Information for Parents of Potential New Members
We know that many parents/guardians will participate in the decision of whether or not their daughter will participate in sorority recruitment. We want you to feel comfortable with this decision. Some parents are very familiar with the Greek community and are sorority members themselves, but to others it is an unfamiliar concept. For both groups, it is important to learn about sorority life and the process of joining. In this document we address many of the questions most parents ask us about.
Safety and Security
We know safety and security is a primary concern for parents. We want you to know that our sorority houses are regularly patrolled by University Police and because we are so close to the City of Troy police station they keep an eye on sorority hill. Each sorority has a group of alumnae volunteers who work very closely with the sorority to make sure that the sorority is operating as it should be. When a sorority hosts a social event every effort is made to make sure the event is safe. Security is hired, they travel on buses, adult chaperones are present and the sororities expect the host establishment to enforce the legal drinking age to ensure safety. Women found in violation of underage drinking are subject to discipline within their sorority which may very well mean losing their membership. Sororities help their members to see they can have a good time while maintaining high standards. Please remember that your daughter is ultimately responsible for her behavior and while the sorority will encourage safe behavior, if she engages in risky behavior she endangers her life and others. Our sorority women believe in looking out for each other, but they will not tolerate members who do not maintain a high standard of behavior.
When to Join a Sorority?
We know sorority life is not for every woman. We do want you to know that Fall recruitment is the major time sororities take in new members. Sometimes parents will say their daughter does not want to join until spring semester. We rarely have openings in sororities during spring semester. There might be a few openings in a couple of sororities spring semester but that is unpredictable. Sororities design their programs to help their new members get acclimated to college very quickly. Last Fall semester the overall GPA of the new members of sororities was a 2.99. Compare that to the average of the female freshman which was a 2.69. You can see the sororities are serious about grades and getting their members acclimated to campus. If your daughter does not go through recruitment this August and still wants to join a sorority, please encourage her to do so her sophomore year.
Be sure your daughter wants to join.
To some college women and their parents, joining a sorority sounds terrific. They want to have something to help them socially and academically while providing structure. But, some look at it as too restricting and too time demanding. Each student needs to look at their strengths and weaknesses and evaluate what they can do. Some questions that need to be thought of is do they want to go to weekly meetings, have required study hours, maintain a high standard of behavior, attend and participate in campus events and volunteer in the community. If this is too overwhelming, then do not encourage them to participate. Our campus has wonderful campus ministries, lots of service and leadership organizations and many athletic and cultural events to attend. There are many successful students at Troy University who do not join sororities.
What Does it Cost?
As you probably know the first cost associated with sorority life is the $80.00 recruitment fee ($95 after July 12). The first semester they will be $500 to $600 in ONE TIME fees. Some of those fees will be paid on Bid Day or very quickly afterwards. Most of these ONE TIME fees go to the national organization as pledging, initiation and/or insurance costs. All our sororities bill online through national companies that their national organizations have set up. Each sorority has a different way of billing whether it be monthly or by the semester. The good news is if your daughter shares with you her user name and password to the online billing system you can have access to her account. Monthly dues run around $130. Some chapters may be a little less some a little more. Once all bills are paid for a year most sororities cost about the same on this campus. Dues are used for the operation of the sorority. Examples of chapter operations – sponsoring an intramural team, sisterhood events for the chapter, tailgating for a football game, sisterhood and recognition events, formals, date parties, etc. T-shirts are not included in dues and t-shirts are very popular especially their first year. Sororities do not charge dues during the summer.
Let Your Daughter Sign Up for Recruitment
College can be a tough transition for a student. Some students are eager and anxious to handle everything while others are still expecting “momma” to do everything. Please let them sign up for recruitment on their own. Do not fill out their online application for them. Encourage her to carefully read the instructions and fill it out on her own – this way any mistakes made are her fault, not yours. Feel free to assist her, but let her do the entering in.
Move In Day
Move in day for those living in the residence hall is Saturday, August 3th. If your daughter has indicated on her online recruitment form that she is living on campus, we notify Housing, and they will be ready for her to check in. It is important to realize that the University rents out residence halls during the summer to conferences. Because we are coming back early some conferences may just have checked out the day before you arrive, so sometimes rooms are not clean when you check in. Housing does its best to avoid this but it sometimes happens, please be patient with this. It should take you about an hour to an hour and half to unload your car. At that time, we suggest that you leave your daughter to unpack and set up her room. She will also have time during the week to do so. Everything does not need to be perfect and in place before you leave. Also, we ask that unless you are from very far away, do not stay in Troy for all of sorority recruitment. There will be little time for you to visit with your daughter as she will be busy with recruitment. We understand there is a natural urge to stay and protect her, but the best way for her to adjust is to make friends with those going through recruitment with her and spend time with them.
We do want you to know that many moms and dads are wonderful volunteers for our sororities once the girls join. Many parents will come down and help behind the scenes with all kinds of sorority projects. Many parents will grill for tailgates and provide meals during sorority recruitment. So once your daughter joins a sorority, they would love for you to help.
Apartments, Trailers, Living at Home
We know that many women going through recruitment will not live on campus. One problem we know happens every year is that apartment complexes will not let the women move in for recruitment. You need to let the complexes know well in advance and ask them to cooperate. If they will not cooperate, your daughter needs to try and bunk in with friends. As a last resort she may want to stay with the Panhellenic Council in a hotel. If your daughter needs to stay in a hotel call Barbara Patterson at 334-670-3204 for more information. Another problem that arises is that potential new members are not allowed to live with sorority women the week of recruitment. The sorority woman is the one who is to find an alternate place to live. Your daughter and the sorority woman should work this out well in advance.
Also, if you and your daughter live in the Troy area and are willing to take a potential new member in for the week of recruitment, please let us know.
Please attend Bid Day.
Sorority Recruitment week is for students only. Families are invited to attend Bid Day and most do. This is when each potential member learns what sorority she has been placed in. The students will be in Elm Street Gym across the street from sorority hill. Only students are allowed in Elm Street gym during the distribution of bids. Families should be at sorority hill by 10:00 am. The women will be released from the gym no later than 10:30 am. After the women are released from the gym, they will go over to their sorority house and have pictures taken. Each sorority will have a quick meeting with parents. After about an hour, families leave and the members stay behind for lunch, get to know you games, swim parties, etc. which usually go well into the evening. So if you live close by we encourage you to attend. If you are coming from a far distance you will want to carefully consider whether or not you want to attend as you will not spend much time with your daughter that evening. If you can’t attend it is nothing to worry about. Also, if your daughter does not receive a bid from a sorority that morning she will know by 10:15 am and will be able to notify you to meet her elsewhere.
What are my daughter’s chances of getting in a sorority?
This is a very legitimate concern. We understand that your daughter may get her feelings hurt by either not getting into a sorority or not getting into the one she had her heart set on. You may have read in some of our materials that last year 84% of the women who went through recruitment pledged. Last year 338 women signed up for recruitment and 287 women were pledged. 33 of the women not pledged selected to withdraw from recruitment. Of the 51 women not pledged 37 at some point during recruitment were not asked back to any sorority and the other 14 selected to withdraw from recruitment. On Bid Day all of the women but 1 were pledged (this does not always happen). This sounds confusing, but if you can encourage your daughter to consider all her options and be open minded she will have a greater chance of pledging.
Please know that if your daughter is released from recruitment we have sorority women called Pi Chis who will notify them and help them if needed. Some released potential new members select to stay involved in their group activities. The Pi Chis also try to encourage them to get involved in other campus activities.
It is important that your daughter realize that sorority recruitment is like any other selection process. Job interviews, scholarship interviews, and team selections are a part of all our experiences. Sometimes we get selected and sometimes we do not. Putting her best foot forward with her recruitment application and preparing to meet and greet the sorority sisters is a very important life lesson. We hope that you will talk to her about her preparation for recruitment and how to handle disappointment if she should be released.
How does the recruitment process work?
If you were a member of a sorority, you might remember sorority recruitment as a process where the sorority extend invitations to the women to attend their parties and the women accepted or regretted those invitations. This model of recruitment no longer exists. Also, you may remember the terms “rush”, “rushee”. We no longer use those terms. You can see that those terms have been replaced by recruitment and potential new member. We use a model of recruitment called priority accept model based on statistics. Our overall goal is to place as many women as possible into sororities. To give an example, the first day of sorority recruitment she goes to 5 sororities and the next day she may go to 4 sororities. Your daughter will after the first round tell us which 4 sororities she would like to attend the next day and then rank the other sorority. Then the sorority gives us their list of women they would like back. Our system first tries to see which of those 4 have invited her back. If one does not invite her back, the system then tries to see if she was invited back to her next preference. Then potential member then receives a schedule letting her know where she will go. This process is repeated the next round. Please note that the rankings of your daughter and of the sororities are confidential and are not released to anyone.
Encourage Your Daughter to Be Open Minded
Each sorority at Troy University has something unique and wonderful to offer your daughter just as she has talents to offer each sorority. If your daughter goes into recruitment with the idea of only pledging one or two sororities she is setting herself up for disappointment. Encourage her to look for what is the best in every sorority she visits and to envision how she could make a difference in that group. Encourage her to remain positive and make decisions for herself. Many people love to give “advice” on sorority recruitment and when you start telling your friends your daughter is going through recruitment at Troy you will understand this. Please encourage her to make her decisions based on her experience in recruitment, not someone else’s opinions.
Recommendations are the most misunderstood part of sorority recruitment. A recommendation is like a letter of reference. You will hear many people tell you many different things about recommendations, most of which are untrue. First, it is the sorority’s responsibility to get a recommendation for your daughter. If she signs up early a sorority should have no problem getting a recommendation from your hometown. If she signs up late, they will scramble to find a recommendation, but will do so if they wish to pledge her.
We know in the state of Alabama everyone believes they must actively seek and get recommendations for their daughter. If you wish to do so, that is fine. Feel free to ask your friends who are sorority alumnae to write your daughter a recommendation. Many parents will tell us they don’t know anyone who is a sorority alumnae. Just start telling friends and associates that your daughter is going through sorority recruitment at Troy and you will be surprised at how many will tell you of their Greek affiliation and offer to write a recommendation.
Each national sorority has forms, most of which are now online (but user name and password protected). The actual form does not have to be filled out. We have provided the e-mail addresses of the sororities and if you know of a sorority alumnae who wishes to write a recommendation encourage her to email the sorority a reference. If the sorority wants the alumnae to fill out a form they will send it to her. Also, another big misconception is how many recommendations are necessary. Only one recommendation per sorority is needed. In the state of Alabama for some reason, rumors fly around you must have a certain number or the sorority won’t consider you. This is not true. They do not have to be a Troy University graduate to write a recommendation, but they do need to be an alumnae of a Troy sorority. For example your friend may be an alumni of Alpha Delta Pi, but was an undergraduate at the University of Alabama. It is fine for her to write the recommendation.
Do Upperclassmen Women have a chance in sorority recruitment?
Yes. In sorority recruitment the sororities look at the group of freshman women and the group of upperclassmen women in two separate pools. So they will give every consideration to each pool of women. Most women who go through recruitment are freshman.
How does sorority housing work?
During recruitment, your daughter will already be in the residence hall she is assigned to (if living on campus). The sorority houses generally are full when the sororities come back in August. On occasion a space might become open and if so they will let their new members know and see if they have any volunteers to move in. Sorority house prices are comparable to residence hall prices. At some point in your daughter’s time in Troy she may be asked to move in the sorority house. Generally the houses have waiting lists for those women wanting to move in. You will want to be careful every year to know what the sorority would expect of your daughter before signing a lease. The Housing Office will allow a woman to move from a residence hall space to a sorority house space with no penalty.
Beware of unfair practices over the summer (and protect your daughter from them).
Our Panhellenic Council has rules that govern sorority recruitment. These rules are to protect your daughter. Your daughter may have friends who are already in sororities at Troy. It is perfectly fine for their normal friendship to remain as usual. It is important that your daughter not let people overstep their boundaries where recruitment is concerned. Often sorority members, their mothers and alumnae will overstep the boundaries of appropriate contact and place their chapter and potential members in awkward positions. Here are some examples:
- Only organized Panhellenic groups should be holding meetings about recruitment. No particular sorority, mothers or alumnae groups should do this.
- No one should be contacting you or your daughter about recruitment if you don’t already know them. In addition, the people who do know you should not be contacting you regarding recruitment unless it is to write a recommendation. This includes friends taking a potential member out to discuss recruitment.
- No one should be sending your daughter cards, letters, or gifts, unless it is a gift giving occasion and the person is someone who would ordinarily be giving her a gift even if she weren’t participating in recruitment.
- No one should be discussing your daughter’s status or supposed status within a sorority with anyone, even you. Only a very small group of women actually see the official information submitted by the sororities and it is confidential, so anything you hear is going to be hearsay and mostly the opinion of people who don’t know the whole story.
- During recruitment, your daughter should not receive any cards, letters, gifts, or communication from sorority members, alums, or member’s mothers. She also should not try to contact them from the beginning of sorority recruitment until Bid Day. Contact includes, but is not limited to visits, phone calls, e-mails, text messages, Facebook messages, social media message, cards and letters.
My daughter is a legacy, will this help her get in?
Sororities at Troy consider their legacies very carefully. They will not decide to pledge someone just because she is a legacy. A legacy is someone whose mother, grandmother, or sister is a member of a sorority. Misconceptions about legacies abound. First, national policies vary concerning legacies. Troy University has three rounds of sorority recruitment. Sorority may or may not be required by their national organization to invite a legacy back to the second round of parties. Because we only have three rounds, most of our sororities are not obligated to invite a legacy back to the second round. Second, legacies are given the same amount of consideration as non-legacies. A woman will not get into a sorority just because she is a legacy. Third, if your daughter is released, the relative may or may not be notified by the sorority that your daughter has been released. Finally, if your daughter is a legacy, we know it is a natural tendency to lean toward that sorority. We certainly understand that. But, encourage her to go through recruitment with an open mind and to make new friends at all the sororities during recruitment.