You’ve seen them in movies and TV shows, but fraternities and sororities (F/S) are nothing like what you see in the media. Joining the Greek system is a popular way to get more involved during your college years. If you are skeptical about joining, continue reading because you will learn a lot about them. Here are ten things to consider before you pledge:
1. The Cost
Before you join any F/S, you should know that there are built-in mandatory expenses. There is a house fee, recruitment fee, wardrobe changes, formals, pins, etc. While some things you can go without, others have to be paid for.
You will find that when you join, you will be sent a breakdown of all the fees that will need to be paid. This is a great overview to determine how much money will need to be put down. Some will offer financing options, so you’re not bombarded with a whole year of payment at once.
Some F/S will fine you if you miss an important event that is mandatory for pledges. Be sure to keep up with those crucial can’t-miss dates, and if you find that your calendar is too full as it is, you may want to reconsider the Greek system.
2. Know the Process
It’s important that you understand the whole process of getting into an F/S. There is a lot more to it than pledging and getting accepted.
For sororities (and a select few fraternities), before you can pledge, you will be a “Rush”. This means that you will need to meet with all of the other sororities and attend any rush events that are taking place. You will then be able to decide, and be decided on, what sororities you can pledge for.
Once you are a pledge, there are a lot of things that you will need to do and learn to get initiated into the F/S. It is widely unknown what they require from you since it’s typically kept in private. If you disclose any information, it is likely that you will be denied access to the F/S because they will consider it a gross betrayal.
3. They Take A Lot of Time and Commitment
When you are initiated in an F/S, there is a lot to do to keep up with your brothers and sisters. You have to attend meetings, mixers, and many events that are on and off campus, along with meeting your required volunteer hours.
On top of all of this, you need to be able to maintain your grades because having a respectable GPA is very important to many F/S. Time management is key, so if joining the Greeks is of high importance to you, your ability to compartmentalize needs to be piqued.
4. You’re a Brother or Sister For Life
Once you pledge for a sorority or fraternity, you are a member of that organization for the rest of your life. You will find that many men and women who pledged a certain house when they were your age will show up to some events. For them, the F/S were an important chapter of their life, and they want to make it known to the future generation.
5. Consider Your Legacy Status
A legacy is someone who is automatically accepted into an F/S because they had a previous family member in the same house. This could have been their parents, a sibling or a grandparent. Not all F/S still honor this, but many do.
If you are a legacy, initially you may not have the easiest time getting along with the other pledges. Many will feel resentful that you got in so easily while they worked hard for their initiation. In time it will pass, but at the get-go it may be a little rough.
6. Hazing was Banned Many Years Ago
Simply stated, hazing is when members of an F/S make the pledges do embarrassing things. Some of these acts even involve abuse. In the instance that hazing does occur, severe punishments are put into play.
Offenders will immediately face consequences such being removed from the house, expulsion from the university, or worse. This practice has stopped, but on rare occasions, people may view themselves as above the law, so be aware that it can still happen.
7. Your Network Grows
This is one of the many great things about joining an F/S. You meet many new people, who all have an extensive network of friends and family. This is why it’s important to be close to your brothers and sisters, so that they will be more willing to help you when you need help from someone they know, or perhaps want the inside scoop on a future job opportunity.
8. You won’t be guaranteed a Job After College
Many people believe that because they join an F/S, they will automatically have access to the best jobs and high career standings. You will have to work just as hard as everyone else. Having been a member of an F/S will look fantastic on your applications and resume, but it’s not everything.
9. Volunteer Work
When you join an F/S, there are a certain amount of volunteer hours you need to meet. It is true that houses spend many hours trying to help those in need while sometimes giving thousands of dollars to charities around the world each year. If you are someone who loves to help people who are less fortunate, this will be a major bonus for you.
10. They Aren’t What You Think
Hollywood has made F/S look as if it’s all alcohol, drugs, and inappropriate behavior when it’s quite the opposite. Many are respectable and known for their philanthropy. The key is to research the history of each F/S and get to know those who already belong. You may find a deep connection with one in particular, and it could change your life.
There is so much more to know about the Greek system, but the above are what we consider being the most crucial when deciding to pledge. Do you have any to add? Please do so in the comments below!