So maybe you have decided to sign up for recruitment, or maybe you are just curious as to how rush week works. Well here is the inside scoop from a genuine sorority veteran. If you do sign up for recruitment, you will eventually be assigned to a group of girls and two recruitment counselors. As I've said before, each campus is different and things change from year to year. But this is my knowledge of recruitment and a basic guide that can get your started. I will also tell you things from the other side of the door that you won't hear from your Recruitment Counselors (which I will call Pi Chis from now on since that's what they are called at my school).
I'm not going to go into great detail about the stuff they tell you on your first day since you will hear it from your Pi Chis. There may be pre-meetings to rush week, but here is what your week will look like.
Day 1: You will meet your Pi Chis and the other girls in your group. Your group will probably have a theme so you can have fun and aren't as stressed. Don't be intimidated by your first impressions of the other girls. Yes they are your competition, but don't let looks fool you. Also, don't believe the rumor that groups are based on how pretty or ugly you are. They are either randomly selected, or are alphabetical. The first day, you and these girls will go to each house for a party that can last anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes depending on how many houses you have at your campus. If a sorority doesn't have a house, their party will be held at a room they borrow, either from a fraternity house or a student union room. Usually on the first day the sisters wear the University's school colors and talk about involvement in school. They will talk about subjects such as football games, school events and of course, how great their sorority is. But these girls are smart and will also be digging for information from you. The main points my sorority judged on were GPA, year in school, involvement (in high school if you are a freshman or college if you are a sophomore or above), looks, money, time commitments, special qualities (singing, dancing etc.) and character (catch-all category for things like whether they are a team player or not, etc). We already know your GPA and year in school but we will probably ask girls if they like the campus so far or what not. Girls who are not a freshman are at an automatic disadvantage (sorry, but that's reality) and if you don't make the GPA requirement you are dropped the first day, no matter how amazing you did at the party.
The Middle Days:
The number of days in between the first day and the last vary based on how many girls are going through recruitment. Big SEC schools in the South (where I went to school) take thousands of girls on the first day, and some get dropped before even the second day. Smaller schools do things differently based on what Panhellenic wants. Each day the process is more selective and less girls go back to each house and each girl visits fewer houses each day. You will probably be with your recruitment groups less and less as the week goes on. These days have various themes such as Skit Day (obviously where each house performs a skit), Sisterhood Day (where the sorority talks more intimately about the bonds of sisterhood), or Philanthropy Day (each house has a charity and you may do a craft related to the charity). The length of the party is longer so that you talk to a girl for more time and they will talk about other topics to rank you. The attire for each day gets more formal as well. On the first day you probably wore a t-shirt and jeans with your college name on it. You will be encouraged by your Pi Chis to dress nicer each day (such as a skirt, sundress etc.) until the last day when you wear a nice evening dress.
This is the last day of visiting houses. A girl will go to up to about four houses, but may only get an invitation to one. Sorority sisters will wear black and do a ceremony and maybe read a poem or show a slideshow. You will talk with only one sister, called your "pref date" and she is going to be someone you connected with during the week. Then when you walk or move to the ceremony part, she will stand behind you. Some sisters may play with the PNMs hair or touch her shoulder if they have bonded. Even if your pref date can't see you, the expression on your face may be noticed by other sisters in the room. After this day you will rank the houses but you may get a bid from any. If your #1 house puts your on their bid list, then you will get a bid from them. If they don't, then your Pi Chi will go to your #2 choice and see if they put you on their bid list and so on. Each house submits the list of girls they want, and then a second list of girls that they will take if the first choice girls are going to another house. These lists are super secret and are only seen by the Panhellenic President and maybe one or two other people. As a sorority sister, you only get one vote and aren't even sure who is on your own sorority first choice list.
This is the day when you show up to find out which house you will be going to. Girls who didn't get into a house will get a phone call from their Pi Chi the night before to tell them so they don't show up and get embarrassed if they have no invitation. There will be a ceremony where you will go home to your new sorority and then the Pi Chis will reveal which sorority they are in.
Hope this lets your know what's in store for you during rush week! Also here are some terms I forgot to include with Rush Terms.
Rush Crush: When a sister and a rushee really connect it is said that the sorority sister has a "rush crush" on the rushee. Girls may have a "rush crush" on one house or a sister in the house. Sometimes rush crushes become big and little sisters, but sadly sometimes a rush crush is one sided and the girl goes to a different sorority.
Suicide: This can mean two things. When a rotation group "suicides" a girl this means they didn't like her and will give her a low score to get rid of her. This can also mean when a girl limits herself to one sorority and then doesn't get a bid from them. One huge mistake girls make as the week goes on is that they have a rush crush on one house and then when they visit their second choice house they say something like "I've already made my choice and it's a different house" even if they say it politely. Girls will think they automatically have a bid from a house because they are rich or pretty, know sisters in the house, or were dirty rushed and told they were guaranteed a bid (this is why dirty rushing is prohibited). Then something goes wrong and the girl isn't as popular in the house as she thought or was told, or other girls were just better suited for the sorority than her. This is what happens, but when a girl commits "suicide" this is because she told her #2 sorority (which may have loved her and wanted to bid her) that she was too good for the house and so they drop her too. She may end up getting that call after pref day to be told she didn't get in anywhere at all.
Bump: When you are talking to one sister and then another sister comes along and interrupts the conversation and begins a new one with you. This is so that you talk to different girls and that 4 girls have an opinion of you.
Hell No/Hell Yes: Some sororities, especially at large universities, use a hell no or hell yes system to quickly and efficiently rank girls. They may do a Hell No/Hell Yes list or may even on the first day sort girls into two different rooms. This is so that they can easily cut off the bottom of the list the "hell no's" and then automatically invited back the top of the list, the "hell yes" ones. So then they can spend their time voting and discussing the middle girls who may go either way. I heard a rumor that at a very large school, when a girl walks in the door, an senior/junior sister takes one quick look at the girl and decides whether to take her into a Yes or No room to talk.
Bid List: This is the list that a sorority submits to Panhellenic and the Pi Chis by like 2am and it is up to 50 girls that the sorority wants.
Flex List: This is the list of alternates, or the second bid list. This means that if a girl on the bid list is going to a different sorority (meaning she ranked the other house first) then Panhellenic looks at the top of the flex list to pick the next girl.