I've been wanting to post my retro recruitment story for a while now, and finally found the time.
I went through formal recruitment at a school which had four chapters. I will use my favorite stores as their code names:
Abercrombie & Fitch
I always knew I wanted to be in a sorority. The summer before I left for college, I found myself visiting the web sites for each of the chapters, and emailing the Recruitment Chairs for more information. I figured it would be a great idea to get my name out there early in the game! To my surprise, only Bloomingdales responded. Maybe the Recruitment Chairs were too busy to respond? Maybe the site was outdated and I had the wrong contact information? Whatever the case was, the only chapter I had an impression of heading into formal recruitment was Bloomingdales.
The first night of recruitment was very informal. We met with our Rho Chis and our groups beforehand for an information session. I am a very outgoing person and was able to make friends easily with a few of the girls in my group - *Marcy* lived in my dorm, *Samantha* was overly friendly and had a cool accent, *Jackie* was very outspoken - but in a good way, and *Karen* was quiet, but seemed like she'd make an awesome friend. My roommate *Jane* was also going through recruitment, but was not in the same group as me.
As we made our way to the university hall that was holding recruitment, I noticed that all Rho Chi groups were in the same place. Also, all four sororities were in the same room, all in their respective letters. I got to speak with sisters from each chapter, but couldn't tell anyone apart by the end of the night and barely remember the conversations I had. I remember trying to sell my experience in sports and philanthropy in high school - both of which all chapters seemed to be impressed by.
This evening was not overly exciting, and I was looking forward to getting to know each house a little better.
Round 1 was definitely what I expected it to be. First, I visited Abercrombie & Fitch. The girls in this room were all so "perfect." They had great haircuts, great outfits, great personalities - how could anyone not want to join this chapter? The girls in this room reminded me exactly of my friends in high school, and I felt very comfortable. This chapter even invited some of the rushees to meet them at a fraternity party later that night (which at the time, I did not realize was not allowed). I could definitely see myself as an A&F.
My second party was at Bloomingdales. I went into this party knowing the Recruitment Chair's name, and made it a point to find her and connect with her. She was impressed that I remembered her name. She seemed a bit shy to me - almost too shy to be in charge of an outgoing experience like recruitment. She then introduced me to the new Recruitment Chair - *Lisa* - they had just switched before formal. Lisa and I had so much in common - I knew that if I joined this chapter I'd want her to be my big sister. Yet, I was unsure how I really felt about this chapter. Most of the girls seemed awkward, as though the conversations were forced and they didn't all get along very well. I had mixed feelings about this house.
Next, I went to Nordstrom. To this day, I wonder if my group caught this chapter by surprise when we entered the room. The sisters were sitting down, talking about crude sexual subjects and cursing. They realized we had entered the room and quickly jumped up and started the conversations. The girls in this house seemed very casual - too casual for my taste. I spoke with a few girls during the party, and didn't find an overwhelming connection. I was not impressed with this house.
Finally, I made it to Banana Republic. This party was much smaller than the others and the girls were overly friendly to greet us PNMs at the door. This chapter sang a song, which caught me off guard - none of the others had done this. The sisters all seemed very different from each other - some awkward girls, some pretty girls, some sporty girls, etc. I had never pictured a sorority to be so diverse. I was a little surprised by the sisters conversations. They talked to us PNMs as though we'd definitely get a bid from their house, and continued to sell us on all of their qualities and accomplishments. I left this house knowing that I would not fit in.
The first night was so overwhelming. I was glad to have only gone through 4 parties. Many of my friends at larger schools had gone to 20 or so during Round 1!!! At the end of the night, I ranked the chapters...
1. Abercrombie & Fitch
3. Banana Republic
I couldn't bring myself to rank Nordstrom after their rudeness at the party. None of my group members seemed to even notice this, and all ranked Nordstrom in their top 3. I just couldn't let it go.