Choose waterproof mascara.
That’s the simplest, most universal, and safest advice anyone can give you about your last sorority recruitment experience: Preference. In this article, you will learn what to expect at Preference events, how they are different from the rest of recruitment, and how to deal with the emotions you and the other women might express.
What is “Preference?”
♥ The final round of formal recruitment events, called “Preference,” has a more intimate tone and is more formal than previous rounds. The purpose of preference is to help the prospective member determine which chapter is the best fit for her. It’s the last chance for the sorority members to convey their best qualities and compel you to favor their group. Sometimes a preference event will strive to demonstrate the sorority’s focus on its values. Pay attention. It is important to learn about the chapter’s values and beliefs, since this is the basis on which they were founded.
What if I already know my favorite sorority?
♥ It is prudent to “maximize your options” – or visit as many sororities as possible, even if you have decided attendin any certain sorority is not the fit for you. Go. You never know who you may bond with at the last event or what key information you may learn about the chapter. Maybe you’ll meet a best friend for life or find out the chapter has a strong tradition close to your heart and values. You can definitely expect to see a different side of each chapter at their preference parties.
How are the Preference parties different from the rest of recruitment?
♥ The main differences are the intimate tone and the formality. First, you can expect to be paired with just one hostess for the whole party. Often the sorority member will share personal stories, like why she joined the chapter and what she loves most about it.
Then, each sorority will conduct a meaningful ceremony. This typically includes a reading by the president or other officers, stories, songs, poems, or a symbolic gesture related to their flower or badge. Speakers may share their most meaningful sorority experiences or share their important traditions with you.
What should I expect from sorority members?
♥ Many women have built strong relationships with their sisters and have had significant life experiences with them. As they recount the stories that are most meaningful to them, they may become emotional. Don’t be surprised if the stories, songs, poems, readings, or ceremony can lead to some emotional responses.
Seniors may especially feel strong emotions. It is a great time for them to reflect on the memories they have made and friendships formed. They realize better than anyone that sorority membership can change a person’s life; that the relationships and experiences can be touching, moving, inspiring.
Should I cry if she cries?
♥ This is a great time to listen and absorb their stories. If you feel the urge to laugh, cry or talk about their feelings, it is completely appropriate to do so. These ceremonies are for you, too.
If the sorority member shares a special story with you during conversation, you may be unsure how to respond. Consider sharing a story with her too. Can you think of a time when you felt the same way as the sorority member? You may also ask her questions about her experience or the people who were with her. Even if you have no idea what to expect for an answer, you can ask why she loves her sisters.
If you happen to be in the company of a woman enjoying a sentimental moment during a quiet time, you can show your compassion, a friendly hand on the shoulder or nudge and smile. And it is okay, it won’t break personal space rules. Any woman you are paired with by this point in the formal recruitment process has likely become your friend.
Will these emotional events make it difficult for me to choose?
♥ They could. If you have more than one chapter left, you’ll likely know which chapter is your first choice. What if you’re torn and don’t feel so trusting about a coin toss to make your decision? Know what is most important to you and make your decision based on those factors. You may have made connections in several chapters, but is one chapter more focused on academics and another on athletics? Often you can seek out a Recruitment Counselor to help you sort through your thoughts in an unbiased manner.
Keep your emotions in check but don’t block them out. Allow the conversations you have, connections you make and moments that move you influence your decision. Basing your decisions on the relationships made and shared values you have with the women and the organization will always be the wise choice.
And the best advice remains this: choose the waterproof mascara… and maybe bring along a tissue. ♥
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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. She can be reached via email using her first name (at) suresister.com, or at @PETALMaryKate on Twitter.
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Copyright 2010 Mary Kate Lobough, SureSister.com