Is Greek Life Right for Me? How to Decide

College is a different world. And that's not an attempt at a cliche or sound bite from the famed television show. It is. College is where young undergraduates seek out their true selves--their identity.

Part of finding your identity is making the right collegiate connections. Greek fraternities and sororities offer students the opportunity to find camaraderie amongst people who share the same values.

But is that all greek life is? If you're trying to determine if it's right for you, here's help on how to decide.

Greek Life Defined?

Greek life is a term used to describe members of a fraternity of a sorority. Undergraduates pledge to become part of a brotherhood or sisterhood that offers diversity, academic assistance, and social and professional networking.

There are more than 6,233 fraternity chapters across 800 U.S. campuses. Sororities members tally around 418,000, according to the National Panhellenic Conference. Notable Frats exist outside of the U.S. in Canada and France.

With its roots in liberal education, Greek life is a fellowship of students who are continuing a decades-long tradition in pursuing deeper learning. In recent decades, the life has taken on a focus of service and philanthropy.

Students dedicate their undergraduate years to the Greek experience. After graduation, they continue their constituency as alumni and life members.

Some Considerations

Greek life does not come without its pros and cons. As with any organization, there are positives and unfavorable attributes. Both add to the experience.

Pros

1. Extended Family. College can make you feel like you're a long way from Kansas with no family in sight for miles. And for some students, that is the case.

Pledging into the life is like joining a family. Students build friendships through fraternities and sororities that last long after graduation. Undergrads connect with others who share the same traditions. They find a home away from home.

2. Service. Service provides ways for students to engage with their communities. Through volunteerism, students acquire life skills and knowledge of the world around them. They gain a sense of accomplishment through giving back.

3. Academic Support. Collegiate studies are no walk in the park, especially when you're new on campus. Senior Fraternity brothers and sorority sisters are great resources. Some step in as tutors and academic counselors to undergrads struggling through coursework.

4. Post-Graduation Opportunities. Every Greek organization has a network of professional alumni. Students may build relationships with alumni to secure post-grad opportunities.

Cons

1. Reputation. Not every frat or sorority maintains a good reputation. Some receive citations for hazing and violations that shed a dark light on the Greek system. It's customary for pledges to prove their worth by doing menial tasks. But some groups take it too far. This behavior will not add value to your collegiate life. Research the chapter's history before you pledge.

2. Time and Money. It costs to be a Frat member--a SoRo as well. The University of Central Florida published its costs. Sororities pay an average of $1,280 per semester, while frats pay $605. This does not include traditional college expenses. Greek letters and apparel are extra.

The Greek system commits to the community via service. For this reason, students must commit a large chunk of their time to the life. Students who don't prioritize could fall behind in their studies.

Go Greek

The Greek life helps students build a great foundation for the future. Yes, there are negatives. But the advantages outweigh the cons. Take some time and study the history of the organization before choosing a chapter.

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