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Sorority recruitment wrapped up on Sept. 7 with 173 women receiving bids. Recruitment this year was marked by a higher retention rate — the number of people who stick through formal recruitment — and by more women applying for recruitment sooner.

“This year was really great because there was more publicity earlier, so … more girls signed up earlier,” said Kimberly M. Sparling ’12, Panhellenic Council president. She believes that the earlier a girl signs up, the more likely she is to stick with recruitment.

Though Pi Beta Phi acquired a residence at 405 Memorial Drive this year, the recruitment numbers for their third fall recruitment were not significantly affected. The building will open to residents next year.

Anne P. Runkle ’11, vice president of Panhel for recruitment, said that the number of bids this year was average, given that sororities had in total about 190 bids for each of the previous two years and 120 bids in the fall of 2008. She added, “A couple of juniors went through this year … [and] about a sixth of the girls who went through were sophomores.”

The number of bids issued is usually the same or very close to the number of bids accepted.

Sorority recruitment is a five-day process open to female students from any class year. During the first two days, potential new members visit all six chapters on campus: Alpha Chi Omega, Pi Beta Phi, Kappa Alpha Theta, Alpha Phi, Sigma Kappa, and Alpha Epsilon Phi.

Recruits spend the first day talking with each sorority for 30 minutes. On the second day, the recruits visit all of the houses, where the sisters show them around and get to know them. During the next two days, all of the chapters except Alpha Epsilon Phi conduct formal recruitment; on the third day, recruits can return to as many as four participating chapters, two of which they may revisit for longer periods of time on the fourth day. During this revisitation period, each recruit is matched with a sister who can best introduce her to the sorority. Finally, recruits rank their top two sororities. The next day, the recruits receive a bid from one chapter through mutual selection.

A freshman’s perspective

Lee Gross ’15, a freshmen recruit said her favorite part of recruitment was seeing the houses. “It changes your perspective. You see a different side of the sorority.”

She added, “It’s good that [the recruitment process] makes you see all the sororities, see what each one is all about. But after seeing them for one time and talking to the different sisters, you don’t have to see all of them all over again. You already have an idea of whom you want to talk to. I think that [it would be] better if they let you choose and let you choose how much time you want to spend with each one and give you more freedom. It was very, very structured.”

Gross proposed other changes to the recruitment process. “They also don’t really let you talk to [the sisters] outside of the sorority. Recruitment is very polished, … and you don’t really get to know what they’re like. It [would be] nice … to see what they’re like in real life.”

In the end, though, Gross felt good about her top choices. “I felt like I really got along with them, and we had a lot of things in common. I can see myself just hanging out with them.”

Gross feels that she’ll be joining a supportive community that will help her through her transition to life at MIT and be there for her for the next four years.

It seems that Gross decided to be in a sorority for all the right reasons.