To Pledge or Not to Pledge: Pros and Cons of Frat Life
Dante highlights the pros and cons of Greek life.
By Dante Jordan
November 17, 2011
There are a few big decisions most college freshman must make after they’ve decided on the college they want to attend — like where to live, when to schedule classes, and whether or not to join Greek life.
Although it may seem unimportant, whether or not you join Greek life will greatly affect your college experience in many ways.
Hopefully this article can help you get a better perspective of the Greek life and help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.
One of the most obvious benefits of fraternities and sororities are the friendships, brother/sisterhoods and connections that come with being a member. The friends that you gain during your time at a fraternity or sorority are usually lifelong and the connections can you give you an advantage over your competition when you enter the job market.
Also, being in a fraternity or sorority will look good on your resume. Despite the bad rap they get in the media, most businesses believe that fraternities and sororities produce responsible members of society.
Another great thing about Greek organizations is that they can help students get and keep good grades throughout college; because most of them require a certain GPA to become a member.
For example, in order to become an Alpha Elipson Phi member at the University of Maryland, you are required to have at least a GPA of 2.9.
Plus, if you happen to be one of those people who like to give back to their community, then you’ll probably love Greek life. Community service is one of the main aspects of fraternities and sororities.
The last and possibly greatest advantage of Greek life is the housing, which is often less expensive than the university housing, and allows you to live with people who you have something in common with.
Although the Greek life has many advantages, there are some disadvantages.
For starters, fraternities and sororities require membership fees. For example, the national initiation dues of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity are about $265 in addition to the annual fee of $130. While these fees may seem relatively small, they’ll probably seem like a lot more after you’ve just finished paying all your other college expenses.
This next downside is probably the single most publicized aspect of Greek life: partying. To some, the frat and sorority parties are the best part of the deal and, according to a college alcohol study by the Harvard School of Public Health, 4 out of 5 five members of Greek life were binge drinkers. Statistics like that could mean that at one of those awesome Greek parties you could drink so much you pass out and never wake up.
Another extremely publicized downside of Greek life is hazing. Hazing is a lot more rare in today’s society, due to the many anti-hazing laws that exist in 44 of the 50 states and anti-hazing policies that have been established in many Greek chapters. However, a few hazing cases still occur in many colleges in the U.S.
In one of these cases reported, a college sophomore at Cornell University ended up in a body bag as a result of hazing. The student, George Desdunes, was tied up and quizzed on fraternity lore and traditions, and for every question he got wrong he was force fed drinks. The next morning George was found on the fraternity house’s coach, and by then he’d already died of alcohol poisoning.
Admittedly, cases as severe as this don’t occur every day, but it only takes extreme cases of hazing to permanently end your college experience.
Most of these pros and cons in this article are generalities and just because they are listed here doesn’t necessarily mean that you might encounter them at your fraternity or sorority.
That being said, I hope this article helped you get a better picture of the Greek life and make a decision about whether or not to pledge.
Need money to pay for college?
Every semester, Fastweb helps thousands of students pay for school by matching them to scholarships, grants and awards for which they actually qualify. Sign up today to get started. You'll find scholarships like the $2,000 "No Essay" Scholarship from Niche, a scholarship open to all U.S. students and those planning on enrolling within 12 months.