What Is the difference between a Reference/Recommendation and a Letter of Support?
Reference or Recommendation or Rec are terms used interchangeably and mean the same thing. These are similar to a job reference. Alumnae members write these on your behalf as a personal introduction of you to their sorority. Each sorority has their own form and the alumna will fill it out with information from your packet (resume, transcript, etc.) and submit it on your behalf. This letter of introduction does not guarantee an invitation to events or membership. It is the responsibility of the alumna to obtain her sorority form, complete it, and submit it according to her group’s requirements. A recommendation will be an internal form that is distributed within each sorority. While it is supposed to be up to the sorority alumnae members to find a reference/recommendation for you, obtaining your own recommendation writer gives you the advantage of having a friend or someone who is more familiar with you write a more personal form.
A letter of support is not to be confused with a Recommendation. While a recommendation is considered a requirement for most sororities at most campuses, a Letter of Support is an additional personal letter you can solicit from Greek alumnae you know well. It is not a must but can definitely help you at competitive campuses by showing you have more than one alumna supporting you. To obtain one, you would simply need to ask a Greek alumna you know well to write one on your behalf. Unlike a recommendation, it is not an internal form but rather a personal letter written to the house on your behalf. Because of this, it should come from someone who knows you well. It is not appropriate to ask someone you do not know at all to write you a letter of support. Most sororities require one Reference/Recommendation. Letter(s) of support are becoming less important with some sororities putting a limit to one or two Letters of Support submitted with the Reference/Recommendation per potential new member. Gone are the days of needing five or more Letters of Support for each sorority.
Am I required to have a Reference or Recommendation? Letter of Support?
Reference/Recommendation form is required by most sororities to introduce a potential new member to the sorority.
Letters of Support are not usually required, but act as back up in recommending a potential new member to the sorority.
How do I prepare for Recruitment?
Before compiling recruitment packets, verify with your reference/recommendation writer and letter of support writer(s) to see what they require and what your specific college needs. Do they need a digital or paper packet? It is in the best interest of the potential new member (PNM) to find various sorority alumnae who are willing to write and submit a reference/recommendation and letter(s). Providing helpful information to each of these alumnae is important. Start this process early, it is never too early to start finding your reference/recommendation writer. Even if you don't know where you are going to college you can still begin the process of networking to find friends, relatives and teachers to write your references/recommendations and letter(s) of support. It's also a great idea to ask girls from your high school who just went through recruitment at the University you are attending what each sorority requires. Each chapter on each college campus is different - we have found that networking with other mothers is a great resource.
What do I need to provide?
1 to 3 color photographs, 4 X 6. One should be close up and one full length. Please put your name and high school on the back. Use labels to prevent bleeding. These do not have to be professional shots. Please have digital photographs available for digital packets. Most will need to be under 350k.
Resume. List name, address, home and cell phone numbers, GPA/SAT score, family information, Greek affiliations, scholarship awards, high school awards/leadership positions, employment, community activities and college orientation date. Save this in a PDF format to distribute digitally as well.
High school transcript. Does not need to be official - you will also need this to be scanned and digital ready (take a photo with your phone).
If you attended another college or university, please include that information.
Thank you note. Be sure to follow-up with a thank you through the US mail.
Do I really need to spend a lot on fancy packets and professional photos?
It is important to find out from the ladies writing your Reference/Recommendation and Letter of Support what they need before you begin compiling your packets. Most of these ladies will take these packets you send them and put the information on forms provided by their National organizations and your packets then go in the trash. So a simple folder is all that are required for these items. Also, please do not pre-address envelopes or send stamped envelopes with your packets, these ladies know where to send the packets and will get them to the correct place. More often than not the stamps go in the trash. If you really enjoy doing these special letterhead projects with your Mom or daughter then have a good time and enjoy the project, otherwise, keep it simple and don't break the bank on something that will be thrown away. Ask your reference/recommendation writer: digital or paper and make your list of how many paper packets you will need. Most colleges are digital these days as well. If not they have very strict guidelines on what gets sent in.
Will membership cause my grades to suffer?
Sorority women take their grades very seriously. Scholarship is always a focus. The women are always striving to have the highest GPA on campus. A certain GPA is required to be a member in good standing.
What do I wear?
Each college or university will provide guidelines for each day of parties. These guidelines can be found on the schools' Panhellenic website. Many schools provide identical tee shirts for the PNM's to wear for the first day of recruitment. Distracting clothing and jewelry could move the focus from you to these items. Your University Panhellenic will have suggestions on what to wear on specific days, so please refer to their guidelines. A few things to keep in mind: you are dressing for other young ladies, you might be sitting on a chair and they are sitting on the floor at your feet (keep that in mind when picking your clothes), the parties are dressier as the rounds progress, remember the weather – hot or cold, you want to be comfortable. Bring a pair of shoes to wear to the parties and a pair for comfort between parties especially if you choose to wear heels.
What will my financial obligations be?
Dues vary by campus and sorority. Typically the first semester includes new member and initiation fees along with regular dues and is the most expensive semester.
Why are girls I have talked to before, now only nodding and smiling at me?
Every college Panhellenic has silence rules that restrict members from speaking with PNM'S outside of recruitment parties.
Should I be afraid that I will be mistreated (hazed) as a new member?
Greek members are more likely to have better GPAs and act in leadership roles on their campuses. Greek life departments support programs that educate about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse as well as other important issues. All NPC groups have adopted a no tolerance approach to hazing violations.