Social sororities, those that people are most familiar with, recruit new members through a process called "Mutual selection". The challenge to potential new members (PNMs) is navigating rush successfully. The goal of rush is to get a bid.
Many girls who do not get a bid rack their brains trying to figure out why they were not chosen by a particular - or any - sorority. While there are strict guidelines against discrimination of all kinds, there is a very calculated "formula" for observing and choosing new members.
Rushees or PNMs will go to a series of parties. Each woman is being evaluated. Communication skills, appearance, high school and college transcripts (which the sorority has access to) which list your GPA and activities and offices held, even your hometown - all matter.
Every minute of every party is choreographed. Members rehearse conversations, practice telling specific stories, and have memorized questions designed to get the PNM to reveal information that they may not realize that they are revealing. Some sororities rehearse communication for 2 HOURS PER DAY the week before rush begins.
Reasons why you may or may not be offered a bid:
- being identified as a “scholarship risk”. Even if your GPA is at or above the minimum required, it may not be high enough. Example: 2.9 and below as a freshman, 2.5
and below. Only a small percentage of scholarship risk PNMs can be selected.
- Leadership experiences.
- Geographics. If 50 percent of the students are from the state, the new member class should reflect that. Same with other areas. So in some cases, being from a different part of the country might be a plus, if there is a certain percentage of students from that area.
- People who are from "desirable" locations, such as a certain state, a cosmopolitan city, even other countries.
- Class balance requirements. Freshman obviously have the most time to devote to the chapter, but there is a need to have enough memebers at each grade level to ensure the vitality and desirablility in the eyes of PNMs.
- Legacies. A legacy is a daughter or sister, and sometimes even stepsisters and stepdaughters. These ladies are usually guaranteed to make it to the second round of recruitment, and are automatically placed higher on the bid list if the chapter wants to extend a bid.
- References. Some schools or sororities pretty much require them.
- Unique qualities, talents, work experience, and hobbies. Athletes, muscicians, internships, travels ... something that sets you apart from the other members.
- Diversity of all sorts.
Throughout the process, after each party round, members vote on PSMs to be invited to the next round, and Invitees are determined by a YES/HOLD/RELEASE process. The list of PNMs is numbered/scored by a system often unique to each sorority (nationally and sometimes by chapter).
A majority consenses is needed to vote YES. Members may request a HOLD, which means that PNMs are to be discussed. A vote is then conducted to generate a list of PNMs to be RELEASED. ***Each chapter has a pre-determined number of invitees needed.*** At this point, additional PNMs are dicsussed using a Pro & Con method. Voting then can be done by a scoring system. Some use colored cards, some use Yea/Nay/Hold, etc.
One member tallies the scores, and the PNMs are ranked, creating a master list. There is a determination of a cutoff score. Each PNM is discussed and immediately voted upon. Majority consenses rules. If there is a consensus for a PNM and a member has an issue as to whether or not she thinks the PNM is not suitable, she is allowed to speak up and then a reconsideration may or may not be performed.
THERE IS NEVER A REQUIREMENT FOR A UNANIMOUS VOTE.
Only the membership committee is privy to the scores. The committee generates an alphabetical invitation list.
In the next rounds of parties, each member votes anonymously by assigning each PNM a score. The committee tallies the votes. There is a special formula used to score and tally votes to create a ranking. At this time, there may be weeding out to meet the allowed maximum number of sholarship risks and upperclassmen. The lowest scoring PNMs in this category will be released, even if her overall score is better than someone without the risk factors. After the final round of parties, a PREFERENCE list is now generated and invitations sent.
After the preference party, there is another individual vote. Once again, there is a formula for scoring PNMs. There is NO discussion held on any PNM. It is now merely a numbers game.
The committee sends of list of PNMs who are to be extended a bid to the NPC. BID cards are generated. At the same time, PNMs list their personal choices on preference cards.
If a PNM lists sorority A and B, and sorority A extends a bid, then there is a MUTUAL SELECTION.
There is a predetermined QUOTA set by the NPC on that campus for each sorority. If they do not reach quota, there are other methods of extending bids (snap bidding, alternative recruitment such as COB, etc.).
**************So, to sum it up:
1. ONE MEMBER cannot screw it up for you. No member is allowed to speak disaparagingly about you.
2. There is no UNANIMOUS voting.
3. Who you are, where you are from, what you do, how you communicate, how you dress (appropriately vs. inappropriately), your grades - these things matter.
4. Sometimes, it all boils down to numbers.
Individual chapters may score someone based on their own preferences, and one opinion on one single aspect of a PNM's presentation will not be "THE" determining factor. It is a lot of work, and it is NEVER as simple as "that girl hates me because I kissed the guy she used to date", or "that girl got drunk last night". Just like a member is not judged just because she has great grades or has long hair. It just is not possible for one person or one observation to prevent you from becoming a member.