When you see college portrayed in the movies, you’ll almost always see fraternities and sororities make an appearance. These student organizations aren’t just a film trope, they’re present at over 650 universities all over the country. But what are they really?
Here’s the official Collegeboxes crash course to all things Greek life!
What is a Fraternity/Sorority?
Fraternities and sororities are student organizations that are usually dedicated to a certain discipline. Many fraternities and sororities will have a philanthropic goal or work with certain organizations. For example, the sorority Tri Delta partners with St. Jude Hospitals to fund childhood cancer research. If you join one of these organizations, you can expect to do some good and participate in community service.
Other fraternities and sororities may be centered around a specific subject, like law or service. Others are based around identity and religion, like the Jewish fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Phi. There are even LGBT friendly organizations, but they are usually unique to each campus.
Why Join a Fraternity/Sorority?
The most appealing part of any organization like these are the connections you can make. Fraternities and sororities are known to help create lifelong friendships. And on top of this, the alumni are known to be very eager to help uplift fellow members. This means that you may be offered unique opportunities thanks to your association with a fraternity or sorority.
How to Join Greek Life
Joining a fraternity or sorority is unlike joining any other organization on campus. Essentially, you must participate in “rush,” a tradition where prospective pledges try to put their best foot forward to get a bid from a frat or sorority. This is where fraternities and sororities start to get their reputation for being exclusive: they pick and choose who gets to join, and sometimes it can be very competitive.
What is Rush?
Rush is the recruitment process for a fraternity and sorority. It can be anywhere from a few days to an entire week long (hence the commonly-used phrase ‘rush week’).
During rush week, you can expect to undergo many interviews and conversations with current members of the organization. It can be quite a time (and financial) commitment, so it’s important to make sure you don’t let your classes fall to the wayside during this process.
How to Stand Out During Rush
- Do your research: Learn what fraternities and sororities are on campus and understand their basic values and commitments.
- Ask questions: Don’t just stand there and hope someone talks to you first. Open up and be social! A great way to do this is by asking plenty of questions to engage.
- Look nice: Sometimes organizations on campus will have themed days for their rush week. Stay up to date on any potential dress codes and check the mirror before leaving the house!
- Remember names: You’re going to be meeting a lot of people, try to make sure you don’t slip up and call anyone the wrong name!
- Keep an open mind: Don’t get too hung up on any particular fraternity or sorority. You never know who you’ll be getting an offer from!
How Much Does It Cost to Join?
Another reason why fraternities and sororities get an exclusive reputation is because they’re expensive. New members can anticipate spending anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 on new member fees. Typically, these fees will be split by semester.
If you decide to live in a sorority or fraternity house, you could be spending up to $5,000 on lodging alone! And even members that don’t reside in the house will pay dues that are substantially less but still expensive.
Should I Be Worried About Hazing?
Hazing is the action of making pledges undergo inconvenient, silly, or sometimes even painful or dangerous tasks to “earn their keep” so to speak. In recent years, universities have taken steps to limit the effects of hazing on college students. If you’re joining a fraternity or sorority, you shouldn’t undergo any hazing.
If you feel uncomfortable by the members of a fraternity or sorority, or if you’re asked to do something that makes you uncomfortable, report that to an authority figure you trust as soon as possible.
What to Expect After You Join
Most fraternities and sororities will assign an older member to be your mentor, they’ll be the one to show you the ropes and help you get assimilated. You’ll also get to learn the unique history of your organization and get to know the other members and inductees!
From there, you can expect frequent meetings and social events during the semester. There are weekly meetings, along with occasional fundraisers, community service, and other social events that you’ll be expected to attend. It can be a lot to keep track of, so make sure you have a handle on your time management.
Certain fraternities and sororities may also have academic requirements for their members. This will be discussed with you once you are invited into the organization. If you end up slacking on your grades or start missing mandatory meetings or events, you could lose your spot in the organization.
Overall, Greek life is a great way to break out of your shell, make some friends, and create lifelong connections. Who knows, it may even help you land some exciting opportunities in the future!
When you need help moving into your frat or sorority house, call Collegeboxes. We can pick up your items straight from your door and safely deliver them wherever they need to go.
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