How to Get Sorority Recommendations

When I graduated from high school and started my college plans, I let my mother talk me into going through Rush to get into a sorority.  Nowadays, they call it "Recruitment."  Whatever.  The important thing to note is that I did not want to be in a sorority but I let my mom talk me into it.  The school I was going to attend, the University of Oklahoma (BOOMER!), was predominantly Greek.  It wasn't just an extra thing on campus.  You either were or your weren't Greek.

When I agreed to this mess, I didn't know what I was getting in to.  All of a sudden, I had to ask all of my friends' moms to write me recommendations so that I would be invited back to the sorority houses.  Say what?  I had no idea what this meant.

You see, my mother was a baton twirler who attended a couple of years of college.  She wasn't a sorority girl.  I wasn't raised under the notion of being a legacy to a sorority like the other girls I was about to meet.  This was a whole new world to me.

My mom made me write a resume of high school academic and activity information and send pictures out all for the sake of getting invited to attend sorority parties.  She refused to do this for me even though it was her idea.  Then I had to write thank you notes for the recommendations that were written.  I was hating life and trying to figure out a way to get out of this mess.

Going through rush knowing no one and having no clue about the sororities was a bizarre experience.  Somehow I lucked into pledging a top house at the University of Oklahoma.  I'm still not sure how that happened.  And while I can't claim to have a lot of close friendships from my Kappa days, I will say that I wouldn't have met the Doc without my Kappa Kappa Gamma connections.  His little sister was my roommate in the house.

Flash forward to present day KKG alumnae-hood.  My after college Kappa experience has been much more favorable.  I have loved being part of our local alum group.  I also now write a lot of recs for a lot of girls I don't even know.  Most of them have great manners and readily give me the information that I need.  But many of them have no manners at all.  It is for this reason that I am posting about sorority recommendations (recs) today.

If you have a daughter, listen up.  
My mom was right.  
You don't hear me admit that often.

Mrs. Priss' Recommendations for... Recommendations:
1. If you don't have a "Greek" (sorority) family, find a sorority mentor who will walk you through the process.  Last year, my cousin's friend was going through rush at Ole Miss (!) and knew nothing.  I schooled her on the ins and outs of the sorority biz.  I wish someone had instructed me like this.
2. There is a place on my recommendation form that asks if I personally know you and how long I have known you.  Make it a point to meet me so I can say that we know each other.
3. If I don't know you, I will be asking around to find out your reputation.  You will have no control over who I ask.  Your reputation is important.  Always.
4. Don't send me a picture by email.  I need a real picture.  My forms have to be mailed in, not emailed.  Other sororities may have electronic submission so ask each individual what their preference is.
5. Be prompt with replies to my questions.  I once wrote a horrible wreck rec for a girl going through recruitment at my alma mater.  The reason?  She emailed me a resume with only half of the information I needed and never responded to my emails asking for more information.  After waiting two weeks, I wrote the rec.  I sent it in with a bunch of "I don't know" comments in the blanks.  I was glad she didn't get invited back to my house.  Turns out, she didn't get invited back to any houses. Surprise, surprise.
6. Contact me personally.  Don't drop your information off assuming I will just get the job done. In fact, don't just drop off your resume and picture.  Include a note saying: "I appreciate that you are doing this for me.  Please contact me with any questions you might have." Don't have your mom ask me and do all of the work for you.  It's rude.  You make the contact and ask for the recommendation.  You're the one that wants to join, right?
7. If I'm impressed with you, I will send a letter along with your recommendation.  The actives in the house will READ these.  We did, anyway.  In fact, we actually sat around at tables reading recs and letters sent from our alum for each and every girl who would be entering our doors.  I still meet people that I remember learning about during rush - even though we didn't pledge them.
8. Get involved in a variety of activities while you are in school.  Sorority girls like activities.  It also gives me something to write about in your rec or letter.
9. Be a leader.  Doesn't matter how small the group is, sign up for leadership roles.  You need to stand out.  There are a lot of outstanding girls wanting the same spot you do.
10.  Grades do matter.  My sorority would not consider what they call a "grade risk" no matter how cute you were.  These days, a 3.5 isn't all that impressive.
11. Smile.  Your face is the first impression.  Don't be a sourpuss.  I tend to be more reserved so this was something I had to force my face to do.
12. Follow up with a thank you.  When you thank your rec writer, it's not only good manners - it might also trigger an extra reaction like... finding out who knows someone in the house and putting in a good word for you.  Besides, I'm not just giddy over writing recs.  I take time out from my own busy life to do this for you.

While I do understand that being in a sorority is not that biggest thing in the universe, I see a lot of errors among the girls trying to get in.  I'm fairly certain we aren't teaching gracious living.  And while we laugh at the Southern Belle Primer, there's a lot of truth in it.  To get ahead, you've got to put your game face on.  Good manners will get you far in life - sorority or not.

I would be remiss if I didn't tack this list onto my forever long post.  This book came out a year after I pledged my blue and blue loyalty to Kappa Kappa Gamma.  And just to be clear, I am not a Junior Leaguer. I bet there are a lot of sighs of relief among the JL population right about now.
A Southern Belle’s Ten Golden Rules
1) Never serve pink lemonade at your Junior League committee meetings. It has communist undertones.
2) Always wear white when you walk down the aisle (even if it’s for the third time).
3) Never wear white shoes before Easter or after Labor Day. The only exception, of course, is if you’re a bride. Bridesmaids, however, must never wear white shoes. Bridesmaids’ shoes should match the punch.
4) It doesn’t matter if you marry a man who doesn’t know the difference between a shrimp fork and a pickle fork. You can always teach him. Just make sure he can afford to buy you both.
5) Never date your sorority sister’s ex-husband until at least three years after the divorce. You might need her to write your daughter a Kappa Kappa Gamma recommendation one day. Just remember it’s a lot easier to find a new man than it is to get your daughter into Kappa.
6) Never marry a man whose mother and grandmother owned silver plate instead of real silver. He’s not used to quality and he’ll try to cheat you on the divorce settlement.
7) It’s never to soon to write a thank-you note. Some belles take the notes and a pen with them to party. In the middle of the evening they go into the ladies’ room and write a thank-you describing how much they enjoyed the dinner (naming specific items). They then put the note in the mailbox as they leave. The hostess receives it first thing in the morning. Sure this is compulsive, but you’re going to have to be compulsive if you want to be president of the Junior League.
8 ) Never show your bosom before evening and never wear and ankle bracelet before anything. Girls who wear ankle bracelets usually end up twirling batons. There has never been a baton twirler who became Miss America and there’s certainly never been a baton twirler in the Junior League.
9) Never chew gum in public and never smoke on the street.
10) Buy low. Sell high.

Take this advice with a grain of salt.  If you want to join a group, you need to look a like a perfect addition to it.  The group will need to see that you will add value to what they already have.  The whole sorority experience isn't just about naked pillow fights and party dates.

Best of luck to your future sorority girls and moms!

~ Mrs. Priss ~

Leaving you wondering about the naked pillow fights like...

1 comment:

Ella Garcia said...

Good day!

I am Patricia Gabrielle Garcia, an incoming international freshman at the University of Texas at Austin from the Philippines. I am excited to go through recruitment this fall; unfortunately, there is not much knowledge about or resources for Panhellenic. I have read your article on sorority recruitment, and I would like to know if there was anyway to properly ask about recruitment and the sorority experience itself. If you are willing, my email address is I look forward to your reply! Thank you!


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