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I go on different websites and see people talking about top, middle, and bottom tier sororities. What does that mean exactly and is being in a bottom tier sorority really that bad?

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Tiers are mostly in the minds of the beholders. Outsiders and other greeks like to assign rankings to sororities on campus, but those opinions are not always based on reality. Tiers are a mixture of gossip, personal opinions, tradition, reputation, some truth and what a chapter’s status is that semester. Some are hot and some are not. But if you live within the sorority, being happy, accepted and appreciated is much more important. 

There are sororities which are large, strong, successful, and achieve on every level. They may legitimately be the top performers. But that doesn’t mean every PNM would be happy joining them. There are different tastes for different girls. In fact the worst thing you can do is join a sorority “just because” it’s perceived to be top tier. After pledging you could find yourself lost, lonely and stressed that you can never really relax around your sisters. A type-A personality might flourish in that kind of chapter, but a more laid back girl would hate it. Thank goodness there is a variety of options at most universities. Choice doesn’t always mean better or worse. In greek life it can just mean “individually unique.”

That’s why I tend to look at sororities as being distinct. There are a variety of houses for a variety of PNMs. Not everyone wants a super competitive, expensive, heavy partying, or sexy sisterhood. Other girls would be bored silly in a sorority that crafts all the time or does extra community service. All PNMs should go where they genuinely feel at home, where they can blossom and where they find a lifestyle match.

While it’s true that some sororities are smaller, and not as flashy as other houses, that doesn’t make them the “bottom” or less worthy to the sisters who belong. They love each other, they have a blast together and for them it’s a perfect fit. Every NPC sorority provides it’s members with an enriching  experience, inspiration and close friendships. All houses, large to small, express their own “style” of sisterhood. Thankfully ~ to each her own! xoxo ;)

rush talk: should an older PNM rush a 3rd time?

Q: Should I even bother rushing again? I attended formal recruitment in the Fall of my sophomore year but I ended up dropping out due to financial reasons. Then my school changed formal recruitment from the Fall to Spring. Therefore I informal rushed as a junior with a sorority I was extremely fond of. Out of 44 girls, only 9 were chosen. 2 were juniors like myself. I didn’t receive a bid.

I’d love to be part of a sorority and be proud to represent a strong sisterhood. But at this point I don’t know if it is even worth it. My friends who are in the sorority were really rooting for but unfortunately were not part of the recruitment committee. They said I carry all the same values as their sorority. I’m just bummed that I didn’t make it because of my age. And I’m not sure whether to try again as a second semester junior.

A: Since your upcoming spring recruitment is now “formal,” if you participated again your odds for making a match would be improved. I wish you could have stuck it out when you were a sophomore, but things happen. Then your informal rush experience was a real looooong shot with only 9 openings out of 44 PNMs and being a junior. Don’t feel overly sad about that experience, because the odds were not in your favor at all. 

If you’re up for it, you could rush this spring and give ALL the chapters one more try. But only if you are mentally and emotionally able to. At some point, it’s better to get on with life and focus on other things. Sometimes the timing for going greek just doesn’t work out. Life events don’t run smoothly for every single PNM. There are other groups which can bring you lots of friends and personal satisfaction. For your own sanity you might start fresh and join a totally different type of organization. 

That said, I would never discourage a PNM from trying to join a sorority (even as a senior.) So if you still want to go for it, I would support one more effort. But don’t put all your eggs in one chapter basket. You’ll need to connect with ALL of the sororities to increase your chances of success. The chapter your friends are in may not be right for you in the end. One more attempt would not be unusual, but after that, I would call it a day. Let your heart and head guide you to what’s the right choice. Think about it carefully and decide when spring gets a little closer. xoxo ;)

I'm interested in doing informal spring rush at my school. I went through formal fall rush but had to drop out due to financial reasons. I will be classified as a junior but will be graduating later. How do I approach a sorority girl without being creepy or them thinking that I'm just talking to them because they are in a sorority? What if they don't seem approachable? There are a couple I'm interested in but I'm open to all of the chapters. I don't want to miss out on a great experience.

Asked by

Even though “informal” rush is more relaxed, there is still a process for connecting to the sorority sisters. There should be several “parties” hosted by the chapters who are recruiting in the spring. They usually post a schedule of events that are open to interested PNMs. A typical offering will be something like this ~ event #1: Ice Skating With the Sisters, event #2: Crafting Party at the sorority house, event #3: Invitation Only Dinner. You can attend the socials at the houses you are interested in. Each sorority will be hosting their events separately, not all together like formal recruitment. The final day/night is normally invite only. Then they will offer bids to their chosen PNMs. 

Please look for spring rush publicity from all the chapters. They will publish a ‘flyer’ on their social media with the dates, times and details. Your Panhellenic Council may also promote the information for the individual chapters participating.

There may be chapters who have no events at all and just invite friends to join. That’s usually called Continuous Open Bidding (COB). Under that system you would need to “naturally” make friends with a sorority member in your class, dorm, or gym and be invited to casually meet her sisters. You might socialize one-on-one a few times, meet more members and be invited to pledge. That method happens through a friendship you establish through your other campus activites, club memberships and sports teams. 

But with the regular Informal Recruitment program, you don’t have to personally make greek friends ahead of time. While connections are nice, it’s sometimes difficult to break through. By attending events in the spring which are open to all interested PNMS, it’s a much less stressful way to join a sorority. Participating in a series of hosted get-to-know-you socials is the way to go! xoxo ;)

This is the type of publicity you should look for from the sororities:



rush talk: dealing with the uncertainty of informal recruitment…

Q: I’m getting a bit anxious about informal rush at the moment. I went to a sorority open house and a “sister date” (which is part of their informal rush). I thought both events went really well. I really like the girls and I thought they liked me. Now, I’m nervous though, because I haven’t heard from them in over a week and their bid day is scheduled on their chapter calendar as the 6th.  I’m a bit anxious that it might not work out. Should I stay optimistic or prepare for the worst?

A: I am not a fan of “uncertain” informal recruitments. I like an organized system where PNMs know what to expect and when. Even if it’s bad news, I personally would like a schedule for finding out. The loose, not knowing what’s happening approach, is not my fave. In your case, I don’t know if there is another “invitation only” preference type of round left to go? Or was the two rounds you attended all they planned?

Usually for an informal recruitment there will be a total of 3 evaluation rounds and then some sort of bid day. The open house, the sister date and then one more event would normally round it out. But that’s not for sure. Each chapter does it a little differently. I recommend that you research the sororities calendar of informal events and see if you missed one or not. If there was an invitation only party recently, and you were not invited back, then you will have your answer immediately. I hate to think of you waiting for bid day on the 6th, if you’re not in the running at all. 

On the other hand, if you completed all the requirements and are just waiting to hear something, it would be nice to know when they will be contacting PNMs. If there is a recruitment chair, or an email address available, you could send a brief and upbeat note asking about what’s happening and when. Depending on your rush system, an inquiry might be Ok. First try to find out the information on your own.

If there’s no one to contact, then all you can do it wait and see if you get a bid text or a phone call. Agony I know. At least if you knew when they would be letting you know, it would ease your suffering. Hang in there. I wouldn’t give up hope, or get your hopes up. It’s impossible to tell what they are up to without more information or the sorority’s deadlines. xoxo :)

I COMPLETELY love this blog and is EXTREMELY helpful but have one question:) I just transferred and have never been in a sorority and rush is this upcoming week and I was wondering how the big/little process would work for me as a junior transfer. I know it isn't for a few more weeks but that is the only thing that is making me doubtful about the process. thank you and have a lovely week!! xx

Asked by

If you join as a junior you are part of your new member class like everyone else. There will be freshman, maybe some sophomores, juniors and possibly even a senior in your class. Age is not the only factor when offering bids to PNMs. And it’s not a factor when matching bigs and littles either. You may have a younger big, one your own age, or one that’s older than you. Your college class level is not a roadblock for enjoying all the perks of sorority life. And being a transfer students as no effect either. Once rush starts, everyone is a PNM whether they come from out of state, or the dorms on campus. 

Throughout your years in college, you will stay with your “pledge class.” You will do all the same things as the freshman. As an older girl, you don’t jump ahead to be with the other juniors. So when it comes time for big/little assignments, you should look for a sister you love and get along with, no matter her grade level. If she’s younger than you, just enjoy her for who she is. Most big/littles don’t have a problem with age differences. xoxo ;)

Is declining a bid looked down on? I informally rushed two sororities this fall and I'm so excited to say that one of them offered me a bid. As much as I like the girls and the sorority, I have a tendency to doubt myself when it comes to important decisions. I still don't know all of the 4 sororities too well and I'd feel so much better about my decision if I took the fall to get to know them and then rushed in the spring. I'm beyond grateful for the bid, but I want to find the right home.

Asked by

It’s a gamble. A bid in the hand is worth more than several “maybe” bids in the future from chapters you may or may not like better. You could do better in the spring, you could do worse, or you could get no bid at all. That’s the risk you take moving forward and continuing recruitment next semester. There is no crystal ball to tell you what will happen next.  

If you didn’t feel totally at peace with your bid this fall, then you have every right to keep on rushing. If you did like the sisters a lot, and you could see yourself being a member, then I think it’s foolish to turn down an opportunity to start experiencing greek life right now. But only you know if another sorority would be a closer match.

The risky part is, they have to like you as an A-list PNM in return. Sometimes membership doesn’t work out that way. Personally I would take the bid from the sorority you liked this fall and they liked you in return. But you may have better luck in the spring and make an even more ideal match….. No way to know how it will shake out. Roll the dice and follow your gut feelings. xoxo ;)

rush talk: which sorority is right?

Q: How do I know which sorority is right for me? - 

A: That’s the million dollar sorority question! Ultimately the answer is pretty short ~ the one which offers you a bid that you accept! You can love several chapters, but they don’t feel the same way in return and cut you. You can dislike some sisterhoods who keep asking you back. The “sweet spot” is right in the middle where you like them and they like you. The sorority which you feel is “right” has to reciprocate the feelings. That’s the tricky part! Recruitment is about matchmaking, not just a PNM’s preferences. But there are some things you can look for during rush to help you rank each choice to the best of your ability…… xoxo :)

❤ Using your PNM HEART, look for:

  1. Sisters who make you feel right at home.
  2. Sisters who make you laugh and relax a little. 
  3. Sisters who are easy to talk to and you don’t have to force conversation. 
  4. Sisters who listen and are interested in YOU.
  5. Sisters who are grounded and authentic. 
  6. Sisters who have a spirit you admire and a personality you click with.
  7. Sisters with character and class. 
  8. Sisters who do things you enjoy and live a similar lifestyle. 
  9. Sisters who are kind and really seem to care for each other. 
  10. Sisters who you can see being your bridesmaids one day.
  11. Sisters who make you feel less self-conscious and you glow just thinking about them.
  12. Sisters you feel will have your back in good times and bad.

❤ Using your PNM HEAD, look for:

  1. A sorority with a mission statement your respond to.
  2. A sorority with strong leadership and good organization. 
  3. A sorority with a philanthropy you can really get behind. 
  4. A sorority with a focus on academics and service, not just partying. (Or a focus mostly on partying if you prefer!)
  5. A sorority where the sisters seem to respect each other and there is internal harmony. 
  6. A sorority with a solid respectable reputation.
  7. A sorority which is anti-hazing, anti-discrimination and anti-negativity of any kind. 
  8. A sorority with dues and fees that you can realistically afford. 
  9. A sorority in good standing and not constantly on probation or about to be kicked off campus. 
  10. A sorority that has attractive socials, activities, big/little program, retreats and other events that are appealing to you.
  11. A sorority with a supportive and involved national organization (if national) to help guide and educate the chapter. 
  12. A sorority where you would be proud to enter the house each week, proud to be pictured in the chapter composite, proud to wear their greek letters, proud to represent them on campus and proud to call yourself a sister for life. 

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ 

Do you have any advice specifically for informal spring recruitment? There's so much for formal recruitment so I was just wondering how I can succeed in January. Thanks so much :)

Asked by

My top tip for informal recruitment is ~ never forget you are being evaluated! Informal events like a pizza party or bowling night, may seem like just a casual fun party, but sisters are there to consider you for membership. During formal recruitment it’s always at the forefront of everyone’s mind, but in a relaxed, open, informal atmosphere, a PNM can forget the true purpose of the evening. Don’t let your hair down toooo much, don’t gossip, don’t drink and never get out of control. Informal rush is just as “serious” as the formal system. It’s just presented in a more laid back way.

Also important is having the ability to socialize in a less structured fashion. During formal rounds, the conversations are very tightly controlled. But with informal parties, you may have to take the socializing initiative. The event may be more like a ‘reception,’ where you must be outgoing, chatty, mingle and reach out to sisters in the room. There is less orchestration in informal rush. So prepare your small talk skills especially. And be ready to ‘join the action’ at each event, such as rollerskating, crafting, making ice cream sundaes, etc… You have to jump in and enjoy whatever the sororities offer. 

Since you know the chapters on campus ahead of time (learning about them this fall semester) you can arrive prepared with topics to talk about and questions to ask. Unlike fall PNMs who arrive on campus with very little knowledge about the individual chapters, you have all semester to become acquainted with the style of each one. This as a real benefit.

You should also be making friends this semester so you have some familiar faces in your favorite chapters. Who you know and having connections is very important for most informal recruitments. For example, your lab partner is in XYZ sorority and she recommends you highly to her sisters. Dorm friends, classmates, gym acquaintances, sports team members, other club members, fraternity connections and more are ALL very helpful. Being on the radar of a sorority before you enter their informal party, or being invited by a sister, is a top priority. Make the most of this fall and you will be a shining star come January! xoxo ;)

Hi, I don't know if you received my question so I'm going to ask again. I'm a freshman and unfortunately got dropped from recruitment. We had a large number of girls go out for only the five sororities on campus. I'm still pretty interested in Greek Life and am considering going through recruitment again next year (we only have fall). Any tips for how to approach recruitment as a sophomore? I really want to find my home in Greek Life next year.

Asked by

I would take this year to become more confident, more outgoing and more connected. If you make friends in your dorm, get involved in other campus clubs, meet people in class, etc… you will start a very beneficial collection of friends and connections. The more sorority sisters who know you, or receive good recommendations about you, the better!

Some PNMs take awhile to warm up. Many go greek the second time around. So it’s nothing to be worried about… If your GPA needs improvement, or your conversations skills, work on those too. Freshman year is an excellent time to grow personally, academically and in your social interactions. Get to know lots of students on campus, build your PNM resume and you will be in a strong position for recruitment next fall.

Don’t get discouraged. Just take your experience as motivation to work harder for the next recruitment. Also, now that you’ve met all the chapters, focus on the ones that you like and where you also have the best chance of getting a bid! As a sophomore PNM you need to be realistic to improve your odds of success. Dreaming of the top tier “out-of-reach-for-mere-mortals” sorority is fun, but for your 2nd attempt, it’s better to target the chapters where you can honestly see yourself getting a bid. Put your efforts towards the sisters who are warm and welcoming to older PNMs. Look for the kind, down to earth sororities and prepare to shine your brightest again next fall. xoxo ;)

Hi, so I rushed this year but didn't feel that my bid was a good fit for me, so I'm going to rush again as a sophomore. What should I say when asked if I rushed as a freshman? Also, do you think it's bad to rush again?

Asked by

No it’s not bad to rush again. I’m glad you’re still interested in greek life! But hopefully your second time will be the last time. If you are asked about participating once more, you can say something like, "I didn’t find my sorority home the first time I rushed, but now I’m eager to join a special sisterhood like yours!" 

Bottom line: when you were a freshman you didn’t make a match. That is the truth and it doesn’t speak badly about your former chapter (or the house you almost joined.) Don’t complain about your previous sorority choices, the recruitment system, the panhellenic, or anything else negative. Keep all of your comments positive and you can’t go wrong. xoxo :)

I'm transferring into a university in the Spring. I'll be an upperclassman but still have a few years to go because I'm changing majors. I really want to rush. What should I expect in the spring?

Asked by

It all depends if Spring Recruitment at your college is informal or formal. Many universities will be holding the full formal week of parties and others just host casual individual chapter events. When you rush, you should tell the sororities how many years you have left on campus. The chapters want members who be around longer. I wish you luck rushing as soon as possible at your new transfer school. xoxo ;)

Hello! I'm a freshman this year & I chose not to rush because I wanted to get used to all the changes that were happening & now I totally regret it! Especially since I hear it's harder to rush as an upperclassman. Is there any tips or advice you can give me?

Asked by

The best thing you can do is ~ don’t loose hope! Rushing as a sophomore is not ideal, but older PNMs get bids ALL the time. When you participate in rush, keep your heart and mind open to every sorority. As an older girl, you may not get your top #1 pick, but there will be some very nice chapters where you can make fabulous friends and have an amazing time. Your attitude, spirit and enthusiasm will be very important. Let your guard down and show your sweet personality. I am sure you will make a happy sisterhood match. xoxo ;)

sorority Q&A: dealing with the worst phrase in greek life!

Q: was thinking about rushing next fall but some people are telling me that joining a sorority is just paying for friends. Any advice?

A: That phrase drives me CRAZY and it’s so inaccurate. I don’t know why it has been attached to greek life in particular and not all the other activites and clubs it could also apply to!? Many, many endeavors in life include bonding/connecting with other humans. Most organizations which provide fellowship need to charge dues to operate their club or team. Sororities are no different. Someone has to pay for the functioning of the group. The concept of joining a collection of members, and paying dues in a “society” or “association,” is as old as time! Greek life should not be singled out as odd in this regard.  

Greek membership involves lots of events, materials, meetings, socials, housing, meals, trips, clothing, gifts, jewelry and other expenses that must be paid for somehow. Like any other active group, a member is paying for the ‘necessities’ and ‘benefits,’ not just for meeting other members. Friendships are made through participation, just like belonging to a wine club, or a softball team. 

For anyone criticizing sorority life with the “paying for friends” phrase, please counter with some of the activites THEY may belong to and ask them if they are “paying for friends” when they attend their church group or professional club! Most people can’t help but belong to a few associations and end up making friends there. Here are a few examples: 

  • Paying for Church Friends: If you are a church member and contribute to the collection plate every Sunday, then you are “paying” for your church friends, dinners, choir, education program, staff, maintenance and social activities. 
  • Paying for Community Friends: If you belong to the Junior League, National Charity Legue, hospital support group, children’s museum guild, environmental club, humane society, rotary club, or any other local club where you pay dues and socialize with other people while volunteering, then you are “paying” for friends in the community. 
  • Paying for Sports Friends: If you join a gym, yoga class, swim team, cheerleading squad, competitive volleyball team, or any other type of paid athletic endeavor, and you make friends while you exercise/compete, then you are “paying” for your sports related friendships. 
  • Paying for Professional Friends: if you join a professional organization related to your career, use a job networking system, remain active in your alumnae group, join a career guild, or chamber of commerce in order to meet people, further your career and enjoy activites with fellow professionals, then you are “paying” for social and professional advancement and relationships.  
  • Paying for Recreational Friends: if you pay to join a golf club, racquet club, beach club, resort club, dining club, wine club, foodie club, book club, quilting club, travel club or any other group dedicated to leisure activites and fun, then you are “paying” for the pleasure of meeting people who also enjoy the same free time pursuits.  
  • Paying for Romantic Friends: if you use an online dating service, attend singles events, hang out in a pub/bar eating and drinking while hoping to meet someone, or take someone out to dinner and the movies, then you are “paying” for love and romantic connections.

Why join a sailing club when you can go boating by yourself? Why join an art appreciation group when you can visit the art museum on your own? Why join the watercolor club when you can sit alone in your room and paint? Aren’t you just paying for friends with the same interests?

As you can see, almost everything humans get involved in ~ which have dues/payments + plus social interaction ~ can be called "paying for friends." All other special interest clubs, societies and teams are the same as sororities in this regard. 

It’s true a person can attend college, or live in a city, with NO membership in any organizations. They randomly meet people through attending classes, (which they are paying for) or working in their career field. For some people that’s enough. But others prefer group activites and seek additional opportunities to meet like-minded friends! There is nothing wrong with that. Greek life helps so many girls find success and love away from home. And as many sorority sisters say “If I’m paying for friends, then I’m not paying enough!” xoxo ;)

Hi, I want to rush this spring but I'm not sure if it's worth my time. I'm definitely what everyone would consider overweight, and I'm ok with that, but I'm not sure any sororities will be. we've got a big greek life(about 25% of the campus) and every girl on campus in a sorority I see is skinny. I'm not really self conscious but I am pretty poor and I don't want to waste my money rushing if I'm not going to get a bid. I just want an honest opinion on whether it's worth it, I'd be very grateful

Asked by

Everyone has insecurities, but to be successful in recruitment you have to appear mostly self confident! I truly believe that not ALL the greek girls are skinny on your campus. You just notice the ones who are thinner. And it’s easy to become intimidated. 

As far as the money goes, all you need to pay is the recruitment registration fee. Depending on your college, it shouldn’t be too expensive. Maybe in the $75 range? The PNM fee is all you are obligated to pay, order to “explore” if greek life is for you. The only way to determine it’s worth it, is to participate in the recruitment process! For a relatively small investment, you can rush and see if you’re meant to join a sorority. There is absolutely no way to predict if you’re going to get a bid or not. No PNM gets a 100% guarantee and no one is promised a totally blissful outcome at the end of rush week. 

But to increase your odds you will need to:

  • Adjust your attitude to the sunny side of the street! 
  • Feel good about yourself top to bottom.
  • Be open to all the chapters on campus.
  • Accept that your PNM recruitment fee is not a waste of money, but an opportunity to investigate sorority membership. 
  • Set aside a certain amount of time (it’s not a waste) to prepare yourself for rush, practice some Q&As, become well groomed and put your best foot forward for recruitment. 
  • Realize that all walks of life are in sororities and you can get a bid if you match with the right sisters. 

You are not promised a job after college graduation, you are not guaranteed a husband after a few dates, you are not certain to have genius children when you get pregnant! Most things in life are a gamble. But uncertainty shouldn’t keep you from trying. Nothing ventured nothing gained. If you do your best and give your all, you can hold your head up high! xoxo :)

"It’s a funny thing about life: if you refuse to accept anything but the best you very often get it." ~ Somerset Maugham

I am a junior this year and I decided to rush after not being able to freshman and sophomore year. Unfortunately I didn't receive a bid, and was utterly heartbroken. Would it be worth it to rush in the spring? Because I still want to be apart of a sorority, but I don't know if I will receive a bid based on my junior status and rushing so late.

Asked by

I am so sorry you didn’t make a sorority match the first time around. I am sure it had to do with your junior class level. There are a limited amount of spots open to upperclassmen ,and if the older competition is stiff, there are just not enough openings to go around. 

One more attempt in the spring is not a bad idea. Now that you’ve met all the chapters, focus on the ones you think are the most receptive to older PNMs. If I were you, I would zero in on my most likely sororities and do all I can to network with the sisters in those chapters. This semester try to make more friends in the greek community, so you’ll have more connections in the spring. If spring rush is informal, it will be based on having contacts in the sororities. Sisters inviting friends to join and casual parties at the sorority houses. 

Stay positive and give it your best effort. I hope everything falls into place and you find a sorority home soon! xoxo :)