Office of the Dean of Students          

University Panhellenic Council (UPC)
Recommendation Letters

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Recommendation letters introduce a potential new member to the chapter and describe more about the potential new member's activities and interests.

Historically, reference and recommendation letters are written by sorority alumnae members and introduce a potential new member to the chapter and describe more about the potential new member's activities and interests. These types of recommendations are still accepted by all chapters.

Many organizations have recently changed their reference process to also accept recommendations from a non-alumna third parties (such as a teacher, coach, or mentor etc.) or even self-recommendations from PNMs. Not all chapters have made these changes. Learn more about each chapters process and policies below.

You may choose to have reference or recommendation letters sent on your behalf to each sorority chapter and we encourage all potential new members to participate in this process.

Reference and recommendation letters do not guarantee a bid for membership, however they will help the chapters to know a little about you in advance. Some sororities require a reference from an alumna member of their sorority before a woman can join, however they are not essential for every sorority. Every year we have women participate in recruitment that did not have a recommendation prior to the start of recruitment. If a chapter is interested in you becoming a member, they are well equipped to secure what they need to invite you to the next round or extend a bid to membership.

Frequently Asked Question About Recommendations

   What is an alumna reference/recommendation? How do I get them?

References (or recommendations) are introductions of a Potential New Member (PNMS) to the chapter and describe more about the PNM, her interests, and how her values aligns with the values of the sorority.

A reference is most often an online form that an alumna member will find on their national website. Sometimes members may also submit supplemental information (i.e. resume, transcript, photo) through an online portal. A recommendation letter, letter of support, or anything written and submitted to the chapter is supplemental to this process and does not carry the same weight as the official reference form.

Reference and recommendation letters do not guarantee a bid for membership, however they will help the chapters know a little about you in advance.

There are two ways to obtain an alumnae reference:

  • Register with your local Alumnae Panhellenic – Throughout the country Alumnae Panhellenic Associations host a reference letter process to help women in their area secure reference writers. This option provides an opportunity to get assistance with obtaining references, possibly meet local area sorority alumnae and attend a recruitment information session. To find the Alumnae Panhellenic Association in your area you can visit the UPC website or do a google search. If your town or city is not listed, consider contacting the nearest university campus with sororities and inquire. Most Alumnae Panhellenic Associations begin collecting registration forms in early spring and will set their own a deadline in early summer.
    • You may continue to seek references independently after the deadline has passed. There is no official deadline for references for recruitment at UT, but the earlier a chapter receives the reference the longer they have to read and get to know you.
  • Independently find reference writers - This is a great option if you do not live in an area with an Alumnae Panhellenic, miss the Alumnae Panhellenic deadline, or if you just prefer to do things your own way with more control over the process. Use your network to find members of sororities willing to submit a reference on your behalf. The alumna writing the reference is responsible for submitting the appropriate form through her national organization's process. There is no official deadline for references for recruitment at UT, but the earlier a chapter receives the reference the longer they have to read and get to know you.
   What is a third-party reference or a self-recommendation?

Many organizations have made recent changes to their references process and now accept third-party references and/or self-recommendations. The intention behind this change to make references, and the recruitment process overall, more accessible to PNMs who may not know sorority alumnae.

Each organization may have slightly different definition of who an acceptable third-party is. Generally, any adult (non-relative) who knows you well and can speak to your character, values, interests, and accomplishments would be an appropriate third-party reference. Great examples include teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, spiritual leaders, and supervisors (from work or volunteer experiences).

A self-recommendation is a way for a PNM to introduce herself to an organization without the need for an outside recommender (alumna or third-party). If an organization accepts self recommendation it will be noted in the descriptions below.

   Who can submit a reference?

Each sorority has different rules about who can submit a reference for a PNM. Some organizations allow collegiate members at other universities to submit references while in other organizations only alumnae may submit them. Some organizations also accept third-party references or self-references.  

Most organizations allow family members to submit an alumnae reference for PNMs who are relatives. If your reference writer has questions about her eligibility we encourage her to check with her membership organization. An alumnae (or active) member from any university may submit an alumnae reference, they do not have to have been a member of the chapter at UT.

   What information should I provide for my alumnae reference writer?

It is standard to provide a resume, a transcript, and 2 pictures (one head shot and one full body) in electronic form. Don't forget a thank you note as well!

How many references should I try to get? Should I try to get them for every chapter?

We encourage all PNMs to actively seek recommendations for all chapters at UT. On average PNMs at UT submit 1-2 recommendations for each chapter.

   Can Panhellenic get references for me? What if I am having trouble finding alumna women to submit references?

No, unfortunately UPC cannot help PNMs find alumnae references. It is an individual process for each PNM, either through your local Alumnae Panhellenic or by asking contacts you and your family have within your community.

If you are seeking alumna references and are having trouble finding affiliated women in your networks you may have to get creative! Have family members post on social media they are looking for sorority members- you may have family and friends that you didn't realize were affiliated. Have family members ask co-workers if they or anyone they know are sorority members. Ask guidance counselors, teachers, and coaches if they or anyone they know are affiliated. Keep in mind older friends that are sorority members at other universities may be able to submit a reference or know a recent graduate that can.

Third-party references are another great way to introduce yourself to a chapter if you do not know an alumnae member, if that organization accepts them.

   Can I go through recruitment without reference letters?

Yes, you can still register and participate in recruitment without obtaining references. However, it is HIGHLY encouraged you seek out references for all of the chapters at UT. Try your best to find women willing to submit a reference, they only help the chapter to get to know you better. However, sometimes you won't be able to find a member of one or two chapters. In this case do not stress, chapters will still get to know you through your registration materials and through their conversations with you.

   What is the deadline for submitting recommendations/references?

The University Panhellenic Council has no set official deadline for recommendation letters or packets. However, we recommend that all reference materials be submitted to chapters by the first week in August at the latest.

Individual alumnae associations or groups may have independent deadlines to help facilitate their own internal processes. If you have questions regarding these deadlines we recommend reaching out to these individuals or organizations directly.

Chapter-Specific Recommendation Information

Alpha Chi Omega

Alpha Delta Pi

Alpha Epsilon Phi

Alpha Phi

Alpha Xi Delta

Chi Omega

Delta Delta Delta

Delta Gamma

Kappa Alpha Theta

Kappa Delta

Kappa Kappa Gamma

Pi Beta Phi

Sigma Delta Tau

Zeta Tau Alpha

If women cannot connect with ZTA alumni in their personal networks, we highly encourage them to reach out to their nearest ZTA alumni chapter, which can be found using this link. Through this feature, PNMs may search alumni chapters by state. Once an alumni chapter has been located, we ask the PNM to visit that chapter's website and contact them requesting assistance with their MIS.

National Organization Recommendation and Reference Forms

If you or a sorority alumna has questions regarding references, please direct them to contact their national headquarters.