Informal and Formal Sorority Rush at Penn State

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Thinking of rushing a sorority? Here’s everything you need to know and what to expect from the recruitment process here at Penn State. There are currently 17 Panhellenic chapters and three Associate chapters at the Penn State Main Campus location, and there are two different times in which you would be able to rush a sorority, Informal Recruitment in the fall and Formal Recruitment in the spring. Eligibility for both depends on grades and the number of credits you have completed. In order to be eligible to partake in Informal or Formal Recruitment at Penn State, you must fulfill these requirements: 

  • Have at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA
  • Completed at least 14 credits at a Penn State campus OR 27 transfer credits OR be classified as an adult learner by Penn State
  • You must not be subject to any pending or active conduct violations
  • You must complete the Sorority and Fraternity Life Informational Quiz
  • You must register on Campus Director

When deciding which time to rush, it’s important to know your options because while the rushing process is generally similar, there are a few differences between Informal and Formal Recruitment.  

Informal Recruitment 

Informal Recruitment at Penn State takes place during the beginning of the fall semester. The process is a little more casual than formal and is typically held to fill the sororities’ quota, which is the number of girls the sorority can have within a rushing period. The number for each sorority is decided based on the number of girls that are rushing in Primary Recruitment and how many that chapter actually offered bids to, so it’s usually hard to determine the chapters that will take place in informal recruitment in advance. Each sorority is supposed to meet that quota, and if they didn’t during Formal Recruitment in the spring, they are given an opportunity to accept more pledges in the fall by sending out invitations for a prospective pledge to come and learn more about their sisterhood. The sororities are able to make their own schedule so the meetings are typically more relaxed, but the dress code is similar to that of Formal Recruitment. 

Formal Recruitment

Formal Recruitment is the time where all the chapters that are affiliated with the university are open to accepting new members into their sisterhood. The way Formal Recruitment works is that if you meet the requirements and are registered, you are assigned to a group led by a girl called a “Pi Chi” which is just a sorority sister that is there to be a neutral party to help you with any questions or concerns you may have throughout the process. From there you go through “rounds” in which you meet all the different sorority chapters. Throughout the rushing process you will “drop” sororities and you will also be asked back to sororities until you are down to your final pick which is revealed to you on “Bid Day.” Before that however, there are four “rounds” leading up to Bid Day that are designed to help you find your perfect sisterhood.

Panhellenic Review

In first rounds, you meet all 20 of the chapters in what is called the Panhellenic Preview which will be taking place Jan. 16 – Jan. 18 this year. There is a shirt that you will be given at the beginning of the process that you will have to wear, but you can style the rest of the outfit how you like. Remember to dress for the weather conditions as it will most likely be snowing by then. 

First Rounds

From there you will visit 14 of those sororities during the Philanthropy Round which will take place from Jan. 19 – Jan. 21. Each sorority will explain to you their philanthropic pursuits and provide a more detailed look into what their chapter does. The dress code is still relatively casual at this point, but it is suggested to dress it up a little with accessories, wedges, jewelry or a nice skirt/dress. 

Second Rounds

Values Rounds is the beginning of the official “second round” of the Panhellenic rushing process and will take place from Jan. 22 -Jan. 25. During this round, you will meet with eight sororities to learn more about the dynamic of their sisterhood through a video or short documentary, typically made by the current sisters, to show a little more about what it means to be one of their sisters. The dress code for Values Rounds is dressy. Some suggested items to wear are jumpsuits, dresses, nice pants, skirts and blouses. 

Preference Night

After Values Rounds you will have what is called “Preference Night” which is on Jan. 26 of this year. During Preference Night you will attend parties at only two sororities where you will get to mingle and socialize with the sisters for about 50 minutes. The dress code for this round is semi-formal dresses and heels. It is also the last round before you are given your bids on Bid Day. 

Bid Day

After several rounds, you’re about to meet your new sisters! On Monday, Jan. 27 at 4:30 p.m you will meet with your Pi Chi groups at the Bryce Jordan Center. The dress code is similar to Panhellenic Review, so dress casually and accessorize how you like. Once you get to the BJC, you will get a sealed envelope that holds an invitation to join one of the 20 sororities here at Penn State. After you open your bid you will meet with your new sisters and begin the process of officially joining their sisterhood. 

The main thing to remember when going through the rushing process is to always keep an open mind. While all the parties and social events may be intimidating, don’t forget what it is you want out of your experience and who you click with the best, and especially remember to be genuine. When it comes to outfit choices and topics of conversation, make sure it represents you; every chapter is different, so pick the one that fits with your most honest self. A lot of girls have found their lifelong friends through rushing, so just trust the process, and have faith that you will end up where you need to be. 


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