Frequently Asked Questions

Asked By Those New to the Sorority World

These answers are from questions that readers sent in to our old website and now grouped under topics. Chances are another House Director somewhere in the country is challenged by the same thing! Of course, a comprehensive understanding of this job and career is found in SororityMom.com’s “The Sorority House Director’s Survival Guide.”( link to the ebook) Everything you need to know is found there. Be knowledgeable before you jump in! 

“Before the Job” Questions

What Is The Typical Salary For A House Director?

There’s no such thing as a typical salary!

The #1 question that new prospective House Directors send in weekly concerns salaries. Salaries range are all over the place. You write in wondering if what you’re being offered is good, especially if you’ve applied to very different locations. 

 

Your offer is influenced by the size of the house, campus, location in the US, tradition, individual Corporation Boards, endowment, and your experience. Negotiate if you can! 

 

You won’t have much of a chance to compare salaries until you’ve accepted a job and moved into a row. Don’t forget though, that you are not paying for commuting costs, parking, rent, food, utilities, or maid service. That’s a wonderful trade-off to take into consideration as you decide whether or not to accept the offer made to you. 

 

It would be so much easier for everyone if salaries, and benefits, were standardized. But they vary from region to region, whether it’s a university or college, rural or city campus — and whether the individual sorority house has a harder position to fill (some seem to have a revolving door for various reasons). 

 

One thing not mentioned, but what may be taken into consideration, is how financially secure the house is — some carry a big debt for remodels, especially for an historically old mansion, etc. Then there’s the number of girls in the house. Some houses have 25 –- while others have more than 60, plus a number living in apartments who all pay dues. There’s also a subjectivity factor — some Boards really wanted to keep their Director and have a more personal relationship with her, so provided a higher salary or bonuses like a health club membership…that aren’t offered to you, the new gal. 

 

In a place where cost-of-living is less, like rural Idaho, you can expect the salary to be considerably less than an urban school in an expensive area like New York. Boards in a city have to consider that their Director could be spending over $4.50 for her gas, higher insurance, etc. Often houses in a specific location have somewhat similar salaries, but not always.

Does A House Director Have To Live At The House?

Yes. For 10 months it’s a 24/7 residential position. You can have 1-2 weekends off in a quarter. But getting a sub can be a challenge!

What About Paid Vacations?

You do get paid all holidays/vacations during the school year. This is a 10-month job, so don’t expect to be paid for the summer. The exception would be if your Corp Board asks you to stay on to supervise special projects over the summer. But you should negotiate a separate salary for that. Don’t let it be assumed that you are doing that for free for the privilege of living in the sorority house over the summer. But if you want to do that, some houses are glad to have a caretaker rather than a completely empty house.

When Is The Best Time To Apply For Jobs?

You know with a motto like “Helping House Directors Succeed” we want you to find the perfect job. Do your best to catch the spring hiring wave. We’ve noticed some job openings in the winter, now and then. Things come up unexpectedly in women’s lives. I’ve seen a woman quit the first day on the job. Another one quit as she drove into the neighborhood where the university is located. So, it can pay off to check the jobs postings from time to time. But after spring break, openings pick up and should accelerate to the end of the school year. (link to the Jobs page)

 

Some of the sororities find out in March that they will be having openings for next year — whether that be for a new director or cook. It can be a long process in searching for the right person. Make sure you get in on it! Read more on the JOBS page and have your resumes ready to go. (link to the Resume page)

I Am Not A Woman Of A "Certain Age," But A Grad Student. Should I Apply?

This brings up a couple of issues. Most houses don’t want their resident manager going to school fulltime, or working at a fulltime job off-site. Being a Sorority House Director is the fulltime job. There is a perception that there’s not much to do. But your job is to keep the entire enterprise running smoothly from top-to-bottom. When it’s functioning as it should, then you have time to relax. If there’s a crisis, you need to be on top of the situation, day or night. This is not an RA assistant as in a dorm. That said, some houses have hired younger women and it’s worked out for their particular situation. 

 

Hiring, and getting along with the young women under your roof, is very individual and personal. This is a personality-related business since you live together 24/7. But you’re not the girls’ stand-in mother, you’re the director maintaining the house.

Is Workers Compensation For House Directors, Too?

For those of you who are working as House Directors, or have read my book, you know how important it is to take extra care making sure that your staff do things properly to avoid accidents. But should something happen, the alert House Director takes care of the situation immediately. Not only does your sorority carry insurance, but Worker’s Compensation will cover some of the costs as well.

 

This is also true when it comes to you. Sometimes things happen. Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you should forego care. This is not going to be charged to you or the house. By law, you’re covered as an employee by Worker’s Comp and State Disability.

 

Once in awhile we’ve heard of houses putting a clause into a director’s contract that she will be fired if she becomes ill or is injured. That’s illegal. It’s also illegal if you’re fired because you got hurt on the job. 

 

If an accident happens, you take the papers with you to get checked out — Worker’s Comp will pay for that exam. If you need some rehabilitation, that’s what state disability insurance is for. You should not be asked to pay for expenses out of your pocket. Nor should you go home to recover during the term without being examined first. It needs to be officially documented.

 

Should you ever find your job threatened because of an injury, you don’t have to go to a lawyer and pay for him/her to investigate. The State Department of Labor has courts where you appear before a judge to explain your case. The state agencies governing the rights of workers will take care of that for you. 

 

Believe me, it’s rare that something bad happens. But if it does, you’re protected.

Is A Fraternity House Director The Same As A Sorority Job?

Although the goal at SororityMom.com is to help you find a House Director position in a sorority, some women have found a similar position at a fraternity. You might be surprised to discover that there are far more fraternities on a campus than sororities (the reasons are varied, mostly historical bias). So, you’d think the job opportunities would multiply, right? 

While fraternities do hire cooks or outside food service, most don’t have a separate House Director. It is up to the young men to run their own house, cleaning, and bill-paying (why you may find some migrating towards the sororities for meals when they can). If that’s agreeable to you, then check out those openings. There are some fraternities that do have a tradition of hiring House Directors on site. A number of these are in the South. It is different than the sorority world, but worth looking into.

You are welcome to post universities or specific fraternity chapters that hire House Directors. It hasn’t been in my experience, so I’m not familiar where all these jobs would specifically be located, even though fraternities far outnumber sororities. But you might provide just the information that another woman needs! 

Anyone who is interested in getting into this career might consider being a Housemother at a fraternity. I’ve known a couple of women who enjoyed their work in the fraternity.  They felt well-treated by the young men as their House Directors.

Over the years, women have submitted campuses where they did hire fraternity House Directors. We did not follow up ourselves to verify. Things change over the years. But, these are worth following up as leads. 

[To buy our Directory, click here]

Can I Have Pets On The Job?

Most sorority house policies do not allow your cute little dog or other pets. Of course, you hear of exceptions being made now and then. Discuss this before you accept a job offer!

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“On-the-Job” Questions

What's It Like Living In A Sorority?

What goes on in the sorority world? We passed through all the build up and intense excitement of Act 1, adjusting to sorority life in the fall. Then it’s like the long Act 2 in a play. Life is on a fairly even keel of going to school, with Greek life events sprinkled in for excitement. The students either are gearing up for exams and spring break or are just returning from it. And then it’s on to Act 3 and the finale. Read more about what to expect in my book written especially for House Directors, based on the most common questions. Link to the House Director Survival Guide ebook

Are Sorority House Directors Expected To Cook For The Girls?

Not usually. For a small house, you may have a unique arrangement. In the big houses, there will be both morning and afternoon cooks, Monday-Friday. Or professional food service may be hired in. Weekends will be more DIY. Typically, you may put out morning cereal and breads. BTW, you shouldn’t be doing the dishes either! How to Feed A Sorority House Without Sprouting Feathers(link to ebook)

Don’t Let The Fall Routine Lead to Boring Meals…

 

As your year progresses, here’s a big FYI: food and cooks will play a major role in the morale of the entire house. So stay on top of kitchen issues.

 

Meals may become the topic of discussion if your cook is getting complacent. Menus can become “stale.” Worse, the food budget begins to soar if the cook starts to rely on too many prepared items from the vendors. Given all the recent bad economic woes, House Directors should be watching their budgets more closely.

 

Keeping the girls happily fed is ultimately the House Director’s responsibility. Maintaining fresh and appealing menus is the secret. Repetition is the problem. 

 

Often the girls are too polite to say much until it gets awful. Check with them often to see how they are liking the food choices. They are the clients. A big part of sorority life is enjoying communal meals. It’s normal to expect that having a personal cook means good meals coming from the kitchen, accommodating many food preferences. “Common Eating Disorders” (link to ebook)

What Are The Most Common Job Complaints?

Many current House Directors write in comments about their cooks. In fact, that’s the #1 issue SororityMom.com receives the most correspondence about! There was so much to discuss that as a result, I put together the food service book, “How to Feed A Sorority House Without Sprouting Feathers.[link to ebook] It not only offers suggestions for dealing with the most common problems, but provides a school year’s worth of menu suggestions to get you started. This menu resource was written in response to the #2 complaint: boring cooking!”

Does The House Director Do The Cleanup?

The house director is not the maid! While quarterly room inspections may be scheduled, it is not your job to clean up after girls anywhere! 

 

At the end of the school year, the bigger task facing houses up and down sorority row is the mess left behind. Yes, the young women clean up to a degree. But the housekeeping staff has plenty to do. In some locations, the townspeople know the sorority dumpsters are overflowing with bounty and come to check them out!

 

This is also the time to inventory the rooms for needed repairs and plan out the summer schedule for our handyman. The Board members will swing by to plan for any remodeling, redecorating, or major repairs. But that is not your job either. 

What's It Like Starting This Job?

When you don’t hear from a House Director for the first month of school, you know it’s BUSY getting ready for the girls’ arrival…and then we all immediately head into “Rush.” 

For all you new House Directors out there, you begin the year with a bang! You’ve got to get the big yearly maintenance chores done all at once that you can’t do when the house is full and busy 24/7 during the school year. In your own home, these could be staggered through out the year. But not in a sorority house! 

Ignoring those things causes big problems during the year — just imagine the disaster of plugged up toilets in a house of 64 girls! My advice: get the plumber out to clear all the lines. They’re dry after sitting all summer, and as soon as the ladies move back, an old system may go into shock. I realize this isn’t a topic one would chat about in polite company, but a House Director has to think about the house itself. That’s what August is all about in our world.

What Happens During The "Sorority Rush"?

Rush is exactly what the word sounds like — a big rush and intense whoosh for everybody. Okay, I confess, I’m very old school and started in this profession way back when the event was called “Rush.” I know the correct term is “Recruitment,” which actually describes what the event is about. But, for House Directors and girls, Rush-ing around is what we do to start off the school year. You don’t even have a moment to get know each other!

 

The school year starts off with such a big push for sororities. Besides being students and having to take care of a college student’s business, starting sorority life at the beginning of the year is demanding for the young women, too.  

 

Behind the scenes, winding up all the summer remodeling projects barely gets done. Staff come in a week ahead of time to clean up…and does the House ever sparkle for a day or two. 

 

Then BOOM…scores of girls and all their belongings descend at once. And then equipment breakdowns begin. It seems that a House Director can spend all her time calling for repairmen and waiting for them to show up during Recruitment. It doesn’t matter how well you took care of all that in the summer. 

 

So once you’re past that, dear new House Director, you’ll be glad to know that life will then settle into the day-to-day activities associated with college life and being students. It’s busy, don’t get me wrong. And young people on their own for the first time will be dealing with a variety of issues. But knowing that, you’re just holding things together with a steady calmness and unfailing wisdom (don’t laugh!).

 

Such is the busy life of a House Director at the beginning of the year! The good thing is, we know it will settle into a routine before long.

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