College Greek life typically calls to mind the stereotypes portrayed in television and movies, favoring decadent activities that are secondary to education. However, sororities and fraternities are social organizations that function under the umbrella of the university, and ultimately can’t exhibit behavior that’s at odds with the college’s code of conduct. Joining a college sorority or fraternity can be an essential part of many students’ educational journey, but there are pros and cons to Greek life.
The biggest drawback of Greek life is the expense. Membership dues typically cover application fees and household expenses, but there can also be additional costs throughout the school year for pins, outfits, events and activities sponsored by the Greek house, and so forth. The dues alone could be cost-prohibitive for many prospective students interested in pledging when combined with basic tuition fees. Understanding student loan payments can help identify strategies to accommodate Greek life in your total education budget.
Along with the education that students receive from their university, the connections made through their Greek affiliation can significantly benefit their future. Though all sororities and fraternities run their organizations differently, the main goal for every house is to create strong internal bonds. Many students look to Greek life for a sense of belonging and to enhance their university experience. Beyond graduation, members continue to value their membership by guiding current undergraduates and other house alumni.
Greek houses have different leadership positions, each with varying levels of importance. Depending on the office, they will have different responsibilities. Roles include president, vice president, and chairpersons, along with other representative positions, most of which are selected based on elections held within the organization. These opportunities to serve in their respective sororities or fraternities are invaluable as students graduate and move into the workplace.
Although there’s plenty of socializing within the houses, it’s often limited to fellow members due to the amount of time required to set up activities, attend events, and follow the house’s protocol. It can be difficult for people to regularly interact with friends outside of the house once they are deeply invested in the daily routine of Greek life. For most members, this doesn’t pose a problem since this level of bonding is the main appeal of sororities and fraternities. However, more free-spirited individuals may want to consider this aspect before joining.
Greek life is also impactful to the surrounding community. Many of the events they sponsor support local charities or involve volunteer work. Like networking and leadership, the benefits of belonging to a sorority or fraternity extend well beyond one’s college years, enriching each member’s life.
Balancing the social demands of the sorority or fraternity with the daily rigors of college classes and studying is a challenge. Often, it’s just a matter of time management and prioritization, so you have to be certain that Greek life suits your social and study habits. Taking on a part-time job to help pay for tuition or membership dues may not be feasible without taking a toll on one or more aspects of your college experience, so be sure to join a sorority or fraternity for the right reasons.