There are many ways to join a sorority in college. Some people decide to go a more formal route, and they go through some version of formal recruitment. For others, a less stressful informal approach works better. This approach is usually called Continuous Open Bidding. To help you navigate and understand continuous open bidding I wanted to give you a guide to surviving and conquering this form of recruitment.
Before Continuous Open Bidding
The process for continuous open bidding versus formal recruitment is a lot more hands on. It gives you a chance to get to know sorority sisters at a deeper level than formal recruitment, but you also have to show more initiative in your Greek life journey.
With formal recruitment, all you have to do is show up at a particular location, and you are guided along your journey with the help of the Greek Life office and the sorority women.
With continuous open bidding, your journey is more like a crazy figure 8 with some random adventures. Recruitment happens everywhere: at the mall, at dinner with sorority sisters, at a party, in the classroom. It's so nonlinear, and that can make getting involved with continuous open bidding harder.
Talk With Your Greek Life Office
First things first, talk with your Greek Life office on your school's campus. They will be so helpful to you on your journey. You have to discuss logistics with them. What you need to get in a sorority? If there is a potential new member list that your school provides sororities looking into continuous open bidding they will help you get your name on that list. The Greek Life office will help you get your foot in the door (and make sure that you are eligible to be a sorority member!)
Get To Know Sorority Women
Continuous Open Bidding is the best for women who already have a sorority goal in mind, in my opinion. If you are a floater and want to get to know all your options formal recruitment is the best route. If you have been around campus for a semester or two and already have a sisterhood in mind, it's time to take that relationship to the next level.
Find those women in your classes, in the library, in the student center, etc. Become their friends and get to know their sisters. Go to Greek events with that sorority. Basically become an honorary sister if you will.
More than likely if you are on a list of those women interested in going Greek the sorority women will pick up on your hints and continue to move along the process. The sisters will invite you to more Greek events and eventually pop the question about joining their sisterhood. As long as you show some interest, sorority sisters can usually take it from there.
Know That Not Every Sorority Participates
Not every sorority will participate in continuous open bidding. Each sorority has a limit of how many members they can take. They usually have a semester limit, as well as a total sorority limit. The semester limit mostly applies to how many members they can take initially during formal recruitment, so you don't need to worry about that number. Then there is the total sorority limit. This limit is more concrete and has more to do with things like building fire codes and how many people the Greek Life office feels should be in a single sorority. It takes a lot of balance getting to that number and it often changes from year to year. This number (called total) is essential nonetheless.
If the sorority you want to join is at total, they will not be eligible for continuous open bidding. Those sorority will be eligible to extend bids during formal recruitment, so if your favorite sorority isn't giving out continuous open bids, check out formal recruitment.
During Continuous Open Bidding
Continuous Open Bidding can be a little daunting. Here are some great tips for what to do during continuous open bidding.
Go To As Many Events As Possible
Continuous Open Bidding events are different from formal recruitment events. Events during the continuous open bidding process can be as simple as going to lunch with a sister or as complex as a mini-recruitment. My sorority used many different techniques to recruit for continuous open bidding.
Talk with your Greek Life Office to see what sorts of bigger events sororities might be putting on. Be sure to get to know as many sisters as possible and do things with those sisters. Recruiting happens 24/7 during continuous open bidding, and sometimes it's hard to tell what is recruitment and what is just hanging out. Since the lines are so blurred during this form of recruitment, it makes the process more enjoyable.
Make Sure The Sorority Knows Your Eligible
At my school regardless of whether you went through Formal Recruitment or Continuous Open Bidding, you had to complete a couple of forms and go to an event called Greek 101. Make sure you talk with the Greek Life office to make sure you have filed any important forms and went to any events that you need to go to. Also, make sure your GPA is in the right place. Most sororities require a 2.5 GPA.
Make Sure The Sorority Knows You Are Interested
Sorority women want to know that you are interested in joining their sorority. Make sure you make this known throughout your conversations with Greek women. As I have stated a few times in this article the sorority women will start to pick up on your cues. They know who they want to extend bids to as well, so it's not as hard to capture their attention as you think.
After Continuous Open Bidding
Continuous Open Bidding is very different from accepting a bid through formal recruitment. Here are some tips on getting involved effectively.
Time Management Is Key
It's honestly essential to start practicing time management as soon as you think you want to join a sorority. It's important to begin the process as early as possible! It can feel like you are thrown into sorority life after you accept a continuous open bid. You have to start learning as you go and be prepared to move your schedule around quite a bit. Since you might get a bid later in the semester, your schedule may already be in place, so that's something you might have to change around a bit (or a lot) once you join a sorority.
Understand That Some Aspects Of Sorority Life May Be Tricky For You
One of the hardest parts of sorority life for my sisters who joined through a continuous open bid was that they may or may not have gone through the formal recruitment process as a potential new member at all.
Formal recruitment was a bit stressful for them as a process because they weren't sure what to expect. The week-long process of formal recruitment was challenging for them. If you have a problem understanding a particular element of sorority life because you didn't go through it yourself, let your sisters know. They can give you tips and help you understand what you don't know.
Jump Right In
It may seem like everything is already set in stone by the time you join through a continuous open bid. You may join the semester at the latter end of your new member class, and you may be worried about finding your place in your sorority because of that. The less you worry and the more you just start getting involved the better.
I hope this guide has been helpful for you as far as sorority life goes. Did you join a sorority through a continuous open bid? I'd love to hear your story below.