A Guide to Sorority Slang | Sorority Recruitment 101

I’ve been sharing an ongoing sorority recruitment series here on Hannah With a Camera. Click here to read more posts about recruitment and sorority life, or comment below if you want to see a specific post on the blog! 

Sorority recruitment is confusing enough in itself, let alone the world of Greek life and what every little term means. Today in my sorority recruitment series, I’m filling you in on the sorority slang you’ll hear the most during recruitment and beyond! (If you haven’t read my other article yet on how to get recommendation letters, read it here.) A Guide to Sorority Slang | Sorority Recruitment 101

Recruitment: This is also commonly referred to as rush week, but formally referred to as recruitment. Recruitment is the week-long process in which every sorority chooses their new members.

PNM: A PNM is a potential new member. This is what the girls going through the recruitment process that are not yet in a sorority are referred to.

Panhellenic: The Panhellenic Association is the organization that is comprised of 26 sororities in total that hosts recruitment. My university has 13 of the 26 Panhellenic sororities on campus, which is a pretty common number.

Preference day: This is the last day of recruitment in which girls will typically go to up to three houses for the last rounds of recruitment. After going to each house, all the PNMs will then rank their sororities in order of what they want to be in most.

Bid: At the end of recruitment, each sorority will extend a bid to every PNM that they want in their house. PNMs will only end up with one bid at the end of the week. For example, if the PNM ranks Sorority A, Sorority B, and Sorority C in that order on preference day, then Sorority A can extend them a bid. If Sorority A doesn’t want to extend that PNM a bid, then Sorority B will have the opportunity to extend a bid to the PNM.

Suicide: This term is used on preference day when a PNM only chooses one house. This means that if they don’t get a bid from this sorority, then they won’t be in a sorority at all. (At the University of Kansas, they are unable to go through informal recruitment or repeat the recruitment process until the following year.)

Rho Chi/Gamma Chi/Rho Gamma: These are terms used to refer to your recruitment counselors. Several schools call them by different names and these are a few of the Greek names used to refer to them. Your recruitment counselors will be girls that are disaffiliated from their sororities for the week and they will be your primary point of reference to help you navigate recruitment week. They’ve been through both sides of recruitment, so be sure to ask them questions throughout the week to help you decide what’s best for you.

Disaffiliation: Your recruitment counselor will disaffiliate from their sorority during recruitment week, meaning they’re supposed to take any trace of their sorority off of their social media. The PNMs are not supposed to know which sorority each recruitment counselor is in, in order for the PNMs to have an unbiased experience.

Maximizing your options: I heard this so many times during recruitment from my recruitment counselors! We were always told at the end of each day when we were preferencing, or ranking, our sororities in order of which ones we wanted to be in. To maximize your options, you should rank the maximum amount of houses instead of just putting the ones you only want to be in and leaving out the ones that you didn’t like as much. You might not have had a great conversation at one house, but if you come back the next day and talk to a different girl, you could end up loving the sorority.

Bid day: Bid day is the day when each PNM figures out which sorority extended them a bid. The PNM then becomes a member of that sorority.

Big/little: In your first year of being in a sorority, you will be assigned a ‘big sister’ and you will be the ‘little sister.’ (In Alpha Delta Pi, this pairing is referred to as being a diamond sister.) This is an older girl in your sorority that will essentially be a mentor to you throughout your first year of being in the sorority, and she’ll be someone to turn to if you have questions or you just want someone to hang out with!

Philanthropy: Each sorority has a charity or organization that they support through philanthropy events to raise money for the organization.

Legacy: A girl who has an older sister, mother, or grandmother that has been in a sorority. Typically this does not mean much in terms of guaranteeing you a spot in that sorority except past the first day. If you don’t end up in the sorority that you have a legacy tie to, don’t stress! Just because your mom was in that sorority or your sister is in one at a different school doesn’t mean that you fit in that chapter now, 20 years later. Different sororities vary on which relatives count (i.e. step-mothers, cousins, etc.).

Sister: The term a girl in a sorority will use to refer to another girl also in her sorority. If you talk to several different girls during one round of recruitment, one will often introduce the next girl to you as her sister–don’t take it literally! If you do, no sweat. It happens more than you’d think.

Active: A woman who has been formally initiated into her sorority.

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments! Are you going through recruitment at your university?

xo, Hannah

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3 Comments

  1. Absolutely loved this article! I’m attending UK this year and am so excited and this helped clear up a lot of questions!! Just one question, how is the transportation between houses during recruitment? Are there buses or do the PNM’s walk? I’ve heard of schools where the girls had to sprint from house to house so I was just curious at UK! Thanks 🙂

    1. Good luck, it’s such an exciting time! Usually there are always buses, but some PNMs end up having to run from house to house if they’re next door or across the street because the rounds are so close together.

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