Joining a Fraternity or Sorority: Recruitment and Intake

These processes are the ways for you to get to know organizations as well as the chance for organizations to get to know you. See a list of terms used in joining a fraternity or sorority.

  • Fraternity recruitment is a week-long process, typically in the evening that tends to be informal. Event examples include info sessions, barbecues or lawn games. It concludes with Bid Day, on Friday of recruitment week, where you will meet every member of the fraternity you have been invited to join.
  • Sorority recruitment is a week-long process beginning with an orientation session. It is more formal in nature with specific themes each evening that cover a different aspect of sorority life, including sisterhood, philanthropy, and other themes. It concludes with Bid Day on Friday of recruitment week, where you will meet every member of the sorority you have been invited to join.
  • Intake - Membership selection to culturally based fraternities and sororities is an individualized process that is different for each organization. This process generally begins with an interest meeting followed by a period of membership education. The membership process culminates with initiation and a probate, or "coming-out" show in which the organization's new members are revealed to the community.

Tri Sigma welcoming their new members on bid day.

These processes are the ways for you to get to know organizations as well as the chance for organizations to get to know you. See a list of terms used in joining a fraternity or sorority.

  • Fraternity recruitment is a week-long process, typically in the evening that tends to be informal. Event examples include info sessions, barbecues or lawn games. It concludes with Bid Day, on Friday of recruitment week, where you will meet every member of the fraternity you have been invited to join.
  • Sorority recruitment is a week-long process beginning with an orientation session. It is more formal in nature with specific themes each evening that cover a different aspect of sorority life, including sisterhood, philanthropy, and other themes. It concludes with Bid Day on Friday of recruitment week, where you will meet every member of the sorority you have been invited to join.
  • Intake - Membership selection to culturally based fraternities and sororities is an individualized process that is different for each organization. This process generally begins with an interest meeting followed by a period of membership education. The membership process culminates with initiation and a probate, or "coming-out" show in which the organization's new members are revealed to the community.

Tri Sigma welcoming their new members on bid day.

When does it happen?

  • Fraternity Recruitment happens year-round. There are formal periods that occur within the first month of each semester (September and February).
  • Sorority Recruitment formally occurs in spring semester (February). Some chapters may do additional recruitment in the fall semester, but not always.
  • Culturally based Fraternity & Sorority Recruitment/Intake is determined by each organization and membership needs at the time. It may occur in either Fall or Spring semester. You should plan to attend events by each organization to indicate interest.

What are the requirements to participate in the recruitment process?

  • First Year students: must have earned 12 credit hours or more; 2.5 cumulative GPA or higher; No disciplinary conduct probation.
  • Transfer students: no credit requirement. Transcript must show 2.5 cumulative GPA or higher.
  • Upper class students: same as first year requirement, and cannot have joined and initiated into another organization previously.

How much will it cost?

Dues will differ from organization to organization. Generally, you will pay a set of dues that will go to your national organization. You may also pay local dues that will fund your local chapter’s operations. Total annual dues typically range between $600 and $1,400 per year.

As a first-year student in your organization, your membership dues tend to be higher to cover the cost of new member educational materials and initiation. Most dues will decrease after that point.

How much will it cost?

Dues will differ from organization to organization. Generally, you will pay a set of dues that will go to your national organization. You may also pay local dues that will fund your local chapter’s operations. Total annual dues typically range between $600 and $1,400 per year.

As a first-year student in your organization, your membership dues tend to be higher to cover the cost of new member educational materials and initiation. Most dues will decrease after that point.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will I be hazed?

Hazing is an unacceptable practice that runs contrary to the organizational values of fraternities and sororities upon which they were founded. Hazing is a violation of University policy and is against state and federal law. Individuals or organizations that are alleged to have participated in hazing activities will be investigated and adjudicated accordingly.

See ESU’s Hazing Prevention Policy.

What if I cannot afford dues payments?
Choosing an organization that fits your values can be a overwhelming experience. No organization wants financial concerns to be a barrier towards membership. Many national organizations offer scholarships to assist with costs of membership. Additionally, most local chapters offer payment plan options to break up the cost of dues into more manageable payments. Before quitting the process, discuss all options with your chapter’s finance chair.
Will my grades suffer if I join a fraternity or sorority?
Many fraternities and sororities have academic achievement as a core value. All organizations have GPA requirements for joining and remaining in good standing. Chapters have a scholarship chair to coordinate recognition activities for high achievers and to seek help for members who struggle. Upperclassmen also serve as mentors and a resource for underclassmen in choosing classes, studying, and navigating the campus and the community.

Common Words and Phrases in Fraternity and Sorority Life

The following is a list of basic terms to help you understand a little more about fraternities and sororities:

General Terms

Affiliate
To join with an organization.
Divine Nine
A nickname for the nine historically African American Greek organizations on the National Pan-Hellenic Council.
Fraternity
A society for male students in a university or college, typically for social purposes. But, also refers to co-ed organizations and many sororities were founded as women’s fraternities.
Greek
Not the nationality. Greek in this sense means a member of a fraternity or sorority.
Panhellenic
“All Greek”
Sorority
A society for female students in a university or college, typically for social purposes.
Yard
Term used for campus by culturally based Greek organization members.

Activities

Crossed
The date on which an associate member is initiated into a fraternity or sorority to become an active member. Usually, a term used in culturally based Greek organizations.
Initiation
A ceremony where a pledge/prospective new member becomes a full member of the organization. Initiation ceremonies are private and different for all organizations.
New Member Presentation
A performance by newly inducted or soon to be inducted members. A way for organizations to showcase the newest members of the organization. These shows are generally done by NPHC, NALFO, and NMGC organizations.
Step Show

A show performed by NPHC, NALFO, and NMGC organizations (as well as other organizations) which include a combination of stepping and strolling among other activities.

  • Marching is defined as but is not limited to potential new members in culturally centered organizations linked arm in arm, stepping or stomping loudly in unison, dipping and/or chanting/singing.
  • Stepping is a form of percussive dance in which the participant's entire body is used as an instrument to produce complex rhythms and sounds through a mixture of footsteps and hand claps.
  • Strolling, also known as ‘party walk(ing)’, is an energetic, synchronized dance. Typically, NPHC Organizational members move together in a line expressing pride for their organization. In this line, members may express their pride through use of their organization’s call, sign or historical information, ritual/custom dances, etc. All of this is done through movements that are unique to a part .

Governance

Local
An organization that is not part of an incorporated Greek organization, typically only found on one campus. Lambda Iota is recognized as the only local fraternity and sorority at ESU.
National
A fraternity or sorority’s national headquarters. Usually erroneously called "national", as most organizations are international, having chapters outside of the US.

People

Bigs/Littles
Nicknames for mentors/mentees in fraternities and sororities. Generally, initiated members are assigned to new members.
Brother/frat/frater
Term that fraternity members call each other. Frat or frater is used in culturally based organizations.
Line

A collection of all the new/associate members of a culturally based Greek organization.

  • Anchor & Bullhorn: The last person and first person (respectively) of the line. (Culturally based organizations only)
Potential New Member (PNM)
A person who is interested in joining a Greek letter organization, and will participate in rush, intake, or recruitment. Formerly called rushees by sororities, term is still used by fraternities.
Sister/Soror
Term that sorority members call each other. Soror is used in culturally based organizations.

Recruitment

Bid
An invitation to join an IFC fraternity or NPC sorority. They are given out during formal recruitment (on Bid Day for sororities, at any time before the end of formal recruitment for fraternities). The NPHC and NALFO/NMGC process does not include bids.
Informational
Recruitment event for culturally based groups.
Intake
Term for the process by which NPHC members are selected to become new members of an organization. Much more secretive than recruitment or rush, but generally includes an application and an interview process, followed by an educational program done at the local level conducted by both undergraduates and alumni, then an initiation (generally known as “crossing”).
Recruitment
The process where fraternities and sororities get new members. Potential new members meet all chapters, are invited to socials and choose the new members of their organization. The old term is rush, which is still used by the fraternities. The formal name is Formal Recruitment. This is traditional for IFC and NPC organizations. NPHC, NALFO, and NMGC practices differ.

Contact Us

ESU values partnering with parents and families to assist students in exploring fraternity and sorority membership. If you have any questions or concerns about any area of Greek Life, please contact the Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life at dayala1@esu.edu or (570) 422-3775.

Contact Information

Campus Address
University Center, 2nd Floor
Phone:
(570) 422-3775
Title of Department Leader
Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life
Name
Daniel Ayala