The Sorority Rush Guide, Part II

Kappa Delta Epsilon, for example, extended bids to forty-three new members this rush cycle

Kappa Delta Epsilon, for example, extended bids to forty-three new members this rush cycle

Editor’s note: This piece continues Mr. Kotran’s exposition of how the sorority rush system works, which covered Round One and the inter-round period.  Part I may be found in our previous issue.

Round Two

The second round of sorority recruitment takes place on the Friday evening and Saturday afternoon after Round One. Students only visit the houses that they are called back to.  Unlike the previous round, students will only talk to two or three girls at each house over the hour or so that they are there. “The conversations are definitely more substantive in the second round,” said Margret ’18. “You get past the ‘Where are you from?’ and ‘What do you do on campus?’ and get to display a deeper side of yourself and your personality.” However, the disadvantage of this system is that students are only able to converse with a small portion of the sisterhood, making it more difficult for each party to gauge one another. “I was able to tell whether or not I liked the girls I was talking to easily enough, but what about the other hundred-or-so girls in the house?”  Conversely, one has to wonder whether some girls were unfairly judged because they didn’t mesh well with the few sisters they spoke to. Perhaps the pairings during round two have major implications for which students move onto Preference (“Pref”) Night in each house.

After re-visiting all of their houses, students are asked to rank them for a second time, usually on the night after the second day. Similar to the first round, the top two houses are both marked as tied for first choicein the computer system. Any other houses are ranked numerically starting at third. Then the girls wait until Sunday afternoon to find out which house or houses they have moved onto for Pref Night.

Pref Night

After finding out their houses, students only have an hour or two before their first visit on Pref Night, the last round of recruitment.  This gives the women very little time to prepare and react before going back to the houses. Originally, the sorority candidates had more time, but in the past few years the rule has been changed in order to minimize the amount of time the girls can spend panicking about their impending visits. Izzy ’18, doesn’t see a better solution: “Finding out right away is definitely not ideal, but I can see why they changed it. Girls would obsessively freak out and wouldn’t be able to get anything productive done the entire time before their visits.”

By Pref Night, the prospective sorority members have been narrowed down to one or two houses. They are guaranteed a bid by one of the houses, and once they sign the contract, must accept that bid or relinquish their right to rush again until the following fall. Therefore, many students already know their future house going into the night. Other girls may have an easy decision between houses they do and do not like, and will focus their attention on impressing their preferred sororities. The rest of the girls have two remaining houses and plan to use the evening to help make their decision. The focus for these girls, and on the sororities wooing them, is to learn as much as they can about the house and determine where is the best fit for them.

The structure of Pref Night varies slightly from house to house, but most events run for about forty-five minutes and consist of two parts.  For the first thirty minutes, students will spend time talking to two or three sisters at once. Unlike previous rounds, these sisters are often girls that the candidate knows or has talked to during a previous round. In most cases, the sisters are primarily concerned with selling the house and explaining why pref-ing them would be the right decision. Like Round Two, the matches on Pref Night have major implications both for how sororities and students rank each other in the final round. For the last fifteen minutes of the event, some of the sisters in each house usually give short speeches about their experience in the sisterhood. These are followed by the sorority’s presentation of the house’s diversity or of the exploits of its sisters over the past year. “For one of the houses, that part was actually a major turn off for me,” said Izzy. “They were basically just bragging about themselves and why they were so awesome.”

After their last event, students have one to two hours to decide which sorority they will “pref.” Sororities also rank the remaining girls again during this time. Students have roughly an 85% chance of getting a bid from their preferred house, so for most girls, the decision determines what sorority they will end up in. “It’s a big decision to make in an hour,” said Izzy. “A lot of girls go kind of crazy.  And some make decisions that they regret. But like the last decision, having more time to dwell on it might not help much either.” With this final round, and final decision, the week-long recruitment process is finally over. The girls still anxiously wait for bid night the next night, where they will find out their new home and spend a long, fun night with their new sisters.

Reflections About the Process

The Review was able to sit down with Rachel, a student in the class of 2017, to hear about her experience with sorority recruitment. Rachel, a varsity athlete, was not particularly nervous or unprepared leading up to the first round. “I didn’t really think anything of it, that’s what everyone was doing. My whole team was affiliated.” The first round of rush confirmed Rachel’s presuppositions about which houses she liked and disliked and she ranked them accordingly.  But a few days later, Rachel was met with an unwanted surprise. “I had always been led to believe that I was supposed to be in one or two places.  I remember I was walking back from class when I saw the houses I was called back to, and the two places that I was always told I was supposed to be in weren’t on there. It was really blatant, very quick, and there’s not a lot you can do after you get your houses for the second round.  It’s really heartbreaking and it makes you very self-conscious.” Not wanting to join the houses she was called back to, Rachel dropped out of rush and decided that she would try again in the winter. She was so overwhelmed by disappointment and the feeling of being left out, that she decided to go home for the weekend to collect herself so she could continue the term. But over time Rachel became excited about the prospect of rushing again.  She ultimately settled into a house she couldn’t have imagined herself joining in the fall, and ended up more than satisfied with her new home. “My biggest regret is that I wasn’t in the house in the fall.”

Carrie, a student in the class of 2018, also shared her story. “The process went surprisingly well for me from the start. I was called back to four houses, three of which I liked a lot. I was also still able to get my two favorite houses on Pref Night. It was a tough decision about which house to choose, but I ultimately ended up in my favorite one.” While Carrie was extremely fortunate throughout the process, she had a difficult time enjoying her success due to the misfortune of her best friend Carly. Carly felt confident that she had impressed the sisters of her favorite sororities after the first round, but was ultimately called back to her three lowest ranked houses. “The whole time during the process and since, I wished it was me who didn’t get called back anywhere. It’s put a major damper on my whole experience and I haven’t been able to enjoy it as much.”

But not everyone had tumultuous or difficult rush experiences. Lynn, an ’18, actually enjoyed the process throughout and didn’t feel pressured. “Rush was definitely time consuming, and I wouldn’t want to do it again, but I also thought it was really fun! I made a lot of friends even in the sororities I didn’t choose, and I still say hi to a lot of the girls I talked to during the first round around campus. It was almost good practice for corporate recruiting and I honestly had a lot of fun at most of the houses. It could be better organized, and less stressful for most girls, but overall I think it is a pretty good system and certainly better than what I’ve heard from other schools.”

In the end, sorority recruitment works out differently for everyone.  Some sail through the process easily, while others are met with bitter disappointment. Others hate talking to tons of different girls at different houses, while others enjoy getting to meet new people. But no matter the experience or result of each girl, it is important to remember that your Greek affiliation will not define you, or your experience at Dartmouth. And with short judgment periods and a computer system that only a handful of people understand, none of the girls should feel that their results are a reflection of their self worth, for better or worse.