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Nice work if you can get it

How to get into the right sisterhood

Members of Alpha Phi sorority at George Washington University. Al Drago/CQ Roll Call/Getty

Getting into a sorority at an American university is a competitive business, says Charlie McCann in 1843 magazine. Membership to the single-sex clubs lasts a lifetime; their secrets – and privilege – are “keenly guarded”. Every year, about a fifth of applicants either drop out or don’t get accepted. That’s where “sorority consultants” come in: a growing cadre of women hired by parents to coach their daughters on getting into the right sisterhood. Kristin Wallach, who co-founded Sorority 101, charges between $500 and $1,800 per client, “depending on how much shepherding girls require”. This year, she coached over 120 women.

Her job is to “teach applicants what to wear and what to say”. She helps them pull together their “social resumés”, produce short video introductions, and secure letters of recommendation from sorority alumni. “This is truly just like looking for a job or applying for college,” she says. When it comes to “rush” – the week-long process where sororities decide whom to accept – she reminds clients never to respond to questions monosyllabically and to ask lots of questions of their own. “You gotta remember these girls text a lot,” she explains. “They don’t talk face to face as much as we did.” Her other key job is making sure the applicant’s social media is sorority-friendly: that means no photos of drunken nights out, and not too much cleavage. “We want the girls to be super-genuine,” says Wallach, “but want them to do it tastefully.”