By now, you’ve seen the sorority recruitment TikToks, which have spawned a documentary produced by HBO
on the University of Alabama’s rush process. And if you haven’t, a quick search will lead you down a rabbit hole of “#BamaRush
While #BamaRush is a relatively new viral sensation, going Greek is not. Fraternity and sorority life have existed since the 1800s, and like any sport, club, or organization, there are pros and cons to pursuing this path during your college career.
Whether you’re a high school student or getting ready to begin your first year in college, it’s worthwhile to consider whether joining a fraternity or sorority is right for you.
What are the Pros and Cons of Greek Life?
You’ll Expand Your Social Circle
You’ll make friends, both in and outside of your fraternity or sorority, during the rush process and at campuswide Greek events. If you’re attending or planning to attend a larger school, it can make campus seem a lot smaller because you’re included in the Greek community.
Greek houses have opportunities for budding leaders to practice their skills through positions in philanthropy, recruitment and social gatherings. It’s a great way to gain leadership experience
and have fun while doing it.
It’s also a great way to mentor others and gain mentors as you mature in college, through big/little programs. The programs give underclassmen someone older to help guide them through their first few months – or year – in a Greek house.
If you’re attending a college where Greek life
is a prominent part of campus culture, you’re likely to have the option of living in mansion-like sorority and fraternity houses.
Not a bad option, if you don’t mind living with fifty other people just like you. It’s not as bad as it sounds – it’s actually quite fun.
Many houses have standards that members must meet academically to remain in the house. Failure to do so could lead to academic probation
, which means exclusion from certain Greek events. It’s a good way to ensure your grades stay where they should – though not all Greek houses have these requirements.
You’ll Make Connections
Friends, yes. But, going Greek can also help with networking, too.
Many times, including a fraternity or sorority affiliation can help an interviewer identify with you over the many Greek traditions, even if they’re not from your particular house. There are also alumni clubs for those that move to new cities, so you have instant-connections with others.
It’s no secret that going Greek also takes a lot of green. You have to pay dues, sometimes extra to attend events, and there are a lot of added in costs that aren't mentioned, like formal attire, costumes, and your house shirts.
It should be mentioned here, though, that living in a Greek house is comparable to living in the dorms
on most college campuses. You’re not necessarily paying a premium to live there.
It Takes Up Time
Consider your schedule, then consider another schedule on top of it. While meetings and some events, like philanthropy and recruitment, might be mandatory, others are optional. However, you’ll very likely want to attend those social events in addition to required meetings.
As with most social organizations
, a stigma can come along with membership. There is the stigma of the Greek system as a whole, and then there can also be stigmas or stereotypes of particular houses on campus.
While not all houses are the same, many have specific rules and requirements, like specific study hours or attendance policies. If you’re more of a free spirit, this may not be your thing.
While some may see this as a pro, it can definitely be a con. Being a part of an organization that doesn't welcome everyone who wants to join can put negative karma into the world. It’s especially a con if you’re the one not being welcomed.
Hazing is illegal and no longer tolerated on most college campuses. More often than not, Greek organizations are extremely careful about following hazing rules
. However, there are those houses, as well as individuals, who break the rules.
Ultimately, the point of going Greek is to make friends, and if those so-called friends are doing anything to make you feel uncomfortable or in danger, they’re not true friends. Further, any organization that makes hazing others an initiative on its agenda is not worth joining.
Going Greek at Your College
If “going Greek” is of any interest to you, do your research early. Some colleges begin the recruitment process before the start of school, while others wait until later in the fall or spring.
While joining a fraternity or sorority is a great way to make friends and get involved on your college campus
, it’s not the only way to pursue lifelong friendships and a rich, extracurricular schedule. If becoming part of a Greek organization gives you reservations, trust your gut and look for other ways to become part of your campus community.