Springtime is Austin is so peaceful, unless you have a senior girl in high school. If you are one of the lucky ones, then get your calendar out and be ready to have it booked solid until the end of May. My daughter’s senior year reminded me of a wedding with the photos, parties, announcements, more parties, gifts and thank you notes. The only problem is that you’re not the bride, so it’s not all about you, but you’ll be doing a lot of work for your daughter up until rush week, and you know what can happen when you get two stressed females in a room together. Think of it as God’s way of making you ok with the fact that she is leaving…by graduation, you will be so exhausted, you’ll be too tired to cry.
First let me tell you, I was not in a sorority, which might be why I wanted it for my daughter so badly. I had stars in my eyes when it came to sorority life, and I am really glad that she did it, but I will also say – and this is true for much in life- that things are never as good or as bad as they seem. So, if your daughter does not want to do it, or drops out, or doesn’t make it, she will survive, and so will you.
For those ready to rush – read on! The are so many benefits to belonging to a sorority, even from the parents’ point of view. For me, since my daughter was going out of state, it made me feel good to know that there was a group that she was part of. You might have visions of your daughter, walking around a huge campus, lost and upset; when she is far from home it’s even worse. It’s like kindergarten all over again. Or, you may be worried that being out of your house, she might go wild with the parties and all the temptations that come with college life. I had thought that if a kid was relatively good in high school, she would probably be good in college. Now, I’ve found that this is not true at all. Every girl is different, and sometimes it’s the good ones that are hanging from the chandelier in one room with her panties in another. If you think this could be your daughter then rein her in. There are times in your life when a reputation is important, and rush is absolutely one of those times. I also liked that there were academic guidelines that had to be met. They have study times and the girls help each other. All of this made me feel better about leaving when it came time for me to drive off.
Here’s a short list of what needs to be done for rush. Every house and university is different, so be sure you check with the campus panhellenic website so you can keep up with all that is going on, due dates, etc. The best advice I was given is to get your stuff together early and try to enjoy this time with your daughter (eye roll).
Facebook – clean up the facebook page. Ideally, it should be clean already, but if your daughter has questionable photos on facebook they will be seen and she will be evaluated on them. You hear people say this everyday, and yet, there are still fools out there who post photos of themselves drinking, smoking and worse. Don’t do this.
Photos – you will need a head shot and a body shot. These need to be tasteful. It’s so easy to take a 17 year-old girl and make her look pole-worthy with a skirt that it too short, etc. I’ve seen it, and it makes me cringe. Don’t do this.
Two Austin area photographers that I can recommend for sorority photos are David Neuse and Jenny Hartgrove. I’ve seen work from both and they are excellent. David Neuse did my daughter’s and they are some of my favorite photographs of her.
Letters of Recommendation – this was the most time consuming part. You and your daughter will need to network with people who know your daughter and will write a letter of recommendation for her. If you are a member of a women’s group, or NCL, then there might be a list of who belonged to what sorority. I was very lucky and had a great network that helped us. A letter of recommendation has to be written by an alumna of that sorority. If you have more than one person, then they can write a letter of support. Each house is a little different, and the women we asked all knew to go to their sorority websites to download the rec forms. We made packets for each person that included a note to the alumna, high school transcript, resume and the photos. One thing that confused me was where to send the letter – to the chapter in the girl’s hometown? or to the university where she is planning to attend? Ultimately it is up to the person who writes the letter as she will be the one to mail it, but several people asked me where to send it and I still am not sure. It won’t matter if your daughter is attending school in her hometown, but mine was not. She’s in now, so I guess it worked out. If you know the answer to this, please let me know in the comments.
Be sure your daughter follows up with a thank you note to each person who took the time to write a letter. It’s good to make her accountable for this, but you know, she is in high school, so I would say it’s her job to do it, but your job to make sure it gets done. That way, you both show your appreciation.
Some helpful links:
(Sorry guys…next time we’ll talk about you)