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How to Join a Sorority or Fraternity

Individuals seeking membership can join our community at various times throughout their tenure at Cornell. All individuals must meet the Deferred Recruitment Policy listed below in order to be eligible.

Deferred Recruitment Policy (First Year Spring Admit)

Deferred recruitment requires new students to wait one academic semester before pursuing membership in a Sorority or Fraternity. Therefore all incoming students, including spring admit freshmen must wait at least one semester before beginning a recruitment or intake process. This policy encourages students to focus on building solid and positive academic habits and adjust to college life. We believe it is best for each cohort of new students to wait until their second semester at Cornell to be eligible to join a sorority or fraternity. Deferred recruitment for new students was instituted by student and faculty leadership in the 1950s and will continue to be Cornell’s policy.

With the exception of Asian-Interest Recruitment, the Membership Intake Process for Multicultural Greek & Fraternal Council (MGFC) organizations happens at various times during the year at the discretion of each group and their national organization. Consult individual Chapters for more information. Interfraternity Council (IFC) and Panhellenic Council (PHC) Formal Recruitment is held the week before classes start each January. Informal Recruitment is dependent on the organizations and may be held in the Fall or throughout the Spring. Students must meet the Deferred Recruitment policy to be eligible to join during Informal Recruitment.

Quarter System

First Quarter

August through Fall Break

  • No contact between chapters and freshman
  • Opportunity for freshman to focus on transition and academics
  • Tri-council based events
  • Note: Informal Recruitment may begin at this time. We encourage chapters to recruit eligible transfers, sophomores and upperclassmen during the fall semester. Remember recruitment and intake may never involve alcohol or other drugs.

Second Quarter

Fall Break through Winter Break

  • Informal recruitment
  • Chapters can host events
  • No alcohol or other drugs may be a part of any of these events

Third Quarter

January through Initiation Deadline

  • Alcohol and hazing free formal recruitment, new member education, initiation/intake
  • Schedules for events/activities to be determined by governing councils

Fourth Quarter

Initiation Deadline through Graduation

  • All new members are initiated as full members of the organization and can take advantage of all benefits

Pre-Recruitment/Intake Requirements

All students who plan to participate in Spring 2019 Formal Membership Recruitment/Intake must complete the following trainings/seminars in order to be eligible.

Bystander Training: For anyone interested in Panhellenic (PHC) OR the Interfraternity Council (IFC)

Opportunity for Potential New Members to engage in a facilitated conversation with staff to reflect upon the attitudes and behaviors that influence the process of intervening as an individual or with assistance. Cornell resources will also be reviewed. Trainings are mandatory for all Potential New Members who want to join an IFC or PHC organization, prior to beginning a Recruitment process. Attendance will be taken at the end of the program with a card swipe. Students interested in MGFC must attend a webinar and may contact Enrique Boche, Jr. at for more information.

New Member Orientation

The Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life will host New Member Orientations prior to Recruitment or Intake opportunities. The sessions will be informative about the process of Recruitment or Intake, provide information about commitment of Membership, and reporting methods for inappropriate behavior. These Orientations will be Council specific.

  • PHC: For Panhellenic Orientation, you will need to complete an online training module that will be available in October. More information to come soon.
  • MGFC: Intake for MGFC happens throughout the semester. Due to the conflicting nature of schedules, this training will be in a webinar format. Attendance will be taken by the moderator of the webinar.
  • IFC: Interfraterntiy Orientation will be in person throughout the fall semester in Robert Purcell Community Center's Auditorium. *Students who want to join an IFC fraternity must attend this in addition to the Bystander Intervention training.

New Member Education

The Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life will host New Member Education in conjunction with, or Post Recruitment or Intake efforts. These Education sessions will be Council specific. Sessions are generally based around Individual Identity and Group Dynamics.

  • PHC: To participate in Panhellenic Education, you will need to be on campus by January 14, the day prior to the start of Recruitment. This training will focus on values, identity, and group integration. This training is mandatory and absences will be reviewed by the Panhellenic Advisor.
  • MGFC: Education for MGFC happens throughout the semester. More information coming soon.
  • IFC: Interfraterntiy Education will be in person throughout the semester. More information coming soon.