Sorority and Fraternity: The Pros and Cons of Greek Life

As the school year is coming to an end and graduates are thinking about their first year of college starting in just a few short months, many of them might be wondering whether they should join a fraternity or sorority. Joining a Greek organization can be beneficial, but there are also some drawbacks. Read on for some of the pros and cons of Greek life so you can make the best decision for you.

What Is Greek Life All About?

Many college students are attracted to sororities and fraternities because they offer a way to have ready-made friends, fun events and service activities to participate in. What's more, connections with alumni and the national Greek organization can help with internships and jobs after graduation, which is truly a plus for new graduates.

Philanthropy is often an integral part of Greek life, so if you are service-minded, Greek life can connect you with different organizations where you can volunteer your time. Being a member of a Greek organization may also come with some academic requirements, motivating students to take their academics seriously.

If Greek life sounds like something that might interest you, keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of Greek life.

Pros of Greek Life

There are some significant positives of joining a fraternity or sorority. Here are the most obvious ones:

  • Focus on philanthropy: Service to the community is a big part of Greek organizations, and most fraternities and sororities partner with community organizations or causes. Usually, each fraternity and sorority chooses one specific cause to work with each year, such as preventing child abuse, raising funds for cancer research or providing mentors for youth. These causes can vary, and many times, you can find one you're passionate enough about to continue long after college.
  • Connections with alumni: Joining a fraternity or sorority automatically connects you with hundreds of alumni. This gives you connections to people who may help you get an internship, land a job or get into grad school. Don't discount the value of this! It's great to know as many people as possible when starting a career.
  • Leadership training: There are elected positions in fraternities and sororities. These positions give officers experience in leading a large organization. Even if you are not one of the elected officers, there are still many other committees and causes that members lead. In short, a Greek organization provides leadership opportunities you migth not otherwise find, and those experiences can help you land a job.
  • Social networking: A Greek organization comes with a ready-made social network. There will be many different social activities to participate in, and chances are, there will always be someone who will join you for coffee, a night out or studying. This is a great way for people who are shy or introverted to make friends in college.

Con of Fraternities and Sororities

With all good things come a few negatives. Some of the cons of joining a Greek organization include:

  • Cost: Joining a Greek organization can have a substantial cost as a result of dues, events, clothing and other items relevant to the organization. In addition  other required costs, such as living in a fraternity or sorority house and buying gifts for littles or other members of your sorority "family" can add up too. The costs vary from organization to organization and university to university, but when everything is said and done, members of Greek organizations may spend several thousand dollars per year on the fraternity or sorority.
  • Time commitment: Weekly meetings, participating in various events, rush and initiation, volunteer work. All of these obligations result in a significant time commitment from fraternity and sorority members. Trying to juggle school, working and being a member of a Greek organization can be difficult for some. It's a balance some students can handle, and others cannot or simply don't want to.
  • Potential for hazing: There have been some high-profile stories about hazing and substance abuse among Greek organizations, resulting in colleges and universities becoming stricter with Greek organizations. There is always a potential for hazing during the initiation process, so being aware of hazing and refusing to participate in hazing-related activities is important for your own safety.

The Verdict

Before you make a decision on joining a fraternity or sorority, do your homework. Look around, see what they offer, see what they stand for and see what the obligations (both financial and time) are. Remember that you can always join during your second semester, or even second year. There's no hurry.

Now that you know some of the pros and cons of Greek life, you can make an informed decision. Does it sound like something that would be good for you? You can learn even more about Greek organizations in our blog.

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