Many college women spend the weeks before sorority recruitment planning outfits and trying to figure out as much as possible about the houses on their campus.
But some women are taking rush preparation to a new level.
Increasing levels of competition have given way to an industry devoted to helping potential new members (PNMs) get into the sorority of their dreams.
The industry is made up of consultants — usually women who were involved in Greek life on their campus — who provide workshops and training for freshman and sophomores interested in participating in rush.
Consultants coach women on everything from making polite but interesting small talk to wearing outfits that are memorable but not too risque. They help women put together an impressive resume that highlights what sororities look for in a PNM, namely good grades and community service experience. And they connect PNMs with alumnae who can write them recommendation letters for chapters on their campus.
This is no small task, as evidenced by the price tag that's attached to these consultants' services. According to Town & Country, a 90-minute in-person or phone session with Pat Grant, the founder of Birmingham-based Rushbiddies, will put you out $100. It's $1,500 for her most popular package, which gets you workbooks, handouts, and 40 hours of text, chat, and Skype coaching.
Consultants often make themselves available to PNMs during rush as well, spending hours on the phone helping them decide which houses they're most interested in.
While sorority recruitment is known to be particularly intense at southern schools like University of Alabama, University of Mississippi, and University of Texas, the women who use these services aren't limited to that region.
There's Go Greek Girl, a Midwest-based consulting service founded by an alumnae of one of the largest sororities in the country. Or there's Samantha Sterling, who, according to The New York Times, is an image consultant in New York City, but regularly coaches women on how to get into top sororities at schools like Harvard and New York University.
As the percentage of women going through recruitment continues to rise, chances are so will the demand for these services.
Words by Sarah Schmalbruch at Insider