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To Pledge or Not to Pledge: The Pros and Cons of Going Greek

Article by Nicole on 29 Sep 2012

So, you've arrived on campus. You've unpacked your bags, settled into your dorm, learned your way around the dining hall options, and settled into your class schedule. Now, you may be looking around and asking yourself, "how should I go about making some friends and getting involved?!" Going Greek, that is, pledging a sorority or fraternity, may be an option you're considering. Aside from the instant friends and connections you'll make by becoming a pledge and then a brother or sister, joining a Greek organization offers many other benefits as well -- along with a few drawbacks you may want to consider. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of going Greek.

Pros of Joining a Sorority or Fraternity

Social Life
By far one of the biggest advantages of joining a sorority or fraternity is the social life that comes along with being a brother or sister. When students arrive on campus -- especially at large universities -- the size of the student body can seem overwhelming and even a bit intimidating. Joining a Greek organization provides a sense of community for many students in a short amount of time. Also, most Greek organizations throw many parties and mixers with other organizations. Often, sororities will throw a mixer with a fraternity -- and vice versa -- giving members the opportunity to socialize, make friends, and possibly meet someone they want to date. Joining a Greek organization gives pledges an opportunity to be thrown into a highly active social life from the get-go, with a fairly constant opportunity to attend parties, sports events (like football game tailgating parties), weekend trips, fundraising events, and more.


Going Greek also gives students a great head start on networking -- both for pursuit of leadership positions within their sorority or fraternity or the university student body, and for future career and job placement goals. Being a member of a Greek organization gives students an opportunity to network with distinguished alumni who can offer career advice, mentorship, and possibly recommendations if the student maintains a relationship with the brother or sister alum. Many sororities and fraternities also offer career development and networking events for its members.


Academic Discipline
Most sororities and fraternities are sticklers for good grades. Maintaining your membership in active standing means that you must also maintain good academic standing, usually with a minimum required GPA. If you dip below that GPA you may be placed on academic probation and this can cut off many of your membership privileges -- such as attendance to parties and social events. The good news is, most Greek organizations do everything they can to support their members' academic performance. This often includes providing access to tutors for students who are having trouble with particular courses, as well as maintaining files of study guides and some previous tests that all members can access. Members also often find that their network of brothers and sisters is ideal for forming study groups and offering academic support.


Volunteer Opportunities
Sororities and Fraternities are big on volunteerism. Most Greek organizations sponsor or support a philanthropic cause, and members volunteer their time to that cause at several events throughout the academic year, and sometimes during the summer months as well. So, students looking to find an outlet for giving back to a good cause while making friends at the same time will find that Greek life offers an ideal combination. And, having a steady record of volunteer work on record can help enhance resumes and credentials for future career placement.


Cons of Joining a Sorority or Fraternity


Joining a Greek organization is not cheap. Dues for sororities and fraternities vary greatly among organizations and schools, but often they range anywhere from several hundred to more than a few thousand dollars per year. Be sure to do your research when looking into an organization that might be right for you to make sure you understand the costs involved. Many sororities and fraternities offer payment plans to help members make their dues payments more affordable, and the annual dues usually covers admission to all social events. They do not cover the cost of admission for dates, trips, and clothing or gift exchanges, so do make sure you budget for these.


The Pledge Process
The process of pledging a sorority or fraternity can be non-stop fun for some students, but for others it can be stressful. While anti-hazing policies at most colleges and universities has made extreme and dangerous pledging requirements a thing of the past, many pledges may still find the constant socializing, networking, and need to be "on your game" with the brothers and sisters of their betrothed organization tiresome. In addition, the potential for public rejection (if they are not accepted as a brother or sister) can be very stressful for some pledges.


Small Social Circle
While going Greek can give pledges instant access to a social circle, that circle may at times seem rather small. Belonging to a sorority or fraternity can provide many wonderful friendships, but depending on how entrenched the brother or sister becomes in Greek life, their involvement may cut off opportunities to get involved with other groups and other people who can expand their opportunities and broaden their interests. So, it's important to consider this when deciding whether or not to pledge, and how involved you want to be in Greek life. Fortunately, many Greek organizations also encourage their members to take of roles in other organizations that enhance their campus experience -- as long as those organizations do not take all of their time away from the sorority or fraternity.


So... will you pledge a sorority or fraternity? Or, if you did, what was your experience like? Leave a comment below to continue the conversation.


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