There is one main reason why students elect to go to college: they want to further their education so that they can improve their chances of starting a career and earning a decent living. However, there’s a lot more to the college experience than taking classes and earning a degree. Many students are also interested in the social aspects of college life. Some join clubs and activities while others are content to make friends in their dorms and in classes. Still, others are interested in the prospect of participating in the Greek system, joining fraternities or sororities in order to make friends, network, engage in charity work, and gain valuable opportunities for the future. Before you consider joining up, however, there are a few important questions you should ask yourself.
This is important. Although there is a lot to love about Greek life, your main priorities may be to keep up your grades, earn an income through part-time or full-time employment, tackle internships, participate in sports or other groups, and so on. The industrious student can do a lot, but you can’t do everything. You need to figure out where Greek life fits into your college priorities so that you don’t end up biting off more than you can chew or missing out on other opportunities that might be more important.
2. Do I Have Time for a Fraternity or Sorority?
This is another important question because Greek life can demand a lot of your time. Most houses have mandatory attendance for activities like meetings, parties, conventions, philanthropy, and other social engagements, and some expect students living in Greek houses to perform household chores. This can be a major time suck that some students simply can’t fit in with their other commitments. It’s important to discuss expectations before signing up so that you know what you’re getting into.
3. Can I Afford to Participate in Greek Life?
You might not know this, but joining the Greek system is not without expense. First, you have to pay dues, which could amount to several hundred or even thousands of dollars each semester. If you live in the chapter house, you’ll also have to pay for room and board, although this might be similar to what you’d pay for dorms, rent, etc. You’ll also be expected to wear house clothing, purchase accessories like membership pins, attend formals (and wear formal attire), and even give gifts at times. In addition, Greek houses can fine their members for infractions like missing meetings and other mandatory activities. In short, joining the Greek system can significantly increase your tab for college.
4. What do I Stand to Gain or Lose?
Like any big decision, it’s best to weigh the pros and cons. The advantages of joining a fraternity or sorority can be immense. You’ll not only become part of a close-knit family on campus, earning immediate friends, but you’ll also have untold networking opportunities that you can tap into when you graduate and you’re seeking work. You can also participate in philanthropic efforts, adding to your resume and helping you to grow as a person. As for the cons, we already mentioned the cost and time commitment. However, you might be more concerned about potential hazing. All of these factors bear consideration.
5. Which House is Right for Me?
If you attend UAB Online, then you won’t have to worry about choosing a Greek chapter to join. However, if you plan to go to the traditional in-person college route, it’s a good idea to do some research beforehand to narrow down your options. Once you’ve selected organizations that match your wants, needs, and ideals, all that remains is to check out the houses, ask questions of current members, and go through the rushing and pledging process.