Greek life means instant friends, instant support, and instant gratification, but it’s not right for every matriculating student. As soon as you arrive at your college campus this fall, you’ll likely receive dozens of invitations to pledge a fraternity or sorority, but don’t make an instant decision. Instead, carefully consider your personality and goals to determine whether you’ll benefit from Greek life.
Are You an Introvert or Extrovert?
Introverts like to spend time by themselves and they often feel overwhelmed in social situations. Extroverts, meanwhile, derive energy from social engagement and enjoy sitting in the spotlight. If you fall into the latter category, you might love Greek life.
Introverts, however, might feel uncomfortable with the social obligations inherent in sorority and fraternity activities. Your fellow members will expect you to take part in these activities, and you don’t want to put yourself in a position where you might regret your decision.
Do You Have Extra Cash?
You won’t find this detail in any of the invitation handouts, but Greek life costs money. Writing for U.S. News and World Report, Julie and Lindsey Mayfield report that Lindsey’s first year of Greek life cost $3,258. You’ll have to pay for your pin, for instance, and your recruitment fee. Ongoing costs can include event contributions and wardrobe extensions.
Many college students arrive on campus with very little money in their bank accounts. They don’t always have financial support from Mom and Dad, so they have to get creative. From getting great deals on textbooks to foregoing restaurants, these students don’t have the extra cash to spend on Greek life.
If, however, you have the dough, you might consider joining a sorority or fraternity. As long as you’ve thought through the decision, you can accept the invitation with a clear conscience.
Do You Have Extra Time?
First-year college students sometimes struggle to keep up with their school work, so adding Greek obligations can prove even more overwhelming. You’re at college to get an education — preferably with respectable marks from your professors — so make sure you can handle the extra time a fraternity or sorority will demand.
What Are Your Goals?
While Greek life might have a few drawbacks, it can also open doors. It’s an excellent networking opportunity and a way to prepare yourself for life outside college. Samantha Reid of USA Today College reveals that, in a 2014 study, “When asked about whether or not they felt prepared for life after college, fraternity and sorority members reported that they felt prepared at a 10 [percent] higher rate than their non-Greek peers.”
You’ll also take part in philanthropy projects and help raise money for your school. These activities can add bulk to your resume, which is often rather thin for the recent grad. Plus, you can use these connections for the rest of your personal life to find new job opportunities, start businesses, and reach other goals.
Greek life isn’t for everyone, but it offers many advantages. Before you start decorating your dorm room, give all the facts some thought so you know whether you want to join a fraternity or sorority.