Rush to the Finish Part 3: Making the “Mutual” Decision

When you get to the end of the recruitment process, you could be feeling a variety of emotions:  overwhelmed, undecided, confused, elated, or incredibly excited.  Either way, it’s good to take a step back and think about what you’ve learned about each chapter, and where you can see yourself.

At my school we signed a bid card with our top choice of a sorority (by the time we did this we had been narrowed down to only one or two houses).  However, by signing the card we were also stating that we would accept a bid if the other chapter ended up giving it to us.  Then on “Bid Day,” the new sorority women would receive their bids and decide whether or not they wanted to join their new chapters in the day’s festivities.  In the fraternities, on the other hand, our school has had a tradition of “running the row,” where the new fraternity men run down Fraternity Row toward the house where they have decided to accept a bid.

Before You Sign a Bid Card

Take a breather:  Even if you think you know which house you’d prefer, take just a few moments, maybe even while you’re waiting in line to sign the bid card, and just think about how you believe you’ll benefit from joining the house of your choice.  If you still have reservations, or both houses appeal to you and you can’t decide between them, this is especially important.

Talk to your recruitment counselor:  When I came to the last day of rounds, I was absolutely certain that I would be signing a bid card for a different sorority than the one I ended up joining.  However, after leaving their house on the last day, I suddenly felt very unsure.  I talked to my recruitment counselor, and after doing that I realized that I wasn’t ready to join a sorority just yet—that I didn’t know enough about either house I had been narrowed down to.  This is why I ended up dropping out rather than signing the bid card for something I was unsure of.

Disregard the reputations:  It doesn’t matter if the chapter is said to be full of one certain type of personality.  It doesn’t matter if the chapter is small or large (it could be that way for a variety of reasons).  Pick the chapter that you feel a connection with, where you know you can be happy and enjoy being there.

Signing the Bid Card

When I finally signed my bid card I was sitting in a frozen yogurt café, seated with a few girls who I knew would be friends with me whether or not I joined their sorority.  When they learned I had dropped out of rush, they immediately reached out to me and invited me to spend time with them.  They knew I was confused, but never once did they explicitly say that I should join their chapter.

This is a mutual decision you’re making with a sorority or fraternity when you pick them and they pick you.  They have ranked you at the top of their list, and you have ranked them above the other chapters because you feel most comfortable there.  Of course, once you have accepted a bid, that doesn’t mean you’re obligated to remain there through initiation.  There are usually grace periods where if you feel that you may have made a rash decision, or might not feel comfortable joining after all, you can drop out and incur no fees or any other complications.  This is very common and there is absolutely nothing wrong with dropping out at that point.

Remember, the most important thing is that the feeling is mutual.

Check out my final section, “Rush to the Finish Part 4:  Living the Greek Life” for more insight on the new member period and the process of becoming accustomed to Greek life.

– Jamie Schlansky