College is full of opportunities for your son or daughter. One opportunity that occurs early in college life is joining a sorority or fraternity, otherwise known as Greek Life. Opinions about Greek Life participation vary. Let’s address some of the pros and cons in this post. Then you can decide how you feel. Greek Life for your child, yes or no? Not that our opinion will matter in their decision, but we are entitled to have one.
When our daughter left for her Freshmen year of college, she was indecisive about Greek Life. She submitted all the required forms and applications for recruitment during summer break and left for school with the “we’ll see” attitude. She was not sure it was for her. Each day of Recruitment Week also known as “Rush” we received a new photo of her dressed so cute in the specified wardrobe she was wearing. Then the texts and phone calls would come telling us about the events she experienced that day. Her attitude quickly grew to complete excitement about Greek Life. We could hear and feel the growth in her as a person during this experience. When Rush week came to a close, she pledged to the chapter of her choice, and we were on the Greek Life wagon. Our daughter is now a Sophomore at the University Of Arizona. I can attest to some pros and cons for going Greek.
Sisterhood/Brotherhood– The comradery and bond are intense. From Day 1 our daughter felt included like she had a second family and support system. In actuality, they do have a second family with the big sister, little sister, grand big, etc. relations they establish. Members support and help each other. After college ends, members will be welcomed as alumni no matter where they locate. In a sense, there is always an opportunity to network or meet people in a new area through the connections created with the sisterhood or brotherhood.
Events– There are many! Our daughter is super busy with academics and the various Greek life commitments. It keeps her very active socially. There are required meetings, themed parties, and philanthropy events to name a few. Along with the events are different leadership, planning, and participation expectations. For the most part, the activities are fun and entertaining.
Immediate Connections– A Sorority or Fraternity is certainly one of the fastest and easiest ways to meet many people on campus. Not only those from their house but from other houses through the various Greek Life events. Having connections with upper-class members serve as excellent support for nervous Freshmen.
Lifelong Friends– Many of the friends they meet here will be their friends for life. My sister still has annual retreats with her closest sorority sisters from over 20 years ago. Our daughter already feels that her “Big” sister will be the Maid of Honor in her wedding.
Housing/Meals– The houses serve as a home away from home whether your child lives in the house or not. They are beautiful and welcoming. Meals are prepared and served at set times. They have comfortable study and gathering areas too. (I am speaking from Sorority experience. I do not know about the Frat houses.)
Standards– I can’t make this claim for all chapters, but I am aware that the house our daughter is in requires that certain standards are met. They have GPA requirements and enforce discipline procedures when rules are broken or standards are not met.
Philanthropy/Charity– There is a life lesson learned from the participation in raising funds for their cause and being involved first hand. I think it is great that they experience this.
Cost– Greek Life is expensive. The dues, fees, and activities add up to thousands of dollars per year. However, if your child eats their meals at the house, they won’t need to purchase an expensive meal plan with the university. If they live in the house it may be comparable to rent elsewhere or dorm residence fees. See more about living on campus here.
Alcohol Use/Party Environment– Alcohol use and underage consumption is an issue on campuses in general. Greek life may create more of a party atmosphere and influence. Hazing is still a frightening possibility as are Roofie tainted drinks. Overall this topic is one you should discuss with your child before they leave for college. Make them aware and prepared for these possibilities.
Time commitment– Greek life has a relatively demanding schedule. There are times our daughter feels overwhelmed with maintaining her academic load and the sorority scheduled obligations.
Competition– Sometimes the stereotypes of particular houses create unhealthy stress or competition.
Considering the pros and the cons, my answer to Greek Life for my daughter is “yes.” The growth and experiences she has achieved to this point far outweigh the cons. I know that she has a lifelong club that is there to support her whether it be career, family, or referral needs. We are so proud and excited for her in this chapter of life.
Now, on the other hand, we have a son that will be off to college next year. I do not have a definite “yes” for him. Greek Life might not be a good match for his personality. Not to mention how worried I am about the increased hazing potential among frats. We are going to wait this out and see what he decides. I think he is better suited for clubs and sports, but we will support his decision.
How about you? What is your opinion on Greek Life for your child? I’d love to hear in the comment section below.