Formal Recruitment

Women interested in participating in Formal Recruitment must register with the Panhellenic Council.  The registration link will be posted December 1. For the most up-to-date information regarding Membership Recruitment, please visit our Recruitment Blog. The schedule will be posted during the fall semester.

Please note that the Columbia University Panhellenic Council does not collect recommendations: any recommendations should be sent directly to chapters.  Individual chapters have their own policies regarding recommendations and sponsorship forms. You may want to check with the chapter’s Recruitment chair prior to sending any forms or information.


The Formal Recruitment process takes place over 4 days, normally set during the first weekend of February each year.  There are three rounds during Formal Recruitment: Philanthropy, Development, and Preference Night.  Formal membership invitations are handed out on the final day, Bid Day.

Saturday: Philanthropy. PNMs attend parties at all 4 chapters. The first selection is made after this round.

Sunday: Development.  PNMs visit a maximum of 3 chapters.  The second selection is made after this round.

Monday: Preference. PNMs visit a maximum of 2 chapters.  PNMs sign the Membership Recruitment Acceptance Binding Agreement (MRABA) and make their final selections for membership invitation.

Tuesday: Bid Day. The Panhellenic Council hands out Formal membership invitations to PNMs. PNMs can receive an official membership invitation from one chapter. PNMs must choose to formally accept or decline their membership invitation on this day.

Please note that a PNM may choose to leave the recruitment process at any time during Formal Recruitment.  To do so, she must officially inform her Membership Recruitment Counselor (MRC) and the Panhellenic Council in writing.

Click here for frequently asked questions regarding Formal Recruitment.

Maximizing your options

In order for a Potential New Member to receive a formal invitation to membership, she must attend all events she receives an invitation to, unless she is in a position to release a chapter. Failure to maximize opportunities will result in the Potential New Member being ineligible for a bid and being released from the Formal Membership Recruitment process.

When a PNM makes a selection, it is in her best interest to rank all of the chapters she attended during that round.  By ranking all chapters, a PNM maximizes her ability to receive an invitation from any chapter for the next round.  If a PNM does not maximize her options, it is possible that she will receive zero invitations for the next round.  If a PNM does not rank a chapter, she cannot receive an invitation for the next round from that chapter.  The Panhellenic Council strongly discourages intentional single-preference.


After the final round of Preference Night, each PNM will sign a Membership Recruitment Acceptance Binding Agreement.  This agreement states that the chapters a PNM has listed and ranked are chapters to which she is willing to accept an invitation to membership.  Once a MRABA has been signed, no changes may be made.  Any woman who signs a MRABA and receives an invitation to membership at the end of Formal Recruitment shall be bound by the agreement for one calendar year if she is at the same college or university.

Absences and conflicts

In the event of illness or other emergency, a PNM shall notify Panhellenic and/or her Panhellenic Membership Recruitment Counselor if she cannot attend.  Class or extracurricular conflict information will be collected during Registration. If an activity is not included in this registration sheet, the Panhellenic Council can make no guarantees that excuses will be accommodated.

If a PNM must miss a party because of illness or conflict, the Panhellenic Council will inform the chapters to which she has been invited. Missing a party may have an effect on your chances of being invited back to the next round.

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