By Nikki Dabney, BubbleLife Intern
As graduation approaches and more and more seniors decide which colleges they are going to attend and where they are going to spend the next few formative years of their lives, they begin to prepare for their college experience, particularly one of the most important parts of many college students’ lives: Greek Life.
For an incoming freshman, especially one whose parents and siblings were not part of the Greek system, sorority and fraternity recruitment can be a worrisome and stressful process. Girls in particular have many questions and concerns running through their heads: What should I wear? What do I say? What should I expect? How do I get recommendation letters? Fortunately, the Coppell Alumnae Panhellenic Association (CAPA) is here to ease the girls’ worries and provide answers to all their questions.
CAPA was formed in 1991 and is affiliated with the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC). A few women realized that the girls from Coppell may be underrepresented in Greek Life at their universities simply because they were unaware of how to prepare for “rush,” now known as recruitment, and decided to find a way to help.
A Sorority Information Spotlight was held April 7 at the Coppell Community and Senior Center. Coppell senior girls and their mothers were invited to learn about tips and expectations for the recruitment process.
“Having a parent support you is always wonderful,” CAPA Vice President Tricia Martin said. “Some mothers may not have been in Greek Life, so the information we share is vital to their understanding. Other mothers may have gone through the process a long time ago, and I think it’s good to remind them that their daughter’s experience is on a whole new level than theirs may have been.”
Other local communities, such as Southlake, Plano and Highland Park have organizations affiliated with the NPC, but CAPA is unique in many ways. CAPA is able to bring young college students to speak to the girls at the event to share their experience from both sides of the sorority recruitment process. The group has members from each of the 26 NPC sororities and has one central registration process, making it streamlined and efficient. CAPA has also received several awards including and Honorable Mention for the NPC Outstanding Alumnae Panhellenic Award, the Citation of Merit Biennial Award and Programming Excellence Biennial Award.
CAPA takes care of a threshold requirement for many of the sororities- that crucial recommendation letter. Otherwise, girls would be left on their own to scrounge for recommendation letters, and in non- Greek-affiliated families, that makes the process much more difficult.
“They mentioned how we are so lucky to have this in our community, and later that night, my roommate was telling me how she was stressing out trying to put her packets together,” Coppell High School senior Courtney Echerd said. “It's definitely nice knowing that it's all set out for us and we basically just have to do what we're told and everything else will fall into place.”
The Sorority Information Spotlight included a style show of outfits to wear on each progressive day of recruitment, an explanation of the recruitment process from alumnae and breakout sessions of specific colleges and alumnae or actives who have or currently attend there.
“I think that the fashion show was definitely beneficial,” Echerd said. “They told us that you should have a really fun bag or earrings or something that can be a conversation starter if it goes dull when you’re having a conversation with someone in the sorority during recruitment.”
“I chose to come back to speak to the seniors because of how much the meeting had helped me,” Lesli Adkins, Phi Beta Phi Active at Texas Christian University said. “I wanted to share my experience with younger girls because I knew that they valued my opinion and could use all the help they could get when it comes to recruitment.”
Senior girls must complete the 2013 Recruitment Packet, which includes a recruitment form, resume, SAT/ACT scores, transcript and a close-up picture. A separate packet must be complete for each sorority on campus and delivered to Susan Patterson at 159 Shiloh Court by April 24 to have their recommendation letters sent in time.
CAPA also offers a $1000 scholarship to one high school graduating senior each year. The application includes an application form, high school transcript and two letters of recommendation from a school counselor, teacher of a major subject or a resource person in the community and must be received by May 1.
“I felt very honored when I received the scholarship,” Adkins, 2012 High School Scholarship recipient said. “There are so many great girls who had applied for it, so the fact that I was chosen made me feel very blessed. It also gave me a lot more confidence going into recruitment because if the women from CAPA thought I was deserving, then maybe the sororities at TCU would think the same.”
The CAPA women have a heart for the community and want each senior girl to have the fulfilling sorority experience that they had.
“Listen to your heart and you will end up where you are supposed to be,” Martin said. “It may not be your best friend’s choice, or your mom’s choice, or even the choice you thought you would make, but it will be the best choice for you.”
Any seniors who missed the meeting can download the packet and find more helpful tips at www.coppellsororities.com.