Sorority Dictionary

If you are rushing or a new member of a sorority, you may be confused by the terms you hear floating around. PNM? Rec? Quota? Here is a dictionary to keep on hand when you’re not sure if someone’s speaking Greek 😉 (see what I did there)

If you want to know more about the stages of recruitment and what to wear, click here.

Active Member: (n) an initiated member of a sorority. ex: The active members will talk to you during each round of recruitment. 

Alumna: (n) a member who is no longer in college and therefore not an active member. ex: My sister is an alumna of that sorority!

Bid: (n) an offer of membership extended to a potential new member by a sorority. ex: I hope I get a bid tomorrow!

Bid Day: (n) the day where you receive your bid, often at a ceremony or celebration, and by accepting join your new sorority. ex: What is our Bid Day theme?

Big Sister: (n) a member of an older pledge class who serves as your mentor throughout your sorority years. ex: I hope you’re my big!

Chapter: (n) a group of sorority women at a specific university. ex: I met someone from another chapter of my sorority on the plane!

Formal Recruitment: (n) the formal way to join a Panhellenic sorority, broken down into rounds where potential new members and chapters can mutually choose one another. It can be held in fall or spring, depending on the school. Informally called rush. ex: Formal recruitment will be held this August.

Initiation: (n) the ceremony where you officially become an active member of your sorority, typically 2-3 months after bid day. ex: Initiation will be in October.

Legacy: (n) someone who has a family member who was a member of that sorority. Each sorority has a different definition of what relationships qualify you to be a legacy. ex: I’m a legacy because my mom was a member when she was in college!

Little Sister: (n) a member of a lower pledge class that you lead through college. ex: I just love my little!

New Member: (n) someone who has accepted a bid to a sorority but has not yet been initiated. ex: All new members will meet at Starbucks to study for the initiation test!

Open House: (n) the first round of recruitment where PNMs visit every sorority on campus. ex: Open house takes foreverrrrrr.

Panhellenic: (n) the governing body of all sororities. Sometimes used as an adjective to describe all-sorority activities or customs. ex: Panhellenic meetings are this week.

Pledge Class: (n) the group of girls who receive a bid on bid day, go through the new member process, and get initiated together. ex: I just love our pledge class!

Potential New Member: (n) anyone participating in formal recruitment, often abbreviated to PNM ex: All potential new members will be given a t-shirt to wear during open house.

Preference: (n) the last round of formal recruitment. ex: I am excited for preference.

Pref: (v) to attend a preference ceremony at a sorority. ex: Who did you pref?

Quota: (n) the number of bids a sorority is allowed to give out. This depends on the number of girls going through recruitment, the size of the school, and the number of active members. ex: Quota is 30 this year.

Recommendation Letter: (n) a letter written by an alumna of a sorority expressing her desire for you to join that sorority during the upcoming formal recruitment. ex: I got two recs from my mom’s friends.

Recruitment Counselor: (n) a sorority woman who will guide you and a group of other PNMs through recruitment. Sometimes called a Gamma Chi, Rho Chi or Rho Gamma. ex: I love my recruitment counselor, she brought us candy!

Rushing: (v) participating in formal recruitment ex: Are you rushing this fall?

Total: (n) the total number of girls allowed in the sorority, including new members and actives, as designated by the university. ex: Our total is 150.


Hope this explains a lot more about sorority life! Make sure to read my posts about sorority recruitment tips and what to wear!

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  1. I hope this gets shared around, so helpful for PNMs! I was a Theta in college and will forever love recruitment.

    Posted 8.6.18 Reply