The method by which a fraternity or sorority meets new prospective members and decides whether to extend offers of membership (or bids) to those prospective members, also called rushes.

The rush process can be very informal, very formal, or anywhere in between, depending on the university and the house. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, for example, the fraternities have a very informal rush. Rushes are free to visit any houses they wish at their leisure, and any fraternity can bid them at any time they desire. The Interfraternity Council provides some official guidance and information for rushes, but it's trivial at best.

The sororities on the Illinois campus, however, are much the opposite. Sorority girls are forbidden to speak to rushes about rush (known as dirty rush) at all. No non-sisters are allowed into a sorority house at all during the rush period. Rushes are led on tours of the different sorority houses by guides appointed by the Pan-Hellenic Council, where the sisters in each house put on skits and sing songs. At the end of each "round" of touring, the houses come up with a list of girls they wish to "call back", and the rushes make a list of the top houses they're interested in. Eventually, the list gets narrowed down to three, and finally to one.

On most campuses, though, the process lies somewhere between the two extremes described above.