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Guide to Sorority Recruitment Recommendations & Legacy Policies | mazi + zo sorority jewelry

pre-recruitment prep

IYKYK: Recommendations, Referrals, Intros, and Legacies

Article: Recruitment Recommendations, Legacies, MIFs, and More!

pre-recruitment

Recruitment Recommendations, Legacies, MIFs, and More!

Maybe you’ve heard you need letters of recommendation to go through formal NPC sorority recruitment and are stressed about requesting them. Or maybe you haven’t even thought about recommendations, and seeing this post freaked you out because you and your parents don’t know any sorority alumnae at all. Either way, we’ve got you covered.

Back in the day, many NPC sororities required Letters of Recommendation from alumnae for a Potential New Member (PNM) to even be considered for membership. These letters were more than just letters; PNMs would provide their reviewers with a headshot, transcript, and resume, and the reviewer would add their letter and mail the whole package to the sorority chapter. Over the years, letters and full packages were eliminated as a requirement, but insiders still submitted them to improve a PNM’s chances of getting a bid (IYKYK!). As you might guess, these policies led to chapters giving preferential treatment to PNMs who came from their same hometowns, whose parents were friends, and who looked a lot like them. The Letters of Recommendation policies intentionally or unintentionally created a system that excluded college students from different backgrounds from NPC sororities.

 

What if I’m a Legacy?

Historically, PNMs who were legacies, as defined by a sorority’s bylaws, were prioritized over PNMs who were new to the system. This mandated preferential treatment might include a guaranteed invite to the second party, an automatic bid if they made it to Pref Round, or even an automatic bid from the start. Each sorority defines a legacy differently, but generally, a legacy is a PNM with a mother, grandmother, or sister in the sorority. That’s been expanded to include stepmothers and half-sisters to reflect the evolution of family life, and some sororities also count nieces. To make it easy for you, we’ve compiled all of the 26 NPC sororities’ legacy policies.

In addition to being exclusionary, legacy policies face a more mundane challenge: the number of legacies grows each year. It’s possible for legacy PNMs going through recruitment to outnumber the chapter’s recruitment quotas, creating an impossible situation. To address this challenge, over the years, most sorority bylaws were amended to loosen mandates, leaving more room for chapters to determine their own legacy policies.

The good news is that starting in 2018 or so, a focus on inclusion and diversity, as well as practical concerns, has led many inter/national NPC sororities to eliminate Recommendation Letters entirely and further minimize the preferred treatment legacies might receive. We’re going to cover the newer recommendation procedures here and will cover traditional recommendation letters in another post.

Please keep in mind that we have not researched every college and university’s recruitment procedures, so it’s a good idea to double-check everything with your own school in case there are different rules, definitions, or traditions.

 

RIF, LIF, MIF, PNMIF, MIS, etc.

It’s easy to see how some PNMs may not know sorority members because they’re international students, come from lower-income families, are the first in their family to attend college, or their parents opted out of the Greek System when they attended college. In an effort to include more of these students, sororities have adapted and created alternative, accessible pathways for any PNM to stand out.

These days, most of the NPC sororities have 1-3 types of standardized introductory, recommendation, or referral forms on their site to replace the traditional letters of recommendation: one for collegiate members and alumnae to use, one for non-members, and a third for the PNM themselves to complete. There’s an acronym for each of these, like RIF, LIF, MIF, PNMIF, etc. They stand for things like Potential New Member Information or Introduction Form.

Since PNMs usually submit their transcripts, resumes, and headshots as part of their recruitment application, most sorority websites make it clear that there’s no need to send that information again, even if you do opt to get recommendation letters outside of the new standardized process. Almost all sororities prefer that all PNM introductions and referrals are sent digitally, probably because it’s easier for them to keep records and forward them along to the collegiate chapter recruiting teams.

While the forms can be different for member, non-member, and self-introductions, they include the same basic fields for the recommender to complete, including:

  • Info: Recommender’s name, contact info, sorority membership details.
  • Relationship: Where the recommender explains how they know the PNM and for how long.
  • PNM Details: Name, hometown, high school, what year they’ll be at the time of recruitment, any legacy information, and what college the PNM is attending.

After those, there are likely to be open-ended questions like “Please describe how you know the potential new member and speak to their character,” or specific to the sorority, with a field for each value where the recommender can add more details about how the PNM’s values align with the sorority.

 

Why Do I Need PNMIFs, MIFs, LIFs, and RIFs?

Before you start asking people to fill out the forms, it’s helpful to understand the point of the letters so you can be thoughtful about who you ask. Here’s the deal: recruitment can be a blur for members as well as PNMs, and you want the members to want to meet you and remember meeting you. A sorority recommendation form from someone who knows you, and preferably knows you well, gives the sorority more perspective on you than the general registration forms and why you'd be a great fit for their sisterhood. These letters create an early positive first impression and give the sorority a reason to seek you out so you don’t get lost in the shuffle. The forms can also come in handy during membership selection; for example, if a member is advocating for you but didn’t get a chance to ask you about your leadership roles, they can refer to a recommendation form that mentions your term as Class President or how you led a team through training for a Tough Mudder. Without the form, the member’s endorsement of you would be less compelling.

 

How Can I Stay Organized?

Create a digital and/or physical folder to collect everything you need for recruitment. The folder should include your resume and academic transcript or links to them. It should also include your tracking worksheet and the content you prepare for your recommenders.

 

How Can I Keep Track of My Progress?

Create a tracking worksheet to keep tabs on everything, especially if you’re at a school like Indiana University Bloomington, which has 22 out of the 26 NPC sororities. Your worksheet should include columns like:

  • Sorority Name: Include every chapter participating in recruitment, even if you think you’re not interested. You want to maximize your opportunity every step of the way in recruitment.
  • Guidelines: Can non-members write a recommendation for you? Can collegiate sisters? We’ve collected this information for each sorority to save you time.
  • Submission deadlines: Check your school’s recruitment information for these deadlines; they can be as early as July 1, but most chapters usually accept them right up until formal recruitment starts.
  • Who: The name of the alumnae and their contact information and their sorority affiliation (or not!). You might have more than one recommender per sorority, so leave room for that.
  • Contact points: Track when you speak to or contact each person, was it by phone or email, and a summary of or link to the content so it’s handy if you need to reference it. You may want to include individual columns for the first request and any follow-ups. Do what’s easiest for you to manage.
  • Submission Status: Mark as “not started,” “pending,” and “complete” so you can easily sort and find where you need to follow up.
  • Notes: Any other notes, like how you met the recommender or key information you’d like them to include in their letter.

This worksheet will help you manage deadlines and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.

 

What Do I Need to Prepare for the Recommendation Forms?

You already know the list of sororities you’ll be meeting in recruitment, so you can get a head start by identifying each sorority's values. Some have three and some have eight, but they overlap a lot (as you can imagine, “friendship,” “leadership,” and “loyalty” show up frequently!). Guess what? We’ve compiled a list of each sorority’s values for you, too.

Next, identify specific examples of where your experience and background match each of those values for each sorority. There will likely be a bit of overlap across the sororities’ values, so it’s not as much work as it might sound. It’s a good idea to create this content early so you have a chance to revisit it a few times. At first glance, you might not have any great ideas for a particular value, so you don’t want to bang these out at the last minute!

You can save this info in another spreadsheet or whatever software you use to write, wherever it’s easiest for you to grab the content when you need it.

 

Who to Ask for Recommendations and Intros

Not every recommender is equal. The perfect recommender is an engaged member who knows you well so they can submit a compelling form. But it’s not realistic that you’ll have that perfect contact for every chapter on campus, and you might not have any. That’s okay; you don’t need perfect, you just need someone who can speak to your strengths in detail.

Let’s think about where to find members who can vouch for you:

  • Family: Congratulations, you’re a legacy!
  • Friends’ Parents & Siblings: You’d be surprised by how many people you know who are in sororities, even if it’s not a big part of their life today.
  • Family Friends: Ask around. We’ve seen parents on Facebook asking if any of their friends happen to be in a particular sorority and can help.
  • Teachers and Coaches: They went to college too!
  • Community Members: Maybe someone you interact with regularly, like a coach or youth group organizer, is an alumna.
  • Work or Volunteer Supervisor: Perfect for showcasing your work ethic and dedication to community service.
  • New Allies: If you don’t know any alumnae at all for a particular sorority, you can still get a recommendation from an alumna; it’ll just take a little networking.

Of course, names that chapter members will recognize are gold in recommendations. These can include a notable person in the local community or on campus, a chapter alum with connections to members, an advisor (though advisors sometimes steer clear of writing recommendations to avoid an appearance of favoritism), or even a famous person. It won’t guarantee a bid, but we’re pretty sure you’ll be remembered if Meghan Markle writes your Kappa Kappa Gamma recommendation!

When considering recommenders, target people who can provide specific examples of your character and contributions. Vague praise is less effective than detailed stories and accolades. For example, instead of saying, “She’s a hard worker,” it’s better to say, “She consistently managed the front desk during our busiest hours, maintaining a calm and friendly demeanor.”

 

New Allies

To find New Allies (aka sorority alumnae you haven’t yet met), tap into your network—ask around, use social media, and contact your local alumnae chapters. Alumnae often list sorority affiliations on LinkedIn, too. There’s even a Reddit thread dedicated to connecting alumnae with PNMs.

Hot take: If a sorority allows non-members to submit introductory forms, we think people who know you well and can speak authentically about your accomplishments make better recommenders than members you’ve cold-called.

 

How Many Recommenders?

We suggest shooting for at least one for each sorority on campus, and two or three if you know members who can make a compelling case for you. We don’t recommend having more than one non-member complete a form for a particular sorority. This is not a “more is more” situation; don’t submit more than three per sorority no matter how many you can come up with, it’s too thirsty. (We’re thinking we should write another post on how to choose your recommenders strategically.)

 

How to Ask People You Know to Recommend You

You can email or call the members or other recommenders that you know personally to ask them to help, and once they agree, send them a detailed email as outlined below.

 

How to Ask New Allies for Recommendation Help

Once you’ve identified potential recommenders, you’ll want to introduce yourself. While this might seem intimidating, don’t be afraid to reach out; most alumnae remember the anxiety of recruitment and are happy to help. When you connect with an alumna, use your best manners and recognize that they’re doing you a favor. While many alumnae are happy to help out a PNM, you don’t want them to feel used or disrespected. If you’re asking a non-member to submit a form for you, don’t ask them to do more than two.

An easy way to break the ice is to compliment someone or find common ground. For example, if you find a Sigma Kappa alumna on LinkedIn, you might tell her you appreciated a recent LI post or how much you admire her commitment to animal welfare.

If you’re lucky enough to find an alumna who plays the same sport as you or shares your passion for architecture, mention that.

Before overwhelming the alumna with details and deadlines, we recommend you introduce yourself and ask if they'd be open to writing a recommendation. The structure: A friendly hello, a compliment/connection, and then explain that you’re planning to go through recruitment at [school name] and would very much appreciate their support in the form of a PNM recommendation. Let them know how much effort it will take (we’d guess 20 minutes), the deadline for submission, that you’ll provide a resume and suggestions for content, and that you’re open to a phone, video, or in-person meeting if that’s her preference.

 

The Detailed Request

Once you’ve secured their agreement, you’ll want to send them all of the supporting information they might need to submit a great introductory form.

You’d start this follow-up note with your basic info like age, GPA, college, and expected major. Then, to make it easy for them to fill out the forms, we suggest structuring your experience and accomplishments to match the sorority’s values. For example, Kappa Delta’s values are Confidence, Sisterhood, Leadership, Academics, and Philanthropy. You could put these in a bulleted list and add a specific example of how your activities and experiences align with each value. That way, all your recommender has to do is put that info in their own words. We think it’s easiest to create that content in a separate doc and send it as an attachment since you might ask more than one person to recommend you for a particular sorority. The easier you make it for your recommenders, the more likely they’ll do it quickly and won’t need any reminders!

Remember, timing is everything. Start the request process well before recruitment season. Ideally, give your recommenders at least a month to complete the form. Close your request by thanking them in advance for their time and energy. Make sure to include a link to the form and any specific instructions for how the form should be submitted.

No matter how easy you make it for them, you may need to remind your recommenders about deadlines. Don’t feel awkward; you can send a simple, friendly email reminding them about the timeline and asking if you can provide any further information. Don’t take it personally if they’re slow to follow through (or even blow it off entirely). Everyone’s busy, and even though recruitment is very important to you, it’s probably not top of mind for any of your recommenders.

Please remember to send a nice thank-you note, even if the recommender is a teacher you see every day. A handwritten thank-you note can go a long way in expressing your gratitude (for recommendations, and just about everything in life!). If you know the recommender well enough, you could bake for them, offer to babysit or dog walk, or make any other small gesture of thanks—that’s even better. If you don’t know the person well, you can still include a note saying, “If there’s ever anything I can do for you…,” though, as with everything, specifics are better than broad offers.

 

Do I Need to Get Recs for Every Sorority on Campus?

Yes. Except for Phi Mu. Sorority recruitment can be a little arbitrary at times, so you want to stand out as much as you can. A chapter might not care about recs at all, but they might care a lot, and a good rec could be the factor that means you’re invited back for a second round. Why not Phi Mu? They don’t accept any information about PNMs prior to recruitment.

 

Two Other Introductory Forms

  • The Bare Bones Form: A few sororities offer alumnae and non-members the option to submit a brief form that only includes the PNM’s name, email, and college. These will notify the sorority to reach out to you and offer themselves as a resource if you have any questions.
  • Self-Intro: Some sororities offer a form where you can introduce yourself directly. From what we can tell, some of them are as detailed as the longest recommendation form, and some are basically just for contact info. If they have a form like this, your submission makes a good impression by letting them know you’re serious about recruitment and interested in their sorority.

 

Conclusion

Sounds like a lot, right? Don’t worry, we’re going to save you a bunch of time! We compiled a list of the 26 sororities, their legacy policies, their recommendation forms and policies, and their values. Please note that some sororities still accept traditional recommendations, so we’ve covered those in our post on Recommendation Letters.

To wrap it up, recommendation and introduction forms can help you stand out during recruitment, so it’s worth the effort to collect them. Start early, choose your recommenders with care, and approach the process with confidence. You’ve got this!