Fraternities and Sororities (Greek Life) – GradPlan

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Fraternities and Sororities (Greek Life)

Everything you need to know about joining one of these types of student organizations.


Your Brothers and Sisters on Campus

Most college campuses have a collection of student organizations on campus called Fraternities and Sororities whose purpose is to form social connections, have fun together and build lifelong friendships and a strong network for after college. These organizations only admit certain students and there is usually a formal process for joining.

What is it?

A fraternity is an organization of male students who attend the same college who agree to work together to help each other socially, academically, and emotionally. A sorority is the same thing, but for female students.

These groups are often called “Greek” because they use letters of the Greek alphabet to identify themselves, like this Λ Π Θ.

Fraternities and sororities prioritize building strong bonds and developing healthy, long-lasting relationships with the other members of the organization. The idea is that once you join you are always a member. So there is a level of commitment here that is more serious than most other types of student organizations.

How does it work?

Because of that level of commitment, there is a lengthy process for joining fraternities and sororities. Not all schools have the same fraternities and sororities, so if you’re interested in joining, the first step is exploring your options. After identifying which sorority or fraternity is of interest, students must first “pledge” their commitment to that group. Then they must complete a series of initiation tasks to demonstrate their fit with the group. Once the initiation is complete, new members “cross over” and are admitted to the organization.

What are the different types?

While most fraternities and sororities will admit students of any background, there are some which are only for students whose identity matches the purpose of the organization. For example, there are fraternities and sororities which only admit Asian-American students or African-American students. There are some of these types of groups specifically for LGBTQ students as well.

Examples of Greek Organizations:

  • Theta Chi
  • Gamma Phi Beta
  • Alpha Phi Alpha (Black male students)
  • Lambda Phi Epsilon (Asian male students)
  • Alpha Kappa Delta Phi (Asian female students)
  • Delta Lambda Phi (LGBTQ students)
  • Zeta Phi Beta (Black female students)
  • Lambda Theta Alpha (Latin students)

How do you know if joining a Greek organization is for you?

Consider these factors:

  • You’re interested in being a part of a strong network of friends on campus.
  • You’re looking for a family-like atmosphere on campus.
  • You want to connect and build lasting relationships with other students who share common interests.
  • You have the time to give – Pledging into a fraternity or sorority is a time commitment and you will have to balance your academic responsibilities with the needs of your Greek organization.

Last thing to know…

Some fraternities and sororities have a bad reputation for over-partying or for hazing new members. During “Pledge Week” you’ll be able to learn about the different Greek organizations on campus before you commit. Take time to find out what the group is like before you decide. And always remember, no one should try to make you do something you don’t want to do or feel uncomfortable with.

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"Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today."

Malcolm X, human rights activist