Adorable Clemson bid day photos provided by Madeline L. and shared with her permission. <3 

Sophomore rush.  It’s a big decision, whether it’s your first or second time to dip your toes into the sorority recruitment process.

One of our rushees, Madeline L., participated in sorority rush (virtually) at Clemson this past fall 2020. She was sweet enough to contribute a guest blog after recruitment!

Read her guest blog below for her perspective on virtual sorority recruitment as a sophomore at a competitive school, her tips and insights for PNMs, and her thoughts on using a sorority rush coach to guide her through the process.

1)  Why were you excited to join a sorority at Clemson? Why did you decide to rush?

Well for my freshman year, I was excited to have an opportunity to meet people and find a way to get involved on a big college campus for my first year of college. Although I ended up dropping out of the rush process my freshman year, I went on to make friends and get involved in other ways. I spent the entirety of my spring semester on crutches and a scooter after a skiing accident in January. After my spring semester got cut short due to COVID-19, I realized I had not had the opportunity to get near as involved on campus as I had wanted to. Even though I was very scared to rush again because of how it had gone last year, I decided to bite the bullet and try again, and I couldn’t be happier that I did. 

2) Tell us about how the recruitment process went for you!

So I was absolutely, positively terrified for the first round of cuts, because of how badly that first schedule had gone last year because of mono. Due to COVID, round one was based on my resume, Instagram, rec letters, and a one-minute informational video. I would say this round it is helpful to have a friend already in a sorority watching out for you in order to get your foot in the door. The sorority new member classes coming in each year keep getting bigger and bigger, so it is helpful to have someone to stick up for you.

I was much more optimistic about the rush process after my round 2 schedule came out!! Another major vibe check was the round of cuts in between philanthropy and sisterhood, which my rush coach warned me about but still came as somewhat of a shock. However, I was still able to be optimistic and focus on being my best self, because I had done as much preparing as I possibly could on the front end. By sisterhood and especially by pref round, I was getting the first date butterflies when I talked to the girls in KD, but as soon as the zoom call started, it felt like I was on a facetime call with an old friend, and the time absolutely flew by. I ended up crying like a baby in pref and then on bid day when I got my bid from KD!!

3) Did you feel like rushing as a sophomore was easier or harder? Any pros?

Like I said before, my initial plan was to rush and join a sorority my freshman year of college. However, I ended up moving into college with mono, which is enough to deal with without moving into college and diving right into rush almost immediately. I was sick as a dog the whole time and was not able to reflect/ be my true self. I remember being in a house (the last one of the day,) and trying so hard to keep a conversation with one of the girls, but all I could think about was how I wanted to go home and sleep!! I decided to drop because I realized I was not being my true self during the process, and I decided I would re-evaluate my thought process about rushing whenever sophomore year rolled around. At the time, it was one of the scariest leaps into the unknown ever, but looking back now, it was a very smart decision. If you are in my shoes, don’t be afraid to dive back in!! It goes MUCH better the second time around!!

In some ways, I think it was a little weird bc the process is definitely geared towards freshman, but do not let that discourage you, because as a sophomore (especially with/over zoom recruitment) I think it was much easier to realize where you would already fit, plus you will most likely have friends already in other sororities looking out for you! I would definitely say the more you prepare with a good resume/resume template, the more confident you will feel and the more that shows in rounds. I think I have definitely gotten more sociable and outgoing after a year in college, but that can only go so far when you’re already stressed about recruitment and have a Zoom learning curve on top of that (hopefully not the case next year.) Overall, very different experience, but ended up very very good!

4) How was your experience working with a sorority rush coach? Was it helpful? Would you recommend a rush coach to other PNMs?

Personally, as someone who had a rough rush experience with mono freshman year and who tends to overthink things anyway, I think having a sorority rush coach was very beneficial. My rush coach was able to help with ALL the paperwork, and give me a number breakdown of how rounds and lists for each round would go, which helped me worry less about the “what if’s?” and to just focus on the process itself as much as possible and the conversations/ where I really vibed the most. Mine gave really hilarious pep talks!! It helps to have someone who knows what they’re talking about and who has been through it multiple times to reassure you that everything is ok!

5) Do you have any tips or advice for fellow sophomore rushees? What’s the best piece of advice you would give to a friend planning to rush at Clemson, or who plans to join a sorority at another university?

I think one thing that really helped me was to not have your heart set on one specific house, which might be hard to do after already spending a year in college, but to think of multiple houses you can see yourself in. It makes the end goal way more realistic, and you don’t feel like the world is crashing down around you if you end up getting dropped from that house. Although there is probably one house that is the best fit, it really helped me to stay as open-minded as possible. Also, try not to rely on existing friends in whichever houses to “pull you through.” Although I very much saw myself in KD, I definitely did not have the KD connections or pull I had in some of my other top choices to get me further through. This ended up meaning way more to me, because I felt like I really clicked with each girl I talked to, and it meant they liked me and wanted me for me, not who I knew or what connections I could pull. I think at the end of the day, that is so important to a successful rush experience as well as sorority experience down the road. I also think it is still just as important to put as much prep work as possible in on the front end, because being prepared helped me forget about the technicalities and logistics of rush and instead focus on being my best self and the process ahead of me. 

6) Sooooo – which house did you get a bid from?! How did it feel when you received the exciting news!

Whoops – definitely added spoilers in the previous questions.  After all the worrying, I ended up getting a bid from Kappa Delta, which was actually one of my top choices going in!! So far it has been absolutely wonderful, and I am having so much fun becoming part of an organization that is so much bigger than myself. The girls are so wonderful and I have really felt loved and at home so far!!

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