Listen Up Students: How to Select the Right College Fraternity or Sorority
College offers students the potential for experiences that will stay with them for their entire lives. For some, this might mean joining a fraternity or sorority, as a way of meeting people and forming life-long connections.
7 Things to Think About Before Selecting a Fraternity or Sorority
Becoming a part of Greek life can be a rewarding social and communal experience that offers lifelong benefits. If you're thinking about joining a fraternity or sorority, we've compiled a few important things to consider.
Greek life can expand your social network and offer you invaluable support during your college years. Fraternities and sororities also typically offer valuable community service and leadership opportunities and professional connections.
Because your relationship with your fraternity or sorority will almost certainly last a lifetime, you should weigh your decision very carefully before you choose an organization. Here are seven key factors to consider.
1. The Type of Fraternity or Sorority
The first way that you should narrow down your options is to decide which type (or types) of organizations will best meet your needs and interests.
Most fraternities and sororities fit into one of four categories: social (general), multicultural, professional or service. Social organizations typically allow anyone to apply. Multicultural groups tend to be oriented toward specific demographic groups, such as the Asian-American interest group or the gay-progressive interest group. Professional organizations promote the interests of certain areas of professions and restrict membership to students who are in a corresponding field of study. Service fraternities and sororities are public service organizations that are primarily concerned with community service.
2. Common Goals
At a large school, there will typically be several different groups within each type of organization, all of which will have a different approach to Greek life. Because you'll be spending so much time with your Greek brothers or sisters, it's important to carefully consider whether the organization is in line with your lifestyle, social preferences and academic goals.
3. The Amount of Time You Want to Devote to Greek Life
Joining a fraternity or sorority can be like participating in an intensive extracurricular activity. By signing on, you are making a commitment to spend a decent amount of your free time participating in activities that are important to your new group of friends. Since some fraternities and sororities will expect more of your time than others, it's a good idea to consider varying time commitments before you decide to rush.
The members of certain fraternities and sororities are often stereotyped as party animals, jocks or preps. When you join one of these organizations, the perception that some people have of you could be altered one way or another. If that's not something that you are prepared to deal with, you may want to think carefully before joining a fraternity or sorority that is associated with a particular image.
5. Sorority and Fraternity Requirements
Some fraternities and sororities expect certain things from their members. It is not unusual for a Greek organization to have behavioral, academic or housing requirements. Knowing what is expected of you ahead of time can eliminate potential issues that might pop up after you accept an invitation to join.
Yes, fraternities and sororities charge dues. The cost to join varies by organization, but usually falls somewhere between $100 and $1,000 per semester. Dues typically cover you for most parties and events. If you can't fit membership dues into your budget, don't fret. There are a few sororities and fraternities that offer sponsorships to needy students. Furthermore, many organizations offer academic scholarships or low-cost housing that can defray other costs, making it easier to pay the dues.
7. Whether or Not You Like the Other Members
One of the best things you can do for yourself and for those around you is to make sure you choose a group that meshes with your personality. You will be spending an extraordinary amount of time with the people in your chosen fraternity or sorority. If you can't picture yourself hanging out with at least a few of your new friends on the weekend, it's worth considering another group.