Greek Life: Is It for You?

There are many reasons to join a fraternity or sorority on campus, but it may not be for everyone. Find out the ups and the downs of Greek life.

To rush or not to rush?

That is the question that most young college students face when inundated by a sea of Greek letters on shirts and sweatshirts the first semester of college. Whether or not to indulge in a fraternity or sorority may come down to your goals for your time as an undergrad, financial situation, and more.

Reasons to Rush

Greek life can lead to lifelong friends and connections. If you’re unsure about whether or not to take the plunge into a Greek letter organization at your school, take a look at some of the reasons below.

Happiness — during and after college

According to a recent Gallup and Purdue University study that surveyed 30,000 post-grads about their college experiences, members of Greek life have better “well-being” than non-members in a variety of categories. Broken down between “purpose, social, financial, community, and physical,” those who chose a fraternity or sorority during school constantly beat out non-members in each category, according to the study.

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As for post-grad life, more former fraternity and sorority members than non-members started their own businesses and say their school was valuable and prepared them properly for life after college.

Connections

You’ve heard the statistics before. Since 1825, all but three United States presidents have been in fraternities. More than 85 percent of Fortune 500 executives were in Greek life. The first female astronaut and United States senator were in sororities.

With nearly 10 million members of the college community involved in a Greek letter organization yearly, the power in numbers is certainly there. The friendships fostered during your time in your fraternity or sorority could not only be beneficial in the post-grad job hunting world, but can give you an overall connection with your school.

Community Service

If you have philanthropic tendencies, there may be no better outlet on your college campus than a fraternity or sorority. Greek letter organizations are the largest on campus when it comes to volunteering, and commit more than 10 million volunteer hours a year, according to Louisana State University. With direct partnerships with organizations like the ALS Association, American Cancer Society, YouthAids and more, Greek life can be much more than a social scene.

Reasons Not to Rush

Rushing isn’t for everyone. Many students have a great social and academic life in college without ever joining a Greek organization. Here are some of the reasons why you might consider not going out for Rush night.

Hazing

Despite the best efforts of school administration, law enforcement, and Greek letter organizations themselves to rid fraternities and sororities of hazing, many organizations still undergo “Animal House”-like initiation processes.

Although illegal in 44 states, hazing and humiliating initiation rituals still exist, with nearly 55 percent of college students reporting being hazed by a “club, team, or organization,” according to a study by the University of Maine.

Ask each organization you are interested in about their initiation process and whether or not they perform hazing.

Dues

Although many fraternities and sororities offer payment plans and discounted fees, Greek life does not come free. Dues are required for nearly all Greek letter organizations each semester, and on average they run up hundreds of dollars yearly. Find out about the costs that come with each fraternity or sorority by asking during the Rush season.

Commitment

The only way to get the best out of the Greek life experience is commitment, and unless you have figured out how to be in two places at once, you may feel strapped to one organization over another. If you’re interested in multiple college clubs and organizations, try to calculate carefully the commitment it would take to each organization — such as meeting times and work involved — before making any final choices.

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