Sorority Recruitment 101: Preference Round

Everything you need to know about the final day of sorority recruitment: Pref Night.

After days of going through recruitment, you’ve finally made it to Preference Round!

Congratulations, this is a huge deal!

Preference Round, or Pref Night, is the final day of sorority recruitment and it is the night that will determine the sorority you will (or will not) be running home to on Bid Day.

This final round of recruitment is full of emotions, tough decisions, and relief.

With that being said, I know you’re anxious and you want to make a lasting impression on your dream sorority.

So in this blog post we’re talking about everything you need to know about Preference Round.

From what to wear, what to say, how to pick the sorority that will be at the top of your list, and more–you’ll be able to leave this post with all your questions answered, and hopefully, your fears minimized.

A girl smiling after sorority recruitment. The text overlay says, "the ultimate guide to sorority preference round."

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What is Preference Round during sorority recruitment?

Preference Round is the last day of sorority recruitment and the day before Bid Day. It is the most important and most formal round of recruitment.

The importance of Pref Night

On this day of recruitment both sorority chapters and potential new members (PNMs) will need to make important, long-term decisions.

For each sorority chapter, the women they decide to invite to Bid Day will be the women who make up their next pledge class.

These women will be the next leaders of the sorority and will hopefully be a good representation of the sorority chapter.

For PNMs, like yourself, you’ll have to decide which sorority you’d ideally want to call home for the next 4 years.

There’s a lot you have to weigh as there’s pros and cons to each sorority chapter you have met throughout recruitment.

It’s a huge decision and choosing the wrong sorority could lead to regret, stress, and even the desire to drop your sorority.

The formality of Pref Night

We’ll discuss this in more detail throughout the post, but essentially, Preference Round is the most formal out of all days of recruitment.

You are encouraged to dress up more (nice dress and heels) and be on your best behavior during these rounds.

You’ll also be instructed by your Recruitment Counselor to stay as quiet as possible between rounds out of respect for other PNMs making the decision of who to put as their #1 pick.

What happens on Pref Night?

Preference Night is the most intimate night of sorority recruitment. And it’s also the longest round of recruitment that will be broken up, in general, into 3 parts:

  1. Conversation
  2. Ritual
  3. Conversation

Part 1: Conversation

On Pref Night, you’ll most likely talk to one Sister from the chapter you have already conversed with during another round of recruitment. However, this is not always the case.

For example, when I was recruiting as a Sister I pref-ed a girl I spoke to during Philanthropy Round. But when I was a PNM going recruitment I was pref-ed by a Sister who I had never met before.

The purpose behind talking to a Sister you’ve already met is to make it a more comfortable round of recruitment. This is especially true if you and this Sorority Sister had a great conversation previously.

However, if you are paired with a Sister you have never met before, don’t fret. It doesn’t mean you did anything wrong or won’t get a Bid!

It’s just another opportunity for you to meet another woman who could potentially be your future Sorority Sister.

During Pref Night, the conversation you have with the Sorority Sister will be a tad different.

Instead of having surface-level conversations about…

  • Your major/minor
  • Your classes
  • Your favorite food
  • Your favorite shows on Netflix
  • Your hobbies
  • Your pets
  • Your most recent travel over the summer
  • Etc.

Your conversations will be deeper and you may end up crying (a little bit).

However, don’t let this scare or weird you out!

The reason behind this is because, by this round of recruitment, the women in the sorority have gotten to know you very well and they want you to pick them.

By this round of recruitment, their ultimate goal is to make you feel like you belong with them.

However, know that crying is not mandatory or necessary.

It truly depends on where the conversation goes and if you’re naturally a crier yourself.

In my experience recruiting sorority women, none of my PNMs have cried on Pref Night and it didn’t make me like them more or less.

Part Two: Ritual

After about 10-15 minutes of conversation, your conversations will be paused and your attention will be directed to witness a preview of the sorority chapter’s Ritual.

This Ritual is a privilege to see, but it may be confusing from the PNM side. And that’s ok, just take it all in and really listen to the message they’re trying to convey.

Every sorority has their own ritual, so it’s difficult to explain exactly what happens during this part of Pref Night.

But in general, you’ll most likely hear speeches and singing from Sorority Sisters of that chapter.

Part Three: Conversation

After the Ritual proportion of Pref Night, you’ll continue your conversation with the Sorority Sister you’ve been paired with until it’s time to leave.

In the next section we’ll discuss more about what to talk about on Pref Night.

What do you talk about on Pref Night?

There are no set topics you need to or will be expected to talk about during Preference Round.

The beauty of sorority recruitment is that the women you speak to are simply trying to get to know you and figure out if you’ll be a good addition to their Sisterhood.

With that being said, though, since this last day of recruitment is more formal, be prepared to talk about deeper, or more vulnerable, topics. While at the same time, avoiding these 9 off-limit topics.

On this night, the Sorority Sister you talk to may mention times her sorority sisters helped her through a tough time, the deeper reason why she joined her sorority, or what she appreciates most about her Sisterhood.

All of this is in effort to persuade you to join her sorority, so you can gain the same support system she has.

However, at the end of the day, let the conversation occur naturally and be confident knowing that you’ve done everything you could up to this point to win over the hearts of this sorority.

Does Pref Night guarantee a bid?

If you have made it to Preference Round there’s a high chance you will receive a bid to a sorority.

However, it is dependent on whether you maximize your options (aka you don’t single preference/suicide bid).

And of course nothing is 100% guaranteed until you receive the phone call in the morning from your Recruitment Counselor telling you that you have received a bid.

But let’s discuss your options on Pref Night in more detail:

  • Single preference bid by choice
  • Maximizing your options
  • Single preference bid by “force”
  • Listing no one

Single preference bidding

Single preference bidding, or voting, is when you, the potential new member, purposely rank (or put down) only one sorority after Preference Round even though you had more than one sorority to rank.

For example, on Pref Night you were invited back two sororities, Sorority A and Sorority B, which is the maximum number of houses you can be invited back to on Pref Night.

You attend both parties that night and decide you could never imagine yourself in Sorority B, so you only rank Sorority A, sign your MRABA, and head home for the night.

What’s the problem with this?!

You are decreasing your chances of receiving a bid to a sorority.

If for some reason Sorority A, the only sorority you ranked, did not rank you high enough on their invite list for Bid Day, you will be dropped or released from recruitment on Bid Day.

However, if you listed Sorority A and Sorority B as your #1 and #2 pick, respectively, you are increasing your chances of receiving a bid to either sorority, and thus, are decreasing your chance of getting released from recruitment on Bid Day.

But here’s the thing, if you don’t like both sororities don’t list both.

Single preference voting gets a bad reputation.

Many potential new members are discouraged from doing it, with the intention of providing all women the opportunity to join a sorority and to encourage the idea of being open minded.

However, some sororities are just not the right fit for you no matter how many times you got invited back each round of recruitment.

In other words, it is unfair to discourage you from single preference voting when that may be the best option for you.

If you just cannot foresee yourself in Sorority B and know it’s 100% not right for you, don’t list it.

Because being invited to Bid Day to a sorority you already have bad vibes about is upsetting especially when you are surrounded by other women who received a bid to their #1 pick.

Plus, you are unable to receive a Snap Bid or go through Informal Sorority Recruitment/COB if you receive a bid to ANY sorority listed on your MRABA.

As a result, your only option is to drop your sorority on Bid Day or anytime before Initiation in order to go through formal recruitment again. And that’s just not very fun is it?

However, if you single preference vote Sorority A and get released from recruitment on Bid Day you still have the opportunity to receive Snap Bid or participate in COB.

Maximizing your options

If you would be happy, or at least open to getting a bid to either Sorority A or Sorority B, you do not want to single preference vote.

Instead, you want to maximize your chances of getting a bid on Bid Day.

So be sure to list/rank both sororities on your MRABA in your preferred order.

Then come Bid Day, when you receive your bid, you’ll have the wondrous joy of opening your bid to see who you get to run home to!

Single preference bidding by “force”

If only one sorority invited you back on Preference Night you have no choice but to single preference vote at the end of recruitment and hope your single preference vote invites you to their Bid Day celebration.

Personally, this is what I had to do because I was dropped by all sororities by Philanthropy Round. However, it all worked out in the end and I was able to run home to Gamma Phi Beta on Bid Day!

Listing no one on your MRABA

If for some reason by Preference Night you ended up not liking any of the sororities you were invited back to OR you feel that at this moment sorority life isn’t for you, then you can list NO ONE on your MRABA.

AKA leave your MRABA blank, sign it, and leave knowing you are releasing yourself from recruitment.

By doing this, you become eligible for Continuous Open Bidding (COB) that begins after Bid Day. However, you cannot receive a Snap Bid.

At the end of the day, it is your choice regarding who you list on your MRABA.

Whatever you do decide though, remember that this is a binding agreement and your preferences cannot be changed once you sign and turn in your MRABA. So choose wisely!

What should I wear on Preference Night?

Preference Night attire is the most formal, meaning heels/wedges, a dress or nice pants and blouse.

But at the same time, don’t be afraid to show off your personality through your outfit, hair, makeup, and accessories while keeping it classy too – meaning nothing to revealing or distracting from your personality and conversation.

I would also avoid:

  • T-shirt dresses
  • Low cut dresses
  • Wearing black or white, as these a ritual colors for sororities
  • Sandals with no backs or flip flops
  • Noisy jewelry
  • Excessive amounts of perfume

Now let’s go over three outfit ideas that are sure to WOW on Pref Night.

Outfit Idea #1

Girls who want to keep their outfits simple, but elegant will love this dress. You can pair this dress with black or any neutral colored heels, dainty jewelry, and a french mani for a simple Pref Night look.

Outfit Idea #2

For girls who want a little more coverage or love rocking patterns, this dress is perfect for you! Of course, don’t wear sunglasses to Pref Night, but you can totally wear those open toed booties (maybe not in white though) or pair with neutral colored wedges for a flirty look.

Outfit Idea #3

If you are wanting to show off your beautiful curves without being too revealing, then this body-con lace dress is perfect. It would look stunning with or without a tan, paired with a nice pair of heels or neutral colored wedges, and a french or light pink mani.

How to decide which sorority to put as your #1 choice

Preference Night is the round of recruitment that seals your fate.

For some women, they will need to contemplate their options heavily while others it will be a quick decision of who to list as their #1 pick.

Regardless of which category you fall into, it’s important you use your resources to your advantage when making this decision while also staying true to yourself.

If you are struggling with this decision, don’t be afraid to ask a Recruitment Counselor or a member of Panhellenic Council to help you weigh your options.

While they can’t explicitly tell you or attempt to persuade you to join a specific sorority they can help you rationally weigh your options by helping you make a pros and cons list or simply talk with you about your options in an unbiased manner.

You should also take time to reflect on whether the sorority you are picking is based on your own opinion or the opinion of others, like your mom or friends.

At the end of the day, this is your sorority experience, not theirs. So be sure you are doing what is best for you and not others.

You should also consider each of your options as a whole and not just what you experienced on Pref Night.

Consider things like:

  • How did the conversations make you feel?
  • Did you feel included in during the conversations?
  • Did you feel comfortable talking to the women of that sorority?
  • Can you connect with the sorority’s philanthropy?
  • Is the sorority within your budget? Can you afford their dues?
  • Do their events appeal to you personally?

There are at least 10 things you need to consider before picking a sorority, so it’s important you really think rationally, and not emotionally, about the sororities you can potentially list on your MRABA.

Because once you sign your MRABA you cannot change it.

So be sure to go into this decision with confidence, trust, and faith in the system.

Concluding thoughts on Preference Round

Sorority recruitment, as a PNM, is an experience you will never forget.

From meeting each sorority during House Tours or Sisterhood Round, getting dropped from your #1 pick, to making your last and final decision in Pref Night, it’s quite the process.

But if you have made it to Pref Night, you have surely won over the heart of at least one sorority who sees you as one of them.

So be proud of yourself about how far you have come and rejoice knowing that Bid Day, the best day ever, is only a few hours away!

I truly hope this guide on Preference Round of sorority recruitment has given you a wholesome idea of what to expect and how to make the most of this final round of recruitment. Good luck!

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