Joining any college organization, whether it’s the Spanish Club or Student Government, is a great way to interact with other students with similar interests and encourage leadership skills. Joining a Greek-letter fraternity or sorority not only allows interaction and potential leadership development, it fosters long-lasting relationships and invites students to be a part of historical legacies.
Many students ask (some are even afraid to ask) what it takes to join a sorority or fraternity. The short answer is research and dedication.
Although many sites discuss rushes and initiations, there are several important steps you should complete before you attend rush:
1) Do a general search on sororities and fraternities.
Greek life is not for everyone. Learn more information about sororities and fraternities in general to make sure joining an organization is for you. There’s an abundance of information about sororities and fraternities on the web, and the library has books devoted to Greek life.
2) Decide which one.
Choosing the right sorority or fraternity can be tricky because there are so many options; however, selecting the right one is crucial.
Remember, you only want to be associated with an organization that you will be proud of and will benefit you.
All sororities and fraternities have different missions and are unique right down to the selection and recruitment processes; make sure the organization you choose has a mission that’s important to you.
For some organizations, participation ends after college while others are a life-long commitment.
For example, Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLOs) are more likely longer commitments; after undergrad, BGLO members move onto graduate chapters. Research as many organizations as you can and make sure you’ve selected the best one before you attend Greek events on campus, especially if you are interested in a BGLO. You must be sure because BGLOs usually don’t appreciate indecisiveness.
3) Observe members of the organization of choice.
Find out which students belong to the group you are interested in. The easiest way to do this is to see who wears the Greek paraphernalia of the organization and who promotes their events on campus.
- Do you see yourself fitting in with these students?
- Would you befriend them or are you already friends with them? It’s important that you enjoy the company of these students!
- How are their events on campus?
- Are they helpful/fun?
You should have already decided in step two which type of organization you want to join.
Do you want to join an organization just to party or is community service important to you? If you are attracted to a BGLO, try to talk to a graduate member of that team to learn about their experience because your undergraduate career is just the beginning for these organizations.
4) Think about why you chose this organization.
Now that you’ve researched Greek letter organizations, observed members on campus, and are sure of which one to join, it’s time to do even more research.
Now, you need to learn as much information as you can about why you want to join. Think about why you want to join this particular organization, because you will have to defend your decision. Organizations want to know why you chose them to make sure you are interested in the right reasons.
Learn about the positives and negatives about your sorority.
- Are there stereotypes?
For instance, in BGLOs, each organization has its stereotypes that range from stuck up girls to pretty boys.
- Can you handle these stereotypes and stand strong by your sorority to disprove them?
Don’t search every website to learn the organizations secrets, initiations, and histories. The prophyte members (students who are already members of the organization) will teach you all of this if you are selected for initiation, you should focus on learning what the organization stands for and what you like about it.
5) Make sure you fit the bill when it comes to that organization’s standards.
All sororities and fraternities have selection criteria including GPA, classifications, etc. Ensure that you have the proper grades and academic standing.
Think about organization members (or sometimes even professors and employers depending on the organization’s requirements) that can provide you with recommendations.
The majority of Greek-letter organizations have foundations in community service, so make sure you have completed community service hours, too.
6) Introduce yourself to members and attend their events.
Now you are ready to show your interest to organization members! Look for flyers and announcements of your organization’s events on campus. Attend as many events as you can and participate heavily. This way, members will know that you are seriously interested in their organization.
Make sure not to over-exaggerate your interest or suck up to the group’s members, just be friendly and ask about their upcoming events and projects. This is one of the most important steps.
Here are some helpful links to aid you in your research:
- www.npcwomen.org The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) for women’s fraternities
- www.nicindy.org Inter-Fraternity Council for men’s fraternities
- www.nphchq.org National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) for the collaborative Black Greek Letter Organizations
- www.uccfs.org United Council for Christian fraternities and sororities
- www.sigmalambdabeta.com Hispanic/Latin American Fraternity
- www.aka1908.com Alpha Kappa Alpha, First African American Sorority
- www.alphaphialpha.net Alpha Phi Alpha, First African American Fraternity
- www.kappaalphatheta.org Kappa Alpha Theta, First Greek Letter Fraternity for women
This list is not all-inclusive, but it will help you get started. Many chapters also have their own websites that can be accessed through the college homepage. These websites are great resources because you learn information directly related to the chapter you plan to join.