Many, but not all, college campuses have some sort of Greek life. There are varying degrees of involvement. For example, Williams has the highest percentage of Greek involvement. If you go to a college that has Greek life, chances are someone will try to recruit you. A lot of people have opinions both positive and negative about Greek organizations. From personal experience, I was one of those people who always thought “I’ll never become a frat boy” and “sorority girls are attractive, but unintelligent.” Then along came a cool guy I went to high-school with. He was president of the chapter at Ohio State, and invited me to come out to a few Rush events. Well, as it turns out, the guys were all pretty cool, and I decided to pledge. How I arrived at the decision was simply by looking at the pros and cons and doing what I thought was best for me. So here are the pros and cons of joining a sorority or fraternity.
1. Dues – This is College and Finance, so money is the primary concern. Costs of membership aren’t universal at all. Therefore, it’s important to evaluate your own situation. Be aware that you must pay your dues, or face the consequences (again, these vary depending on the organization). Many fraternities and sororities offer payment plans; some even have scholarships, which can help offset costs (if you’re getting extra money for college, you can use leftovers for dues). Evaluate if it’s cheaper to live in house, or live out of the house and pay dues. Essentially, before you make your decision, consider the costs.
2. Stigma – The thoughts I used to have about Greek Life are not uncommon. Depending on your circle of friends, some people will certainly look at you differently. In my own circle of friends from high school, I have been very hesitant to share my decision. Be prepared to be judged at times if you’re wearing your letters around campus (either by people not in Greek Life, or by people from other Fraternities/Sororities). I grew up, and realized that you can’t judge people based on one idea, but there’s no guarantee that other people will. Consider your parents as well (especially if they are going to be paying for it). Some parents will not have been in Greek Life, and may think the only reason you’re joining is to party, which would obviously make them less open to the idea.
3. Drama – There are social, cultural, and service fraternities and sororities, as well as many more. In any event, there will be drama. Large groups of people from different backgrounds can often lead to drama, so prepare for it. Not to mention, any rivalries with other Greek organizations on campus and that’s quite a bit of social dynamics to deal with. If you hate drama with a passion, I wouldn’t suggest living in-house. If you’re required to live in-house, then learn to deal with your hatred, or consider not joining.
4. Pledge Process – I hesitate to list this as a Con, because it is an experience. Processes are different amongst organizations, but the general consensus is that it does suck to be a pledge at times. However, I’ve had a lot of fun as well. The process is supposed to be difficult though, so be aware of that. If you hate listening to authority, doing what you’re told, doing anything you would not want to do normally, and then you should strongly consider not going Greek. Hazing is condemned by all Greek organizations (that I’m aware of), but everyone knows that a certain level will most likely take place. Depending on how you deal with it, it can be a very big con, a minor annoyance, or enjoyable.
1. Parties – Basically, parties are one of the best things about going Greek. You’ll have access to many more social events (even if your fraternity or sorority isn’t technically in the “social” category). You’ll meet a lot more people, and will probably not have any reason to ever be bored on a Friday night. For me, personally, this was one of the biggest deciding factors. Since I decided to live off-campus, my social activity dropped considerably. Being in a Fraternity was a great way to get me to stop playing WoW and interact with the real world.
2. Leadership Positions – If you want to hold a position of leadership, than being in a Greek Organization is a great way to do it. There are many positions (although they differ amongst organizations) that require steadfast leadership, intelligence, and hard work. If leading, organizing, planning, etc. appeals to you than Greek Life might be right up your alley.
3. Resume Building – While this isn’t a good reason to join if it is your only reason, it is definitely a plus. With holding leadership positions, you can certainly help that resume look better. Just being involved with something, or doing service can really help resume building. It can definitely put you on the right track to getting a job right out of college. Many fraternities and sororities have service activities that members must participate in. If you’re interested in simply giving back to the community, then it might be a good way to give back, AND help your resume in the process. Remember, if building your resume is the only reason you want to become a part of Greek life, you may want to re-think your decision.
4. Connections – Speaking of jobs, being in a sorority or fraternity CAN definitely help you gain employment, internships, or at the very least an interview or two. Depending on the scope of your organization, the career benefits can be tremendous. Whenever you become a member of a Nation-wide Fraternity or Sorority, you become immediately connected with every other member (both active, and alumni) outside your own chapter. The stories are endless of people who randomly meet a member from another chapter and end up getting offered jobs on the spot.
5. Life-long friendships – Sometimes people have difficulty meeting people in college and forging life long friendships (especially if they go to very large universities). Fraternities and sororities are a great way to meet new people and form friendships that last a lifetime. Sisterhood and brotherhood are two very emphasized areas in Greek life. As a result, many Greek members are committed to it. For those looking to forge great relationships, Greek life might be the way to go.
In the end, it comes down to a personal decision. There may be positives and negatives to joining a Greek organization (as with anything in life). It turned out that for me, the positives far outweighed the negatives. However, that may not always be the case. One important thing to keep in mind is to never make assumptions, and never be afraid to try things out for yourself. So, if you’re thinking about going Greek, hopefully this post provided you with some useful information.
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March 14 2008 06:25 am | College Advice