If you are considering “going Greek” in college, you may wonder if it will add value to your education. The answer depends upon many things, including your motivation for joining a fraternity or sorority. Eighty-five percent of the Fortune 500 executives belonged to a sorority or fraternity. In fact, the first female astronaut and the first female senator both were sorority members. In addition, if you belong to a “Greek house,” you are 20 percent more likely to graduate. Those are the positives, but there are also some negative aspects of sorority and fraternity membership.
What is Belonging to a Sorority or Fraternity Like?
First, the emphasis is on the personality of the organization. That means while individuality is important, sororities and fraternities focus more on how their members are alike. Sorority members may find older “sisters” challenging their dress or disapproving of their dates. There are many social functions and meetings; some of these are optional but many are required. The excitement of living with a group of friends in a house that is often a step above the residence halls is enticing. If your grade point average drops below a set standard, there may be negative consequences which gives members an incentive to maintain good grades and support if their grades are falling.
There is a Downside to Sorority and Fraternity Membership
“Greek” living can be a rewarding experience, but there are some possible downfalls. College.USA Today reports that since 1975 there has been at least one death a year from sorority or fraternity hazing. Usually, those deaths come from binge drinking. It’s a fact that “Greek” houses have long battled drinking problems among its members. Another possible disadvantage for members is the expense. There may be a minimum family income required to apply to the organization, and there are housing fees, dues, a commitment to purchase a pin which could be expensive, plus the expense of an extensive wardrobe necessary for all the social events. US News and World Report/Education points out that sororities and fraternities can be limiting, They encourage their members to have friends and date inside the closed “Greek” circle.
What are the Advantages?
The same U.S. News and World Report article cites connections as one advantage of joining a sorority or fraternity. You will meet and form bonds with people who can be valuable to you in your future profession. Another advantage of membership is that you will gain experience in attending social events and learn how to navigate them. Leadership is a skill often learned through the various sorority and fraternity meetings and groups. Another skill is teamwork, learning to work with everyone, even those you don’t get along with. Plus, sororities and fraternities act as a family to make members feel secure.
Applying to a sorority or fraternity does not mean you will be accepted. The consequences of being rejected by the group can be painful. Although there are some arguments against joining, many see the experience as rewarding. Ultimately, the decision depends upon why you want to join a fraternity or sorority, and whether the group you have chosen is right for you.
If you’re looking for networking and ways to build your leadership and teamwork skills you’ll find these opportunities in a sorority or fraternity.