You've arrived at school and want to get involved with a sorority, but you don't know how or what to expect. Joining a sorority can be very difficult when you are unsure of what to expect or what step comes next in the process. Despite differences between each and every sorority, they all have a similar process. Knowing what is in store for you before you begin the process can make it much more enjoyable.
- Recruitment. All sororities must find members to be successful. This process can be done formally, through a process known as "Rush" or "Rush Week," or informally. If a rush is being conducted, sororities will invite their recruits, prospective new members of their choosing, to attend events either at the sorority house or at another location. Other girls who are simply wishing to look at multiple sororities may also attend events such as these. As indicated by its name, informal recruiting is casual recruitment of potential new members at other school activities or by chance meeting. Nearly every school and sorority recruits by both of these means. The goal of both of these processes is to find girls who fit the characteristics of the sorority.
- Academic Requirements. Before you can become a member of some sororities, you may have to meet preset academic requirements. These may be set by the school or by each individual sorority. Some requirements include having completed a certain number of credits or maintaining a minimum grade point average to stay involved. Some sororities may be banned from adding new members if they do not meet the standards required by their charter or the university. If both the sorority and their recruits meet these requirements, you will then move on to the pledging process.
- Pledge Invitations. In order to begin the pledging process, you must receive an invitation or "bid" from the sorority. Acceptance of this bid means that you are now officially a "pledge." Being a pledge entails several things. This status allows for a limited number of sorority house privileges and lasts until you are initiated as a full house member. You are only permitted to pledge one house at a time, and if you choose to become initiated, you are unable to join any other social sororities. This ban does still allow for you to join other professional, service or honorary sororities in the future.
- Pledge Requirements. What you are required to do when pledging varies among universities and sororities. Some sororities simply require that you fit in with the organization's characteristics and other members. Despite differences at nearly all sororities, there are common requirements among most sororities. These include wearing something to indicate you are a pledge or new member, and often include a pin of some type. Other examples include learning about the history and inner workings of the sorority and performing public service.
- Initiation. If you successfully complete the pledging process for the sorority of your choosing, you will then be initiated. The active members will invite the pledges who have completed the pledge process to become initiated as full members. This initiation is typically not conducted until the end of a semester-long pledge. This initiation process indicates your agreement to act in a manner fitting of the organization and to be an example for others.