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The Ultimate Guide to Sorority Rush

Sep 18th 2023

Full disclosure: sorority rush is different at every school, but we're here to tell you what no one else will. We're covering EVERYTHING about sorority recruitment - the good, the bad, and the ugly. OK, well, maybe not ugly, but you get the point. The worst thing about a new situation is not knowing what you're in for. Your nerves are probably off the chart and you're not sure what to expect. That's why we wanted to cover both sides of the process to help calm your nerves and give you a little inside info before the big event. We'll cover:

We thought it would be helpful to see both sides of rush so you can understand not only what you'll be going through, but what the coordinators will be going through as well. We're covering expectations of rush, outfits, and all the parts that make up sorority rush. Make sure to share this post with your friends so they know what to expect, too!

Pre-Rush: Sorority Rush Prep

Prep for rush is very intense; everyone is stressed and trying to get everything done before recruitment starts. Think of it as planning multiple parties with hundreds of people attending, one right after another. And your exec team or rush committee has to do it alone, PLUS coordinate you and all your sisters so that you look good.

There is a prep period of one or two weeks, depending on the school. The majority of the prep week(s) is spent learning the songs and/or chants that you and your sisters will sing at the start of each party. Before you start your conversations with girls, you put on a "show" of sorts. It sounds weird, but it's meant to welcome each group of girls into your house and to make them feel comfortable. Besides rush practice, you need to get your outfits together (more on this later). Just know that you MUST be prepared with all your outfits before rush starts so there are no mishaps. Recruitment coordinators want everyone to match very well so that it doesn't look sloppy. Sorority shirts are a big deal during rush and recruitment.

Once school starts, your chapter will start tabling. Tabling means all the chapters come out to a main walkway of the school and set up a table with photos, signs, and posters about the sorority. There will be four or five girls at the table, talking to freshmen as they pass by to get them excited. It is a great way to showcase your chapter before rush even starts! With that, let's get into the actual sorority recruitment process.

Part 1: What to Expect from Sorority Rush as a Freshman

Hi, freshmen! Welcome to Sorority Rush. First, you'll want to sign up for rush at your school. You can usually do this online, or at tabling that I mentioned earlier. Get your recruitment outfits together before rush starts (more details on outfits later in this post). You might be wondering how many days of rush are there. There are four or five days of rush itself, and then Bid Day. You have to go to all of the sorority houses first before you can narrow it down. During each round of rush, you'll choose your top sororities and they'll (hopefully) choose you too.

A note about the process of rush: It has to be a mutual "like" between you and the chapter. Unfortunately (for the sorority), if the chapter liked you but you didn't like the chapter, you will not see the chapter name on your card for the next day, and vice versa. The days of rush get more intense as you go - you'll stay longer at each house and talk to more girls, getting to know them and deciding if the sorority is right for you.

Sorority Rush Mapped Out

The first day or two (depending on how big your school is) is Letters Day. This is the day you go to all the houses (sometimes split into two days if there are more chapters at the school). You only have one conversation per house on this day, and sometimes it will be with one or two other rushees in a group setting. That can be annoying if you're an introvert but try to participate as much as possible. This is a great time to stand out because each chapter has to get through A LOT of conversations. Sometimes it's impossible to have one-on-one time on this day, so first impressions matter more than ever. You will note if you liked the house after the visit is over. You do this every day after each house you visit. Expect to be on your feet all day - bring a pair of flip-flops to wear in between houses.

The second day is Service Day - You're shown the chapter's chosen philanthropy (cause) that all of their fundraising efforts benefit. You will either do a craft with the sister you're talking to, or she will show you photos and posters of their fundraisers. This is a great time to learn more about what the sorority supports and how they work together. Does it seem like a team you'd be happy to be a part of? On the third day, you will be shown the entire sorority house. This is always the favorite day of rush. You'll get an inside peek at how the sisters live.

The fourth and final day is Pref Night. You see more of the house again and get to know the traditions. Pref Night is the most intense for the rushees because at this point you've already made it through several rounds of selections, and both you and the sororities are serious about one another. You can really picture yourself in the house--or not. The sisters get emotional and really share their sorority experiences with you. Tonight is the night you'll decide where you want to end up if you don't already know. This decision is hard for some girls, as they have two great houses that they preffed. But, the decision is the most rewarding!

Part 2: What to Expect from Sorority Rush as a Sister

During rush, expect long days. You're on your feet all day, and "on" all day as well - meaning you'll be talking to different girls each hour for some days, so it gets really exhausting. It's even more exhausting if you're not that into the conversation or if you don't go past surface-level topics (we've all been there).

If you live in the house, expect to not sleep very well. In fact, if you're on the exec or the recruitment committee, you might not be sleeping much at all. I know it sounds very daunting, but this is just because it all happens so fast. It is a very intense week with great rewards. As far as your conversations go, bring good conversation topics. You want the potential sisters to fall in love with your house. In fact - You want everyone to want to join your house. That means being nice and friendly, talking about all the parts you love about your house, and being open. All the stress will be worth it, I promise!

Part 3: The Rush Outfits from Both Sides

We wrote a full post about sorority recruitment outfits (What to Wear When You're Rushing a Sorority), so be sure and check that out for the full details! The days get more dressy as you go through rush. Quick recap:

  • Letters Day: The most casual day
  • Service Day: Sundress, romper or jumpsuit, wedges or sandals
  • House Tours: Dress and heels
  • Pref night: Nice dress with heels

The Types of Sorority Rush Outfits for Sisters

Usually, chapters wear the same types of outfits every year. They include very specific outfits, accessories, and shoes. Your outfits will be outlined at the beginning of summer so you have ample time to get all necessary pieces. One sister's experience at San Diego State went like this:

  • Letters Day: Each chapter has solid color tank tops with their letters embroidered that they wear each year on this day. We wore these with dark-wash jeans, tan wedges, and sunflowers in our hair.
  • Service Day: We wore long-sleeved blouses in neutral colors with white shorts and camel-colored heels.
  • House Tours Day: We wore a solid color skirt and a neural shirt tucked into the skirt, with tan wedges.
  • Pref Night: We wore black dresses and black heels.

Again, it totally depends on your school and the rush outfits that they have detailed, but you should have plenty of notice to get your outfits together in time.

Part 4: The Finale - Bid Day

The best part of the whole sorority rush process is Bid Day. Bid Day is one of the most exciting days of the year for sisters because you get to see all your hard work pay off when you see the girls you loved walking through the door having chosen your sorority. For freshmen, Bid Day is exciting because you get to join your favorite house and see that they love you back! Getting a bid is the most fun process. They will be handing out bids at a certain location at your school. You will wait in line to find out what house gave you a bid, and then when it's finally revealed, you go meet the other girls who received a bid from the house! A group of your new sisters will be waiting there with chapter T-shirts, welcoming you to your new house. It is such an exciting time!

Then, you will head to the chapter house (some schools have you run to the house; my school didn't) and be revealed to your new sisters. Usually, Bid Day includes lots of food, refreshments, pictures, and fun activities. When joining Alpha Phi at one university, they had a mechanical bull in the backyard. Going through rush for the second time on the other side, the group had a bounce house. Every year was a different treat and was so much fun. After Bid Day, you'll get to know everyone in your house in the following weeks. Your chapter will have bonding events for your pledge class, like sleepovers and whatnot.

Congrats on joining your fav house! Welcome to the next four years. Share this post with your friends who want to rush a sorority!