You can move on to the more enjoyable aspects of university once the protracted application and admissions process is over. You can pick your classes, find housing, and decide whether or not you want to join a sorority or fraternity.
What is a sorority? Maybe on your mind if you’re not familiar with Greek culture. Before joining a sorority or fraternity, there are many different factors to think about, and there are many components that make up each one.
We’ll discuss the different facets of Greek life, including the application process and benefits and drawbacks of joining. If you want to know if Greek life is for you, keep reading.
I’ll show you the post’s more in-depth details.
What Is A Sorority?
Men and women naturally and typically form friendship circles with people who share their interests, life experiences, personal habits, social preferences, and intelligence levels. Fraternities and sororities were established as a result of this universal human need for companionship.
Female students in American and Canadian colleges and universities form self-supporting friendship groups called sororities.
All sorority members are expected to exhibit the highest levels of personal excellence because membership is a privilege.
Members place a high value on scholarship, support cultural interests, engage in campus activities, interact with one another in groups, help others, develop friendships, and constantly work to better themselves.
Sororities and fraternities share a lot of fundamental ideas, but they are both unique.
By creating successful programs for scholarship, campus and community service, and self-improvement, each group achieves its own objectives and meets the needs of the individuals who make up its membership.
On college campuses, fraternities and sororities adhere to their own organization’s policies and rules while supporting the mission and goals of the school.
The American tradition of freedom is expressed through the fraternity system. Since the first fraternity and sorority were established in 1776 and 1870, respectively, they have endured negative criticism and apathy on the part of students and have grown as a result of the necessity for close relationships.
How Does A Sorority Function?
Sororities do serve a greater purpose for their members, in addition to giving new students a place to meet peers who share their interests.
Students who join a sorority or fraternity during their time in college will come to feel like they are a part of a community, a sisterhood, or a brotherhood over time. When coping with the stress of college life, this sense of community can have a positive impact on your overall education.
Furthermore, sororities have high expectations for behavior and performance in the classroom, which means that members are responsible for their work and deeds.
Additionally, Greek life offers members a priceless network they can use for the rest of their lives. Especially when it comes to their careers, sorority sisters are frequently encouraged to support one another. For students who are graduating, this networking opportunity has a lot of potential.
Potential new members must go through a recruitment procedure known as rush, also known as rushees. The recruitment process varies depending on the college campus. Sorority recruitment may be a highly organized and dressed-up event at a large university with a sizable Greek population, like in the South at a state school, with girls teetering around in the heat wearing high heels and their mother’s pearls. Sorority recruitment events are typically much less formal gatherings at a smaller university or a college with less Greek interest.
The hiring process now starts months before the actual events. Women are required to submit resumes outlining their academic standing and achievements as well as letters of recommendation from former sorority members for the various chapters. There are even sorority rush coaching companies, such as Hiking in Heels, that help prospective members get their “rush packages” ready, provide fashion guidance and help them prepare for event conversations and situations].
One more recent tool used in the hiring process is social media. ‘Bama Rush, which was heavily promoted on TikTok in 2021, helped many people become more aware of the fashion standards and hiring practices. It’s also safe to assume that potential members should quickly check their social media to make sure it’s tasteful, just as it’s safe to assume that current sisters will quickly browse rushee accounts to make sure their standards and presence are in line with the organization’s.
Several rounds typically make up a rush. Many schools have transitioned to at least one “virtual” round, thanks to the For instance, Texas Christian University (TCU) rushees watch informational videos on each sorority chapter on the first day of recruitment. These videos typically cover topics like philanthropic interests, academic and leadership expectations, and details about each group’s social endeavors. While rushees are watching these videos, the sororities review a “Personality Slide” prepared by each rushee. Chapters and prospective recruits can both use these virtual techniques to determine their Round 1 choices.
The sisters personally meet potential new members in subsequent rounds. The women discuss what the sisterhood means to them while conversing, acting out skits, singing songs, and sharing personal anecdotes. Potential new members and sororities rank their choices as rush progresses. Invitations to the next round will be extended to desirable rushees.
Rush is ideally a time for potential new members and sisters to get to know one another and determine whether they would get along. However, that objective becomes more challenging the larger the university’s Greek population. Realistically, most sorority members won’t get to know every girl who attends rush if there are more than 1,000 girls. People may assume sororities can be superficial in this situation because quick judgments may be made based solely on appearances. Having good relationships with the sorority’s female members never hurts.
One must meet with each organization at least once and attend each rush event if they are required to rush all sororities at their school. In other schools, a girl might decide to rush just the sororities that, based on reputation, she might want to join. Attending a rush party at these schools can be interpreted as a sign of interest in joining that sorority.
On Bid Day, Alpha Delta Pi at Georgia Southern University throws a huge celebration to welcome new members.
If you’re considering going through rush, there are some sorority recruitment terms you might want to know:
- In schools that have an official rush, dirty rushing is prohibited. Prior to or during rush, before a bid is extended, sorority members are not permitted to speak with prospective new members. Examples of dirty rushing include buying a prospective new member dinner or telling a girl during rush that she has a guaranteed bid to a particular sorority.
- Girls who have a sorority legacy are those whose close relatives were members. If someone’s grandmother, mother, or sister was a sorority member, she is referred to as a legacy in the majority of sororities. A rushee may only be considered a legacy by a sorority if her mother was a member and is still involved as an alumna. Although not always guaranteed, legacies are typically given preference during rush.
- A potential new member can benefit from recommendations during rush. A current or former sorority member may submit a recommendation along with a photo and any other relevant personal data. While the majority of university Greek life recruitment guides and FAQs state that recommendations are not required, they may give the rushee an advantage.
- Deferred rush is a formal recruitment process that begins after classes have begun; at many schools, formal recruitment starts before classes start, which some people believe may divert students from their academics.
- Sororities can accept new members through a non-formal procedure called Continuous Open Bidding (COB). A formal recruitment is typically followed by COB. Those sororities that fell short of their quota may take part in COB. COB can be beneficial for a girl who chose not to take part in formal recruitment or who did not receive the bid she desired.
- The line serves as the name for the newest NPHC sorority class.
Every sorority has a unique private method for electing new members. There could be an open discussion among sorority members or a more private, written process. Voting members will probably talk about each rushee and explain why she would or would not fit the sorority’s values and desired characteristics when they have finished rush and have created a list of desirable potential new members.
Using a computer algorithm, rushees and their preferred houses can be matched with sororities and their favorite rushees in large recruitment groups. Sorority members could simply hold internal discussions about each potential new member’s merits for a smaller group of rushees before voting on each one.
On a particular day known as “bid day,” which is observed at many colleges, sororities distribute formal bids. In some schools, prospective members don a specific outfit (white dresses, vivid T-shirts, etc.) and visit the sorority house to meet their future sisters.
Pledging A Sorority
The Tri-Delta sorority house in Syracuse, New York features the traditional Greek columns found in Greek architecture.
If a prospective new member accepts a sorority bid, she becomes a new member, also referred to as a pledge. Because of negative associations with words like “pledge,” many sororities have chosen to adopt new language. Presently, the pledging procedure is commonly referred to as new member education by NPC-affiliated sororities.
Pledges gain more knowledge about the organization during the new member orientation process. A new member might discover the sorority’s heritage and core principles, for instance. She’ll socialize with the existing members and get to know the other newcomers. There might be required study sessions, weekly meetings, and elective social events. In order to join the sorority, each pledge must pass a sort of entrance exam, which requires additional study time from new members. In addition to general information about the Greek system, the test may cover information about the history, symbols, or founding members of the organization. Basically anything a pledge has learned during the pledging process is fair game. Rushees need to be aware that pledging requires a significant time commitment.
Traditional black sororities have a slightly different pledging process. Many pledges also need to learn how to step in addition to the enormous amount of time they devote to studying, going to meetings and social events, and learning about the sorority’s history and ideals. For a stepping routine during a campus step show, the pledge class practices together. Stepping is a dance that involves using the body as a percussion instrument; steppers stomp, clap their hands together and against their bodies to create a rhythm for sorority chants and songs. Routines are carefully choreographed and frequently use the call-and-response method [source: Baylor]. Just as glee club-style singing became a tradition in white fraternities, stepping started in black fraternities. Later, black sororities adopted the custom. A few Latina sororities also step. A probate show is the first step show for a newly initiated member.
If a prospective new member satisfies all of the pledgeship requirements, she might qualify for initiation, a clandestine ritual event during which she will officially join the sorority. She will discover the sorority’s secrets during initiation, including the hidden meaning of the Greek letters, secret passwords, and secret handshakes. Yes, there are many, many secrets. It is intended to have a powerful impact on the initiate to tie her to a tradition, the founding ideals, and a sense of sisterhood by marking the transition with a special ceremony that has been observed for decades or even centuries. These rituals frequently borrow elements from Greek secret societies, including costumes and symbols. Sisters must keep the sorority ritual and its secrets a secret.
Hazing In Sororities
Hazing probably comes to mind right after pledging when you think of college. Hazing is defined similarly at most colleges and universities. The University of Michigan says that hazing includes “willful acts, with or without the consent of the individual involved,” that cause “physical injury; assault or battery; kidnapping or imprisonment; physical activity that knowingly or recklessly subjects a person or persons to an unreasonable risk of physical harm or to severe mental or emotional harm; degradation, humiliation, or compromising of moral or religious values; forced consumption of any substance; placing an individual in physical danger, which includes abandonment; and undue interference with academic endeavors.” These hazing practices are used to make pledges or receive other forms of initiation into a group.
Any group that is organized, including sports teams and military units, is susceptible to hazing. Although it does occur in sororities as well, it tends to be more of an issue in fraternities on college campuses. Hazing is forbidden by the national organizations of all sororities as well as most universities, who have specific policies prohibiting it. Hazing still takes place on college campuses across the country despite these regulations.
“Fraternity hazing deaths have proven to be significantly more frequent than sorority hazing deaths, according to experts who agree that far more males than females have died in Greek organizations as a result of hazing. About half of all students acknowledge their membership in hazing groups, according to a national survey conducted by the University of Maine. Thus, while hazing in sororities is often reported, it only occasionally rises to the level of an actual crime and is more likely to be addressed by the hazers’ institution than by a criminal prosecution,” wrote In a 2015 investigation into hazing in fraternities and sororities, Hank Nuwer.
Sorority pledges may be subjected to hazing if they are made to drink excessively, go without sleep, or are scared or made to perform humiliating tasks. Reports of girls being instructed to bring markers to meetings are circulating. Sisters use the markers to draw circles on the pledge’s body where they believe the pledge needs to lose weight. Hazing is taken very seriously by universities and national umbrella organizations, and for good reason—it has led to injury and even fatalities. Every school has a procedure in place to deal with hazing complaints because it is such a serious issue.
However, it appears that sorority hazing is becoming more violent. The media has recently covered several incidents of sorority hazing. One of those was when Sigma Gamma Rho sorority was kicked out of Bowling Green State University in 2021 for “severe hazing activity,” which included physical violence, forced drug and alcohol consumption and pressure to steal items.
Which Sorority Should I Join?
Due to Southwestern’s deferred recruitment policy, you first-year women have the chance to interact with sorority members all throughout the fall semester. Many events are organized by each sorority during the fall semester as a chance for you, as first-year women, to get to know the members.
This is a significant first action. After learning about each organizations and meeting women from each, you are the one to decide which sorority is best for you-which sorority you could call “home.”
Keep an open mind, advise NALFO, NPHC, and NPC. Give yourself plenty of time to decide. Refrain from letting other people’s opinions affect your choice. Defying stereotypes should not be your focus. Each sorority has individuals as members. Spend some time learning about them.
Consider both what you can contribute to the group and what you might gain when choosing a sorority. Recruitment’s glamour should not deceive you. Be discerning, receptive, and sincere in your decision. Look past the surface to discover a firm basis for evaluating the women in each group’s character. Give sorority life careful thought in every aspect.
Before you take the final step and sign your acceptance card, get to know as many different sorority members as possible. The group you select will become not only your college friends but also your lifelong companions.
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Why Go Greek?
There are many good reasons, including…
You are surrounded by sisters who genuinely care about you the moment you join. In college, you won’t be by yourself. It will be there for you when you need it. People will be there to share your happiness with you when good things happen to you. Long after your college days are over, these friends will remain your closest and most reliable allies.
Opportunities are provided for sorority members to demonstrate and develop their leadership abilities. The experience of being a leader in a sorority teaches both cooperation and acceptance of responsibility. You will gain priceless experience working with and leading a group, starting from your first days as a new member all the way to being an officer organizing events.
Each organization throughout the year hosts a number of charitable events as a way to give back to the community.
Each Panhellenic Conference sorority has a unique philanthropy. Events are sponsored by Alpha Xi Delta to raise money for Choose Children. Events for the Ronald McDonald House are supported by Alpha Delta Pi. Events for Children’s Cancer Charities are sponsored by Delta Delta Delta. and Zeta Tau Alpha provides sponsorship for Susan G. Komen events. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer.
The National Pan-Hellenic Council’s Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority has implemented programs of service that have a huge positive impact on many people’s lives. There are five service initiatives with a particular emphasis on enhancing education (such as the One Million Backpacks initiative), health (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease and caregiver support), family strengthening (childhood hunger initiatives), environmental ownership (playground projects & acts of green), global impact (global classrooms project), and environmental ownership (playground projects & acts of green) in addition to growing its community presence through its International Community Impact Days and flagship enrichment program, the ASCEND Youth Enrichment ProgramSM.
It’s all about the scholarship in college. Academic excellence is encouraged by Southwestern University’s Greek System. The average cumulative GPA of the sorority women is higher than that of all women.
Students across the country who are in college have benefited from being involved in sorority life. Consider the following:
- Every year, fraternities and sororities raise over $7 million for charitable causes.
- 63 percent of all Fraternity and sorority life has been a part of the lives of U.S. Cabinet members since 1900.
- The 50 largest corporations in North America are run by members of fraternities and sororities in 47 of them.
- 3% of Americans are Greek. population.
Benefits Of Joining Greek Life
You might be interested in joining a sorority or fraternity and wonder what advantages Greek life can offer you if the recruitment process hasn’t scared you off.
The benefits of Greek life go far beyond just better housing options.
The majority of sororities will have a minimum GPA requirement, encouraging you to pay attention to your studies and perform well in your classes. If your GPA drops too low after you’ve been initiated, your sorority may still put you on probation.
But sororities encourage learning with your sisters, so there are frequently study groups and study spaces reserved exclusively for sorority sisters, so it’s not all bad.
The majority of Greek life participants are actively involved in philanthropic or charitable causes. As a result, you will be expected to participate in these activities as well and increase your philanthropic efforts.
You might even be expected to host these events if you’re a sorority member, as you’re not just expected to attend them. Sisters often help sign others up to a charitable organization, schedule fundraising events, or even organize a “Philanthropy Day” for the whole sorority.
Social And Professional Networking
One of the best ways to network on and off campus is to join a sorority or fraternity. It’s a good idea to remain active in your sorority even after you graduate from college because active alumni of your sorority who are recruiting frequently give younger members of their sorority preference.
Along with the benefits to your career, having friends with strong personal ties will help you build a lifelong social network. These are very important connections to have because your sorority sisters will always be there to support you, cheer you on, and celebrate with you.
You will develop leadership skills as a part of Greek life, which will help you in your future career as well as on campus.
Numerous members of sororities and fraternities participate in student affairs, student government, and other organizations run by students. Participating in these extracurricular activities is an excellent way to improve your resume for internships, summer jobs, and even when applying to jobs after graduation.
Downsides Of Greek Life
Greek life is not for everyone. Some people fail to survive the recruitment and hazing process, and those who do may quickly come to the realization that joining a sorority or fraternity isn’t what they had anticipated.
Greek life has disadvantages, just like anything else. Here are a few things to think about before you sign up.
Even though the advantages we mentioned might be worthwhile, they are not free. You’ll be responsible for paying for Greek life in addition to the cost of your tuition and housing. Every semester, many sororities charge a membership fee.
Additionally, you’ll have to fork over cash for membership perks like t-shirts, scarves, or pins, as well as the expense of going to formal events. It’s crucial to keep this in mind when organizing your college finances if you intend to pledge because being a sorority member isn’t cheap.
You must invest a lot of time in the pledge process itself, and even after it is finished, you must continue to invest a lot of time in your sorority. You’ll need to effectively manage your time if you want to be present in meetings, attend events, organize fundraisers, or take part in team-building exercises.
If you already feel stressed out from your course load, you might want to think about whether you really have the time to dedicate to Greek life.
Frequent Substance Abuse
Attending the parties is undoubtedly one of the most coveted aspects of being a part of Greek life. Greek life also encourages a lot of binge drinking and drug abuse, even though these parties can be a great way to let off some steam from all your demanding schoolwork.
These societies’ highly social structures make it easy to abuse alcohol and other drugs and make it challenging to resist peer pressure. Although not true for all sororities and fraternities, it is still important to be aware of this since it may have an effect on your academic career.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Wait To Join If I’m New To Campus?
For many students, settling into college life can be difficult. You can have an immediate family of friends who are ready to support you through the difficulties of college life and the experiences you’ll go through by joining a fraternity or sorority your first semester.
The more people you get to know, the more at home you’ll feel on campus. You will find acclimating to life in Muncie much simpler if you enroll in your first year.
Most members wish they had joined in their first year but don’t.
It is completely acceptable if you decide not to join during your first year. Having upperclassmen join the Greek organizations is welcome.
When And What Is Intake?
It is necessary to take part in the membership intake procedure in order to join an NPHC organization.
Each organization has its own preferences regarding when intake takes place throughout the year.
Individuals take part in the new member orientation process during intake, and at its conclusion, they are initiated.
Prior to contacting the organization, it is strongly advised that students conduct in-depth research on the NPHC fraternity or sorority by visiting their websites and reading historical documents about each group.
Recruitment Or Rush: What Are They?
Both formal and informal methods of hiring exist.
Each year, formal recruitment is held for Panhellenic Council and Interfraternity Council (IFC) organizations at the start of the fall semester and in the spring for IFC fraternities. In order to learn more about the fraternities or sororities, the student must attend recruitment events during the formal process, which lasts about a week.
Only in the fall are there formal recruitment procedures for the Panhellenic sororities. The sororities conduct informal recruitment in the spring (abbreviated COB or COR). Not all sororities engage in informal recruitment, despite the fact that it is quicker and typically requires less time.
Bids, or invitations to join, are given out at the conclusion of recruitment, and the process of onboarding new members then starts.
New members are officially welcomed into the group after completing orientation.
You’ll be better equipped to decide whether you want to join a sorority now that you have a clearer understanding of what it is. There are alternatives to Greek life if you want to get involved on campus.
As an alternative to all those distractions on campus, you might want to think about studying online. Tuition-free online courses are available from University of the People, allowing you to focus on your studies rather than extracurricular activities.
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