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Sorority Recruitment Recruitment event and bid day ideas, membership retention, publicity, recruitment policies, etc.


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  #1  
Old 09-19-2008, 05:02 PM
APhiAnna APhiAnna is offline
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The importance of conversation/personality during recruitment

I have been lurking on GreekChat for some time now and there is one thing that has always bothered me about the recruitment advice given out. So many women come on here upset because they received heavy cuts and had what they felt were strong GPAs, recs and activities. OK, this is probably true, but given the college admissions processes I’d say it is safe to say that your GPA, activities and recs were probably very similar, if not “identical”, to the majority of women going through recruitment. Those were the vary stats that got you into your college of choice so it only seems normal to assume that most other women in recruitment had stats of similar strength.

Also, so many actives or alumna will say things like, “Make sure your grades and activities are in order!”, which is exellent advice, but often practicing your conversational skills is left out of their advice. I will say that I feel the number one most important thing for recruitment is your conversational ability. Once you meet a certain level for GPA, activities, etc (which varies from chapter to chapter obviously) you are in contention for getting a bid…however it is naïve to assume they are bidding based on who had the highest GPA goes first on the bid list, second highest goes second, etc. I think it is almost all about conversation and personality once you hit that certain level of activities.

The best thing? Even if you are shy you can work on these skills before recruitment. For example, there are plenty of lists on here that describe questions you are likely to be asked in early rounds. Read up on them and plan a way to answer them that will lead you into another topic.

Say you are asked “How are enjoying your dorm?” It’s one thing to say, “Oh, I like it”…but will that stand out in your rusher’s minds? A somewhat better answer would be to elaborate…”I like it a lot, everybody is so nice and the RA seems really fun, I can’t wait for this year.” That is a little bit more conversational but still it is likely that the rusher will have to ask you another basic question to keep the conversation going.

Say your answer was, instead, “Oh, I am really enjoying my dorm! I had so much fun meeting my roommate and decorating our room together…it was so fun picking out the bedding and decorations! It’s going to be a big change because I’m used to living with three older brothers and now I’m on a hall full of girls, but I’m excited to switch things up!” Now the active can go off on tangents…she can ask you how you decorated your room, what the rest of your family is like, etc. No more “basic” questions, you have an increased chance to find commonalities with the sister and you are more likely to stand out in her mind.

Another piece of advice I often see is to ask lots of questions. I agree to an extent, but make sure, once again, that the questions you ask can take you off on tangents that reveal more about yourself. If you are asking question after question, the active may think you seem interested but would not be able to tell any of the sisters a thing about your personality! But if you ask one pointed question, for example, “How does your big sister program work?” Listen to the answer, then twist it into something about yourself…maybe, “That sounds like a lot of fun. I always had a bunch of older friends when I was growing up and I always tend to look at them as mentors for me. I bet that’s how big sisters work.” Then you can steer the conversation into a realm about how her and her big sister bonded. In this case, one simple question may prove far more effective than five questions.

Also don’t be afraid to jump into “goofy” topics. Some of the best conversations that led to me forming my “rush crushes” were about shoes, embarrassing stories, high school cars that were falling apart, celebrity gossip, Disney movies…anything fun like that can reveal so much about a PNMs ability to “go with the flow”. It’s so refreshing to have conversations like that instead of the standard “what’s your major” or the women who rattle off questions. You have a very focused idea of what hanging out with them would be like AND they will stick out that much more in your mind. Then, when she starts asking questions about the chapter, you not only know she’s interested but you are positive she will fit in with the women in the chapter.

In conclusion, look at it this way. Your stats and recs and GPA will get you in the door like in a business when they decide which resumes they want to interview. Once they have their pool of qualified PNMs, however, I feel that conversation and the ability to fit in with the sisters becomes by far the most important part of recruitment. So I guess what I am trying to say is to practice answering questions in your head and practice your conversational skills. GPA and activites are highly important, but at the end of the day if your personality does not shine through the chapter may rather take a woman with a slightly lower GPA who presents herself as fun and outgoing.
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  #2  
Old 09-19-2008, 05:21 PM
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NutBrnHair NutBrnHair is offline
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In my experience, the girls with great personality/conversation/presentation ALWAYS rise to the top. Once recruitment gets started it's more of a challenge to get the chapter to focus on the PNMs who are shy, but have a heck of a resume.
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  #3  
Old 09-19-2008, 05:28 PM
sceniczip sceniczip is offline
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this is probably some of the best advice I've heard! I can't tell you how many times I've asked questions and had a girl give a one word reply even if it's a question that should have had a much longer reply!

Also make sure not to use the typical words like nice and fun when answering questions because those don't tell the sisters much!
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  #4  
Old 09-19-2008, 05:36 PM
violetpretty violetpretty is offline
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I'd agree that a good GPA is a foot in the door. If you have the personality of a brick wall, a chapter won't want you if you even if you have a 4.0. GCers tend to emphasize GPA when giving advice to high school students who come here for advice, PNMs at schools with deferred recruitment, and anyone who is going through as a non-freshman.

GPA based cuts at fall FMR schools will differ depending on how competitive the school is; more competitive schools will probably make fewer cuts based on GPA, because, it can't be too low or the PNM wouldn't have been admitted. Less competitive schools might have a wider range of high school GPAs and may make more cuts based on GPA.

Recs are the same way, a foot in the door. A glowing rec means next to nothing if you are bland in person (at competitive chapters at least).

ETA: I think also part of the reason that conversation doesn't get mentioned as much is because it's subjective and harder to give concrete suggestions for conversation.
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Last edited by violetpretty; 09-19-2008 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 09-19-2008, 05:39 PM
LonghornPNM LonghornPNM is offline
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thank you for posting this it's nice to hear some different advice that sounds quite helpful and realistic
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  #6  
Old 09-19-2008, 05:54 PM
APhiAnna APhiAnna is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by violetpretty View Post
ETA: I think also part of the reason that conversation doesn't get mentioned as much is because it's subjective and harder to give concrete suggestions for conversation.
Oh, I totally agree. It's just that I think to some PNMs or moms or whatever, when they read the advice we give they start to get the idea that a 4.0, varsity sport, 200 hours of community service and three recs will put their daughter at the top of every sororities bidlist. Realistically, she's probably high on their radar with stats like that, but if she comes off as snotty, painfully shy or resistant to answering questions it tends to negate all the incredible accomplishments she does have. Also, since those are the stats that put her in the college she is in, most other women likely have similar stats and maybe they have better personalities.

It is harder to give concrete conversation advice, but I think that PNMs do need to know this is a major criteria for many chapters and to get out there and practice meeting new people or run through "practice conversation" with sorority women/alumnae (obviously not from her school as that could be dirty rushing!) and get some honest feedback.
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Old 09-19-2008, 05:58 PM
Kansas City Kansas City is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by APhiAnna View Post
It's just that I think to some PNMs or moms or whatever, when they read the advice we give they start to get the idea that a 4.0, varsity sport, 200 hours of community service and three recs will put their daughter at the top of every sororities bidlist.
The PNM needs to be able to communicate this to the chapter when going through recruitment. Most schools are not going to supply a resume for the PNM so if she does not let the chapter know about her community service, sports, organizations, etc., there is no way for the chapter to know about their importance and her contribution.

Last edited by Kansas City; 09-19-2008 at 06:00 PM. Reason: typo
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  #8  
Old 09-19-2008, 06:01 PM
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NutBrnHair NutBrnHair is offline
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Concrete Conversation Advice

2 words.... ACTIVE LISTENING

Don't go into a party with a list of canned questions. Just enter into a conversation naturally and LISTEN to what the other person is saying. Base your next question (or comment) on something she said.

Example:
"What did you do with your time off this summer?"

"Oh, not much -- just worked and went to see my grandparents."

Next question...ask about work or where her grandparents live, etc.

Active listening is the key.
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Old 09-19-2008, 10:29 PM
KSUViolet06 KSUViolet06 is offline
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I agree with what's being said here.

In recruitment, most girls will have good grades, recs (if needed) and lots of involvement. Those are the standard things that get your foot in the door. It takes more than that to get a bid. You can have all of those things, but if you have the personality and converation skills of a wet mop, you aren't going to get far in recruitment.

It's like applying for a job at a top company. Everyone will have a great resume, a cover letter, and an MBA. Those are standard. The one who gets the job will be the one who presents himself the best in the interview.
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Last edited by KSUViolet06; 09-20-2008 at 01:42 AM.
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  #10  
Old 09-19-2008, 10:47 PM
Stars&Ivy777 Stars&Ivy777 is offline
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That post was pretty much right on.
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Old 09-19-2008, 10:54 PM
Senusret I Senusret I is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NutBrnHair View Post
2 words.... ACTIVE LISTENING

Don't go into a party with a list of canned questions. Just enter into a conversation naturally and LISTEN to what the other person is saying. Base your next question (or comment) on something she said.

Example:
"What did you do with your time off this summer?"

"Oh, not much -- just worked and went to see my grandparents."

Next question...ask about work or where her grandparents live, etc.

Active listening is the key.
Can I just say this is great advice even for guys pursuing NPHC fraternities.
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Old 09-19-2008, 11:01 PM
KSUViolet06 KSUViolet06 is offline
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Also, answering things with "yes" or "no" does not help you during recruitment.

For example, if a sorority member asks "Did you go anywhere this summer?" and you didn't, don't just say "No."

When you answer with one word, that creates awkward silence.

Try to turn it into a positive by mentioning what you did in your hometown over the summer. You could say "No I stayed in my hometown, but I did work at our local homeless shelter while I was there."

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Last edited by KSUViolet06; 08-27-2009 at 07:14 PM.
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  #13  
Old 09-20-2008, 12:02 AM
myopicsunflower myopicsunflower is offline
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Excellent, excellent advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by APhiAnna View Post
Also don’t be afraid to jump into “goofy” topics. Some of the best conversations that led to me forming my “rush crushes” were about shoes, embarrassing stories, high school cars that were falling apart, celebrity gossip, Disney movies…anything fun like that can reveal so much about a PNMs ability to “go with the flow”. It’s so refreshing to have conversations like that instead of the standard “what’s your major” or the women who rattle off questions. You have a very focused idea of what hanging out with them would be like AND they will stick out that much more in your mind. Then, when she starts asking questions about the chapter, you not only know she’s interested but you are positive she will fit in with the women in the chapter.
This is VERY true. The goofy topics really do show personality, including what I would call "endearing quirks." These conversations also tend to feel more personal, even if the topics aren't super deep, and while you get a sense of what it would be like to hang out with these sisters, they also get a sense of what it would be like to hang out with you. Very good way to be remembered!

Thank you for posting this!

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Old 09-20-2008, 12:48 AM
violetpretty violetpretty is offline
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I also think that conversation isn't mentioned as much in threads because a great personality/conversation skills rarely compensates for "foot in the door" things like poor grades, non-freshman class standing (at certain schools), not having recs if most PNMs do, unkempt appearance, etc. It's absolutely like a job interview. You need certain things to get you in the door and the next step is to win chapters over with your personality by having meaningful conversations.

I absolutely agree that conversation is important. It's the heart and soul of recruitment.

The best thing to do is practice making small talk with strangers. Back up questions are good if you find the conversation lagging. Sometimes the other person won't have much to say back to you, so there's not always much to ask them about the current topic. There is also an element of nervousness in most PNMs (and sisters).
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Old 09-20-2008, 01:11 AM
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Very nice post, APhiAnna. It was articulate and accurate. Thank you for adding to the positive and useful advice in our community!
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