FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
This page is broken down into three parts: Recruitment, Sorority Life, and Housing. Scroll down for the appropriate sections. If you still have questions or concerns after reading this page, please contact our VP of Recruitment, Meg Balfrey, at email@example.com.
What is the Primary Recruitment process like? What can I expect?
Primary Recruitment is a long but rewarding process where you will meet and get to know the 17 participating Panhellenic sororities at the UW and a variety of members in each chapter. It is a mutual selection process, meaning that this is the time that you narrow down your options of what sorority you will join at the end of the week, and chapters invite back potential members they would like to see each round. As the week goes on, you will get to know more about the aspects of each sorority you are visiting. Head to the Primary Recruitment 2022 page to learn more about each round.
Can I participate in Primary Recruitment if I’m not a freshman? Do I have the same chance to receive a bid?
While most people who participate in recruitment are first year (freshmen) students, upper class students are welcome to participate as well. UW utilizes a secondary quota system to help give upper class students the best opportunity to be placed, and your chances are not leveled against freshmen.
What are the benefits of participating in Primary Recruitment as opposed to Continuous Open Bidding?
Primary Recruitment in the fall is the only opportunity to visit the majority of organizations within the Panhellenic Community. It is a more structured process and provides a safe, supportive environment. Continuous Open Bidding is not a guaranteed or structured process, and we cannot speak to how many chapters will be participating following Primary Recruitment.
I already have a roommate and want to live in a residence hall on campus... do I HAVE to live in my sorority during my first year in college?
Because chapter houses have returned to full capacity, you will be expected to move into your new sorority and exceptions are only granted in rare circumstances. Additionally, once you register for Primary Recruitment, your contract with HFS for the school year will be cancelled. If you join through COB, chapters will still want members to move in at their earliest opportunity.
Can I still do Early Fall Start?
You can definitely do both Early Fall Start and Primary Recruitment. We will do our best to accommodate those who chose to do both and work with your schedule so you can still attend as many rounds as possible.
Is there a required GPA to go through recruitment?
The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) does not allow individual collegiate Panhellenic’s to set a minimum GPA for potential members to participate in Recruitment. Individual chapters do have GPA requirements for membership, and these depend on each organization.
Do I have to visit all participating chapters for Primary Recruitment?
Yes. In order to participate in Primary Recruitment you must participate actively with all chapters. This includes attending all of the events that you are invited to. Fully participating in the recruitment events gives you the best opportunity to get to know the chapters and a variety of their members in order to make the most informed membership choice, and skipping out on events looks poorly on your character.
Am I guaranteed to receive a bid through Primary Recruitment? Do I have to accept a bid if I receive one?
Receiving a bid is not guaranteed in primary recruitment but our campus typically has a high placement rate. If you have been invited back to chapters until preference round and attend your preference events as well as maximize your options, meaning that you list all the chapters whose events you attended during preference on your Membership Recruitment Binding Agreement (MRABA), you will receive a bid on bid day. You do not have to accept a bid on bid day, although we hope by the end of recruitment you will be excited to receive a bid from the chapters that you listed on your Membership Recruitment Acceptance Binding Agreement the night before. If you choose not to accept your bid you will not be able to join another NPC sorority at the University of Washington until the following primary recruitment.
What happens if I decide to withdraw during Recruitment?
Going through the recruitment process does not obligate you to join a sorority. If at any point during recruitment you decide that sorority membership is not what you are looking for, then you may withdraw from the process. To do so, you must notify the campus Panhellenic or your Recruitment Counselor and fill out a simple withdrawal form. Once you withdraw from recruitment you will be eligible to join through the Continuous Open Bidding process if you would like during the year if you have not signed an MRABA.
In regards to housing, you will be guaranteed a spot in campus housing, as long as you are a first year or transfer student, likely starting in a temporary space, and then being moved to a permanent placement, as long as you participate in the first full recruitment round (September 10 and 11). To secure your space on campus, you will need to fill out a housing application with Housing & Food Services after withdrawing. More information will be provided about this process upon your withdrawal.
What is the Continuous Open Bidding (COB) process like?
Continuous Open Bidding is a much less structured process for women to join a sorority during the academic year, from Bid Day until the completion of Spring Graduation. Sororities that are under Panhellenic total (median chapter size), are eligible to take new members up to total if they choose. Not all sororities participate in COB.
In most cases, once contacted by a chapter, a small group of women will meet with you to take you out to coffee or lunch. They then may invite you over to the house for a meal, a house tour, or to participate in a sisterhood event with the chapter a few times before offering you a bid to membership if they believe that you are a good fit for their organization. Typically you will get a few days to decide if you would like to accept your bid, if you are unable to accept on the spot.
How do I register for COB? How do I know which chapters are participating in COB?
Interested members can sign up on the COB list as a way to show their interest to sororities that are under total. There is a list of chapters who are eligible to participate on the Panhellenic website that you can contact to express your interest: https://www.uwpanhellenic.com/continuous-open-bidding. You do not have to sign up on the COB list to participate. Potential members can join sororities that are participating in COB because of connections they have with friends they make through class or campus activities and have not signed up on the COB list.
What is a Recruitment Counselor?
A recruitment counselor (RC) is a member of a Panhellenic sorority on campus that serves on our recruitment staff to provide you support and help facilitate the process of recruitment. These members disaffiliate from their sorority to provide you an unbiased look at our Panhellenic community. You will be placed in an RC group with three to four Recruitment Counselors who will help to answer your questions, be a confidant, serve as a sounding board, or whatever else you might need during the week. They are an excellent resource for you as you go through recruitment.
If I join a certain sorority and feel that it is not the best fit for me, can I quit and rejoin another sorority?
If you quit your sorority before you are initiated, you are eligible to join another sorority at UW or any other campus. You will have to wait to pursue membership in another organization until the primary recruitment period on that campus, typically in the fall. If you choose to quit your sorority after you are initiated, you will not be able to join another sorority at the UW or any other campus.
Do I have to live on-campus for Primary Recruitment?
It is not required to live on campus for Primary Recruitment however many individuals choose to do so. It is a great option, even if you live nearby, so you can meet other individuals participating in Primary Recruitment but it is not required. We are still working out the contract with HFS but we will be providing housing in a residence hall for the duration of in-person rounds (move in will be September 11 and move out will be September 17). There will be a break after the two virtual days to allow for individuals to fly in and move in to the residence hall before recruitment rounds continue.
If you would like to stay on campus during recruitment, you can bring all of your things with you that you will need for fall quarter to move to your new living location as soon as primary recruitment ends.
Once the registration is open for this, information will be emailed out to those already registered for recruitment and included in the confirmation email for those who register after it becomes available. If you want an on campus space for recruitment you register separately from your recruitment registration.
Is food provided during recruitment?
A meal stipend will be included with on campus living during recruitment which can be used at the District Market, provides grab-and-go meals/snacks, and dining halls. Many people choose to get food off campus from restaurants on University Avenue or University Village as well.
Do I need letters of recommendation for Primary Recruitment? Does being a legacy guarantee a bid?
The University of Washington Panhellenic Association does not consider letters of recommendation or legacy status in the recruitment process and it will not alter your ability to receive a bid. If you have further questions please look through this document or contact the individual chapters.
Can I do recruitment over the summer?
The earliest that you can participate in Panhellenic Recruitment would be the first day of Primary Recruitment. Panhellenic sororities do not hold recruitment events during the summer and should only be promoting Panhellenic recruitment during that time.
What should I bring during recruitment and living in a chapter house?
Check out our packing list:
How much of a time commitment is being in a sorority?
Just like any other organization, membership in a sorority does have commitments. However, it is very common for sorority members to work, participate in UW athletics, activities, and volunteer for the community throughout the academic year. It is expected that sorority members will participate in certain chapter activities, meet financial obligations, and in some cases, assist with minimal duties within the chapter. Each organization, at minimum, has one weekly chapter meeting lasting on average an hour a week. Other commitments each quarter include shifts for chapter hosted philanthropy events, committee meetings, educational programs, attending chapter events and activities, and volunteer hours.
What happens in the time after Bid Day but before school starts?
This period is typically filled with lots of sisterhoods and retreats! This period focuses on getting to know your new sisters and getting acclimated to campus so that you are ready and prepared come the first day of school! New Members also use this time to settle into their new chapter house, have family visit, and enjoy the last week before classes.
What Greek opportunities are offered to new members?
There are lots of ways to get involved right off the bat as a new member and we hope that you will want to be connected outside of your specific sorority. Here are a few organizations within our community to tap into right away:
Panhellenic Leadership Council- is an organization made up of two first year members from each sorority who receive leadership development programming, plan events and activities for the campus and fraternity & sorority community.
Green Greeks - is an organization made up of men and women in the fraternal community who care about sustainability initiatives within our chapter facilities and at events hosted by chapters.
Greeks Take Action - is an organization made up of men and women in the fraternal community who care about Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence prevention. Each chapter has a delegate that attends Greeks Take Action meetings but anyone is welcome to attend and be involved.
What is the difference between Panhellenic, Pan-Hellenic, and MGC?
The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) is made up of 26 national or international sororities. We have 17 NPC groups on our campus and 1 affiliate group within our College Panhellenic Association.
The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), or the Divine 9, is made up of 9 national historically African American fraternities and sororities. We currently have 3 NPHC women’s groups at the UW. NPHC does not participate in Panhellenic recruitment but you can learn more about their council and membership here: http://students.washington.edu/nphc/
The Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) is made up of 12 local or national fraternities and sororities with cultural foundations. We currently have 7 women's organizations within MGC at the UW. UGC sororities do not participate in Panhellenic recruitment but you can learn more about their council and membership here: https://www.washington.edu/ofsl/councils/united-greek-council/
*As a note, while organizations within each council mentioned above have a religion or culture that they were founded upon, now all organizations are open to women of any faith, race, ethnicity, or background and we are proud to have a diverse community within each of our councils. What is most important is that you choose the council that best fits the membership experience you are looking for.
Can I join other clubs if I am in a sorority?
Of course! The majority of women in Panhellenic sororities are members of other Registered Student Organizations (RSOs), hold internships or other jobs, or participate in research on campus. Some sororities may require you to be involved in things outside of the chapter and all appreciate members who are involved in outside activities.
How can I meet women in other chapters on campus?
Each quarter, every chapter is partnered with another sorority, or “sister sorority” and participates in quarterly sisterhood activities! Panhellenic also holds many fun events like the Academic Dessert, Greek Awards, and Wellness Week festivities. You may meet other Panhellenic women in your residence hall, in classes that you take or through FIG courses, or through other RSOs on campus.
Can I join more than one sorority? Can I join an academic Greek Organization as well as a Panhellenic Sorority?
You may only join one Panhellenic sorority. Many Panhellenic women join other academic based Greek Organizations or RSOs. Examples include: Order of Omega (Greek honor society), Alpha Kappa Psi (Business fraternity), and Phi Delta Epsilon (Medical fraternity).
Are there sororities based on academic major goals or certain interests?
Each sorority has a unique set of women who all share common interests and academic pursuits. With this being said, each sorority has a multitude of different women with different skill sets and passions. One specific sorority does not represent a certain academic field or interest. However, our affiliate sorority, Phi Sigma Rho, is a traditionally Engineering-based sorority and members must plan to major in a STEM field.
Are there “bad” chapters? What is the “tier system”?
There are NO bad chapters, and the Greek Community does not condone the “tier system” as on other university campuses. Each chapter has their own strengths, values, and passions that make them unique. No chapters are better than other chapters, and we recommend that you do not base your recruitment experience off the opinions of others.
What are the social expectations of being in a sorority?
Sororities provide many opportunities for women to meet and connect with other members of the fraternity & sorority community, although none are mandatory. Examples of these events include sisterhoods where members of the sorority might watch a movie, attend a sporting event, paint, or decorate cookies for a holiday; Grab-A-Dates where women can bring a guest for a fun event like a Mariners Game, Bowling, or Gameworks; and formals where members can bring a guest to a dance hosted in the Seattle area.
If social events are not your thing, sororities provide plenty of other opportunities for leadership, scholastic support and community engagement. We have members in our Panhellenic community that don’t participate in social events or activities.
What are sorority bigs?
Each new member is paired with an upper class member in the first half of the year. Sorority bigs are women (traditionally in the member class above the new member class) that mentor and support their new member or little. Big/Little reveal occurs when the new members find out who their mentor (Big) is.
What do the sorority letters stand for?
An array of sorority letters (typically 2-3) stand for each specific chapter, ranging from the Greek letters in the alphabet. Organization letters have a meaning to those in the organization and their meaning is typically revealed during initiation.
Will I be hazed?
Our campus, and each sorority national organization, has policies that address hazing. Each sorority, nationally and internationally, complies with anti-hazing laws. If you do feel uncomfortable at any time there are plenty of resources you can reach out to and contact including the Panhellenic Association, the Office of Fraternity or Sorority Life Staff and Community Standards & Student Conduct. If hazing is reported, it is taken seriously by our council, the University of Washington and the sororities national organization. All new members and initiated members also receive hazing prevention programming each year.
What happens if I want to drop out of my sorority?
While membership is for a lifetime and we hope that your sorority experience will add value to your collegiate and alumna years, you can quit your sorority as an undergraduate should you lose interest or need to for other reasons. This is something that you will need to discuss with your individual organization, likely a chapter president or advisor to learn about the process of leaving your organization. It is important to note that there may be some financial obligations that you are still responsible for if you are moving out of the chapter house or have outstanding dues to the organization.
If you have been initiated into the sorority, you are unable to join another Panhellenic group at the UW or any other campus.
If you have not been initiated into the sorority, you are able to join another Panhellenic sorority during the following primary recruitment process.
What happens if I graduate early? Can I still be a member of my sorority?
Membership in a sorority is for a lifetime so even if you graduate early you will still be a member, but likely with alumna status. Once you graduate you will not need to attend chapter meetings or events with the undergraduate chapter but can be involved with an alumnae group.
How do sororities interact with fraternities?
Many sororities and fraternities participate in exchanges, which are social activities between one fraternity and one sorority, to get to know more people in the Greek Community. Some examples are finger painting on canvas, de-stress with puppies and barbecues.
What amenities are offered in sorority living? What is the cost of joining a sorority and what does it cover?
Each chapter facility is unique and may provide different amenities. Amenities that would be included in any chapter are a twin bed, access to study areas such as desks, closet/dresser space, bathroom, and laundry facilities. Typically costs include room and board, a live-in house director, house staff, house cleaners, meals, Internet, and cable. It also includes quarterly dues which include chapter operating costs, officer budgets, events and activities. Most chapters have different options of payment plans whether it be quarterly, monthly, annually, or installment. For more information visit the Living In The Community page.
Does financial aid cover Chapter dues? Housing?
The best way to know if your financial aid will cover sorority costs is to inquire with the Student Financial Aid Office at the University of Washington. They will be able to answer your specific questions about if the aid you receive can be used to pay for housing or dues.
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What do I do if I already signed up to live in the residence halls?
Because chapter houses can be at full occupancy, Housing and Food Services (HFS) contracts for first year and transfer students who have registered for recruitment will be canceled and your $500 deposit will be refunded. Anyone who registers after the proclamation is lifted will have their contract canceled within the week that they register. You are not able to hold your HFS contract and register for recruitment.
What are your Disability Accommodations?
All but two Panhellenic organizations at the UW have a chapter facility and most facilities were built before ADA accommodations. Ability to accommodate mobile disability access is varied within our facilities. Some are able to accommodate individuals with mobility needs on the first floor through the front or a side entrance and some have elevators that allow members with mobility needs to live and have access to all floors. If you have specific questions or have other disability accommodation needs please feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
If I am not from Seattle, where do I live during Primary Recruitment?
If you need a place to stay during recruitment, you are welcome to join us in the residence halls during that week. Our recruitment staff and the Recruitment Counselors (RCs) also live in the residence halls during this time so you will not be alone! Directions on how to register for this option will be available once you register for recruitment in your confirmation email.
How long do I have to live in my sorority?
This depends on the specific sorority, although in the majority of cases most women live in the chapter facility for at least three years.
Do chapters have Vegetarian/Vegan/Gluten-Free/Allergy options for food?
Each chapter’s chef works to accommodate members who have food preferences or allergies. You will need to communicate your dietary needs with your chapter's chef when you move into the house so that they know and are able to accommodate your specific needs.
Will living in a sorority contribute to establishing residency in Washington?
This is a great question to ask the Registrar. Here is the information to get in touch with them to see if you can use your sorority residence to establish residency in Washington State: https://registrar.washington.edu/students/residency/residency-requirements/