Take Control of Your Life


Alright guys. I was asked recently to talk about the rush process for fraternities and how you can get a bid to pledge. Since I was offered 3 bids and pledged one fraternity (which I joined) – PIKE – I will try to give you all the pointers I can so you can set yourself up for a success.

I can only speak from my own experience was a rushee, pledge, active and alumni. What I speak of is what I believe will work. Does it work for every fraternity? Maybe. I make no guarantees.

First I’m going to give some background then I’ll get to the good stuff. I promise this won’t be super boring.

What is a Fraternity

For some of you guys that don’t have fraternities in your universities, they are organizations created to bring guys together (i.e. brotherhood). They usually share the same ideals and common interests. The female version of these organzations are called sororities.

Who Can Join?

Not all fraternities are open to the public to join. Most actually are invite only. The invites are called bids. You get them after going through a “rush” period where you go to events and meet members of the fraternity so they can get to know you. If they like you, they’ll give you a bid which you can accept or reject.

Usually a bid is given by committee vote of some type. Our own chapters bidding process evolved from being done by a small rush committee to being a round table event done by almost all the members voting on each individual that comes out to rush.

What Happens After You Get a Bid?

A bid does not mean you can just join. But that’s what we’re aiming for here. The goal here is to get a bid.

A bid only gives you the opportunity to join. After the bid there’s a whole process called pledging that can last 10 to 12 weeks I believe where you have to pretty much do stuff to get to know the active members and learn more about the fraternity. After that process you can get initiated and become an active member.

So now that we got all that squared away. Let’s talk about what’s really important here.

You can’t join unless you get a bid. So our goal is to get a bid. Got that? Good.

First My Own Background

I can already tell this article is going to be all over the place. But I think it’s important to really tell you why you should trust me. Well I was recruited to join a fraternity before I even started college. A fraternity offered an opportunity to rush right when college started. They invited me out to a bbq and really wanted me to meet a lot of the guys.

I ended up going through the rush process with three different fraternities. Two greek ones and an asian fraternity. I got a bid from all three and decided to join one to pledge one of the greek ones (perhaps one of the best decisions of my life). So there you have it. Now let’s get to the good stuff and help you get a bid.

The Good Stuff!

So how do we get a bid? What is the entire process like? What do you do if you don’t know anyone?

Rushing a fraternity isn’t hard.

Fraternities need new members to survive. “Brothers” of a fraternity know they only have a certain period of time to really recruit and get new people to join. Typically the rush period is 2 weeks long so active members really have 2 or 2.5 weeks to find new people to rush.

All you have to do to start rushing a fraternity is going to where all the fraternities are at the beginning of the school year or Spring Semester / Quarter. They’ll be handing out fliers for parties and their rush events to just about every guy that walks by.

The criteria to really get fliers or the attention of the active members is to “look cool” like you would fit in with the rest of the guys. Yes, it’s initially based on looks.

Side note: If you know members of a fraternity then rushing isn’t a random thing. You can express your interest to the members you know and they will most likely be excited to hear the news and encourage you to come out to events.

The Rush Events

There are a bunch of rush events set up for rushees (you) to go to. Everything from an info session, to bowling night, poker night, pizza night, a beach day, and parties. Going to any and all of the events are optional and rushing more than one fraternity is fine.

One thing you must keep in mind when you are rushing a fraternity is that even though all these events seem fun and what not – you are there to get to know as many fraternity members as possible.

Getting to know the brothers is essential if your goal is to get a bid to join the fraternity. You want them to know you and remember you and say “oh that guy was cool” or “we need to give that guy a bid.”

How To Impress at Rush Events

The rush process is rather superficial. All you need to do is give off the right vibes and you’ll get a bid. Do the following:

  • Dress cool. This means dressing like the majority of the brothers in the fraternity. Everyone likes to be around people that are similar to them.
  • Smile and laugh. Don’t be scared. Don’t look unhappy. You want to come off like a fun person that the guys can party and hang out with.
  • Try To Look Popular. You’re probably not going to know a lot of people at these rush events. But try to remember people’s names as you go to more and more events. Remember, this isn’t a one event thing. The rush period is up to 2 weeks long. So meet as many people as you can and say “what’s up” or hi to them when you see them again. You’ll stand out, you’ll look like you know people, and people will remember you.
  • Talk to Girls That Are there. It’s likely that there will be sorority girls and other girls (lil sis’) at these events. Meet them as well. Don’t be shy or afraid to talk to girls – they don’t bite. They can actually help your case with getting a bid because a lot of the girls here have influence.
  • Tell Cool Stories. You want to be someone that the guys want to talk to. So don’t be silent and just stand there waiting to answer people’s questions. Share stories about yourself and even ask follow-up questions. You want to connect so people can get to know you but also know you’re someone they can talk to and they’ll enjoy your company.

Questions You’ll Be Asked

  1. What year are you?
  2. What’s your major?
  3. What do you like to do for fun?
  4. Who have you talked to?
  5. Do you know any of the active members?
  6. What sports do you play?
  7. Are you in any other organizations?
  8. What do you think about the guys you’ve met?
  9. Are you thinking about joining?
  10. Why do you want to go Greek?
  11. Do you party a lot?

Things You Should Talk About

The best thing I can recommend is to focus on answering the above questions –  even if you aren’t asked them. This means talking about the above topics –

  • What you like to do
  • What you’re studying
  • Who you know
  • Why you want to join

All you want to convey in your conversations during the rush period is that you are fun and easy to get along with. You want to have some commonalities with people.

You should not

  • Be a try hard – in terms of acting cool and trying to get along with everyone
  • Be the annoying guy that talks too much or butts in on everyone’s conversations
  • Be the asshole that makes stupid comments
  • The douchebag that thinks fraternities are all about sex, drugs and parties (even if this is the case – no one is going to invite you to join if that’s all you want)
  • Don’t talk sh*t on anyone or anything. Here you should be pretty clean cut and cool. Even if you have opinions of other fraternities or certain guys/girls that you see – it makes no sense to discuss them during rush events

You should

  • Talk with excitement and a smile
  • A lot of comments like “me too!” and “oh yea dude, that’s awesome!” should be used to build commonalities with guys
  • Say “yea that guys really cool.” and “yea he’s pretty chill. We talked earlier” when talking about one of the active members
  • You can also mention that you’ve checked out a few other fraternities and this one ranks at the top because the guys are just so much cooler (you can say this to each house you are rushing)

The key here is to be cool and make the active members feel cool. Lots of cool going on. Everyone wants that ego boost. COOL IS KEY. Nothing else matters. This is college remember. Everyone’s trying to be cool.

If You Really Want to Join ONE Fraternity

  • Go to all the events.
  • Meet as many guys as you can but make sure you have solid conversations with them and say “what’s up” to them whenever you see them (at every event).
  • Express that you really like the chapter and are interested in being a part of the fraternity
  • Talk like you’re a bro. You play sports. You are driven and will be successful.
  • Don’t just get along with the guys but talk to the girls at the events and parties. The guys will think you’re pretty cool if you can talk to chicks because not all guys have balls to do that. (remember girls don’t bite…even in college).

When You’ll Get a Bid to Join

On average you won’t get a bid until the day before the last event or the last event itself. There are exceptions though when bids are given throughout the entire rush week (or two weeks).

Don’t be discouraged if people are getting bids earlier on and you have not gotten one yet. Just keep going to the events and interacting with the guys using the advice in this guide.

The last events are usually a party or a formal dinner of some sort. If you don’t get a bid here. Then evaluate whether you’re rushing the right fraternity or if you connected with enough guys.

And that’s it. There’s really nothing else to it.

Final Things You Should Consider

You’re in college. Have fun.

The active members in a fraternity are actually not much better than you. They are normal guys that are just associated with an organization. You can also be apart of this organization if you rush correctly and go through the pledge process.

  • Some of the “bros” will come off as douchebags. Whatever.
  • Some of the guys will think they are really badass for being part of the fraternity. Whatever.
  • Remember to find a fraternity you get along with the guys because you’ll be spending a lot of your college life with them.
  • Join a fraternity that has good guys and is popular on campus because you will be associated with it and other guys and girls will stereotype you.
  • A fraternity can open a lot of doors for you socially and professionally. But they aren’t cheap. There are fees for initiation and quarterly.
  • A fraternity isn’t the only way you can make friends and meet people. Don’t limit yourself to only greek organizations.

All the best and have a great time in college! It’s one of the greatest journeys you’ll go through in life.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • sam

    Hey James
    Cab you make a post on being cool in highschool\for teenagers?

    • Hey Sam – I’ll try. I’m probably not the best person to ask since that age / time period was so long ago. Plus I wasn’t the coolest guy in high school quite honestly. But I will put something together with a caveat that it is based on hindsight and my observations. Are you in that age range? The site is really geared toward adults, at least in my opinion but am hopeful it can help all age ranges.

  • Daniel

    Hey James, I was wondering, I’m rushing this semester, one of my cousin happens to be a PIKE alumni and he’s on the alumni advisory board and so he introduced me to a few of the guys. After first interview, they invited me to their parties, bbq/grilling night (a few days before school starts) and soccer & football practices. And i feel like these guys are cool. I was wondering, i’m a quiet guy, after looking at your list of “you should not”, I’ve never done or am part of one of those, which is a good thing. So, my question is, what are the chances of me getting a bid (after all of the headstart of meeting these guys) ? and also during rush week, should i still rush PIKE (eventhough about 90% im going for PIKE) and whatre the things i should talk about. Thanks.

    • Damn I just typed up a reply and then I accidentally erased it.

      I think it’s good that you got a head start but it’s not a guarantee. Sadly, there are some politics that go into the whole rush/bid process and it’s not always just about a legacy. But from what you’re saying it sounds like the guys like you and I would definitely put your chances above 50%. If you’re quiet then that’s fine just try to be a little more social during your interactions during the rush process. At least remember to smile and say what’s up to the guys you know and just small talk. Try to connect with the guys somehow. Bids are usually given to guys that seem 1) cool and 2) can add value to the house (that’s really it).

      My suggestion to you is to make sure you try to get to know the guys that have some sort of influence on the house. So maybe the rush chair, president, vice presidents (usually there is an internal and external VP) and some of the committee chairs. Or if you see some guys that seem pretty popular at the parties or events then at least get on their radar. But don’t focus on one or two people…get to know as many as you can. Just enjoy the process and keep the conversations about what you’re studying, share stories of what you like to do and ask questions about them (everyone likes talking about themselves and the fraternity).

      Let me know how it goes.

      Oh and I almost forgot to mention – I was a PIKE, so good choice! I really like the fraternity on a national level and what it did for my life. And to your last question – yes, still go to the rush events. Or at least stop by and say whats up during the week if they are on campus. If they ask if you’re checking out other fraternities you should probably just say yes…just to see what they’re about…but you really like Pike and the guys there (so they know you have choices but you prefer them).

  • Alex

    Hey James, so fraternities at my school have rush is 1 week and events are all at the same days and around the same time, which makes it very hard to go to more than 1 rush event on the same day. If I’m looking to rush multiple fraternities, what should I do in terms of choosing how many to go to for each house? How were you able to rush 3 different fraternities?

    Also, in general, do you want to go to all the rush events for a house? I was told that sometimes you don’t wanna go to every single one of them or else you might seem like a tryhard.


    • No need to go to all the events. Try to go to a few..spread them out. Talk to the guys on campus since they should be out during the day time trying got get you to come to their events. Tell them you’re going to check out another house but you’ll be there tomorrow. I’d try to figure things out early if I were you so you can at least go to 2.5/3 events and meet as many people as you can. Remember, it’s really about meeting the right people. Not everyone decides who gets a bid or not, but some people do have influence.

      As for your other question. Rush during the beginning of each school year is 2 weeks I believe. One week is informal, the other is more formal rush. I don’t remember how many events I went to, but I made sure I got a feel of the people and they got to know me. You also don’t have to join one right away, you can always rush again next year or if they have spring/winter/fall rushes.

  • Alex

    Also just to add on: What’s the minimum number of events you should attend that will likely help you earn a bid? How long was rush for your school and how many events did you go to for each of the houses you got bids?