If you’ve driven down Sorority Row during rush week at Ole Miss, you’ve likely seen young women lining the streets wearing clean dresses, big hair and high heels. But in recent years, you might have noticed a few extra people waiting outside the chapter houses.
Although you’re likely to spot some anxious mothers who are hopeful that their daughters become legacies — these are not them. These outsiders are rush consultants — hired guns who groom would-be sorority members during the recruitment process.
According to the website for Rushbiddies, a recruitment consultant group based out of Birmingham, the service “evolved from the concern of two Panhellenic-minded women witnessing the best and most outstanding high school girls not being informed or prepared for sorority recruitment.”
Rushbiddies’ founder Pat Grant said being prepared is key to the process, and that’s what she hopes to provide her clients.
“If you are considering taking part in sorority recruitment when you attend college, my one word of advice is preparation,” Grant said.
There are various recruitment consultation groups, such as GreekChic and GoGreekGirl, as well as individuals available for hire across the country. Most have an hourly rate of $80 to $125. This cost can cover many things ranging from a social media review to a wardrobe assessment, and it is not limited to the consultant traveling to the potential new member’s university during rush week.
GoGreekGirl posted a few anonymous success stories on its webpage, including one from an Ole Miss student.
“Rush is very competitive at our campus, and I was so nervous about everything because no women in my family had gone Greek,” reads the Ole Miss student’s statement. “(My rush consultant) treated me like a little sister and ensured that all my paperwork was in place and that I knew how to best approach each stage of recruitment.”
Kenzie Hollis, a freshman business major preparing for recruitment, said she made the right decision by hiring a consultant. She chats by phone with her rush consultant, who lives in Birmingham, Alabama.
“It has actually made it a lot less stressful having her,” Hollis said. “I’m afraid to ask people here questions, because that might affect me during rush, and my consultant has no affiliations to Ole Miss.”
Though every woman registered for rush at Ole Miss is assigned to a small group with a student recruitment counselor, also known as a gamma chi, to answer her questions, some students still have doubts about conversations getting back to the chapters.
Recruitment counselors are sorority women at Ole Miss who have gone through an interview process and have been chosen to give advice to and answer questions for “potential new members.”
This year, I was one of the women selected to be a recruitment counselor and was assigned 12 women to mentor.
These recruitment counselors are disaffiliated from their sororities. This entails not wearing sorority T-shirts, removing Greek-letter car decals and refraining from attending their chapters’ functions until bid day.
Olivia Vanderleest, a senior biology major and recruitment counselor, said that hiring a rush consultant can be harmful or helpful.
“Are (rush consultants) helping to calm (PNMs’) nerves and answer questions, or are they trying to shape someone into what they think a certain sorority is looking for?” Vanderleest said. “The latter is disingenuous in the sense that they (PNMs) may not end up where they really fit best.”
Vanderleest said she suggests that potential new members looking to have questions answered should save money and ask their recruitment counselors.
“Get your info for free from a woman who actually went through recruitment at her respective school,” Vanderleest said.
Sorority member and senior hospitality management major Danielle Foster said she doesn’t think hiring a professional would be helpful.
“A chapter is not giving a bid to a coach, they’re giving it to a girl they met during recruitment,” Foster said. “I think the process should just be 100 percent you.”