As the fall semester rolls around, many incoming college freshmen and returning undergraduate students may be wondering whether it is a good idea to join a fraternity or sorority to become more involved on their college campus. With nine million college students involved in Greek life nationwide, those interested in pledging to their chosen fraternity or sorority are certainly not alone. While many students decide to join Greek organizations to build new friendships, learn leadership skills, strengthen their resumes, or simply attend parties, others prefer to remain independent from the Greek system and still have fulfilling college years. If you are considering joining a fraternity or sorority, read on to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages to determine whether going Greek is the right choice for you.
Pros to Joining Fraternities and Sororities
Since pledging to a fraternity or sorority makes you instantly part of a larger system of colleagues, one of the biggest pros to pledging is building lifelong connections with current chapter members as well as the network of former members in the business world. While participating in Greek life is not the only way to meet new people on a college campus, it is one of the easiest. Being part of a fraternity or sorority provides students with an immediate sense of belonging in a home away from home, which makes the transition to independent living a bit smoother.
On most college campuses, joining a fraternity or sorority offers unparalleled opportunities for members to engage in all kinds of activities, including themed parties, theatrical productions, fundraisers, and Homecoming Week. Many students who decide to go Greek have a stronger presence on campus, participate in more leadership opportunities, and build a deeper commitment to public service than their classmates. In fact, fraternity and sorority members generally have higher grades, better retention rates, and more community service hours.
Cons to Joining in the Greek System
In contrast, there are some important considerations when thinking about Greek life before signing up during pledge week. Although all of the events opened to members can be one of the top advantages, it is important to remember that social fraternities and sororities require a large time commitment beyond most other clubs. Greek members need to be able to balance a full-time class workload while still being involved in many social engagements. Fraternities and sororities also have financial commitments with costly membership dues that are required on top of the rising tuition expenses of earning a degree.
Furthermore, there are many stereotypes that have become associated with Greek life, so it is common for students to be judged based on being in a fraternity or sorority. Excessive underage drinking is a problem that spans across college campuses in general, but many students report the highest peer pressure to drink in the Greek system. While “Animal House” may have been an exaggeration, fraternities and sororities are often stereotyped for fostering a culture of drinking, partying, and hazing. In fact, there has been at least one hazing-induced death each year since 1975 and 82 percent of those deaths were connected to binge drinking.
Overall, pledging to a fraternity or sorority can come with long-lasting friendships and business connections that completely change your life, but it is important to remember that Greek life is not the right choice for everyone. If you choose to not join a fraternity or sorority, you can still engage in your campus community through student clubs, intramural sports, study groups, professional organizations, and other special interest groups to build a rewarding college experience.