Greek Life

Is joining a fraternity or sorority worth it?

A major decision that you’ll have to make when you begin college is whether or not you want to join a fraternity or sorority (called Greek organizations because they name themselves using Greek letters). Most colleges have some kind of Greek presence on campus or nearby. Some fraternities and sororities have been around since the 1700s. These organizations start looking for new members at the start of every school year, so you won’t have a lot of time to make your decision.

Though they are all dedicated to fostering a sense of brotherhood or sisterhood, Greek organizations definitely aren’t all the same. Some are dedicated to a particular faculty or profession (such as engineering or law), while others are more concerned with having a good time. Some pride themselves on getting high GPAs and doing community service. Others consider charity work to include being the wingman for your buddy as he endeavors to hook up with a hot female.

Greek Terminology

If you’re going to go Greek, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with these terms:

  • Bid. An invitation to join a Greek organization.
  • Rush. The period at the beginning of freshman year when new members are initiated into their fraternity or sorority.
  • Pledge. The name given to new recruits.

Pros and Cons

Going Greek is definitely not for everyone. To help you make your decision, here’s a quick rundown of both the advantages and disadvantages of Greek life:

  • Pro: Fun. If you’re in a frat or a sorority, your social calendar will always be full. Greek parties tend to be legendary.
  • Pro: Community. Members of Greek organizations look out for each other. You will be given opportunities to network with many people, and it could help you land a job after you finish school.
  • Con: Isolation. Though you’ll have a lot of friends in your organization and may meet others in the Greek system at mixers, some students say that the fraternities and sororities are isolated from the rest of the students on campus.
  • Con: Hazing. To join most Greek organizations, you’re required to pass a series of grueling and embarrassing tests. Prepare to be force-fed alcohol and paraded across campus in a diaper. Many schools have banned hazing, but it’s still common practice.
  • Con: Money. It can cost a lot to be a member of a Greek organization. You’ll probably be expected to pay an upfront fee, as well as regular dues throughout your time in college.

Final Verdict

As you can see, there are convincing arguments both for and against joining a Greek organization. Ultimately, you’ll have to decide whether you think the pros outweigh the cons. Even if you decide not to pledge, it’s still a good idea to try to make friends with someone who does. That way, you can go to the parties and have all the fun without having to pay any of the fees. Just don’t spend every day at the frat house, or you’ll be labeled a “frat rat.”

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