So you are packing your bags and heading off to college? Surely you are excited to attend orientation events, learn about your new campus and make new friends. As you plan for your arrival on campus, who else can you befriend to help you plan?
Alumni in general are great resources for information about preparing for college. Sorority alumnae (pronounced “uh-lum-nee”), women who are no longer active collegiate sorority members, can be fabulous resources for you right now, even before you set foot on campus. This article explains what Panhellenic alumnae are, both in terms of individuals and organizations, and how they can help you.
An Alumnae Panhellenic Association’s (APH) members are alumnae from many National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) sororities or women’s fraternities. In these groups, alumnae further their leadership and social opportunities. At this time, there are over 200 APHs in the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom. APHs set up their own organizations and carry out programs in line with their special interest or situations.
Many Alumnae Panhellenics hold events that help students like you in sorority recruitment. Some hold information sessions, others provide scholarships encouraging women to attend college or rewarding women for their campus and community involvement. According to the National Panhellenic Conference’s reporting, over $435,000 was raised just last year and granted in scholarships by APHs to over 580 women.
If you are interested in joining a sorority, a recommendation letter gives you a jump-start before recruitment begins as it can help current chapter members get to know you. While it is not a requirement on every campus or for every chapter, it is acceptable for a woman participating in recruitment to have friends or relatives who are alumni of these chapters write recommendation letters for them.
Many women ask what to do if they are interested in recruitment on campus that requires or suggest recommendations. If you do not know any sorority alumnae then reach out to a Panhellenic Alumnae group where you are likely to find women who are happy to review your resume and write a recommendation on your behalf. They may want to get to know you a little but they will definitely be a good resource. Because each alumna is a member of only one sorority, she cannot write recommendations for you for every chapter. Chances are she has relationships with fellow Alumnae members, though, who can help you collect your needed recommendations.
If there is not an Alumnae Panhellenic near you, contact the one closest to the institution you are attending. Know that an individual sorority woman has a network that often reaches far beyond her geographic location. Her sisters may be able to put you in contact with the alumnae you are seeking. Some alumnae may not be organized as an official chapter or group. It’s a good idea to take a few minutes to research local alumnae groups, both Panhellenic and those representing only members of single sororities, to see how they can help you. Most importantly, never underestimate the pivotal role a sorority alumna can have in your life or her willingness to assist you.
Congratulations on your choice to attend college and participate in sorority recruitment! Now go out there and make friends – young and old – and don’t forget your friends here at SureSister are here to help.
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Mary Kate Lobough is a SureSister.com Ambassador. She is a past college Panhellenic Vice President of Public Relations and was a Greek Life graduate assistant at Eastern Illinois University. Mary Kate holds a bachelors degree in history and a masters degree in student affairs in higher education from the same institution. A member of Sigma Sigma Sigma National Sorority, Mary Kate has served on both advisory boards and housing corporations.
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