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The Deferred Recruitment Experience

Did you know that over one-fifth of Alpha Gamma Delta Chapters participate in deferred recruitment during the first two months of the spring semester? During deferred recruitment, 7183964691_28b95fb2e9_o.jpgAlpha Gamma Delta welcomes over 400 new members into the organization. There are many differences between Formal Recruitment in the spring and Formal Recruitment in the fall. It is much more complex than wearing scarves and sweaters instead of sundresses and sandals!

Why Deferred Recruitment?
Whether a chapter participates in fall recruitment or deferred recruitment is determined by each chapter's Fraternity/Sorority (Greek) Life office. Many campuses see benefits in holding a deferred Formal Recruitment process. For example, holding recruitment in the spring allows first-year students an opportunity to establish themselves as members of the campus community before joining a sorority. Deferred recruitment may also allow students the opportunity to adjust to the academic demands of college before committing to fraternity/sorority life, a time-consuming co-curricular activity.

A Semester's Experience
Think back to your first semester of college. You probably experienced a pretty significant change from your senior year in high school—new classes, new friends, a new schedule, new opportunities all across campus. A semester of experience can be powerful. Potential new members could start deferred recruitment already involved in several student organizations, having established strong friendships with other students and maybe even an understanding of what it means to be a member of the Fraternity/Sorority community on your campus.

For all of these reasons, chapters participating in deferred recruitment need to secure and maintain a strong chapter brand. Potential new members will not only be exposed to the chapter during Formal Recruitment; they will have the opportunity to observe the chapter and its members for an entire semester prior to recruitment - in class, on campus and in the community. Maintaining a strong, positive brand that aligns with the behaviors and attitudes of your chapter sisters is the best way to get their attention during that powerful first semester on your campus!

IMG_0496.jpgDeferred recruitment can also fundamentally alter the type of conversation that will appeal to PNMs during a Formal Recruitment process. Most PNMs will have already figured out their way around campus, sampled the cafeteria cuisine and decorated their resident hall rooms. Members can have deeper conversations with PNMs more quickly as they learn more about the PNMs' first semester, what contributions she is making to the campus and how a sorority can continue to help her grow as a woman and a member of the campus community.

Differences in the Alpha Experience
Chapters participating in deferred recruitment also have a new member experience that differs from chapters that recruit in the fall. While all chapters have new members participate in the Alpha Experience and hold Initiation in the same semester, deferred recruiting chapters have just one semester before the long summer break to establish strong relationships with their new members. Chapters participating in fall recruitment have more of a year-long new member adjustment period, while deferred recruiting chapters have one semester for the Alpha Experience and Alpha-Gamma Transition member programming. (Check out the Quick Reference Guide to MD Programming 2012 in the Resource Center of myAlphaGam to learn more about how to schedule the Alpha-Gamma Transition!)

Final Thoughts
You may be or have been part of a chapter that holds their primary Formal Recruitment in the fall but hosts a series of recruitment events in the spring through Continuous Open Recruitment. It is important to remember that these women have an experience similar to those who participate in deferred recruitment. Engage in deeper conversations and draw on PNMs experiences from their previous semester - the organizations she's joined, the classes she's enjoyed, the impact she's having in the community. As campus and Panhellenic cultures evolve, there are more and more opportunities to recruit at different times during the year or the whole year-round, making each chapter's focus on building a strong chapter brand invaluable. When it comes time for recruitment, no matter what the time of year, practicing purposeful conversation can prepare Alpha Gamma Delta members to attract and recruit bright, driven PNMs that will Live with Purpose!
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