Hundreds of sticky notes with positive messages hung from the wall in the University Center.
Beta Theta Bye
My experience with sorority recruitment at a private, southern university
Freshman year of college, I attended a small, private, Christian university in Birmingham, Alabama. One of the things I was most excited about when I committed to attend the university was joining one of their five sorority chapters. I don’t fully understand why I was so obsessed with joining a sorority at that time. I’m not an overtly girly or extroverted person, but there was something so appealing about being a part of a sisterhood that did so many fun activities together.
So I signed up for formal recruitment and anxiously waited for rush week. I was very calm about the process before it even started. I was overly confident in my ability to impress these strangers and get into whichever sorority I decided was best for me.
Needless to say, I should have been more nervous. The first night of rush went by in a blur of five minute conversations about where I’m from, my interests, how I’m adjusting to college and how I spent my summer. By the end of the night I felt confident in the conversations I had and the impressions I left on each sorority.
The next day you meet with your group leader who gives you a card with the names of the sororities that asked you back for the second night of recruitment. At this point, I was a little nervous because I already had my heart set on a couple of the sororities that I thought would be a perfect fit for me.
Eventually, they called my name, and I went into the little classroom they were holding the individual meetings in. They slid a notecard across the table, and I could see the uneasy look in their eyes. I flipped it over and saw one sorority written down on the card.
My heart dropped. The sorority that asked me back was the notorious reject sorority. I practically ran back to my dorm room to cry it out. The girls who couldn’t get into any other sorority joined this one, and I was crushed with the overwhelming feeling of rejection and inadequacy.
This was one of the hardest days of my freshman year. I was already so insecure and scared about being so far from home at a university in which I felt so incredibly out of place. To be rejected in such a dramatic and sudden fashion crippled my self confidence.
Coming to Webster, I obviously had a negative opinion of sororities, and I was surprised to hear Webster even had a sorority. After talking with members of Delta Phi Epsilon here at Webster, I would say Webster’s greek life is nothing like those at other universities. There isn’t competition between sororities or a designated “reject” sorority (as there is only one), and it is very unlikely you will get rejected at all unless you are outrightly rude or offensive. Also, recruitment is much more casual, and girls have multiple opportunities to get to know the girls in the sorority and make a good impression.
There is a lot of BS that goes into how sororities at bigger schools choose who to ask back and join their sorority. Sometimes, they choose based on legacy, rec letters, majors, who you know in the sorority coming in and just bottom line how many girls they can let in. I found all of this out weeks after my initial rejection.
Either way, I had an awful experience with sororities, and I have heard even worse stories than mine from some of my other friends who attended larger universities.
Sororities can be a great experience for many girls and the organizations at their core are not trying to crush young girl’s self esteem. However, I think sororities and fraternities should be more upfront with potential new members about how decisions are made and how sometimes, it’s just a matter of numbers. Too much pressure is put on girls at one of the most vulnerable times in their lives to impress a bunch of strangers in the course of back to back five minutes conversations.
It’s impossible to get a well-rounded idea of who someone is in five minutes of surface level conversation.