When you think of a sorority, the first things that come to mind might be repping letters around campus, the excitement of big-little week, and recruitment videos filled with glitter, pop music, and smiling sisters. While sorority life might be a little bit of all those things, as a sorority woman myself, I can promise you that it’s also so much more. Sure, having your letters printed on any and all apparel you can imagine, and a little who you could easily see as your biological sister, all come with the moment you accept your bid, but there’s a lot else that comes with joining a sorority. For those of you already thinking of sorority rush (and maybe even planning your outfits, too), I reached out to sorority women across chapters and campuses, to put together a list of the things to consider before joining a sorority, so you know exactly what you can expect from your new sisterhood.
“You are always wearing your letters–that’s the biggest commitment. Even if you aren’t physically wearing them, you represent your sorority all the time. Be kind, considerate, and follow the values you and your sorority believe in.” – Marissa Wagner, Phi Sigma Sigma at Quinnipiac University
“I think I expected to make really good friends really quickly and that didn’t happen. It took me a while before I found my group in the sorority and even now some of my best college friends are outside the sorority.” – Madison Nelson, Delta Gamma at University of Delaware
“I got involved as soon as I joined my sorority as a freshman and have taken a position every year. I find it tough at times, but very rewarding. If you’re in a sorority and that’s not your main priority, that’s okay also. As long as you stay engaged with your sisterhood, it’ll be a tool to lift you up, not bring you down.” – Ariana Nathani, Delta Gamma at Carnegie Mellon University
“When it comes to thinking about and enjoying a sorority, I truly believe that it’s important to go into the complete experience from recruitment to new member period and post-new member period with an open mind and zero expectations. Simply see what happens and give everything a good try just to see. Of course, in the event that you don’t feel comfortable with something, you have to do what is best for you and your values. If you decide after that it’s not for you, at least you have the peace of mind that you have given it a good try and were able to learn from the experience things about yourself. And if you ultimately are loving it, it’s great to know that you were able to look past any preconceived notions in order to find something you love!” – Margo Ghertner, Alpha Epsilon Phi at Boston University
“I was initially hesitant to go through recruitment–actually I was so nervous that I decided not to rush at the very last minute during my freshman year and ended up going through informal recruitment as a sophomore. I think a huge part of why I was so nervous was because I thought you had to be a certain type of girl to join a sorority and I didn’t think I fit that mold. However, once I went through recruitment I realized the “sorority girl” stereotype is completely untrue, sororities are full of women with different backgrounds, experiences, personalities, and talent. When going through recruitment don’t expect to walk into a room of cookie-cutter girls, everyone is so different and you’ll get to know people you otherwise wouldn’t have met.” – Kate Day, Alpha Sigma Alpha at Loyola University Chicago
“Something that can be forgotten at times is the financial aspect of being in a sorority, especially if your sorority has a house. Even if it doesn’t, you have to consider paying dues, registration for certain philanthropy events, buying apparel, etc.” – Nicole Marino, Delta Delta Delta at Boston University
“Be friends with girls in other organizations! One of my best friends isn’t in the same organization as me, and that’s okay. The Panhellenic community is meant to be just that: a community of women. You don’t have to limit yourself to just your sisters.” – Riva Neumann, Delta Gamma at New York University
“I always tell women: you get what you put into it. So many people expect that bond to be formed instantly with other sisters, but that’s not always the case. Try your best to attend lots of events, or even something as simple as study hours. If you go into it and don’t put forth effort, then you risk being disappointed.” – Allison Paananen, Phi Mu at Sacramento State
“Know that although you’ll find a great group of people in your sorority, you won’t always get along with everyone in the chapter—and that’s okay. I’ve found my best friends in my chapter, as well as girls who I can network with and girls to share notes with. It’s a great community to find girls that are likeminded but they don’t necessarily have to be your best friends.” – Maya Ernest, Sigma Delta Tau at Boston University
“Consider how it fits into your lifestyle. I was in a sorority for a year and a half before realizing I didn’t enjoy going to date parties, socials, or mandatory events. I also commuted to school so having chapter meetings late in the evening during the week was a huge inconvenience for me. Ultimately, I disaffiliated.” – Diana Oborna, Delta Phi Epsilon at Temple University
“I’ll always say I wasn’t a sorority girl going into recruitment. But once I met people as nice as my sisters, I knew that’s where I wanted to be. It can bring you out of your shell so much. I went from not being able to start a conversation with someone to finally feeling confident enough to make good first impressions on interviews. Overall, don’t be closed-minded. The interactions may help your future so much.” – Alexa Jackson, Sigma Gamma Phi at SUNY Oneonta
“Sisterhood doesn’t happen overnight! Go to every event, talk to every sister, get involved in leadership roles. I landed a full-time job in my field straight out of college and it was because of my connection with another sister who had interned there previously. The job wasn’t posted online or anything—if I hadn’t joined my sorority and met that sister, I never would’ve gotten it. You never know what opportunities your sorority has for you, so get as involved as you can.” – Kayla Helena Arias, Alpha Sigma Tau at Rowan University
“Just because you are in one sorority doesn’t mean you hate anyone from another. The Greek community is supportive of each other as a collective whole. You will make so many friends in other chapters and will support their successes, just as they will support yours.” – Alyssa Minder, Chi Omega at Illinois State University
What surprised you about going Greek and joining a sorority? Let us know in the comments below!
Opening image by Demi Balogun.