About Panhellenic Recruitment Recommendations
At Auburn University, 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 was updated in 2020 and states: “Letters of Recommendation (1992, 2009, 2020) – POLICY The responsibility for providing letters of recommendation for potential new members rests with the members of NPC sororities. Any recruitment information distributed by College and/or Alumnae Panhellenics may not state or infer that letters of recommendation are to be secured by the potential new members. Any form of compensation from a potential new member or her family for a letter is not acceptable.”
Each of the eighteen sororities at Auburn that participate in Fall Primary Recruitment is a member of the National Panhellenic Conference and is bound by this resolution.
May I still secure a recommendation for myself?
Yes! It is permissible for a potential member to ask an alumna member of a sorority to submit a recommendation for her own sorority. It is recommended that the alumna member who completes the recommendation is not a stranger and knows you personally.
Who can submit a recommendation?
The recommendation needs to be from an alumna member of a particular sorority, not necessarily someone who went to Auburn. As long as she is a member of that sorority, it does not matter where she went to college. If you are not sure who to ask, here are some suggestions: your friends mother, your mother’s friends, teachers from your high school, friends from church and in the community, and checking with your friends who are also participating in recruitment. You will be surprised to find out how many people you know that are sorority members and you just never knew it. Very often, the people who submit a recommendation will know a few people in other sororities. If someone you know is willing to submit a recommendation, but she is not quite sure how, encourage her to contact her local alumnae group, her sorority’s national headquarters, or to call the Greek Life Office (334-844-4600) and we will assist her.
Can I make up my own recommendation and send it myself?
No. Some people want to make sure that the sorority has their information and they think that sororities who do not have their resume will not know about them. The sororities know about a potential member as soon as she registers. Her online registration form is a resume and that is what the sorority looks at. The resume a potential member makes helps the alumna who is filling out her recommendation form. The sorority does not need it. Only recommendations submitted by actual members of the sorority are considered official recommendations. Letters from friends, teachers, or family members are not considered. These “letters” are often referred to as “letters of support.” Auburn sororities do not collect letters of support. Recommendations are submitted through an official online form through individual sororities. This information can be found on headquarters websites.
Who should I contact if I do not know someone from a particular sorority?
Do not stress about it! Some things you can do is ask other friends participating in recruitment where they are getting theirs. Remember that once you register for recruitment, each sorority will receive a copy of your information, so the registration is more important than the recommendation. If a sorority does not have a recommendation for you, but they require one, they can 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.
As a potential member does look for recommendations, here are some people to ask:
- Your friends’ mothers
- The friends of your parents
- Favorite high school teachers
- Friends who are undergraduate sorority members. They may not be able to write a recommendation, but they will know people who just graduated and are eligible to write them.
- Other friends participating in recruitment, even if it is at other schools. You may not have thought of anyone who is a Beta Beta Beta, but your friend may have the answer.
Remember that women who submit recommendations do it every summer and that they have quite an extensive network. When you find one person who can submit s recommendation, it is likely she will be able to name friends in a few other sororities who can do it, too. Once you find your first recommendation, others will come more easily.
When can the recommendations be submitted?
Recommendations can be submitted at any time online. It is best if they are submitted in June and July. Even if you have not registered with Auburn University Panhellenic yet, you can still have recommendations submitted. However, it is wise to wait until you have completed your high school career to begin seeking recommendations so that the resume with your recommendation will be complete and will match what is on your recruitment registration form. Please do not forget that you will need to register with us in order to participate in recruitment. Having a recommendation does not register you to participate in recruitment. The earlier your recommendation comes in, the more time that the sorority has to look over your recommendation. Conversely, if you are unable to secure a recommendation on your own from a particular sorority, registering for recruitment with Auburn 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 recommendations. 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 recommendations be submitted?
There are three main ways recommendations are submitted. Fortunately, it is the responsibility of the woman writing the recommendation to know how and where to send the recommendation. In fact, sorority headquarters hold that information and they typically do not provide it to potential members.
- Online. Many sororities are communicating to their alumnae that they prefer that recommendations be submitted online. The alumna will have a login to access the “members only” part of the sorority website. She is able to complete the form, add any comments, and upload any additional items. It is quick and the information goes immediately to the chapter. This is also the only submission that is traceable. When an alumna submits her online recommendation, she can tell that it was received.
- Mailed directly to the Office of Greek Life. An alumna may mail her recommendation to the sorority in care of the Office of Greek Life. This is easy because it’s only one address and it works for all of our chapters. The mailbox is checked by someone on the chapter recruitment team and the recommendations are carried to the person responsible for obtaining and reviewing recommendations. If you would like to send them through our office, address them like this:
Sorority Name Here Recommendation
c/o Auburn University Panhellenic
Auburn University Student Center
255 Heisman Drive, Suite 1330
Auburn University, AL 36849
What is the preferred method for recommendations?
The preferred method for recommendations is online. There are many pros to submitting recommendations online. It is the only submission that is traceable, it does not cost anything to do it, it does not require any paper products, and it is quicker. The alumna will have a login to access the “members only” part of the website. She is able to complete the form, add any comments, and upload any additional items. After she submits the online form the information goes immediately to the chapter. If the alumna does not know how to submit a recommendation online, she should contact her national headquarters.
What does the person submitting a recommendation need from you?
If someone is going to complete a recommendation for you, be sure and supply her with a few things. All of these items should be emailed directly to the alumna if possible, instead of snail mail:
- A resume. Create a resume about yourself, your activities, and your interests. It will most likely be forwarded in to the sorority, so it should look nice. It is not as important as your actual registration, though. You may format your resume any way that you feel comfortable. The information you put on the resume will basically be the same information you already included in your recruitment registration, so don’t worry if someone submits a recommendation for you without your resume. The resume only helps the woman completing the recommendation. It doesn’t give the chapter any new information. Again, since your official recruitment record is the registration you submit through our office (not the resume with your recommendation), it is most important that your registration be correct and complete.
- A picture, if you want to include one. 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. Again, you don’t have to include a photo if you do not want to. You have the option of submitting one with your registration, too, and that is the one the sororities will use. So, it’s more important to include one with your registration.
- A thank-you note. If someone writes you a recommendation, it is nice to send her a thank you note a few days later. It is a compliment to write someone a recommendation, and it is nice to show the alumna that you do appreciate the effort she is making to help you. It is also a nice reminder to get the recommendation sent in, in case she may have gotten behind and not completed it yet.
- When someone writes a recommendation, she will fill out a form that is specific to her sorority. This is the actual recommendation and the materials you provide only help her complete this form. It is not your responsibility to get a copy of the form. It is the responsibility of the woman writing the recommendation. Also, the sororities restrict access to this form so that only members may obtain copies. If the woman writing your recommendation does not have the form and needs help, a quick Google search of the sorority’s headquarters should help you find a phone number she can call to get help.
*ONLY IF ALUMNA CANNOT SUBMIT RECOMMENDATIONS ONLINE SHOULD YOU SEND THE FOLLOWING TO HER*
- An envelope. Do not address it. Since the woman writing your recommendation is likely to submit the recommendation online, she can at least reuse the envelope for something else if you do not write on it. Give her a pre-addressed label or a note letting her know where to mail it if needed. Go ahead and address it to the sorority so that the alumna can just complete the recommendation and drop it in the mail. Make sure that you provide enough postage.
- Postage. The alumna may not need the postage, but it is thoughtful for you to provide it. Do not attach it to the envelope, so she can use it later for something else if she does not need it. Bigger and heavier envelopes cost more to mail, so go ahead and include two or three stamps. You do not want your recommendations returned with insufficient postage.
- A stamped postcard addressed to you. If you include a postcard addressed to yourself, you can write a note on it saying, “Your recommendation for XYZ sorority has been submitted.” Then, when the alumna mails your recommendation, she can also mail your postcard. Receipt of the postcard will let you know your recommendation has been sent.
What about my hometown alumnae group?
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, it is 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 Auburn University 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 a recommendation for you.
Overall, it may seem like most potential members have a recommendation to every sorority, but that is not the case. Very few potential members will have one for each chapter. Most will have recommendations for about ten or less, so do not worry if you cannot check every box.
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.