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Top Pros and Cons of Joining Greek Life in College

Curious about Greek life in college? Here are some pros and cons of joining a fraternity or sorority to help you decide if it's the right path for you.

What do you associate with the term “Greek life”? For some colleges, fraternities and sororities are the flagship of social life. They are well known around campus for being active in volunteer operations, throwing parties, and having an overall omnipresent existence throughout student life. For other schools, only a small niche of the campus population participates in Greek life. There might be a few chapters that may not even have houses. Involvement in Greek life at every school is different, and if you’re considering joining, it’s important to talk to current members of a chapter to determine the best fit for you. To help with your decision, here's a general list of the pros and cons of joining a fraternity or sorority.

Pros of joining Greek life

  • The names alone signify the essence of fraternities and sororities. The names originate from the Latin words frater meaning “brother” and soror meaning “sister.” The Latin suffix -ity refers to expressing a state or quality of a noun. Therefore, these words translate to the state or quality of being brothers or sisters, which signifies a strong bond from the start.
  • You’ll have an extensive network of connections upon graduation. Considering many schools have chapters of national fraternities and sororities—meaning they are recognized across the country—you may encounter alumni who can help you land an interview or even a job after graduation.
  • You can acquire a strong set of skills for a résumé. After being a member for a couple years, you may be able to apply for leadership roles that are often filled by upperclassmen. This may entail planning events, getting in touch with organizations for volunteer opportunities, and being a general voice of authority within the chapter. All of these attributes look excellent to future employers.
  • The social aspect of fraternities and sororities cannot be ignored because it is a prevailing reason why many students join. Finding your niche in college can be tough sometimes, and joining Greek life is a great way to meet new people.

Related: List: 10 Colleges That Get Greek Life Right

Cons of joining Greek life

  • Most chapters have obligations associated with them, whether it's meetings, volunteering, or other activities that can be time consuming and deter you from schoolwork.
  • There are often fees or dues associated with being in a fraternity or sorority, and depending on the cost, it may be out of your budget for school, so make sure to look into this before you make a commitment.
  • Many large public universities have housing for certain chapters of Greek life in which members are obligated to live. If your idea of a peaceful living environment doesn’t involve living with upwards of 10 of your peers, you might want to reconsider your decision or see if you can make other living arrangements when the time comes.
  • There are often preconceived notions about Greek life at certain schools. At some colleges and universities, it can be very respectable, while at others, people might think you join just to party constantly.

Related: Myths and Truths About Joining a Sorority

Bottom line: If your decision to participate in a fraternity or sorority is one you’ve thought about for a while and you know it is right for you, then follow your gut and don’t let other peoples’ opinions sway you. After all, you can associate some kind of stereotype with just about any organization on campus, but part of college is being able to come into your own and get involved in activities and organizations that interest you without worrying about what it may look like to others. 

Wondering which schools value Greek life the most? Check out our list of Colleges Where Fraternities and Sororities Are Important and find your best fit!

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About Kristen Healy

Kristen Healy

Kristen Healy is a former Assistant Editor at Carnegie, the higher education marketing agency behind CollegeXpress. She graduated in 2010 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a double major in Journalism and Communication and a minor in Political Science. Her college career was spent writing for the news section of UMass’s Daily Collegian, volunteering at the university television studio, and enjoying the sites and activities of downtown Amherst. Kristen loves to travel and spent part of her junior year studying abroad in Galway, Ireland, where she gained perspective on what it's like to attend a large university in another country. She hopes her experiences in public higher education will help guide readers through their own college journeys!

 

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