The Greek Life: Deciding on Joining a Fraternity or SororityJul 16, 2022
Whether Greek life is for you is a question many college students ask themselves. Pledging a fraternity or sorority has undeniable benefits and considerable pitfalls.
Let's dig into the Greek life landscape for an aerial view.
Pros and Cons of Greek Life
Greek life is known for substantial advantages. A Gallup-Purdue study found that 9 million people were involved in Greek life and that out of those who joined a frat or sorority and non-Greeks, Greeks were more likely to start a business and remain engaged at work.
These advantages are connected with the highly valued concentration of social skills, critical maintenance of alumni relationships an excellent chapter will pursue, and the prioritization placed on networking, interviewing skills, and service.
These factors aside, you’ll also gain a lifelong brotherhood or sisterhood, which can be enticing if you miss out on quality connections in high school. However, we can’t tout the pros without exposing the dark histories that haunt some well-known fraternities and sororities. Let’s explore so we can help you make a well-rounded decision.
Let’s start with the pros.
Lifelong Brotherhood or Sisterhood
When you decide to join a fraternity or sorority, the gift of Greek life is instant friends. And these friends will be with you for life, considering the relationship-building emphasis and values of Greek life. You will predominantly bond with those you rush with.
This is one of the foremost reasons people join–who doesn’t want a healthy social life?
Networking Benefits and Leadership Skill-Building
Much of what you’ll do in Greek life involves networking. You’ll get to learn the do’s and don’t early on and be a step ahead of your peers. These networking skills and opportunities will line you up for your future career. It will be time well spent, especially if you’re frat or sorority is characterized as ambitious.
During these networking sessions and other events that prepare you for life after graduation, you’ll be learning from prophytes and chapter alumni who want to see you succeed; after all, you’re family.
The Gallup-Purdue study also found people who joined a fraternity or sorority had a higher sense of well-being—reporting more elevated levels of purpose, financial satisfaction, community involvement/connection, and physical well-being.
Social and Philanthropic Opportunities
You will always find fraternities or sororities actively working on a community service project. Community service and volunteer efforts demonstrate the value of civic engagement. Chapters might hose social events on your college campus like campus mixers, open mics, community arts and culture events, and Thanksgiving dinners for students who don’t have homes to go to for the holidays. Community service projects might be the creation of self-care kits for those in need, food drives, volunteering at food pantries, soup kitchens, or food banks.
If you join a prestigious organization with brothers and sisters who work where you plan to apply, when your organization is listed on your resume, this increases your hire-ability. The perk is they don’t have to know you personally. The “it’s who you know” adage plays into this. And it can be the difference between a job straight out of college or the graduation blues.
Speaking of blues, let’s discuss the cons.
Rushing Can be Disruptive to Your Academic Schedule
The time commitments are brutal. If you thought sticking to your study schedule was difficult, you’ll be adding a thick binder of fraternity and sorority history to your workload when you pledge. These are required memorization. Your commitment may burden your friendships and cause the loss of romantic relationships and social events you’re mandated to attend.
Considering how demanding your schedule will be on top of multiple classes is not a decision to take lightly.
Potential for Hazing
Do your research on any hazing histories at the universities you want to rush. Initiation rituals have traditional roots that have ended badly for some, like the Pi Kappa Alpha and Delta Chi cases. It may take some digging to locate the data but don’t skip this step if you want to be sure you're choosing the right frat or sorority. This NPR podcast on fraternity culture may help in your research efforts.
It’s Not Cheap
Greek life is pricey. You have to pay dues to purchase necessities for social events and show your commitment to your frat or sorority by acquiring paraphernalia. A Greek-lettered satin jacket can cost you $99, and let's face it; you’re probably going to want one.
These expenses are separate from chapter dues which can be as high as $1,000 every semester. Factor in any out-of-town events, and if you’re paying for your college education out of pocket–costs can add up.
If these cons aren't too off-putting, I’ve added a list of the biggest Greek life schools to narrow your search.
Biggest Greek Life Schools
According to College Pads and Niche, here's a combination of the top 20 colleges for Greek life in no particular order. Results are determined by the percentage of the student body involved in Greek life.
- Dartmouth College
- Tulane University
- University Mississippi (Ole Miss)
- Rhodes College
- Lehigh University
- Howard University
- Syracuse University
- University of Wisconsin
- Penn State
- University of Delaware
- Indiana University- Bloomington
- San Diego State University
- Florida A & M University
- University of Southern California
- Miami University
- University of Georgia
- Ohio University
- Michigan State University
- Florida State University
- The University of Alabama
How To Join a Fraternity or Sorority After College
Here’s a little-known secret. You don’t have to pledge to a sorority or fraternity while in college. You can join a graduate chapter post-graduation which is invite-only. Learn the details here.
College Admissions Consultant
Inquire about our college admission consultant service to see if we’re a good fit for you. Your consultation is free, and we can help you decide if Greek life is right for you and which organization you should pledge to for the results you want.
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