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, Joanna Noffsinger, at
Panhellenic is currently working on a plan for recruitment that ensures the safety of all the women participating in primary recruitment. We want you to know that recruitment will be happening in some way and we will work on accommodating all situations so no one is left out. Thank you so much for your patience and understanding.
What is the Primary Recruitment process like? What can I expect?
Formal recruitment is a long but rewarding process where you will meet and get to know the 18 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 women 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. Here is a brief overview of what each round will consist of:
Round 1 - Open House: during this round you will meet each participating sorority for 30 minutes over the span of two days and have the chance to meet between two and five members. This round serves as a meet and greet to briefly get a taste of the organization and lets the chapters get to get to know a bit about you.
Round 2 - Philanthropy: this is the first invitational round of recruitment, meaning that you have narrowed down the chapters you would like to return to, and the chapters have extended invitations to those women they would like to see back. During this round you will visit up to 13 sororities (you can see anywhere from 1 to 13 chapters, there is no normal or average amount) for 35 minutes over the span of two days. Each sorority will share with you a bit about their philanthropy, how they raise money or awareness for their cause and possibly how they are involved in other philanthropy activities within the community. You may watch a video or do an activity to learn more about their philanthropic organization. You also continue to get to know members in the chapter and can ask questions that you have related to philanthropy or other parts of the chapter.
Round 3 - House Tours: during this round you will visit up to 8 sororities for 40 minutes over the course of one day. Each sorority will give you a tour of their chapter facility where you can see what the living accommodations look like in each. The chapter should share additional information about chapter activities, things they are involved with on or off campus or other points of pride as well as being able to answer any questions you have about the financial obligations of membership and living in a chapter home.
Round 4 - Preference: during this round you will visit up to 2 sororities for one hour. You will have the chance to talk to a one or a few members, likely women who have already met during the week, about their membership experiences and any lingering questions that you have about their sorority. Each chapter will also host a ceremony to share with you a bit more about their national organization, their values, and their sisterhood.
During recruitment, you can expect lots of talking and answering questions about what you have been involved with in the past, what you are looking forward to in college, and what you want to get out of your sorority experience. You also will want to ask questions that are important to you to get to know the sororities and find the best fit.
You can expect long days. UW has a large number of chapters and we want to be sure that you get to spend a good amount of time with the organizations you are attending events with. You will want to find ways to take care of yourself and take advantage of down time to rest, reflect and relax.
You can expect recruitment to be an emotional week, with both good moments, but also with some disappointing ones. Your options will narrow down during recruitment and sometimes you will receive invitations that you are excited to see or may have moments where you are sad that you did not receive an invitation that you may have wanted or may be disappointed to not receive the same invitation as a friend or to a legacy chapter.
You can expect to meet a lot of new people, hopefully women in your recruitment group that will remain friends throughout your collegiate experience.
What do I wear for each day of recruitment?
The most important thing is to wear something that is comfortable and feels like you! You should not need anything that you don’t already have.
Check out our pinterest for some ideas:
Here is a quick look at what you might wear each round:
Round 1 & 2 - Open House & Philanthropy Rounds: you will wear a common t-shirt that you will receive at orientation with all of the other PNMs. Casual jeans, pants, shorts, or a skirt are appropriate and comfortable shoes like sandals or sneakers. Heels are not recommended, as there is a LOT of walking between these four days and you want to save your feet!
Rounds 3 - House Tour Rounds: dresses, rompers, pants/shorts/skirts and a top are appropriate for these rounds. This day is a bit more formal than the first round, but still should be something that is comfortable for you and shows off your personality. We recommend wearing shoes you are comfortable walking up and down stairs in.
Round 4 - Preference: cocktail style dresses, nice sundress, jumpsuits or like attire are appropriate for this round. You do not need to wear only black or white, patterns and bright colors are totally acceptable! It is still appropriate to wear sandals or flats during this round, but if you want to wear heels (as many women choose to do), we strongly suggest bringing along a pair of flip flops for between events.
Bid Day: once you receive and open your bid you will be given a bid day t-shirt so wearing something that you can easily throw your new t-shirt over is best. Shorts, jeans or pants of any variety are appropriate and we suggest wearing sneakers to bid day as you will be moving to your new chapter house.
Who is eligible to register for recruitment? If I am a Student at UW Tacoma or UW Bothell, am I able to join a sorority at the University of Washington?
In order to go through recruitment you have to be a fully matriculated student on the Seattle Campus. Unfortunately, students at UW Tacoma and UW Bothell are unable to join a sorority at the University of Washington. This is due to a Unanimous Agreement of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), made up of 26 inter/national sororities that comprise NPC, and is not a local decision of the chapters at the University of Washington, Seattle campus.
Do I need letters of recommendation for Primary Recruitment?
Letters of recommendation will not make or break your recruitment experience. Our suggestion is to graciously accept if somebody offers to write you one, but do not worry if you do not have any. Each sorority has different policies and procedures on letters of recommendation. The alumna who is writing on your behalf will need to contact her national organization to understand the process of how letters of recommendation are submitted for her individual group.
When are letters of recommendation due?
There is no explicit deadline set by the Panhellenic Association regarding letters of recommendation, please contact the sorority that you are interested in to see if they have a deadline that applies.
I am not a freshman, is there the same chance in recruitment as a freshman to get a bid?
While most women who participate in recruitment are first year (freshmen) women, upper class women are welcome to participate as well. UW utilizes a secondary quota system to help give upper class women the best opportunity to be placed, and your chances are not leveled against freshmen women.
What are the benefits of participating in Primary Recruitment as opposed to Continuous Open Bidding?
Fall Recruitment 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 groups 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?
Yes, if you participate in fall recruitment, chapters expect that their new members will be moving into the house right away and will only grant exceptions in extremely rare circumstances. If you join through the Continuous Open Bidding Process, in most cases the chapter will expect you to move in at the earliest possible opportunity.
Can I participate in Primary Recruitment if I'm not a freshman?
Yes! For recruitment 2018, 14% of women who participated were not incoming first year students.
Is there a required GPA to go through recruitment?
The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) does not allow individual collegiate Panhellenic sororities 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 fall 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 formal recruitment?
Although Formal Recruitment is not a guaranteed process, our campus typically has a high placement rate. In 2018 fall recruitment 1% of women did not receive an invitation to membership through the process. There are also 7% of women who choose to withdraw themselves from the process because they do not believe sorority membership is a good fit or they are not happy with their options.
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.
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 8 and 9). In order to secure your space on campus, you will need to fill out a Housing Application with Housing and 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 out 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, or if you are unable to accept on the spot.
How do I register for COB?
Interested women can sign up on the COB list as a way to show their interest to sororities that are under total. There is also 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. Women 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.
How do I know which houses are participating in COB?
At the beginning of each quarter, the chapters that are eligible for COB will be updated on the Panhellenic website. Check this list often for the most accurate information about which chapters are participating. https://www.uwpanhellenic.com/continuous-open-bidding
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 women disaffiliate from their sorority to provide you an unbiased look at our Panhellenic community. This means that she does not have any contact with her sorority during the week, is not involved in her sororities membership selection and will not be able to share with you what sorority she is in. You will be placed in an RC group with two to three 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. She is an excellent resource to you as woman going through recruitment.
If I join a certain sorority and feel that it is not the best fit for me, can I quit and rush 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 the 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 accept a bid on bid day? Am I guaranteed a bid on bid day?
You do not have to accept a bid on bid day, although we hope by that part 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 Primary Recruitment 2021.
If you have received invitations up until preference and attend your preference events you will receive a bid on bid day if you maximize your opportunities, meaning that you list the all chapters preference events you were invited to and attended on your Membership Recruitment Binding Agreement (MRABA).
Can graduate students participate in Primary Recruitment?
Unfortunately, graduate students cannot participate in Primary Recruitment.
Can international students participate in Primary Recruitment?
Undergraduate, fully matriculated, international students are more than welcome to participate in Primary Recruitment, and the Continuous Open Bidding processes. They still have to pay full membership dues and live in the chapter house.
Do I have to live on-campus for Primary Recruitment?
It is not required to live on campus for Primary Recruitment. If you wish to commute from home or another location you may opt to do so. We do suggest that you consider staying on campus during fall recruitment even if you live in the Seattle area as recruitment has some early mornings and late nights. Traffic and parking can be be unpredictable and it is essential to be on time. The cost (including all food & lodging) for staying on campus during Primary Recruitment is $523, and details will provided in the confirmation email you receive upon registering for Primary Recruitment.
Is food provided during recruitment?
For women staying in the residence halls during the week of Primary Recruitment, there are meals included in the cost of staying on campus. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included on most days of recruitment. For women that are commuting, there is the opportunity to purchase a meal card for the residence halls during the week of Primary Recruitment, and this cost is $135. If you do not choose to purchase a meal card, there are plenty of food options close to campus.
What happens if I end up with chapters that I don’t want to join on Preference Round?
You are not required to accept a bid from a chapter that does not seem like the right fit for you. If you truly feel that way, you may remove yourself from the Primary Recruitment process. Recruitment Counselors are available to talk you through this decision and support your choice.
Does being a legacy guarantee a bid?
Being a legacy does not guarantee a bid for many chapters. These specifications depends on each chapter’s policy.
Can I do recruitment over the summer?
The earliest that you can participate in Panhellenic Recruitment would be Primary Recruitment starting on September 6th. Panhellenic sororities do not hold recruitment events during the summer and should only be promoting Panhellenic recruitment during that time.
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 chapters 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 UGC?
The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) is made up of 26 national or international sororities. We have 19 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: http://www.uwugc.org/
*As a note, while organizations within each council mentioned above has 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 participate 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 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.
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, destress with puppies and barbecues.
What is the average cost of joining a sorority and what does it cover?
Typically these costs include room and board, a live-in house director, house staff, house cleaners, meals, Internet, phone, and cable. It also includes quarterly dues which include chapter operating costs, officer budgets, events and activities. The costs listed below are a quarterly price and most chapters have different options of payment plans whether it be quarterly, monthly, annually, or installment.
Average: $ 3,100
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.
What is a sleeping porch?
A sleeping porch is a large room inside a chapter house that contains bunk beds for approximately 10 - 40 women. Typically, women will sleep on a sleeping porch during their first year in their chapter, but this varies between chapters. While a members bed may be on a sleeping porch, most have another room where they would keep their belongings including their closet, desk, and dresser.
Can I still do Early Fall Start?
You can definitely do both Early Fall Start and Primary Recruitment. We plan our schedule around the EFS schedule in order to accommodate those who chose to do both. You will be able to indicate on your recruitment registration that you are interested in EFS and will be able to share your class schedule with the Panhellenic Recruitment staff during Recruitment Orientation.
What do I do if I already signed up to live in the residence halls?
When you register for Primary Recruitment, if you are an incoming freshman or a new transfer student with a 9-month contract your housing application you can cancel your by August 15 at no charge. Your deposit will be refunded to you. HFS will not cancel your application for you.
Current UW student will be responsible for cancelling their own HFS application and are subject to cancellation charges.
What are your Disability Accommodations?
All but one Panhellenic organization at the UW has 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.
What amenities are offered in housing?
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 and tables, closet/dresser space, bathrooms, laundry facilities, buffet-style meals, and cable/Wi-Fi.
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. Each chapter requires first year members to live in.
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/
Will I get my own room?
Traditionally, first year students will share rooms with at least one roommate. As members get older, they may have the opportunity to live in one person rooms called “singles” in their chapter houses or rooms ranging from two to eight people depending on the chapter.