your campus and the sororities on it.
Once you’ve figured out which chapters are participating in COB and you’ve attended multiple events, how do you know if you have received a bid? Just like primary recruitment, not all women who participate in COB will be extended a bid. If a chapter will not be extending a bid to you, a member should contact you and let you know. This allows you to participate in COB events for other sororities or wait until the next primary recruitment period.
At the end of primary recruitment, the College Panhellenic distributes the bid that a sorority is extending to you. During COB, the sorority will contact you directly to extend you a bid. Each organization handles bid distribution it differently, but it always an exciting event. Many will still host a Bid Day to welcome their new members home and celebrate their new membership. Once you have received a bid, it is time to celebrate the lifelong membership benefits of sorority that are being shared with you!