If your daughter is a college freshman or sophomore, she may have expressed interest in pledging a sorority. Many parents have only the vaguest idea of what sorority life involves and you’re probably envisioning scenes from House Bunnies and Legally Blond. But there’s much more to joining a sisterhood than secret handshakes and pajama parties. This article should help you learn the basics of college sororities and how to best support your daughter as she goes through the recruitment process.
So, how does the sorority recruitment process work? Recruitment is slightly different on different campuses, but it typically lasts about one week. During sorority recruitment, younger college women (typically freshman and sophomores) attend a series of organized “parties” in each sorority house on campus. The parties are more like meet and greet events where potential new sorority members have an opportunity to tour each house and meet with current sorority sisters. The idea is to give potential new members a sense of where they feel most at home and let sisters know more about each potential new member (PNM). Each PNM will chat with several sisters in each chapter house about her interests and what she is looking for in a sorority. The final day of recruitment week is known as Bid Day. On this day, every sorority will extend “bids” to a class of new members. A bid is a formal invitation to join a sorority.
As a parent, you can support your daughter while she is going through recruitment by listening to her reflections on each chapter and offering advice about which would be the best fit for her. She may also ask for your advice on selecting outfits to wear to each party. Dress codes usually range from cute and casual early in the week to more formal attire on the last night of recruitment. Remind her that she’ll be doing a lot of walking throughout the week so she’ll want to wear comfortable shoes.
If your daughter decides to accept a bid from a social sorority, she will be initiated into a group of women who will help guide her throughout her college journey. Many sororities coordinate study hours, offer academic tutoring services to their members and maintain strict GPA standards. Sisters are also expected to participate in social and philanthropic activities that help connect them to their college communities and greater surrounding communities. Sorority membership does involve a time commitment. At a minimum, your daughter will likely have to attend weekly chapter meetings as well as one or two other scheduled events each week. Have a conversation with your daughter about how she will budget her time to make sure that she can give enough attention to her school, work and extracurricular commitments.
Your daughter will cherish the friends and memories that she makes in a sorority well beyond the four years of college.