Why should I join a sorority?
A sorority is more than a home away from home - it is friends you never knew you could have, a supportive network of sisters and alumnae working with you to achieve your personal best. It is leadership development, scholarship and service. It is whatever you want it to be - the opportunities are there for the taking.
Regardless of which chapter you join, you will find a strong bond with women that will share your joy, tears and hopes.
NPC Advocacy Efforts as of 9-12-15
National Panhellenic Council has recently introduced new legislative solutions to address concerns about student safety on college and university campuses. This summer, two bills were introduced: Safe Campus Act and Fair Campus Act. The National Panhellenic Conference endorses both bills as they represent viewpoints on core principles held by many of our members.
Why is NPC speaking out on federal legislation? NPC has a responsibility and obligation to advocate for the issues confronting our members. We are proven leaders on campuses and in communities. When there are opportunities to support solutions to improve the status quo, we want to be part of the conversation. To read more about these efforts click here.
What are the requirements to join?
The NPC member fraternities may have a GPA requirement for membership. If there is such a requirement, individual chapters are responsible for informing you of such a requirement. In addition to your scholarship abilities, your activities should be well rounded, showcasing a variety of interests and goals. Membership in campus or civic organizations, sports or the arts are all signs of a well-rounded person.
Finally, the financial requirements must be taken into consideration. Membership dues support the local chapter and the national organization. Fees vary from chapter to chapter and from campus to campus. Be sure to discuss this commitment fully during Rush. Make sure your parents are completely aware of the added expense.
How much time will I spend at the sorority?
During your new membership period, the amount of time you spend with your new sisters will vary. You will be asked to attend new member and chapter meetings in addition to any number of planned activities. If meals are offered at a chapter house, some of these hours will be spent at meals with your new sisters. During Recruitment, ask specifically what time commitment will be expected of you.
How long will I be a 'new member'?
The new member period varies from chapter to chapter but on average lasts anywhere from six to ten weeks. Each chapter has different requirements for initiation. You should ask these important questions during the Recruitment period.
Is recruitment only for freshman?
Not at all! Sorority life has many wonderful opportunities for all undergraduate college women. There is no reason to miss the experience just because you are not a freshman.
Do sororities haze?
The National Panhellenic Conference and its member fraternities have strict policies against hazing. Hazing is not a part of responsible Greek life. As you participate in Formal Recruitment, ask the chapters to what lengths they go to insure that hazing is left out of your new member period.
What if I decide I don't want to join a sorority?
There is no obligation to join a sorority just because you participate in Formal Recruitment. You are encouraged to participate as it gives you an excellent opportunity to learn about sorority life. If you decide not to join at this time, it will not be held against you. If you change your mind later, contact the Greek Life office on your campus and inquire about Continuous Open Bidding opportunities.
What is a recruitment information form?
A Recruitment Information Form (or References or 'Recs') is simply a personal letter of reference provided by an alumna of a sorority to the chapter on the campus of your choice. These letters are not necessary; it is just a way for you to be introduced to the sorority before Recruitment begins.
Let your friends and relatives know that you will be participating in Recruitment; one or more alumnae may step forward and offer to write a letter of reference for you. These letters should be mailed as soon as possible before Formal Recruitment begins. Some sororities require a form to be submitted with the letter. It is the alumna's responsibility to provide these forms. Letters of reference do not guarantee you an invitation to join a particular chapter. If you would like assistance in obtaining reference letters, please visit our references page.
What is a legacy?
A legacy is a woman whose mother, sister or grandmother belonged to a sorority. Each sorority defines the term legacy in their own way and this definition may include more distant relatives like aunts and cousins.
Being a legacy is not a guarantee that you will receive an invitation to join a particular chapter.
What is recruitment like?
If nothing else, Recruitment is fun! You will meet dozens of women and get to know many of them as potential sisters and friends.
Recruitment will most likely begin with an Orientation session hosted by the Panhellenic Council. You will be given general information about Recruitment and divided into your Recruitment Groups. A Recruitment Counselor will be assigned to your group. A Recruitment Counselor is a sorority woman that has temporarily disaffiliated from her chapter in order to be a Recruitment Group Leader. A Recruitment Group Leader is there to guide you through recruitment, answer your questions and support you as you make your decisions. She will uphold the highest standards of confidentiality and Panhellenic spirit.
During the first few days of Recruitment, you will be required to visit each NPC chapter at least one time. These events will be your first glimpse into sorority life. Take a small notepad with you and after each party, write down your impressions about the chapter.
Throughout the week, you will spend more time with the sisters learning about their chapter's history, their activities on campus, seeing skits or videos and participating in activities.
After the first round of events, you will receive invitations to revisit one or more chapters. This is the first step in the mutual selection process. You will be required to accept only a specific number of invitations. This invitational process will continue until the last day of Recruitment. After the last Preference event has ended, you will be asked to rank your membership choices on a Formal Membership Recruitment Acceptance card. Your preferences are matched up to the preferences of the chapters. You are strongly encouraged to list more than one chapter and not limit your options.
The last event of Formal Recruitment is Bid Day. On this day, you will receive your invitation to join a sorority and you will join your new sisters for a day of fun activities.
It may be that you will not be matched with your first choice. Before declining the opportunity to join, consider that the sorority on your bid card already considers you a sister AND this sorority was one of your three preferences for membership. They feel that you would make a great sister and friend. You should give the chapter the same opportunity that they are giving you. If you decline an invitation to join, you will be ineligible to join a sorority for one calendar year.
How should I act during recruitment?
The best advice is Be Yourself. Be honest and open with the women in the chapters; don't pretend to be someone you are not. Ask questions of the sisters - you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Before participating in Recruitment, use the resources around you to learn about the NPC member fraternities on your chosen campus. Ask questions about scholarship, sisterhood, philanthropy and campus life. Listen to what the sisters are telling you and weigh the answers against your impressions of the chapter and its members.
What should I wear during recruitment?
You should receive a Recruitment Information packet prior to the events. Suggested dress will be listed in the packet. Follow the guidelines suggested by the campus of your choosing - they know best.
How much does it cost to join a sorority?
The financial commitments vary from campus to campus and from chapter to chapter. Each chapter is required to disclose its financial commitment to you. Costs vary depending on whether or not housing is provided, if you will be required to eat meals at the house, or live in the house during your membership period. As stated earlier, it is important to discuss this financial commitment with your parents. More often than not, it is less expensive to live in sorority housing than in dormitories on campus.
How do I decide what sorority to join?
Only you know the answer to this question. Learn as much as you can about each chapter, get to know as many members as possible during the events and consider where you felt most at home. Consider which chapter will give you the scholarship, leadership and service opportunities you desire. Although your final preference decisions are important, you can be happy in almost any chapter on campus if you put forth the effort.
Information adapted from Alumnae Panhellenic of Tallahassee .
Parents Frequently Asked Questions
What's a sorority, really?
Sororities are national and international Greek-letter organizations that have been in existence for more than 150 years on accredited college and university campuses. Chapters function as an extended family unit, providing a caring, safe environment that encourages individual development for a lifetime. Sorority programming develops leadership through involvement in chapter offices and committees, as well as involvement on campus. Other opportunities for Greeks include scholarships and philanthropic and social service involvement. Many sorority chapters offer campus housing, and those details vary from campus to campus.
So how will my daughter benefit from sorority membership for a lifetime?
As a collegiate member, she will have a support group that truly cares about her, leadership opportunities, academic support and encouragement, and a safe social outlet. The bonds of sisterhood she develops during college will remain with her after graduation. Wherever she goes, even to another country, she will have a support system and opportunity to form beneficial relationships.
To be a member, my daughter has to go through recruitment?
Membership recruitment is a period of mutual selection. It is a process during which your daughter gets to know about the sororities and members on her campus, and the sorority membership gets to know your daughter. Recruitment activities might include open houses, informal events, and/or formal events. Often the final activities of recruitment are called "Preferentials," and are formal events. NPC provides guidelines for college Panhellenic organizations to determine the exact dates and rules for recruitment on each campus.
I want my daughter to get a good education. Will being Greek promote that?
Yes. All NPC member sororities have scholastic standards for their members. As a new member, your daughter will be encouraged to achieve academic success. Sororities offer a variety of tools to support this effort, including group study hours, tutoring, and peer incentives. Additionally, NPC whole-heartedly promotes high academic achievement, and awards individuals for scholastic excellence through its ongoing Year of the Scholar program. Every year Greek women are awarded thousands of dollars for exceptional academic achievement from NPC and other Greek groups.
What kind of expenses are we talking about?
Financial expectations vary among sororities. There are one-time fees, as well as regular dues. Each sorority chapter determines dues based on factors including programming for its members. When housing is available, those costs are often competitive or less than campus options.
I've heard about alcohol abuse among Greeks...and what is hazing, anyway?
As always, it seems the positive aspects of Greek life are overshadowed by the negative acts of a few. Learning how to be responsible in social situations is a very important lesson for young women today. NPC and its member groups understand that, and have developed a program called Something of Value, which addresses this and other issues from a values-based perspective. The NPC member groups have agreed to aggressively educate our members and help teach our women responsible behavior.
NPC defines hazing as "any action or situation, with or without consent, which recklessly, intentionally, or unintentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, or creates risk of injury, or causes discomfort, embarrassment, harassment or ridicule, or which willfully destroys or removes public or private property..." Hazing is not accepted among NPC member groups
Active - Commonly used term to denote a fraternity or sorority member in college.
Agent - A person (male or female) who recruits for a sorority in any way.
Alumna - A sorority/fraternity member (feminine) no longer in college.
Alumnae Panhellenic - An area organization of alumnae (post college members) of National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) member sororities.
Bid - Invitation to join a sorority or fraternity.
Chapter - Membership unit of a fraternity or sorority.
College Panhellenic - The cooperative college organization of women's NPC member sororities.
Deferred Rush/Membership Recruiting - Membership recruitment week scheduled sometime after school opening or in the second semester or at the beginning of sophomore year.
Fraternity - Name that applies to all Greek-letter organizations, characterized by a ritual, pin and strong ties of friendship. Informally, women's fraternities are called sororities.
Initiation - Inspirational ceremony by which new members/pledges become active members.
Legacy - Generally defined as a daughter, sister or granddaughter of an initiated member, although each sorority has its own definition of a legacy.
Local - A campus organization, often with a Greek-letter name, which does not have chapters on other campuses and which is not a member of National Panhellenic Conference.
New Member - A young woman who has accepted a fraternity bid but has not yet been initiated. New member or a similar designation is the more common term being used.
Open Rush - A period following Formal Rush/Membership Recruitment with informal rushing without scheduled events. This is designated by the College Panhellenic.
Panhellenic - Meaning "all Greek", it is the organization nationally, locally and on college campuses to further the aims of all member groups.
Potential New Member - High school graduate or an unaffiliated college or transfer student who plans to attend (or who is attending) a college which has sororities and who is interested in sorority membership.
Preferential Bidding - A system used at the conclusion of Formal Rush/Membership Recruitment when rushees and sororities indicate choices.
Profiles - File used by all sorority groups compiled by Alumnae Panhellenic from information furnished by college-bound women interested in Rush.
Quota - System used to equalize, in general, the number of members in each campus group. It means the number of women who may be pledged by each group in Rush/Membership Recruitment. The quota is set by the College Panhellenic and depends on the number of rushees and sororities on a particular campus.
Recommendation or Reference or Letter of Information - Specific information form which sponsors a prospective member. Each sorority has its own form..
Rush Week/Membership Recruitment Week - Period of time formally designated by the College Panhellenic for meeting potential new members.