Throughout colleges in America, 50-80% of students participate in Greek life. While the answer might be very clear to some, for many young college students, the answer is not so clear whether or not they should participate in greek life and join a fraternity or sorority. It of course has both its advantages and disadvantages, however at the end of the day truly differs per personality and style of each person.
Pledging to a sorority will without a doubt make you feel a part of large group of your fellow students and for many it feels like a necessity. Many people end up making the best friends of their lives and establishing a large array of connections. Not only does it create lifelong friends, but more connections and a bigger network for later on in life, which inevitably is beneficial for career opportunities. And while social media networking is quite popular today, there really is nothing like a real live connection and shared experience. You never know who you will run into down the line and in what ways they can help you. And although it is not the only way to meet people, it is most certainly the simplest way to do it. For many young students, it can be very frightening to be so far away from home, family, and overall comfort and familiarity. Joining a fraternity or sorority helps these fears and eases all these new transitions. It also gives teaches valuable social skills, to always be energetic, friendly and willing to participate.
Being part of one of these groups allows for unique opportunities to be engage in all kind of parties, theatre, fundraisers and all kinds of exciting activities. Although there may very well be activities available to all students, those who do it as a part of Greek life feel more connected to campus and more committed to public service than others. Studies have also shown that members of these groups also receive higher grades and put in more volunteer community service hours. This is one of the most valuable aspects of joining Greek life, as they do truly try to encourage philanthropy and fundraiser as a core value.
However, there are also some cons about joining Greek life that should be considered before jumping to join. The thought of having constant events and activities can be very tempting, however it does not come without a heavy price of a great deal of time investment, more than most of other clubs and extracurricular activities. Although it may be a worthy investment to be apart of all these social events, it can be quite challenging to fulfill this commitment while also managing a demanding course load. Nearly all hours outside of class time are spent devoted to the fraternity or sorority, and in fact, some organizations will even fine members for failing to attend a meeting.
And furthermore, fraternities and sororities also come with a high financial cost, requiring monthly membership payments. It can already be enough of a struggle to pay for college tuition. It is actually known to be the most expensive college expense, with an average cost of $1000 per one single semester, between the monthly fee and then all the t-shirts, pins, gifts for your little or big and then the cost of the annual formal. One of the main reasons the monthly fee is so high is because of the National organization Insurance bill, which charges higher rates for those organizations consuming large amounts of alcohol, as well as hazing.
In addition to these factors, Greek life has always been associated with many negative stereotypes. This could in turn, lead to students being judged for who they are solely based for being a fraternity or sorority, or for the specific one they have chosen to join. One of the most common stereotypes of Greek life is their excessive amount of drinking throughout college, and is mainly due to the incredibly high amount of peer pressure. American College party movies might slightly exaggerate the extent of it, however fraternities and sororities are best known for their drinking, partying and hazing, which unfortunately causes binge drinking related deaths. On average, there is one death per year in America because of binge drinking hazing in college. And death aside, many hazing requirements are often very ridiculous tasks that can be demeaning and embarrassing. In an attempt to have the best possible college experience and make ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ this can seem rather contradictory. It is not possible to be accepted into a fraternity or sorority without completing the hazing process, which also means drinking and often drug abuse is also very likely.
All things being said, whichever path you decide to take is a good one. Joining a fraternity or sorority might end up being the best decision of your life, however it is not a good fit for every student. And if you do, it does not mean that you have to disassociate yourself from the rest of college life and activities. If you decide not to join one of these organizations, it also does not mean you will not have a memorable college experience and make incredible connections.