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  #1  
Old 10-02-2020, 08:42 AM
Longhorn Mom Longhorn Mom is offline
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Cornell University

Not much about Cornell on this site so I'm putting my daughter's experience here to provide recent info (PC 17).

The Cornell Panhellenic website was pretty basic. We had to email them to ask about rec letters and were told they weren't required. Just to be on the safe side, my daughter secured letters for chapters she was interested in and a few others that were easy to get from family & friends. She collected 7 recs.

There are 13 NPC chapters on campus, 6 of which are single-letter chapters. The sororities are all housed plus they have annexes in College Town where seniors live. 2017 Rush was a 7 day process that took place in January of freshman year. Upstate NY in January is extremely cold to say the least. My daughter was provided with a list of suggested attire and tips for staying warm while navigating the logistics of each round. The Cornell campus is huge and the sorority houses are really spread out. They had a shuttle system, thank goodness, otherwise there would have been no way to get to all of the chapter houses in a comfortable, timely manner.

During fall semester, it was obvious that actives were told not to engage in sorority talk with girls who would be rushing. This was confirmed when my daughter was told as a sophomore not to discuss sorority life with freshman girls. This policy seems to have changed in light of new diversity goals.

There were 800+ girls registered for rush that year.

She met actives who knew students attending Texas and some who knew her cousin who was in a Cornell fraternity. She had below the maximum # of houses on her lists for all rounds. I was pulling for her to pledge her legacy house (her sister was an active at the Texas chapter). During Philanthropy, the legacy chapter officers singled her out for a tour of the house, showing her all of the secret spots. Some girls dropped out as the rounds progressed. She ended up accepting a bid to a different sorority with a pledge class of 47 or 48 girls.

Looking back, we could see that connections played a role for certain chapters. One girl she met was part of a NYC friend group that all ended up pledging the same 4 chapters. A gorgeous, super smart girl from the south dropped out after 3 rounds because she had no “core 4" chapters left. I've met beautiful, terrific girls in many different chapters and they’re all enjoying themselves in their sororities, so I would encourage girls to see the process through.

On the fraternity side, there are many we southerners have not heard of, some at Cornell since the 1860's. Their houses are very cool. I took pictures while on a tour, so PM me if you want a look! Having a cousin who was a fraternity active gave my daughter a relevant greek connection and invites to closed events.

In general, lots of affluence and east coast kids with impressive backgrounds.

Most students adjust to school away from home & greek life with no problem, but for my youngish daughter, predisposed to anxiety, from a different socio-economic background, she lacked the confidence for all of it.

The quest to be at-ease in general continues. Happily, she absolutely loves her Big, met some of her closest friends through her sorority and participated in chapter activities that worked for her.

Hope this information helps anyone going through rush at Cornell.
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  #2  
Old 10-02-2020, 09:48 AM
Benzgirl Benzgirl is offline
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Based on speaking with several Cornell alums, the recruitment is competitive and connections are important but comparing it with recruitment at Southern schools like Bama, Auburn and UT, it's a different competitiveness.

Recs don't seem to be as big of a deal, nor does being a legacy or if your went to a particular summer camp. This might be because it is not a state school and the student body is not overwhelmingly from one or two states. Since recruitment is in the Winter rather than Fall, PNMs have the chance to prove themselves as their own person rather than what high school they attended.

Also, these are some of the brightest students in the country. When recruiting as actives, they are really interested in what PNMs want to do with their life and they don't mean joining Junior League. Many freshman know exactly what they want to do. They don't just say "law school", they will say, "Immigration law on the Texas border working people escaping gang violence". Many of PNMs have visions of Wall Street so they will talk about Investment Banking or commodities trading.

Happy to hear your DD found her home and I always enjoy hearing of experiences of Ivy League schools that aren't having difficulties with their Greek System. I can't comment on the Fraternity side since the men I know that attended Cornell did not join the Greek System.
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Old 10-02-2020, 09:51 AM
carnation carnation is offline
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Originally Posted by Benzgirl View Post
Based on speaking with several Cornell alums, the recruitment is competitive and connections are important but comparing it with recruitment at Southern schools like Bama, Auburn and UT, it's a different competitiveness.

Also, these are some of the brightest students in the country. When recruiting as actives, they are really interested in what PNMs want to do with their life and they don't mean joining Junior League.
Junior League? Nobody wants to hear that down here! I can't think of anyone who would say that during recruitment!
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Old 10-02-2020, 10:09 AM
Benzgirl Benzgirl is offline
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Junior League? Nobody wants to hear that down here! I can't think of anyone who would say that during recruitment!
My cousin's DD got the question at UT around 2010.
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Old 10-02-2020, 10:21 AM
carnation carnation is offline
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That would've gotten you a weird look at Auburn or Arkansas even way back in the day.
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Last edited by carnation; 10-02-2020 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 10-02-2020, 10:26 AM
Benzgirl Benzgirl is offline
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That would've gotten you weird look at Auburn or Arkansas even way back in the day.
Fair enough. She had a good response too the question along the line of, "why would I want to do that?". She ended up in one of the top chapters at Texas and did not return to the one that mentioned Junior League. She graduated at the top of her class and passed all 4 parts of the CPA exam on the first try.
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Old 10-02-2020, 12:25 PM
Longhorn Mom Longhorn Mom is offline
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To me competitiveness is measured within each system based on the existance of tent talk and the desire to get into certain chapters so, from that respect, UT and Cornell rush are very similar.

As Benzgirl mentioned, summer camp connections were not a bid deal at Cornell but high school, social & family connections were. It was obvious to my Cornellian that actives from certain houses sized up PNMs based on their style, level of outgoing personality and Monclers (perceived wealth). Texas’ Big 6 and Cornell’s Core 4 is the same caste system of “top” & “bottom” chapters with girls at both schools dropping out of rush accordingly based on their invites.

The Cornell girls appear more activist so it will be interesting to see if they actually walk their talk on racial and socio-economic diversity & minority outreach. The university president is hugely anti-greek but thus far, the frats and greek system have escaped her wrath so that’s positive. The Cornell system is old and big compared to many schools, especially other Ivies. I doubt Martha Pollack will be able to break it.
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Old 10-02-2020, 12:28 PM
TLLK TLLK is offline
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Originally Posted by carnation View Post
Junior League? Nobody wants to hear that down here! I can't think of anyone who would say that during recruitment!

Laughing because my cousin is an alumna of Cornell's Kappa Kappa Gamma chapter and has always been involved in Junior league post graduation in 1985.
Both of her daughters attended Cornell as well and are now alumnae members of Pi Beta Phi though I don't believe that either are involved in Junior league yet.
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  #9  
Old 10-02-2020, 12:38 PM
carnation carnation is offline
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See, women would certainly join it when they're older. It's just that you wouldn't bring it up in recruitment--it would be like suggesting that's all you're good for.
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Last edited by carnation; 10-02-2020 at 12:45 PM.
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