by KJ McNamara
Who is the most important person in a sorority’s recruitment?
I remember thinking as a Potential New Member that my Recruitment Counselor was the most important person in all of recruitment. I remember thinking as a first time recruiter for my own sorority that our VP-Membership was the most important person in our sorority recruitment. I also remember thinking as President of my chapter that the Panhellenic VP of Recruitment was the most important person in our campus’ recruitment.
Now, I know who it is. It is the Potential New Member. It is the individual who is sitting knee to knee on the chapter room floor with our members having an intense conversation. It is the woman who is carefully considering each sorority while figuring out who she is – so she can choose the right sorority for her.
But as a PNM, I did a lot of wrong things to help me make a decision: I researched (stalked) each of the 14 chapters on my campus all summer. I built a list of chapters I liked based solely on color and nickname. I asked my older friends that I knew from high school about the reputations of each chapter and took their opinions as gospel. I was DYING for any information and I would soak up as much of it as I could from whoever would give it to me. I wanted to figure out: HOW DO I DO SORORITY RIGHT? I wanted to join the RIGHT chapter – but I didn’t know what that meant.
The chapter I ended up committing lifelong membership to first caught my attention because of “great parking.” WHAT?!!?! Yes, I swooned for the convenient angled parking right in front of the chapter house. I thought to myself… how great does that look? No parallel parking! Needless to say, I was CLUELESS. I ultimately joined Kappa Delta because of a powerful conversation and a meaningful connection I made, but up until that point my questions were more about room size and bathroom renovations
Every PNM wants information before they go through recruitment. They want to research and look and imagine what their experience would be like in a sorority. They also want to know what to expect during the recruitment process. But what do they find from a simple Google search?
She finds the media’s images that sensationalize our organizations. She finds mean rumors and unfounded reputations. She finds perfectly polished Tumblr pages. She finds videos full of perfectly gorgeous girls skipping through fields of flowers and blowing glitter – constantly smiling. She finds Inter/National websites that are hard to navigate to get a true sense of what their individual chapter experiences are like. She finds local chapter pages that have not been updated in years. She finds a Panhellenic website that tells her what time to show up and what clothing to buy.
From our research, we’ve found that the most significant factor that causes women to QUIT sorority is misaligned expectations – what they expected to get from sorority and what they were SOLD about the experience is not what they have received from their experience. This likely has a lot to do with what they think they are joining according to their own Internet research. When she joins, the experience is different.
What if we gave them real information? What if we helped them to create realistic expectations of sorority membership and of the recruitment process? What if we told them what to talk about and what questions to ask, instead of just what to look like? What if helped them know what they were looking for in a sorority before they started the recruitment process? What if we didn’t have to say “What If?” anymore?
We at Phired Up created a free… YES FREE… video for you to show your PNMs. Please take this link and share it!
There’s a thousand ways to use it. Here are a few recommendations:
- Post it on your social media pages
- Attach it to recruitment registration confirmation email.
- Show it in orientation sessions where people come to learn about sorority life.
- Have your recruitment counselors email it before recruitment to your PNMs
What we provide as sororities is amazing. Lets stop being afraid that sorority (or your chapter) isn’t good enough by only showing images of pretty girls having fun. Let’s start showing, sharing, and teaching the truth about what the experience is like, what it takes, and what is expected. Let’s better educate the future leaders of our chapters and invest some time and energy into more honestly, authentically, and adequately preparing our Potential New Members for the sorority experience before recruitment even begins.