Parties, binge drinking, and hazing. If you’re only exposure to Greek life is through movies such as Animal House and Old School, then these are the activities that you associate with the wild and glamorous lives of frat boys and sorority girls. However, when you arrive at college, you will find that there is quite a bit more to Greek life. Fraternities and sororities are often very involved in student organizations and charity events, and like any close knit group, they have their fair share of tension and rocky interpersonal relationships. The decision to “go Greek” is a big one and not necessarily the right fit for every student. The Nerd is here with some pointd to consider before pledging with a fraternity or sorority.
1. Research Your Options
Pi Beta Phi, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Chi Omega for girls, Pi Kappa Alpha, Zeta Beta Tau, Sigma Nu for guys – so, what’s the difference? There are so many Greek organizations that it can be confusing when narrowing down your choices. Furthermore, chapters vary from university to university, so don’t base your opinions off of what you have heard from your friends at other schools. The fraternity for jocks at one college may have a totally different reputation at another. It is important to do a little research on Greek organizations at your university before you go through rush. Find out about the different reputations of the organizations you are considering. Although their reputation may be unfair, if you join, it will follow you, too.
2. Find Your Fit
Each Greek organization has something different to offer. Before rush week begins, you should seek out current members of the fraternities or sororities that seem interesting to you. When rush rolls around, attend events for every organization you are considering. Rush events are a quick and critical way to get a feel for different Greek organizations and to begin building friendships. Getting to know current members is very important. They will be evaluating you for membership, while you are doing the same. If you do decide to join, you will need a few supporters within the group to encourage them to offer you a bid. It is important that you feel comfortable with the people in the fraternity or sorority before accepting a bid. After all, you will probably live with them, study with them, and party with them for the rest of your college years.
3. Consider the Costs
Greek life has its perks, but it also has its costs. Don’t be too caught up in the idea of “sisterhood” or “brotherhood” to examine it realistically. Greek organizations require that dues be paid each semester, and these can be a few hundred dollars. There are also a lot of smaller costs, such as purchasing Greek letters, contributing money for events, etc. Greek life is also a huge time commitment. Meetings and events will eat into your free time, and the active social life that comes with it may make it difficult for you to focus on your studies. Additionally, you may need to give up some extracurricular activities to make time for your new Greek life.
There are also fraternities and sororities on campus that aren’t solely social in nature. There are quite few national organizations that recognize, through their selective membership processes, academic high achievers, students interested in certain disciplines (English, biology, etc.), or those heavily involved in community service programs. If you like the idea of belonging to an organization but are worried about the time commitment or other factors, check out the other, non-social fraternities and sororities. They might provide you with the community you’re looking for without the heavy involvement. And, if there aren’t any organizations like this at your school, consider starting a chapter on your campus! It’s easier than you may think, and if you’re interested, other students probably are, too.
Joining a fraternity or sorority will offer you new friends, new activities, and a part in something larger than yourself. But, keep in mind, it will also involve both time and monetary expenses. Greek life isn’t for everyone, and it isn’t a decision to be made lightly. However, either way, you can have a wonderful college experience. Stay tuned for next week’s Nerd’s word on how to use your campus library to your advantage.