Myth vs. Fact: The Truth Behind Sorority Assumptions
Whatever role you’ll play in sorority recruitment this fall, there are an overwhelming amount of false beliefs about the process. Assumptions, generalizations, and stereotype have become the dominant narrative of the sorority experience. For potential new members, we know the difficulty of sorting through all the voices to find the truth. For recruiters, it can be easy to forget the truth when caught in the weeds of recruitment. From what matters most to where our value comes from, let's address the myths to unpack the facts together:
Myth: Sorority Recruitment is competitive! As a potential new member, you are competing for the best chapter. As a recruiter, you are competing for the best PNMs. Befriending other potential new members or talking highly of other chapters takes away from your success in the process.
Fact: Sorority recruitment is a mutual selection process - not a competitive one. Through potential new members’ preferences and chapters’ invitation lists, the options narrow on both sides until everyone finds their best fit. For potential new members, the women you go through the process with all have their individual values and priorities in finding the best sorority for them. As you all offer a unique value to a chapter and are looking for your own values alignment, how could another PNM be your competition? You are not even running the same race! For chapters, the truth is your chapter can only be as strong as the Panhellenic community at large. If one chapter is struggling, you will also. If a chapter has a major accomplishment, that is a win for you as well! Individual chapter’s negative or positive recognition can cultivate the image of the community at large. So instead of alienating from or competing with the other chapters, work together as Panhellenic sisters to grow the sorority experience on your campus!
Myth: You have to be a certain type of person to fit into each chapter. Each chapter is known for something: from being in the honors college to being athletes to partying with a certain fraternity! Sorority members fit the mold of their individual chapters.
Fact: Chapter generalizations and stereotypes are typically rooted in some form of truth that has been inflated. Whether it’s a belief that all members of a chapter have high GPAs or all members of another chapter are athletic, these beliefs circulate to better understand what differentiates one chapter from another. While chapter experiences can differ slightly, these are typically not the differentiating factors. Consequently, the more these false assumptions circulate, the more isolated in that false belief a chapter can become without attracting members of different strengths and experiences. I can guarantee that some members of the high GPA chapter are utilizing extra resources to work on their grades and some members prefer grabbing coffee to a workout in the athletic chapter. Truthfully, the chapters on your campus are made up of diverse personalities, experiences, passions, backgrounds, and aspirations. You could have an amazing sorority experience in most of these chapters you meet in recruitment as they all focus on sisterhood & member development! You don’t need to find a sisterhood where everyone else is just like you, but where the sisters accept and encourage you as you are. If you are a recruiter still believing you have to fit the mold of your chapter to belong, I hope you can be reminded that your unique skillsets & strengths provide an irreplaceable value to your sisterhood. You do not need to change for your chapter.
Myth: Followers and likes = strength of a sisterhood. The way a chapter or a potential new member portrays themselves on social media is a direct reflection of who they are. How much engagement they receive reflects what the chapter has to offer or how good of a fit the PNM would be.
Fact: While social media communicates an organization’s or individual’s priorities, it doesn’t give you the full picture! Have you ever posted a photo that you loved of yourself even if a bad memory is associated with where or when the photo was taken? The same goes for all the photos you scroll through on a chapter’s instagram. There are stories behind these images. For event or accomplishment that a chapter has posted about, there are different perspectives and memories from every single member on that day that you get to explore in recruitment as a potential new member. For chapters, there is so much more to a potential new member than what you gather from her accounts, too. While we love social media, avoid making assumptions or coming to a conclusion about an organization or a potential new member before you meet her. Take the time to get to know her through conversation and beyond the aesthetic.
We know there are a thousand more myths circulating out there of what the sorority recruitment or membership experience holds. While we can't address all of them, I hope this gets your mind turning of how to give a little more thought to what you hear about the recruitment process. Do not be afraid to ask questions as a potential new member or question your sisters as a recruiter when false information is perpetuated. Values-based recruitment is intended to set an intentional foundation for your lifelong sorority journey ahead. If what you are hearing does not support that, I challenge you to say something and create the space you deserve to find or grow your sisterhood.
This was our last resource from our month-long recruitment focus, Recruitment Takeover! From the podcast to social media to this blog, we had important conversations to help you get recruitment ready. Missed something? Make sure to head to our Recruitment Takeover page to get caught up or share a resource with a sister!