Being a student does not mean lectures, exams, and boring college parties only. A student life is your great chance to join something more than just a group of people who try to get the same type of diploma; and when we say “something more”, we mean Greek organizations (do not confuse them with anything related to Greece!). Wanna feel yourself a protagonist of a high school movie? Welcome to Greek life then!
Our Guide to College Greek Life
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Being a student does not mean lectures, exams, and boring college parties only. A student life is your great chance to
join something more than just a group of people who try to get the same type of diploma; and when we say “something
more”, we mean Greek organiz ations (do not confuse them with anything related to Greece!). Wanna feel yourself a
protagonist of a high school movie? Welcome to Greek life then!
Greek life is a life of fraternities and sororities, and every freshman is welcome to join them, though some nuances
should still be taken into account before doing that. So, make sure you’ve read our guide to Greek life for every student
to find out if he is ready to live it in college, and whether he wants to do that at all.
To join or not t o join t hem?
Certainly, it is up to you whether to join a fraternity/sorority house or not, because such a membership is not compulsory
of course. Every student decides for himself whether he wants to be a part of such a group while studying at college or
university or not.
The truth is, that these organiz ations may be very attractive for freshmen who live far away from home for example, and
who want to feel themselves relatively safe. Moreover, the spirit of camaraderie is uncommonly strong in these chapters,
where all members stick together and often work for some common goals. Sounds not bad, huh?
But Greek life may be not a very good idea for those students who do not like different kinds of organiz ations on
general principle, who feel a lack of finance for joining them, or who fail with some other attributes (sports achievements
or facial appearance for example). So, if you are not a cute blonde with big… heart, or a strong guy who breaks bricks
by his head, Greek life may have a couple of fails in store for you.
How t o join t hem?
First of all, you should know that t here are not t wo but t hree t ypes of Greek chapt ers act ually. Contrary to what is
believed (fraternities are male- only, and sororities are female- only), there are also mixed Greek chapters too, like Phi
Sigma Pi or Kappa Kappa Psi for example (which are much more popular among students, if you know what we mean).
The process of joining a Greek organiz ation varies from college to college, and between each fraternity and sorority.
There is no standard method, so if you’re interested in joining a particular sorority or fraternity then you will have to talk
to one of its members to find out what is involved there.
What can inf luence your membership?
A fee for your membership (no money – no honey, sorry)
Your academic results (geeks and nerds have their own fraternities of course, but it is even more difficult to
become their members)
Your sports results (everyone loves athletic guys and girls, c’est la vie)
Proved organiz ational skills – gathering folks to make a rocking college flash mob will work too!
Some specific criteria of every single Greek organiz ation (you never know, what these dudes have in mind)
By the way, speaking about academic results, it should be mentioned, that academic testing of students who joined or
did not join Greek letter organiz ations have demonstrated the following fact: male members usually achieve lower
grades t han ot her male st udent s who do not live Greek lif e.
As for female students, this was also found to be true in the first year, but bonds grew, and some results showed
sororit ies’ academic result s beat ing independent st udent s in t he lat er years . It is perhaps true, that the added
strain of the financial cost of being a member, as well as time spent on organiz ational matters, took away study time in
the first year. This could have affected results adversely; however, students did gain a far greater sense of selfconfidence and self- worth which made college life easier to deal with.
What will change f or you af t er joining t hem?
Well, first of all, you should join them. What does this whole process look like?
1. Rush week
Get ready to complete a number of tasks to prove the fact you are worth being a new member of their chapter
(walking naked at campus for example, why not?).
2. Haz ing
The practice of haz ing is widely derided, and is now illegal in most states. However, it still continues to these
days. Haz ing is a practice of ritualiz ed and sometimes non- ritualiz ed embarrassment of a student who wishes to
enter a sorority or a fraternity.
Depending on the organiz ation, this is a period of a continued review to ensure the initial selection was the right
one, usually culminating in an initiation ceremony.
4. Initiation ceremony
The initiation ceremony is often a ceremony over a period of a few hours. It is heavily ritualiz ed, based around
Greek practices and some Masonic practices, and quite often it has been performed the same way for decades.
Barges: once you’ve become a fully- fledged member of the community, you’ll be given a barge which should be
worn all the time. Sometimes these barges are protected legally in order to prevent them from selling outside of
Coat s of arms: they are often a part of the organiz ation’s mythology. The majority of Greek chapters have them,
so, get ready to wear the coat of arms of your fraternity/sorority as well.
Apparel: there are also t- shirts, tops, jewelry, and many other items with the marking of your Greek chapter that
are often handed down or can be won in specific competitions among the chapter’s members. Who knows,
maybe you will have a scarf and a cloak like Harry Potter to designate your affiliation to Gryffindor?
The vast majority of fraternities/sororities members do not carry their association beyond the college experience. It is
not necessary to have been a part of any particular Greek organiz ation at college to benefit from career progression in
later life. There is only one exception here – The Skull and Bones Chapter at Yale University, but this is another story.
Greek lif e pros and cons
Benefits of being a member of some Greek chapter or organiz ation are obvious:
a camaraderie (your “brothers” and “sisters” will always help you deal with college problems, and they will
definitely support you);
a life full of events and activities (this can make your college life more enjoyable by having like- minded people
around, and it is always much better than being alone, isn’t it?).
But are there any drawbacks of your life in fraternity or sorority? When you are a freshman, it can be quite difficult for you
to combine your study and Greek life, especially during the extended period of pledging before becoming a full
member: all those activities will grab all your time and take you away from studies.
One more nuance that can surprise you is the cost of joining and staying a member of a Greek organiz ation. It is in
about $3,500 at some colleges. Some chapters ask their members to pay on a regular basis to maintain membership
(annually or monthly). So, if you want to stay a member of your chosen fraternity or sorority, you may have to work longer
hours at your part- time job to be able to pay all those fees. Well, maybe this is one of the main aspects to explain the
lower academic results of Greek organiz ations’ members we’ve mentioned above.
Having read all the information above, are you still sure you want to join any Greek organiz ation? It’s your choice, but
remember the fact, that Greek life is not for everyone (for example, if you have your own house, this can mean sharing it
with up to 70 other students from your fraternity. It sounds cool, and it can give you a reputation of a true bro among other
students, but are you ready for this?). What is a heaven for one person can be a real hell for another one. However,
fraternities and sororities can provide a safe environment for students away from home, who are in need of a new family
to belong to. Do not lose your chance, if you have one!
Originally published on: Guide to College Greek Life
Image source: http://blog.dormify.com/new- beginnings/is- greek- life- for- you.