On some college and university campuses, Greek life is a very important part of the social fabric of the school. The extent to which this is true will most likely be evident from the number of fraternities and sororities there are at the school. That being said, going Greek is not for everyone: It can be costly both in terms of the time you will have to commit to the frat or sorority and the amount of money it costs to be involved.
It is very hard to judge a fraternity or sorority unless you take the time to go through rush. At that time, frats or sororities that think you are a fit will seek you out in the hope that you will attend as many of their rushing activities as possible. Although these groups are primarily social organizations, they expect their student members to maintain a high GPA because it doesn’t look good for the fraternity or sorority or the school when a student doesn’t do well.
Here is a look at some of the things to think about when considering whether or not to join a fraternity or sorority.
*Will your involvement interfere with your studying or academic work?
Fraternities and sororities have a reputation for being very social organizations. They have frequent parties to which they invite all sorts of people, and much of the time, there is a lot of drinking involved. Depending on the group, some sororities and fraternities are active in the community by doing social service type things such as raising money for a Ronald McDonald house, raising money to purchase winter coats for disadvantaged kids, or even raising money for domestic violence shelters.
Will you be expected to attend meetings, parties and other functions that will take time away from your studying, especially if you also have to work part-time? And will you be able to study in the house or will that be too disruptive?
*What is the financial commitment?
You need to know what the financial commitment is. Some people opt to live in a fraternity or sorority house, and that can be a lot more cost effective than living off campus and having to pay rent, utilities, buy food and everything else. But there will undoubtedly be membership dues and other fees associated with membership. Can you realistically afford this? There will be semester dues to cover the cost of social functions, but that is added to the cost of your room and board if you decide to live in a house.
*Why are you joining a fraternity or sorority?
If you are thinking about going Greek simply because that’s what your friends are doing, that’s a pretty poor excuse. It’s also an indication that you aren’t comfortable enough with yourself to feel okay about standing tall regardless of whether you join a fraternity or sorority. Moreover, real friends should like you regardless of what you decide.
*What kind of reputation does the sorority or fraternity have?
There are some frats and sororities that are the talk of the campus. Fraternities are notorious for having big parties at which there is a lot of alcohol and noise. Sororities can have reputations for not so good reasons, too, but they don’t garner the kind of attention that fraternities do. Do you want to be associated with a group that not only has a reputation on campus, but in town because the police show up there so often?
*Will you have to live in the Greek house?
If you are required to live in a Greek house, then it’s fair to assume that a lot of your time will be taken up with the house activities, meetings and other things. Are you willing to give up that much freedom and have that kind of inflexibility in your schedule?
*Will your involvement look good or bad on a potential resume?
Think about your future. In the not too distant future, you will graduate and be forced to face the real world and the prospect of finding a job. Will your involvement look good to a potential employer or will you be taken less seriously?
For some people, joining a fraternity or sorority can be a great thing. It can be an integral part of their college experience and something for which they will later have fond memories. For other people, joining a sorority or fraternity may not be that great.
A lot depends on how outgoing and social you are and whether or not you can talk to complete strangers and hype your fraternity or sorority. Are you willing to volunteer for things or be a leader, if called upon to do so? Are you willing to put your Greek life ahead of everything else because that may happen often?
Can you juggle your involvement with a sorority or fraternity with your work, class and study schedules? The decision as to whether or not to join a fraternity or sorority is entirely individual, and you shouldn’t feel bad regardless of the decision you make. You go to college to get an education and to prepare yourself for a job or career upon graduation. As important as a social life is, it’s even more important that you be able to balance all of your obligations with the things you want to do in addition to those obligations.