College Greek Life 101
Greek life is one aspect of college that many people look forward to participating in. If you are thinking of pledging, you may be wondering what the pros and cons are of “going Greek,” how much time it’ll take, the requirements and costs, and how a fraternity or sorority can open doors for you. Learn more about what Greek life in college involves, if it is right for you and the potential benefits and drawbacks that can come with joining.
Pros & Cons of Greek Life
The fraternity and sorority life isn’t for everyone. There are plenty of clubs and organizations on college campuses for students to take part in, but one of the popular choices is Greek Life. Review some of the pros and cons to determine whether it’ll be a worthwhile experience for you:
- Joining a fraternity or sorority can give students an easy outlet to make new lasting friendships if they aren’t usually the type to easily make social connections otherwise.
- There are plenty of opportunities to gain leadership skills in Greek Life; students will have their fair share of public speaking, event organizing, and organizational budgeting, to name a few useful skills.
- Many fraternities and sororities are big on community service. You can bond with other members through philanthropic acts.
- Students can connect with other Greek members that have already graduated from college, and network professionally with these “sisters” or “brothers.”
- Some students may find fraternities and sororities too clique-ish.
- Greek membership can be costly depending on which Greek society you are interested in joining.
- Greek Life can eat up a lot of time between social events, chapter meetings, formal ceremonies, etc. If you are not the best at time management, you may want to think twice about joining.
- Many Greek societies require their members to maintain certain grades in order to pledge and stay, and participate in events. That being said, it’s important to prioritize your studies and maybe consider joining only if you have time to juggle another big responsibility.
Types of Fraternities & Sororities
If you are seriously considering rushing for a Greek society, you may have noticed already that there are dozens of fraternities and sororities to choose from. Some are more social, while others are better for academic and professional networking. Each type offers a variety of housing opportunities and unique activities. To decide which society is best for you, consider these main types of fraternities and sororities:
Traditionally, fraternities and sororities were made to allow students to focus on creating close bonds of brotherhood or sisterhood between members. If you are looking to join mostly for the social aspect, you may consider one of these.
If you are looking to make life-long connections for your future career, then professional fraternities may be best for you. Members are connected by common professional and academic interests, achievements, and goals. These fraternities are typically co-ed, which means both men and women are welcome to join.
Looking to add charity work to your schedule? A service-based society could help you fulfill that. These groups combine both the social aspect with community improvement work.
These are the most exclusive of all fraternities and sororities, as they are often invitation-only and do not have the same rushing and pledging process as other Greek organizations. Honor societies are geared towards students and alumni that are high-achieving.
Common Requirements of Joining a Greek Society
Regardless of which type of fraternity or sorority you choose to join, you can expect to put in time and effort into community service, chapter meetings, ceremonies, social events, and more. Here’s a brief outline of what you should be prepared for:
Just about every Greek society will hold regular chapter meetings, and attendance is usually mandatory for active members. Note that some fraternities and sororities may even fine members if they don’t show up.
Socials & Formals
Be ready to socialize! There will be a number of social and formal events that you’ll be expected to attend as a Greek Life member. These events can take the form of parties, dinners, dances, and more.
Initiation & Pledging Ceremonies
These ceremonies are critical because they mark the formal admittance of a new member to the Greek society. Similar to chapter meetings and social events, attendance is often required.
Charity Events & Community Service
Engaging in community service and attending charity events allow brothers and sisters in Greek societies to bond over doing good for the community. Some chapters may require students to perform a certain number of community service each semester to stay active. Fundraisers are also common charity events that are meant to raise awareness, funds, or both for a specific organization that the society has partnered up with.
As mentioned, students often have to maintain good grades to stay active in a Greek society. To foster this, some chapters have mandatory study hours that can either be in the form of independent study or group study sessions.
Depending on the society you join, the requirements may vary. If you are still unsure, it would be wise to find out what the exact requirements are from the Greek society you’re considering before committing to it.
Greek Life Expenses to Consider
Each Greek society may have unique fees, but these are typical fees you can expect to pay if you join:
It could cost over $100 to cover the recruitment phase of joining a Greek society. The exact amount will vary from one to another, so we recommend finding out before joining.
Depending on the chapter, these fees may be due per semester, or annually. Again, the amount will vary from chapter to chapter but can be hundreds to thousands of dollars per year. That being said, these expenses must really be thought through and budgeted for before committing.
Social Event & Gift Expenses
When a new member gets admitted into a chapter, it’s not uncommon for them to receive gifts. Also, members may have to wear certain kinds of clothes for formal events. Both of these will incur some sort of cost.
What Will I Get Out of Pledging?
If you have strong time management skills and see value in networking with more people in college, then Greek Life may be something to consider!
The networking options are endless when you join a fraternity or sorority. Like most things in life though, your experience will be what you make of it. However, by attending mandatory events regularly, you’ll naturally see and socialize with the same brothers and sisters over and over. This gives you the opportunity to network with these people, who may help you climb the social ladder in school, get job opportunities, career advice and advancement, and so much more!
To make the most of your Greek Life experience, be sure to take advantage of alumni networks, look for leadership opportunities actively, attend chapter and national events, and join online networks to stay up-to-date.