I have a confession to make: I, a Jewish girl from Long Island, who went through sorority recruitment almost a decade ago, have ended up on University of Alabama sorority rush TikTok. And I’m absolutely fascinated by it.
Then again, this is like the Olympics of sorority rush. These girls are the quintessential southern sorority girls on steroids. I mean… The headbands. The head-to-toe Shein outfits paired with Golden Goose sneakers. The way they say “philanthropy.” It’s all just so next-level.
I’m far from the only one going down this neon-filled rabbit hole.
Creator @LucyMassam_ posted a TikTok speaking for all of us when she said, “I am so invested in this process and it fascinates me so deeply because I have never seen anything like this in my entire life.”
Don’t get me wrong—I went through sorority recruitment at a “Southern” school back in 2012. I know all about the mandatory Panhel shirts, eventually losing your voice, 24/7 snacks, and more than anything, being terrified to utter the words “See you tomorrow.”
But ~back in those days~, no one had ever heard of Shein, let alone Revolve, and we sure as hell did not have TikTok where we posted our OOTDs. Come to think of it, we didn’t even know what an OOTD was; we were too busy adding five different filters to one Instagram post, but I digress.
If anything, TikToks like these highlight just how far we’ve come from the days of Total Sorority Move, American Apparel zip-ups, and sorority Tumblr accounts. And Avicii. Always Avicii.
I mean, my pledge class’ Bid Day shirts were literally yellow pinnies. Meanwhile, these girls are decked out in sparkles, sequins and more pink than I’ve seen in my entire life—and they’re taking over TikTok.
As Taylor Lorenz, technology reporter at The New York Times explained on Twitter: “Last year we didn’t have a rush season because of COVID, so this is the first post-TikTok boom Rush season and I feel like that’s why it’s all over your (and everyone else’s) fyp!”
What has fascinated me about these TikToks is not only the amount of preparation these girls—both in the sororities and the ones going through recruitment—are putting into it, but also how they’re so willing to share every detail with the world.
The Greek life system has been clouded in secrecy for decades. (What was less of a secret? The racism, sexism, and a host of other issues that have been prevalent throughout it for years—but that’s an article for another day.) But part of why I think we are all loving these TikToks is because they’re giving us a peek behind the curtain.
From what I can see, rush at Alabama seems like such a far cry from my experience in a sorority almost 10 years ago. I can’t say I remember my exact outfits as a freshman, but if I had to guess, it involved a lot of ripped skinny jeans, black, and those Jeffrey Campbell Lita booties. I guarantee you there was not a Teva shoe or pink sparkly cowboy hat in sight.
Their outfits are like the Met Gala for Americana fashion with a Gen Z twist. They’re all decked out in LoveShackFancy and fake designer jewelry from Amazon. There’s no in-between.
It’s not just the outfits, either, although that’s a big facet of what’s so captivating about the trend. They’re also sharing what’s in their “rush bags” (Longchamp, always), complete with portable fans, umbrellas, and of course, Kleenex.
And as for the sororities? They’re going viral. They’re showing off their houses, the type of girls in the house, and even how creative they can get with a candy theme. GreekRank who? We don’t know her.
Even though we didn’t have TikTok when I was going through rush, we did have Facebook and Instagram, and I can’t even fathom the thought of someone posting details about their outfits or even a smidge of how they were feeling about the process. Imagine posting a Facebook status upset that you were cut from Kappa?! Shudders.
Everything was top-secret, and don’t even get me started on how tight-lipped we had to be once we were on the other side of it (lest you get in trouble with… a group of your peers with basically made-up titles). Like, no, we just liked lining up in alphabetical order for the fun of it, don’t worry, and it’s a total coincidence that you were paired up with someone who is friends with your best friend’s roommate.
If you, like me, are also far beyond legal drinking age, I’m sure these videos even provide a drop of nostalgia, too. You’re getting a chance to live vicariously through these girls, even for a few seconds, albeit with much better hairstyles and a better grasp on color theory.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a sisterhood round of videos to watch.
Image: Al Drago/CQ Roll Call / Getty Images
Ahh, recruitment szn. Where do I begin? For starters, recruitment is stressful as F*CK. For both sisters in sororities and PNMs (or “potential new members” for those of you who
live under a rock go to a school without Greek life), recruitment just might be the most draining experience of your entire college experience (Aside from pledging, finals, the week before graduation…okay, it’s all exhausting).
Sorority girls act like they survived a war when recruitment is over and TBH, it’s not that far from the truth! Even though recruitment is one of the most stressful parts of college (aside from the sh*t show that is trying to go to a frat formal weekend), hopefully with these tips you can slay the process and get into the sorority of your dreams. That sounds cheesy, but this sh*t is going to be important for the next four years.
sorority girls PNM’s
doing the questioning
chants™️ why they
— Jenna Chandler (@jennachan_) August 1, 2019
Unless you go to a school in the south where you have to put together multiple outfits that speak to who you are as a person (head to toe Lilly Pulitzer), many schools make things easy by requiring all PNMs to wear the same T-shirt with jeans. This “uniform” takes some of the pressure off of waking up at 6am to do your makeup and hair to be ready to schmooze by 7:30, and provides an even playing field for all PNMs. The only downside is that your outfit choice doesn’t speak to your individuality. But honestly, just feel lucky that for one week, you don’t have to stress about what to wear.
My best recruitment fashion tip is to wear a statement necklace or bold pair of shoes to stand out. I wore an opal choker and rose gold slip-on sneakers when I went through recruitment, and they were great conversation starters. Although your recruitment outfit may not be the best portrayal of your personality, tasteful and interesting accessories are a great way to distinguish yourself from the crowd and make yourself feel like a bad bitch.
Unfortunately, recruitment is one of the most germ-infested periods of college, aside from any time you step foot into a frat house. To make things worse, many schools have spring recruitment, which is conveniently during the height of flu season.
To avoid getting sick, you need to looooove hand sanitizer as much as you you’ll love your “perfect big.” Use it after every single round of recruitment, and wash your hands often. If you do feel like you’re coming down with something, do yourself a favor and slam some tea, water, and OJ, and make sure you’re eating, because your health is the last thing you want to be worried about during recruitment. Nobody wants to hear you scream-sneezing in between rounds.
They say the five Bs to avoid are: booze, Barack, Bible, bills, and boys—or, in other words, alcohol, politics, religion, money, and garbage. Oh oops, I mean men. While this is a pretty good rule to follow, as you may notice, all of these topics are things a lot of people bond over. Especially that first one. But, the purpose of this rule is to make sure PNMs join sororities for the right reasons, not because one sorority mixes with the hottest frat or considers themselves rich.
That being said, these topics may very well come up anyway. My advice would be to go with the direction the sister you’re talking to is going. If Stacy from Alpha Oopsilon confides in you about exclusively going to Sigma Apple Pie, this is your chance to bond on the DL over something you’re not supposed to be discussing…but make sure the SBICs (sorority bitches in charge) don’t hear you. Fraternities and boys in general are probably the only exception to the five Bs to avoid. It’s in your best interest to avoid talking politics, religion, and finances, unless the person in front of you explicitly brings those topics up. Just pull out your best small talk, ask questions, and for f*ck’s sake at least pretend like you give a sh*t about whatever it is they’re saying.
Truth be told, the sister you’re fake laughing with probably doesn’t feel like talking about philanthropy to begin with, so just smile, nod, and listen for opportunities to bond over literally anything else. The girls you meet in the rounds from each sorority are pretty much trained in “recruitment etiquette,” so it should be fairly easy to follow their lead.
As bullsh*t as it sounds (especially if you’re basing your recruitment expectations based off of movies like Sydney White and The House Bunny), the best way to have a successful sorority recruitment is to be yourself and be confident. People always say “trust the process” of recruitment, but that only works if you’re not being fake. As with all things, sometimes sh*t happens and doesn’t go the way you initially hoped. You may not get a bid from your number one sorority and on top of that have blisters from practically spending a week straight in heels, but if you’re being authentic, the process should work out and you will end up in the right place. It sounds corny, but it’s true!!
Don’t compare yourself to other PNMs, and do be steadfast in the belief that you’re a badass bitch. Don’t get caught up in the bullshit that is the “tier system.” Choose the sorority where you feel the most at home, because your experience will be 10x better than in a sorority where you’re always being fake af.
All in all, sorority recruitment can actually be the longest five days of your life, but just think about all the kweens who went through recruitment before you. Stay calm, stay healthy, and walk into the experience with confidence.
Make the most of the 30 minutes you have to leave a lasting impression, and don’t be nervous, because girls can smell insecurity from a mile away. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed during the process, just remember the girls you’re trying to impress are literally the same ones who roll up to your 8am hungover and in sweats. And if you follow our tips, you could be too.
Image: Christina Davis / Pixabay; offcampus / Instagram; jennachan_ / Twitter
Whether you’re a bright-eyed freshman who just discovered what jungle juice is, or an alum who used her sorority connections to get a job, you’ve experience rush. And if you didn’t want to join a sorority, well…bye? I don’t know what to tell you, but you’re not going to get this one. You’d probably still be “The One With No Idea What’s Happening” if you did partake anyway. Sorority rush is like speed dating with girls who have already extensively judged the fuck out of your Instagram feed and know if you’ve hooked up with their exes. Yikes. Regardless of what school you attend(ed), you’ve probably come across the types of girls we have displayed for you in our latest video…and maybe you even became one. All of these girls have issues, so no one really wins. I’m not naming specific sororities, but I definitely know which sorority chapter has the most blonde girls…and believe me, they fucking know it. “This is like a cult right?” Watch for some self discovery and nostalgia:
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Ahhh… sorority rush. The one time of year where a bunch of fake af basic betches recruit a bunch of younger, newer fake af basic betches to pay to be their friend. The only problem is if you’re ugly or stupid or or poor or have the personality of a fucking brick wall, you’re pretty much SOL. Especially those first three because god knows all they really care about is you being hot,
sitting next to a nerd all through high school having a good GPA, and what your dad’s bank account looks like. But don’t worry. If any of that describes you, we’re here to make your shitty-ass Wednesday better and tell you about sorority rush consultants aka middle-aged women who you can pay to help you become a college version of a Stepford wife. Lucky you!
Town & Country did a whole write up on the mysterious life of these rush consultants, and tbh, I can’t tell if their take is “holy fuck this is terrifying” or “yippee what a brill idea.” But I’m here to say that this is the thirstiest, most pathetic shit I’ve heard in my whole life. And while I read the entire thing in all its glory, I’m taking a bullet for you betches and just breaking down the most important parts to save you both time and brain cells. I accept both cash and wine
as forms of payment as a sign of your gratitude. Oh, and the asterisks mean the girls’ names were changed to prevent further hazing for paying someone to make them cool.
“The cards were stacked against Hannah*, a PNM—or ‘prospective new member’—entering rush week 2017 at the University of Alabama. She was a sophomore, for one thing, not a freshman like most of her fellow PNMs. She wasn’t a legacy, but worse than that, she wasn’t even from the south.”
Not from the South?!?! THE HORROR! As a person from the South who was in a sorority at an SEC school, I can tell you that no one gives a flying fuck if you’re from the South or not. It’s not like northerners or westerners are fucking lepers or something. And wtf is a rush consultant do about that? Forge your birth certificate. Fucking doubt it.
“She was down an internet spiral when she happened upon Pat Grant, the founder of Rushbiddies, a Birmingham-based consultancy dedicated to helping girls, in Grant’s words, ‘prepare for one of the most important aspects of higher education’—that is, rush week.”
First of all, I wouldn’t take sorority advice from a woman named Pat. Sorry. But that’s just a fact. Second of all, of course this shit it based out of Birmingham. And third of all, “one of the most important aspects of higher education”? Are you serious? I’m all for getting shitfaced and dressing like a slutty highlighter for a neon-themed mixer but I wouldn’t exactly describe that as “one of the most important aspects of higher education” for women. But thanks for your opinion, Pat.
“ will do damage control when needed, like in the case of the PNM whose winter break Snapchat showing her dancing with another girl went viral in the days before her second semester rush. ‘All it takes is one image to be misconstrued,’ says Grant. ‘I say, I don’t care if this guy is just a friend of yours. If you’ve got your arms all over him, they’re not gonna know he’s not your boyfriend. Or maybe that swimsuit doesn’t make the best impression.’ Over the summer, at Grant’s recommendation, Hannah edited her feeds to delete anything political. ‘I didn’t want to give anyone any reason to cut me,’ says Hannah. ‘It has to be super vanilla, all the way through.’”
Wow. There’s so much bullshit here I can barely fucking breathe. Did I miss the part where dancing with other girls, hanging out with guys who aren’t your boyfriend, and wearing bikinis aren’t pretty much the only thing sororities do? I can honestly say in the four years I was in college all I did was dance like a hoe with my friends, hang out with fuckboys without being their girlfriend, and skip class to go to the pool in the smallest bathing suit I could find. Who fucking cares? Are these people trying to join a sorority or a convent? PLEASE ADVISE, PAT. And god forbid a good Southern girl care about politics. Or have opinions of any kind, for that matter. There are more important things a sorority sister should focus on—you know, like contouring and shopping and husband hunting. Obvi.
“‘Grant tells the story of one girl who showed up to a pre-rush workshop wearing a dress and cowboy boots. ‘I said, why did you choose cowboy boots?’ Grant recalls. ‘She said, everyone knows cowboy boots are my signature. I told her, maybe back in high school they were your signature. But here, you don’t have a signature. You have to meet what’s expected until you’re established. Then you can wear your cute little cowboy boots.’ Sarah* worked with Lorie Stefanelli of Manhattan-based Greek Chic to prepare for rush at Texas Christian University. Over the phone, they’d practice typical conversations to determine ‘what elements of my personality to play up,’ she says. ‘We also paid a lot of attention to my outfits. Lorie was very particular about looking classy, not wearing super-short shorts or revealing dresses. More Audrey Hepburn.’ Safe looks included anything Kate Spade, Tory Burch, or monogrammed. At Alabama this year, says Hannah, some girls “didn’t get that you should cover up. They’d show up in backless dresses and they’d get released.”
Let me start by saying, I personally do not believe cowboy boots are ever a good wardrobe choice. Like, are you hear to rally the cows or fucking drink? But I digress because there’s a bigger issue. If by “meet what’s expected” you mean “wear fucking Lilly Pulitzer like a massive toddler on Easter,” that’s gonna have to be a hard pass from me, dawg. And idk where sorority girls get off telling people to cover up. Have you gone through your Explore page on Insta recently? It’s pretty much boobs and labia and sorority hand signs. So excuse the fuck out of me for showing my back.
“Grant aims to get her girls into one of their top two houses, and says she hit the mark for every one of the 20 girls she put through recruitment last year. She charges $1,500 for her most popular package, which includes 40 hours of text, chat, and Skype, as well as workbooks and handouts, but of course, it’s not about the money.”
$1,500 for texting someone a few times about what to wear for rush? Of course it’s not for the money! Pat is practically a philanthropist. Idk if you heard, but she’s actually being considered for the Nobel Peace Prize this year.
“Sarah says she talked to Stefanelli every night during rush week, usually for two hours. ‘She’d help me decide the order of the houses I liked,’ says Sarah. ‘Or I’d say, is this OK to say tomorrow if I am invited back? PNMs like to talk. And when you’re insecure, it’s much better to have someone outside of the process to talk with.’”
Hey “Sarah”, here’s some fucking advice. Say whatever you wanna say. You are literally determining what group of girls are to haze and judge tf out of you be your friends so if shit’s awkward, they’re probs not the right house for you. Is that not fucking obvious?