Should I Join a Frat or a Sorority? The Pros and Cons of the Greek System

I remember my days as a college student quite well.

Which is not surprising, since they were among the best days of my life.

It was as an undergraduate where I made friends that I remain close to and memories that I remain fond of to this day.

It was also where I recall seeing quite a few young folks wearing shirts with strange looking letters hanging around the student union and the quad, throwing big parties and generally having a grand old time.

I knew that those people were in something that's a big staple of life at many institutions of higher learning: Fraternities and sororities, a system that has been a part of the college and university social fabric for over 125 years.

I also knew that at certain schools, particularly in the South and Midwest, you are seen as a social misfit and outcast, a - pardon the expression - "God Damn Independent" , if you choose not to join a Greek letter organization.

After having known many students in the Greek system, and after trying to pledge a fraternity myself - and having it not work out - I have developed a pros and cons list to "going Greek" and becoming a part of that life.

First, the pros...

Instant Friends - There's a reason why members of fraternities and sororities call themselves brothers and sisters; the bonds you make with your fellow Greek members are often for life.

Instant Social Life - What with all of the get-togethers, exchanges, road trips to other schools, retreats, and especially the blowout parties, there's never a dull moment when you are a Greek.

Did I mention the blowout parties?

Instant Dating Access - Many frats and their sorority counterparts partner up for parties, formals (the college version of high school proms), and little sister rushes, where couples often hook up, establish relationships, and commonly marry upon graduation.

Throughout the decades and into the 1950s and early 60s, sorority girls would say they were in school to look for a suitable husband, to obtain their "M.R.S."

While that is largely no longer the case, the fact remains:

If you're in the Greek system, there will be an embarrassment of dating opportunities for you.

Community Philanthropy - Probably the best part of college Greek life is the way they do things for the community like tutor and mentor at-risk and underprivileged kids, serve meals for the homeless, and organize fundraisers for various charities.

Which is a noble and worthwhile thing to do.

(MOST IMPORTANT) Instant Career Networking and Connections - If you are a fraternity or a sorority member, it is easier to land a high-paying job after graduation than if you are an "independent".

This is due to the fact that Greek alumni are often in high places in the workforce and help with references and recommendations upon learning that members of their frat or sorority are looking for work.

At certain schools a Greek is pretty much guaranteed a job after their undergraduate days are done, and not the proverbial "go-fer" type gigs, neither.

With economic times being what they are today, people in the Greek system are very fortunate to have that leg up in the job market.

Now that the benefits of going Greek have been discussed, here are the cons...

Cost - Being a sorority sister or a frat brother does not come cheap.

Those organizations charge steep fees for rushing - checking out the different houses to see which ones are a good fit - pledging and initiation, not to mention the regular annual dues as well as the social stuff; the road trips, retreats, and so forth.

To put it bluntly, the Greek system is not for the economically challenged.

It's fairly safe to say that many, if not most, of the sisters and "bros" in the frats and sororities hail from families that live comfortably and don't have to worry too much about their financial situations, and who come from neighborhoods that are, to say the least, well-to-do.

Conformity - A significant factor in getting accepted into the frat or sorority and getting those cool shirts is how well you can fit in and accept their culture, values and beliefs.

Students who are non-conformist and who revel in being different and doing their own thing need not apply or rush.

Also, those "instant friends" that were previously mentioned are conditional; they have your back as long as you toe the line and conform. The moment you disagree with your brothers or sisters on certain issues or grow tired with the whole thing and quit - poof! Those friends are gone in the proverbial puff of smoke.

That doesn't sound like a true brotherhood or sisterhood to me.

Cultural and Ethnic Separation - Next to Sunday mornings at 11:00, the collegiate Greek system is perhaps the most segregated part of American life, as the various groups are largely separated among racial and ethnic lines.

Though there are a small number of "tokens" - members of color - in some of the fraternities and sororities, that is usually the exception.

It's much more likely that you will not find a person of color in the predominantly white Greek organizations (maybe a handful of Asians and one or two blacks and Latinos), and vice versa; the predominantly African American Greek groups almost never have non-black members, especially in the sororities.

This separation is so complete that even the Latino, Asian, and Jewish communities have their own frat and sorority houses on campuses across the country.

I don't think this is what Martin Luther King had in mind when he spoke about his dream.

If there is even one fraternity or sorority whose level of diversity is such that no one race or ethnic group constitutes a majority, I would very much like to meet them.

Hazing - The instances of hazing - physical, verbal and emotional abuse and mistreatment of new members, commonly called pledges - have been well documented over the years.

Though the Greeks will state that hazing is illegal and not tolerated among them, do not be fooled. Although it may be behind closed doors, hazing still occurs; it has become the Greek system's dirty little secret.

Incidents such as forced alcohol binging (which is common among the frats), paddling, beatings, and cattle-style brandings have occurred with a fair amount of regularity, often resulting in humiliation, severe injuries, trips to the emergency room, and even death.

Certain frats and sororities have, incredibly, defended their hazing methods, and continue to do so. They have claimed that it builds character and unity among their pledges and is a necessary step to endure in order for a new member to prove him-or-herself worthy of belonging to their sacred organization.

To them I say that any group that submits you to any kind of abuse and humiliation in order to become accepted into such group is never worth being a part of.

At all.

it is safe to say that there are reasons for a college student to become a part of their school's Greek system - and reasons to not be a part of it.

Ultimately, whether or not you should go Greek is up to you. And you only.

if you do decide to commit to rush and join something that will become a big part of your college days, please keep this in mind...

Becoming a sorority sister or a frat brother will have a significant effect not only on your college career, but your post-college life as well.

If you do go through with rushing and pledging, I certainly wish you the best of luck.

More by this Author


Comments 14 comments

kims3003 6 years ago

very well done - nice writing style.


peppermint23 profile image

peppermint23 6 years ago

Nice article! Though hazing is strictly prohibited in Panhellenic and IFC organizations and illegal in most states, so the majority of college students shouldn't have to worry about it. As for conformity, it depends which organization you join. Some sororities have the same type of girl in them, while others encourage diversity.


Dhart profile image

Dhart 6 years ago from Culver City, CA Author

@Peppermint23: Thanks for the comments, you seem like a nice young lady.

I have to tell you though, that although hazing is considered a felony in much of the U.S., that doesn't mean that it still doesn't go on. That's particularly true in the African American frats, sorry to say; there's been a long history of their pledges getting paddled and beaten. Google it up if you don't believe me.

And I stand by what I said that if there's even one frat or sorority where there's a completely equal percentage of blacks, whites, Asians and Latino/as, I'd very much like to meet them. If you know of any, don't keep it a secret!

I wish you all the best.


Joshua 6 years ago

It's a little silly to expect a completely equal percentage of all ethnicities, especially because most schools don't have that....


Dhart profile image

Dhart 6 years ago from Culver City, CA Author

@ Joshua - yeah, but even in the most liberal and ethnically diverse of schools, the segregation in the frats & sororities are there...I can name two schools where no ethnic group's a majority where that's the case: UC Berkeley & UCLA, my alma mater.

So please don't tell me "it's a little silly" to expect an organization where people of different races are all together and genuinely have a brother/sisterhood.


Gordon G. profile image

Gordon G. 5 years ago

Even with most of the above stated things being true, I joined a fraternity and I love it. I'm not very financially well off and I definitely don't conform. But as stated, the Greek system has its pros and cons. Very accurate hub though.


Dhart profile image

Dhart 5 years ago from Culver City, CA Author

To clear things up a bit, b/c someone who made a harsh comment - who I had to deny as he was harsh - misunderstood: when I said that UC Berkeley & UCLA are 2 schools where no ethnic group's a majority, I meant the SCHOOLS, NOT the frats/soroities.


MaIcAh18 4 years ago

It is true

please friend me on face book micamae f


ramona 4 years ago

Im 34yrs old, in college still & have been interested in joining a soroity for years,but think its too late because of my age. Is it possible to join,hence my age? What is the age limit of joining? Please let me know,Thanks!


Dhart profile image

Dhart 4 years ago from Culver City, CA Author

@ ramona: I'd like to think there's no age limit to joining a sorority. If I were you I'd go to your school's Panhellenic office (which runs the sororities) and see what they have to say. Best of luck!


Chris 4 years ago

I was at a Fraternity at one of the largest Greek systems in the US. While the cons you give are valid they could quite easily be avoided on a campus like mine where there were numerous houses to choose from. Costs might always be an issue, but you don't have to be rich to join a Fraternity. Some of that money will go back into the social events and resources of the Fraternity, things that you might be paying for anyway. Ethnic separation is something that went on at my university in general and was not unique to the Greek population. That said my House was fairly in line with the ethnic diversity of the school in general. When I was a member there Hispanics were fairly well represented, and at present Asians are well represented (actually over represented). There has always been a majority whites, but this would be true of the school in general. International students and blacks have been underrepresented but this was a result of less interest from these groups. As for hazing, we had absolutely none. Obviously you only have my word for that, and we may have been a rarity, but my impression is that many Houses do not haze, or have very mild hazing. The important thing to remember is that not all Fraternities are the same, and if you are trying to avoid some of the negative aspects you may find what you are looking for if you look around - especially if you are lucky enough to go somewhere with a large Greek community.


Andrea C 3 years ago

This article contains many good advantages and disadvantages of the system that I did not see in other articles I have found.

However, I don't believe it should sound as if it applies for all. Hazing is clearly the biggest issue here, but how about those sororities and fraternities that are known for honoring great academic performance? Should I assume that they go against the law as well?

One's career is such a priority nowadays that others might be more than willing to sacrifice their standards in order to succeed. Knowing they will be part of a HUGE circle of friends and be connected to those in higher paying jobs would be a big thing to consider as well. Would sacrificing early in life for a guaranteed success in the future be worth it? To some, maybe. To others, maybe not. It all depends on where one's happiness and sense of accomplishment is placed.


Oldskool903 profile image

Oldskool903 2 years ago

nice article. I just posted mine about greek life. Maybe you can give me some advice. Thanks here it is!

http://hubpages.com/education/Penn-State-Fraternit...


sci-Shot profile image

sci-Shot 8 months ago from Plantation

This is a wonderful article. I think that hazing, which gets a ton of negative attention, is less of a problem when people are educated. Sometimes, fun and "harmless" hazing spins out of control. While I wasn't in a frat during college (I was an D-I athlete), I was still exposed to the dangers of hazing. Once a year, our athletic department gave a seminar about hazing. Sometimes we'd see things in the presentations and think "that's hazing???" and re-evaluate some of the things we did. If you are looking for a good resource on hazing try: www.hazingcourse.com. It definitely helped my team!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working