Greek Life in College
As the summer heats up, rising first year college students often are inundated with lots of emails, social media, and other communications from their chosen colleges. One piece of those communications is likely regarding their commitment to student involvement. It has been proven that “college engagement not only leads to higher retention and graduation rates, but to greater worker engagement and over all well-being post-graduation”. This engagement can take many forms, but we know that ‘finding your people’ is inevitably very important for all students.
Joining a Greek Letter Organization
One way that you can get engaged is by joining a Greek letter organization. There are a variety of social, identity based, professional and honor societies labeled by Greek letters. In this blog, I’ll be focusing on the social Greek letter organizations. As an alumna of a Greek letter organization, I can directly attribute my ability to be a great leader, communicator, and manager to that foundational experience in my organization as a collegiate member. There has been a recent burst of excitement in the past decade surrounding Greek life organizations, ranging from TikTok OOTDs to HBO documentaries. This has made it a common conversation for all students.
So how do you know if Greek life is for you?
The first way to determine this is by checking out what recruitment entails on your college campus. In addition you should check what kind of organizations your school has. Every campus is going to be a little different, so start by searching for your school’s ‘Greek Life/Fraternity and Sorority Office’ for all the details. Many southern universities start formal recruitment for women before or right as classes begin (ie: University of Alabama, Ole Miss, University of Georgia, Florida State, College of Charleston etc.). As a result, you would need to complete an application online to be involved in that process. These schools do NOT require that you have any college credits to be involved. In addition, you may be given different housing options at the conclusion of recruitment.
Greek Life and Social Media
Greek recruitment gets a lot of interest on social media (particularly University of Alabama’s formal Panhellenic recruitment on TikTok) and can seem very overwhelming. Other schools will recruit later in the fall or even in the spring semester. For the later opportunities, you may be able to attend a meet and greet session or a Greek Fair to see what chapters they have on your campus.
As someone who went through a large recruitment process and absolutely is an introvert, it can be a bit overwhelming. There are many people who can support you throughout the journey. The benefits of this process include leadership training, community service, meeting and event planning experience. In addition, you can create a large network of global alumnae that can support you beyond graduation. Gaining these were absolutely worth the discomfort experienced in those larger recruitment events.
What advice do you have for someone going through Greek recruitment?
The best advice I can give is to be yourself. If you are yourself, you will find a group of people who speak to who you are and accept the real you. Do not try to fit into some invisible mold that you think they are looking to recruit. This will inevitably will come back to hurt you in the long run. This is a group that you will likely be engaging with throughout your entire college experience and beyond. Because of this, you want it to be based on who you are all the time. Keeping up with a false sense of reality would get exhausting fast and you would not have the best experience.
Trust the Process
I would also say to trust the process. If you go into the recruitment experience open to meeting new people and finding a place for you to grow, you will inevitably have success. This may not be the organization where you initially thought you would end up (or perhaps had some nudging from other family members or friends). But each chapter and each school is different, so you want to make your own experience and feel comfortable within the chapter you choose.
What does it cost and why does it cost money?
Each Greek organization chapter is going to require that a member pay dues no matter if it is social, service, major or honor based. The amount each will cost will range depending on the university and what those dues go towards. You may have national dues, meal fees, fees for a house/lodge/suite or other fees. Each university and chapter should be able to give you a range of dues/fees that you can review in advance of deciding to join. Each organization charges dues because of the variety of opportunities you will have as a member, from housing to social and service activities.
Do I need to spend a lot of money to go through recruitment?
Don’t let the videos fool you—whatever you have is perfect to participate in your campus’ experience. You do not have to have brand name everything to be accepted nor do you need to spend all your summer earnings on outfits to get a bid to an organization. It is also not required to hire a “recruitment expert/consultant” to successfully participate.
If you know someone who is currently an alumna of a Panhellenic organization (there are 26 total, check this website out for more info: https://npcwomen.org/about/our-member-organizations/), the organization to which they belong may have an option for them to send a informational email about you to their chapter at your school. They are not required for most schools, but many alumnae are excited to share their love for the organization with the next generation.
What if I don’t get into the place I wanted?
Sometimes this does happen for a wide range of reasons. There are a few options at this point. You can choose to accept an invitation (a bid) from another chapter that may be a good fit for you. You could also choose to not accept any bids and try again the next semester. Or, you may decide that your interests are better served in other organizations on campus. Althought, these may or may not be Greek letter organizations. If you try it out and you don’t seem to fit, that’s ok. There is going to be a space for you somewhere.
Are your suggestions the same for all Greek organizations?
There are many differences between social organizations and other service oriented, major, and other academic organizations. There are also many differences in the intake process between fraternities and sororities. In addition, there are differences between the intake process with Panhellenic versus National Pan-Hellenic Council (Divine Nine) organizations. The above advice of be yourself and to trust the process would serve any member in any organization. You would want to find out the details about each process before beginning the journey. This can be done online or by talking to trusted friends and advisors.
Questions About Greek Life
If you have questions about Greek life, recruitment or student engagement, I would be happy to connect with you. We can connect through Moxie or you can ask to be assigned to one of our first-year experts.
Good links to review:
National Panhellenic Conference: https://npcwomen.org/
National Pan-Hellenic Council: https://www.nphchq.com/
North American Interfraternity Conference: https://nicfraternity.org/
Article: Studying in the US: Fraternities and Sororities Explained: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/student/advice/studying-us-fraternities-and-sororities-explained