If you’re participating in sorority rush, first of all, congrats! Although the process can be daunting and, to be honest, pretty draining (brace yourself for lots of walking in heels), it’s totally worth it in the end—you’re setting yourself up for plenty of new opportunities and lifelong friends. The sorority recruitment process generally involves four separate rounds (we’ll get into those later), spread out over the course of a few days, where potential new members meet with each eligible house at their university. Since you’re basically speed dating a lot of girls and only have a brief amount of time for the sorority to initially get to know you (and vice versa), it’s especially important to dress to impress during each round. Below, we broke down the specifics of each stage in the rush process, including ideas for sorority recruitment outfits and advice from real Rent the Runway college reps, so you can make the most out of this exciting experience.
Round 1: Welcome Round/Open House
PANTS: MARA HOFFMAN
Duration: 20-25 minutes
To kick off recruitment, you’ll be placed in a rush group with a handful of other potential new members, led by an active sorority upperclassman (typically referred to as a Rho Gamma or Rho Chi) who will escort you from chapter to chapter. This will be your first official introduction to all the sororities, and each visit to the individual chapters is known as a party. The amount of parties you attend during this round depends on how many sororities your school has, and Welcome Round may be broken up over two days.
Clothing wise, Welcome Round is the most laid back. At some schools, you and your fellow rushees may receive a matching recruitment t-shirt for this round, which you can accessorize however you choose with jeans, fun pants, a skirt, or appropriate-length shorts. If you have the freedom to choose your entire look, then dress like you’re going out to dinner with your girlfriends, but don’t go overboard with a dress and heels just yet (save that for later rounds!) Opt for a simple top with a fun pair of shorts with sandals or flats.
What to Wear:
“Dress to impress. But be yourself. Show off your personal style in a classy fashion that really shows off who you are because at the end of the day your personality matters. I remember girls by their smiles and coming through the door with such confidence in their style and themselves!”
-Valerie, Iowa State University
Round 2: Philanthropy Round
ROMPER: DIANE VON FURSTENBERG
Duration: 25-30 minutes
For the rest of recruitment following Welcome Round, you’ll no longer be within your rush group, and each rushee will have her own individual schedule of parties to attend. The middle rounds of sorority recruitment tend to vary by school, but you’ll likely learn more about the chapter’s service values, which is a large priority in the Greek life community.
This round gets a bit dressier, so think more along the lines of going on a fun date. Again, you can stick with a skirt, shorts, decorative pants, or a casual dress, but elevate the look with a slightly more formal top or accessories. You don’t have to wear heels/wedges/booties during this round, but you totally can if you really want to. Otherwise, flats will suffice.
What to Wear:
“Go in with an open mind. If you are a legacy or have any preconceived notions about certain houses, do your best to ignore the stereotypes and go into each party with an open mind!”
-Emma, University of Arkansas
Round 3: Sisterhood Round
DRESS: DIANE VON FURSTENBERG
Duration: Around 40 minutes
At some campuses, round three may be considered Philanthropy Round. But, if not, the emphasis will likely be on the sisterhood of each chapter. This is when you’ll see each sorority’s recruitment video in all their staged, semi-cheesy glory, and you may also take a tour of the sorority house (if the university has them) during round three.
Business casual is usually recommended during this round, but that doesn’t mean you have to bust out a stuffy blazer or pantsuit . You can still pull off a tasteful shift dress or midi dress, but think more formal than the previous round. Heels are more than acceptable this time around (probably encouraged, in fact), but keep your footwear on the comfy side so you’re not wincing mid-conversation thanks to blisters. Plus, the sorority women will also start to look more and more dressed up each round, so they’ll all likely be in heels, as well. Go bolder with jewelry, too, to make your overall ensemble more memorable and fancy.
What to Wear:
“Be yourself! If you aren’t vibing with a certain sorority- that’s okay! That is what the recruitment process is for, and it’s important to not dwell on the awkward or uncomfortable moments! The second you can genuinely see yourself hanging out with the girls in your PJ’s with no makeup on, you’ll know that’s probably where you’re meant to be.”
-Emily, Kent State University
Round 4: Preference Round
Duration: 60 minutes
Pref has the potential to be an emotional round, for both you and the sorority girls in the chapter. This is the last chance to talk to your remaining sororities before bid day. By this point, you’ll only go to a maximum of three houses, where you’ll only talk to one girl (usually someone you’ve talked to during a previous round). This also may be the defining moment when you realize, “Wow, I really love this sorority.” This is your shot to emphasize your interest in the chapter and prove why you would be a good fit, while also continuing to connect with your sorority girl.
Since pref night is the most serious and formal of the rounds, save your best look for last. Think cocktail dresses for sorority rush that you might sport for a family wedding and, again, let your personal style peek through. Avoid anything fitted, super short, or low-cut. Add tasteful heels and simple jewelry for the finishing touches to your preference night dress.
What to Wear:
“Look around at the girls who are going through recruitment with you. The sorority girls rushing you are important, but the girls going through it are your potential pledge class members and who you will be spending the next four years of your life with!”
-Caroline, University of Kentucky
On sorority bid day, you’ll finally open your bid card and discover which chapter will be your new home away from home. The sorority will probably have matching t-shirts with your new letters for all pledges to wear, so come prepared sporting something that you can quickly slip your new spirit wear over. You’ll officially meet your new pledge class, and get swept away for fun activities with your soon-to-be sorority sisters.
From going on your first house tour and learning about each chapter, to participating in pref night and finding your perfect house, sorority recruitment is a process you’ll never forget. Your day of recruitment may seem be daunting, but just remember that by the end of this process you’ll gain lifelong friends. By following our guide, you’ll always look the part and hopefully stand out from the rest. Best of luck, potential rushees!