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  #1  
Old 02-16-2013, 08:43 PM
Hartofsec Hartofsec is offline
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Why are recs absolutely necessary at some schools, while not expected at others?

Considering some discussion on another thread – I was wondering – why are recommendations absolutely necessary at some schools, while not expected at others (acknowledging that member selection policies vary among chapters)?

Before reading on this site, I assumed that recs were usually submitted prior to recruitment at just about every school (acknowledging that the recruitments at some of our universities would be considered ridiculously over-the-top by the majority of other Greeks nationwide).

I know a mom whose daughter is planning to attend Wash U next year, and mom assumes (as would I) that her daughter will need to have several recs per chapter, and that this would best be completed by summer’s end if possible (rush is deferred there). I just checked Wash U’s site, and didn’t find any info for PNMs regarding recs (or a colorful 50-page pdf on the fundamentals of recruitment and fashion, either ). Perhaps recs are not a part of the recruitment culture or expectation there (?) – the only other girl I know of there now isn’t in a sorority.

I guess my actual question is . . . if chapters at schools outside of the must-have-recs list are able to recruit wonderful pledge classes full of accomplished and felony-free young women, are alum-generated and endorsed recs really necessary? Or do we just do this because we have always done things this way?

Just food for thought. Don’t get me wrong, I still see the value of personal recommendations, but a lot has changed in regard to transmission of information, social networking, numbers of legacies, and OOS campus populations in the last three decades or so (at my own school anyway). I can't imagine that alum-endorsed recs will become obsolete anytime in the near future, but I’d be interested in knowing how PNM info is gathered/handled by chapters at schools where recs are not expected (not intended to tread on membership selection info).

*If any PNMs are reading, by all means heed the “ Schools where you absolutely positively need recs” thread:
http://www.greekchat.com/gcforums/sh...d.php?t=112718

*** And if anyone has any advice on recs (or recruitment in general) at Washington University, please post (I did search the “schools where you must have recs” thread and the forum search, but didn’t see a search result concerning recs at Wash U).

Last edited by Hartofsec; 02-16-2013 at 09:02 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-16-2013, 09:15 PM
happilyanchored happilyanchored is offline
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  #3  
Old 02-16-2013, 09:19 PM
DubaiSis DubaiSis is offline
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I personally think they have outlived their usefulness. I like the idea of an alumna submitting a rec for her best friend's daughter who she has known and loved since literally the day she was born. But the recs from an Alumnae Panhellenic or your dentist's sister's hair dresser seem like a hazing before the fact task.

I wish NPC would get together and ban them, but that doesn't just stray but treads heavily on member selection. I'd rather see a day of rush added so the chapters can get to know the girls better and eliminate this archaic process. Or 5 minute interviews similar to the interviews that happen in colonies. The alums would be doing these interviews. And if the chapters don't like this because it's giving too much power to the alums, then they shouldn't be using recs anyway, because that's exactly what they're doing by putting so much importance on them. I picture this round happening between rounds 1 and 2. Just a thought!
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Old 02-16-2013, 09:31 PM
amIblue? amIblue? is online now
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In my experience at two schools on the must have recs list, it's just another hoop for the new members to jump through and a check box for the chapter to check off. I think they should be eliminated.
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  #5  
Old 02-16-2013, 09:44 PM
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IndianaSigKap IndianaSigKap is offline
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Recs can often cause more problems than they remedy. For girls like me who came from very small towns, it can be trying and frustrating to locate recs in the first place. If I had had to obtain recs in my town of fewer than 5,000 people I would have been able to locate AXO, ADPi and SK for sure. I only knew about the AXO because she was the mother of dear childhood friends and she is the one who mentioned even joining a sorority. If I had asked around I would have found out that there was a group of women from my hometown who were all SKs together at IU in the early 1970s. I found this out later after I was initiated and was wearing my lavaliere at a local restaurant when a friend of the family told me her daughter was a SK and so were her friends. I grew up near a smaller commuter college and many of my teachers went to school there where the was no Greek life until the later 1970s. The ADPi I also found out much later after recruitment. The closest alumnae panhellenic was an hour away, so none of them would have personally known me.

To get to the point, girls from small towns or who are in remote areas are less likely to find recs and will have a more difficult time. This puts them behind the 8 ball to begin with but it's in no way indicative of their ability to be good members. I find the practice somewhat discriminatory.
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Last edited by IndianaSigKap; 02-16-2013 at 09:46 PM.
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  #6  
Old 02-16-2013, 09:58 PM
greekdee greekdee is offline
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I can't remember which SEC school it was, but one of the Panhellenic website's addressed recs as something that helps sororities "manage the numbers."

I could be wrong, but I think recs becoming mandatory at some schools has evolved from RFM requiring chapters to release a certain number of PNMs starting early in the process. Think about a school like Bama where approximately 2000 PNMs rushed last year. First round brings all of them through your house where they spend maybe 30 minutes talking to a couple of sisters. How in the world do you make cuts with those kinds of dynamics? There has to be criteria for making them automatic -- and that criteria seems to be lower GPA or lacking a rec to your chapter.

Just my thoughts, but that's why I think they've become a huge deal at some schools where recruitment is fiercely competitive and there are record numbers of PNMs. "Managing the numbers" as it was said. I do a lot of recs every year and always tell the PNMs that the goal is to keep them in the game past first round. Recs don't even guarantee that, but do seem to up the chances in these massive SEC recruitments.

I, too, would like to see them eliminated and it isn't because I mind doing them. I don't mind at all, but they are often one of -- if not the -- most stressful aspects of recruitment prep for PNMs (and their moms) at these competitive schools. Given the purpose (I think) these recs really serve, I don't know how to make them unnecessary in such environments.

Last edited by greekdee; 02-16-2013 at 10:43 PM.
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  #7  
Old 02-16-2013, 10:44 PM
ASTalumna06 ASTalumna06 is offline
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Coming from a school without recs at all, this is what I don't understand:

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndianaSigKap View Post
For girls like me who came from very small towns, it can be trying and frustrating to locate recs in the first place.

To get to the point, girls from small towns or who are in remote areas are less likely to find recs and will have a more difficult time. This puts them behind the 8 ball to begin with but it's in no way indicative of their ability to be good members. I find the practice somewhat discriminatory.
Why make it so difficult for someone to join? And let's say you did in fact track down recs to 5.. 10.. 15 different chapters (depending on where you attend school) - you struggled to get them. You found anyone you possibly could, maybe sat with them for a cup of coffee, and this stranger is going to write you a rec, defending your character and putting their own a** "on the line," so to speak?

Here's a question from someone who knows very little (and has never actually seen a rec in her life): What do you think would be more valuable to you as an active sorority member? A rec from an alumna of your sorority from another school, whom you've never met, who may have only met her PNM once? Or a "rec" from a teacher, coach, employer, etc. of the PNM who has seen the PNM work and has spent countless hours working with them and getting to know them?

Personally, if it were up to me, I know I'd choose the latter.
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Old 02-16-2013, 10:46 PM
adpiucf adpiucf is offline
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Someone should forward this thread to all 26 NPC's!
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  #9  
Old 02-16-2013, 11:07 PM
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IndianaSigKap IndianaSigKap is offline
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Someone should forward this thread to all 26 NPC's!
I totally agree. I also agree with AST's post, what does the recommendation from an alumna who met the girl for an hour really mean in the grand scheme of things? I am very glad my campus is not one of those must have campuses or I might not have been Greek at all.
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Old 02-16-2013, 11:13 PM
Hartofsec Hartofsec is offline
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All great points – I agree (greekdee) that lack of a rec is probably an easy way to sort invites for an upcoming round in some of these massive recruitments.

Which overlaps IndianaSigKap’s point about the difficulty some girls from small communities may have obtaining several recs for every chapter -- a PNM could even become a “rush crush” of an active who takes her through, but if there are no alum contacts in her community who the busy chapter advisors or membership chair can locate quickly (before decisions are made), then she may fall through the cracks.

Just thinking out loud – when my daughter registered for recruitment, part of the registration involved completion of an online form that included some of the information that was also on her resume (likely the most important items). I think that GPAs may have been verified via university admission records. So I was wondering if some system developed in this vein might be as useful, and potentially easier and more equitable to PNMs, than the same info submitted by alums. (I realize this is probably SEC heresy)

And like DubaiSis indicated, if the rec is coming from the dentist’s sister’s hairdresser, then it really isn’t any more meaningful than what the PNMs could just submit themselves.

I guess this really wouldn’t do much to manage the numbers, but it might help reduce and organize the mountain of paper that the membership chairs receive, and render the information easier to compare (every PNM submits info on the same form).

And this would be a lot less stressful for the PNMs (and their moms). A friend who is originally from Boston thought I was kidding, and then crazy, when I explained what her daughter likely needed to gather before rush at LSU.

Last edited by Hartofsec; 02-17-2013 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 02-16-2013, 11:18 PM
KDCat KDCat is offline
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Originally Posted by IndianaSigKap View Post
I totally agree. I also agree with AST's post, what does the recommendation from an alumna who met the girl for an hour really mean in the grand scheme of things? I am very glad my campus is not one of those must have campuses or I might not have been Greek at all.

Without getting too much into membership selection... This is the only input many alumnae get into membership selection. If it's a lifelong sisterhood, our opinions should be heard, too.

I've worked recruitment at two different campuses (small chapters) that did not require recs. I assure you that recs were obtained for the PNMs that the chapter wanted. They were just obtained behind the scenes without input from PNMs. I think PNMs are better off if they obtain their own recs. It allows them to have input into who is giving them a rec.
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Old 02-16-2013, 11:38 PM
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IndianaSigKap IndianaSigKap is offline
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Without getting too much into membership selection... This is the only input many alumnae get into membership selection. If it's a lifelong sisterhood, our opinions should be heard, too.
Yes, if that alumna wants a voice. If the alumna volunteers to write the rec for a girls she knows, then great. We've all done it. That's the best case scenario. But what happens in the instances where the alumna does not know the girl, meets her for an hour or so and then writes the rec? Most of us could carry on a pleasant conversation with a stranger for an hour or so, but do we really know the stranger at the end of the encounter? What does a rec from a stranger really say? I know cases where the alum has written a rec for a girl they barely know because it's a friend's granddaughter. Then they come to find out that the granddaughter is the queen of the red solo cup on her social media. Not all alumnae still know how to search social media for such clues. This rec was taken seriously and another deserving girl was cut because she had no rec. Just playing devils' advocate, here.
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Old 02-16-2013, 11:56 PM
Hartofsec Hartofsec is offline
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Originally Posted by KDCat View Post
Without getting too much into membership selection... This is the only input many alumnae get into membership selection. If it's a lifelong sisterhood, our opinions should be heard, too.
I can understand that -- for the PNMs who alums know very well. On the other hand, this can also lead to some conflict and hard feelings when an alum's favorite PNM or legacy is released.

I've written recs on girls whose parents I knew better than the girl herself, and on girls I haven't known all their lives. I also disclosed how well/long I knew the PNM -- and was content to leave the rest to the chapter (without feeling offended over my input one way or another). Most of the girls I know very, very well are daughters of close friends and family, and/or those who were clustered around my own daughter's age.

Maybe alums could still write personal letters of support if they wished, on their own (unsolicited), for the few girls they know well and are really passionate about.

Like I said, just thinking out loud (meandering mostly I guess).

Last edited by Hartofsec; 02-17-2013 at 12:09 AM.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:26 AM
DubaiSis DubaiSis is offline
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I have wondered if the "do you know the rushee personally" box on our profile forms (I don't know what other sorority forms say but I've heard here that there is a similar question on other forms) isn't telling them whether to keep or round file the form. But if that's the case, I wish they would say "we will no longer accept recommendations for members you do not personally know." And then we could stop telling girls they absolutely positively have to have recs.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:35 AM
greekdee greekdee is offline
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Back in my day (boy do I sound like my grandmother or what), a rec was a rare and precious jewel. Believe me, when the rush chair said "we got a rec on her," the response was "ooooh wow" and that rushee got a closer look. Today, in the SEC and schools like it, I think the conversation is more like "Rec? Check."

I just don't know how to eliminate the current rec situation in these huge recruitments because recs do factor into who survives early release under RFM. Eventually, though, everyone at these schools will have recs because the word is out. What then? Release the girls who have less than 12 recs? If GPA becomes the sole factor in automatic early cuts, it will get to the point where a 3.8 is considered on the low end of the scale. That's ridiculous. Hey, maybe total can be raised to 700! Seriously, there has to be a better way to manage the numbers.

I just wish I knew what it was, but feel like it needs to be built into the recruitment process, allowing more opportunity to meet PNMs...yet these SEC recruitments are already made up of long, jam-packed days. If you start having a lot of early pre-recruitment events, well, that will put a lot of OSS girls at a disadvantage. Given the dynamics they are working with, I don't see the current rec situation changing in the near future.

Man, can you imagine what the mail load looks like? Imagine if every one one of Bama's 2000 PMNs had two recs to every chapter? Would not want to sort through that!

I do wonder how deferred recruitment might work at these schools with massive, uber-competitive recruitments. It would give sorority members a whole semester to meet PNMs and see them out and about. I don't see it happening, at least not in the SEC where tradition rules...but you do sometimes need to change with the times and adapt to your environment! Just a thought, good or bad.

Last edited by greekdee; 02-17-2013 at 01:58 AM.
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