Greek Life Q&A – What Are Sororities Really Like, What If I’m Not A Legacy, + More

Greek Life Q&A – What Are Sororities Really Like, What If I’m Not A Legacy, + More

By spending my freshman year at a BIG10 school and going through recruitment, Greek life became a huge part of me. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I met some of my closest friends through Greek life. I’m lucky that even though I’ve transferred schools we are still so close. They’re also incredibly supportive – I’m pretty sure they were some of the very first readers of Abundance of Abby!

I wanted to take my own personal experiences to clear the air about what Greek life is really like.

“What are some reasons to rush a sorority or fraternity?”

I went to a school where I knew two people – my roommates. Even then, one of them was technically a stranger. I wanted to meet new people and get a sense of community on a campus that over 30,000 students. I had been pretty set on joining a sorority ever since early high school. I knew people who were apart of sororities and fraternities who absolutely loved it and encouraged me to join. My parents and I went attended the Greek life meeting during my orientation. Once they explained that students in sororities and fraternities have a higher GPA on campus, that just reaffirmed my decision. So aside from making life long friends and holding yourself to achieving a higher GPA, some other reasons to go through recruitment is for the connections post college and the volunteering and philanthropic aspect. In addition, it is typically cheaper living in a sorority house than dorms or apartments!

“What if you don’t get a bid?”

This is a highly unlikely situation. I can’t speak on behalf of all schools, but when I went through rush we had a process that focused on mutual selection. In the end you would almost certainly get a bid. However, if you went through the last round and only listed one of the two sororities as your final preference you may end up without a bid. (I had two in the final round, so I’m not fully sure, but I believe if you only had one to begin the last round with you were basically guaranteed a bid from that chapter.) I know it’s all a bit confusing, but the way it worked at my school was that you would end up getting one of the two sororities if you listed both. You may put XYZ sorority first, but if ZYX sorority wanted you more you may go to be apart of their sisterhood. If you only list XYZ and not ZYX you are severely limiting your chances of being apart of Greek life, because you may not be at the top of that houses list. (I believe this was called a “suicide bid.”) The moral of this very long and slightly confusing story is that it is highly unlikely that you will not get a bid.  I’m sure you’ll find the right house for you! Keep an open mind.

“How should I go about preparing for rush?”

I planned my outfits in advance and signed up for recruitment early in the summer. This made it feel less chaotic during the actual two weeks of rush I went through. (Believe me, it will be hectic!!) A lot of girls will look online and creep on the sorority social media pages, but I would recommend staying off websites like GreekRank. A lot of times, you should be going into recruitment with an open mind about each chapter. After reading up the gossip sites, you may already feel like you have your mind made up. This is limiting to your chances of finding the house that you truly belong to. Once rush week approaches, I would recommend packing a mini emergency kit. It sounds kind of crazy, but trust me you will thank me once you’ve been running from house to house in the sun all day and need some perfume and water. Add things to it like tampons, deodorant, bobby pins, hair ties, any makeup you might be wearing for touch ups, and a pen and paper. This way once you leave a house you can write down what you thought so later when you keep narrowing them down, it will be easier for you to make those hard decisions!

“How much of a commitment is it?”

I’m not gonna lie, being in Greek life can be a pretty big commitment, whether that’s financially or based on time. Obviously, what you put into your chapter is what you’re going to get out, so I really don’t recommend being the member who’s not involved at all. I held a position my freshman year in Tri Delta, attended socials with fraternities, went to other chapters philanthropies, and still had time to keep a solid GPA. It’s all about balance and time management. So yes, it’s a big commitment, but it’s very worth it.

“What if I’m the first one in my family to rush and I’m not a legacy?”

You are not alone!! Sure, it helps to be a legacy but it won’t determine your “fate” in recruitment. I recommend trying to get as many letters of recommendation as possible from friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. You’d be surprised how many people around you went Greek in college. My twin’s (we have the same big for those who don’t know the term) mom, aunt, and grandmother were Tri Delta’s and that’s such a cool experience to share. So once you go through just think that could be you and your daughter one day!

“How do you survive rush?”

The days can be long. And hot. And by the end you just want to fall asleep on the grass of the house full of girls chanting at you. But remember, those ladies are hot and tired too. They’ve been at this just as long as you have. There really is no magical way to “survive” sorority recruitment, but bring water to hydrate (and accept food/drink if they bring you some at the houses!!), don’t overthink or stress, ask questions, and get a full nights rest. Girls who go out and party during recruitment are either going to be excused from rush, as it usually is not permitted, or they are going to be super tired and not make the best impression.

“How did you narrow down your final sororities?”

It wasn’t too hard for me in the beginning to cut sororities from my list. I had a handful that I felt like I really connected with, but once we got to just a select few, I had to really evaluate what I liked and disliked. Again, this is not the time to check online message boards, etc. This is for you and you alone to decide!! I honestly called my mom a couple times just to talk about some of the houses when I couldn’t figure out who to cut. In the end I went with my gut feeling. And I’m really happy that I did.

“So what are sororities really like?”

For me, it was like coming home. It’s cheesy and cliché, but my family was moving to a different state at the time. When I would come home from breaks, my room looked different, I didn’t know where anything was, and moving boxes were literally everywhere. My dorm was so close to my sorority house that I could head over there in less than five minutes. I would go there for lunch a lot and it was so nice getting to know the older members by sitting around the dinner tables talking.

Sororities are also such a support system. I lost a couple of people in the past year and after my grandmother died, I received an insane amount of hugs, and all around love. I also got a sweetest handmade card that my big got almost everyone sign. I still have it in my desk. Some of my favorite memories aren’t having socials with frats,. (Although they can be fun!) But simply chilling in sweats in the tv room with my friends while watching movies or driving around with my big eating ice cream. So when I get asked what sororities are really like I honestly only have good things to say.

“What do I talk about when I go through recruitment?”

Talk about yourself, what you did in high school, what you want to do in college, or what your favorite place is you’ve ever traveled to. The girl you’re talking with will ask a lot of questions to get the ball rolling, so don’t worry too much about that. However, you should avoid talking about the “4 B’s” during recruitment. These include boys, booze, Bush, or bucks. The girl talking to you doesn’t want to hear about your boyfriend for the whole time when she’s really trying to get to know you and you should absolutely not bring up drinking, politics, or money. This is a situation to just get to know who you really are and if this sorority is right for you.

“What if I don’t get the house I wanted?”

Then, it wasn’t for you. Simple as that. You really need to trust the process behind recruitment. If you didn’t get asked back to a specific house, it’s most likely for the best. You don’t really want to be at a house that doesn’t want you, when there might be a house full of girls who think you are the cutest PNM and that they just have to have you. Believe me, following through with the process is all worth it in the end.

“Did you think that you and your roommate would be in the same house?”

First off, shoutout to my friend (and roomie) Sydney for sending this in. My friend from high school, Em, was our roommate freshman year and we went through rush together. Logically I didn’t think we would both be in the same house, just because our school had like sixteen houses. So statistically the odds were slim. In addition to the numbers game, we both have pretty different personalities. After the first round we had slightly similar houses, but once we started narrowing it down from ten our lists were pretty different. Emily’s an Alpha Chi Omega and just moved into her sorority house!

This also brings up a subject I wanted to touch on a bit and that would be that you can have friends in other sororities. In AXO alone, I have 4 good friends, not to mention some scattered in Pi Phi, Kappa, Theta, and Zeta. I don’t know why some people think that because you are in a specific sorority you can’t have friends in others. It truly baffles me.

“What is one of the best experiences you’ve had in your sorority?”

It’s so hard to pick just one! Firstly, my big did a crazy good job during big and little reveal week. (Seriously, shout out to you Ash – you’re amazing!!)  The baskets I got were just so cute. I remember telling my mom that I thought that it could be Ashleigh and I was right. She is one of my best friends and I love her so much. Another cool thing was finding out my childhood best friend was a Tri Delta at another school. I mean come on, how cool is it that friends since elementary school ended up being sorority sisters in different states?? And lastly, I got to be an assistant VP for our philanthropy second semester and learning all about St. Jude was amazing. We put together an ice cream social and raised money for the kiddos at St. Jude. Earlier in the year, we also did a baseball tournament, and letter writing campaign. 

If you have any other sorority stories you want to hear or questions you want answered feel free to contact me! And for all of my sorority ladies and soon to be sorority gals make sure you check out GreekU. They let me customize a pre-designed shirt (shown above) and I love how how it turned out! So special little thank you to GreekU for sending me this shirt.  For Tri Delta clothing you can click here. If you are looking at ordering something from them use the code ABUNDANCE for 20% off! Good luck to all my ladies going through recruitment!! You’re going to do great and find your home away from home along the way!

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Abby Schuster
Abby Schuster

Abby is the founder and editor-in-chief at Abundance of Abby. Right now she’s most likely snuggled up with her dog while watching Mad Men or hiking the West Michigan sand dunes with her family.
Find her and this blog on social media @abbymayschuster 📷

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