Office of Greek Life University of South Alabama
At the University of South Alabama, some sororities require a recommendation from an alumna member of that sorority before the sorority may extend a bid to that woman. A recommendation simply introduces a woman to the sorority so that the sorority members may become better acquainted with her before recruitment begins. Sororities appreciate and use the information obtained through recommendations. However, it is important that you understand that IF A SORORITY REQUIRES A POTENTIAL MEMBER TO HAVE A RECOMMENDATION, IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL SORORITY TO OBTAIN A RECOMMENDATION FOR YOU.
In 1992, the National Panhellenic Conference passed a resolution addressing letters of recommendation. The resolution, in part, states: "The responsibility of providing letters of recommendation for potential members rests with the members of NPC fraternities and recruitment information distributed through College and Alumnae Panhellenics shall contain nothing that infers letters of recommendation must be secured by the potential member." Each of the five sororities at South Alabama that participate in Fall Formal Recruitment is a member of the National Panhellenic Conference and is bound by this resolution.
May I still secure letters of recommendation for myself?
Yes! It is permissible for a potential member to ask an alumna member of a sorority to write a letter of recommendation for her own sorority. However, it is inappropriate for a potential member to contact an alumna member who she does not know in order to ask for a letter of recommendation.
Who can write a letter?
The recommendation needs to be from an alumna member of a particular sorority, not necessarily someone who went to South Alabama. As long as she is a member of that sorority, it does not matter where she want to college. A good way to find people to write letters is to make it known to your friends, family, and teachers that you are going to participate in recruitment. Many times, people you know will contact you and offer to write you a letter. You'll be surprised to find out how many people you know are sorority members. If someone you know is willing to write you a recommendation, but she is not quite sure how, encourage her to contact her local alumna group, her sorority's national headquarters, or to call the Greek Life Office (251-460-7003) and we will assist her.
Can I make up my own letter and send it myself?
No. Only letters sent by actual members of the sorority are considered official recommendations. Letters from friends, teachers, or family members are not considered unless the author is a member of the sorority the letter is addressed to. Please don't get confused and send us an envelope with five resumes, pictures, and a standard letter to go to all chapters. These will be discarded.
Who should I contact if I don't know someone from a particular sorority?
Don't stress about it! Some things you can do is ask other friends participating in recruitment where they are getting theirs. Get your mother to ask her friends. Ask around your church and ask favorite high school teachers. If you can get the word out that you're participating in recruitment, you will be surprised how many sorority members you actually do know who will write a letter for you.
Just remember that once you register for recruitment, each sorority will receive a copy of your information. If they do not have a recommendation for you already, they will use the information you have provided to find a recommendation for you. It is not appropriate for you to contact the sororities yourself prior to recruitment. Any questions you have should be directed to the Greek Life Office. If a potential member contacts a sorority with questions, they will receive a standard response from the sorority and their question will be forwarded to the Greek Life Office, which will respond to the question. This helps make recruitment a fair process for everyone as well as helping to ensure that everyone's questions are sent to a central location so that they can be answered correctly and consistently.
When can the letters be sent?
Right away! Even if you haven't registered with South Alabama Panhellenic yet, you can still have your letters coming in. Please don't forget that you will need to register with us in order to participate in recruitment. Having letters sent in does not register you to participate in recruitment. The earlier your letters come in, the more time that the sorority has to look over your letter of recommendation. Conversely, if you are unable to secure a recommendation on your own from a particular sorority, registering for recruitment with South Alabama Panhellenic lets them know that you will be participating and gives them a chance to begin seeking out a recommendation for you. So, early registration certainly has its benefits!
When are they due?
There is no real due date for letters of recommendation. However, the earlier that you can have them in, the better. A good guideline would be to have them all sent in by the end of July so that the sororities have time to thoroughly read through them and learn the information.
Where should the letters be sent?
Each sorority has its own mailbox in the Greek Life Office. They check the mailboxes very often, so you can get your recommendations sent in to them through the Greek Life Office. Address them like this:
Sorority Name Here Recommendations
What should be included in the letter?
c/o University of South Alabama Panhellenic
Student Center Room 129
Mobile, AL 36688-0002
If someone is going to write a letter of recommendation, you should supply them with a few things:
What about my hometown alumnae group?
- A resume. Create a resume about yourself, your activities, and your interests. Remember that anything you give to the alumna writing your letter will be forwarded on to the sorority, so make sure that it looks like something you would be proud of. You may format your resume any way that you feel comfortable.
- A picture. Since there are so many women who participate in recruitment, the sororities value having a picture of the potential member so that they can put a name and a face together. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. A color photocopy of a picture will be fine. You don't have to look like a beauty queen, either. Just make sure that it looks like you because it is used for identification purposes.
- A transcript. Please provide the alumna with a copy of your high school transcript. If is marked unofficial, that's OK. It just needs to be whatever your high school will give you. If you have any college hours, those transcripts are also appreciated.
- A stamped, addressed envelope. Go ahead and stamp an envelope and address it to the sorority so that the alumna can just complete the letter and drop it in the mail.
- Information to contact her sorority's national office. Each sorority has its own policy on recommendations. Most have a recruitment information form that they like to be submitted with the letter and other information. In most cases, this form is available through the sorority's national magazine and it is only available to members of the sorority, so its not something that you can supply to the alumna. Many alumnae will already have the form, but there will be some who do not have the form, so it might help them out if you provide those who do not have the form with a way to get one.
- A thank-you note. If someone writes you a letter of recommendation, its nice to send her a thank you note a few days later. It is a compliment to write someone a letter of recommendation, and it's nice to show the alumna that you do appreciate the effort she is making to help you. It's also a nice reminder to get the letter sent in, in case she may have gotten behind and not completed it yet.
Many towns have local alumnae groups that combine to help potential members by taking care of their recommendations and helping prepare them for recruitment. If your hometown has such a group, its a good idea to join it. While joining a hometown Panhellenic group is helpful, it is not a prerequisite to participating in recruitment. Also, please remember that registering with a hometown Panhellenic group does not automatically register you for recruitment. You will still need to register with South Alabama Panhellenic.
Are recommendations really necessary?
Similar to the references that one might have when applying for a job, a recommendation introduces a potential member to a sorority chapter. It is simply a supplement to the information that the chapter will receive through the Panhellenic Recruitment Registration form. Think of obtaining a recommendation as completing extra credit for class. You can succeed without it, but it never hurts to try.
How many do I need?
A sorority will only need one recommendation on a potential member. Having more than one recommendation sent to a particular sorority will not necessarily increase your chances of joining that sorority. However, if you know more than one alumna from a particular sorority, it is perfectly acceptable for them all to write letters for you.
Does having a recommendation guarantee that I will receive a bid from a particular sorority?
Securing your own recommendation does not ensure that a sorority will offer you an invitation or a bid. Conversely, not securing your own recommendation does not mean that you will not be offered an invitation or a bid from a particular sorority. Please remember that while sororities value their alumnae and all input that their alumnae provide, it is the active members of the collegiate chapter who are responsible for making the decisions involving who is offered an invitation to membership.
© 2012 | Mobile, Alabama 36688-0002 / 1 (251) 460-6101
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Date last changed: July 7, 2010 11:35 AM