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“We come to college not alone to prepare to make a living but to learn to live a life”
For your son or daughter, making the transition from high school or a community college to a four- year college or university may seem like an imposing challenge. One or more of the following questions may be on his or her mind:
Fraternities and sororities exist as a proven support network for your son or daughter as he or she embarks on this new period in their life. Over 750,000 students across the country are currently fraternity or sorority members.
As a parent, you are undoubtedly concerned about your child's college experience and the choices he or she will make. This website is designed to answer some of the questions you may have about fraternity and sorority membership.
A fraternity or sorority can help personalize your child’s college experience by offering a scholastic support system; hands-on experience in leading committees, managing budgets, and interacting with faculty and administrators; exposure to potential careers through educational programs and discussions with alumni; the chance to give back to the community through service projects; and close friends that will cheer him on when he is successful and support him when times are tough. With all these opportunities available to them, it is no wonder that fraternity and sorority members tend to graduate from college at a higher rate than those men and women not involved in fraternities or sororities.
Aren't Fraternities just like the one shown in the movie "Animal House?"
Nobody likes stereotypes. Unfortunately, after the showing of that movie, fraternities and sororities have been categorized as partiers, irresponsible and abusive. In reality, fraternities and sororities are values based organizations dedicated to the development of character and lifelong friendship.
The basic expectations talk about alcohol. What is it really like in the fraternity?
Alcohol abuse is unhealthy and inconsistent with fraternity and sorority ideals. All fraternities and sororities are expected to uphold state, county, and city laws, as well as university policies regarding the consumption of alcohol. In addition, none are not allowed to purchase alcohol for members through chapter funds.
The days of large quantities of alcohol at a social function are gone. Instead, you'll find fraternity members participating in alcohol-free social activities like moonlight bowling, dinner exchanges, and lip sync contests. Students who choose not to drink will know that it's ok and feel comfortable with their decision. For those functions that contain alcohol, strict adherence to risk management policies are expected.
I’m concerned about my son or daughter’s grades—what impact would fraternity or sorority membership have?
Students often find managing their time difficult when moving from the highly structured high school environment to the freedoms of college. Fraternities and sororities assist in that transition by offering scholarship programs which might include study partners, mandatory study hours, and time management workshops. Your son or daughter can access the network of members who already know how to use campus resources like the library, study skills centers, computer labs, and academic advisors. While fraternities and sororities are concerned about the academic achievement of their members, your son or daughter is ultimately responsible for utilizing the resources made available.
What about pledging or hazing?
New fraternity and sorority members all experience a period of orientation. During this time all new members will participate in weekly meetings to learn about the university and the fraternity or sorority, leadership retreats, community services projects, and activities designed to build friendships among the new members and older fraternity members.
All organization's oppose hazing and are committed to a membership education period which instills a sense of responsibility and commitment in the new members. This period will assist your son or daughter in overcoming some of their concerns about their success in college.
Who is actually in charge of the fraternity or sorority?
Fraternity and sorority members elected to officer positions manage the day to day operations of the organization. These officers are assisted by members serving on the committees and by alumni who act as advisors.
In addition, most fraternities and sororities are part of a national organization which offers support, advice and direction through a paid professional staff and regional volunteers. Professional staff from the college and university are also employed to assist and monitor the activities of fraternities and sororities. As you can see a variety of individuals oversee the operations of each organization.
Doesn't it cost a lot of money to be in a fraternity or sorority?
Each organization is self supported through dues charged to all members. In the first year of membership, a few one-time expenses are assessed. After those initial payments are made, your son or daughter’s only expense will be their regular dues. If housing is offered, fraternity or sorority lodging are competitive with other housing options. A variety of payment plans are usually offered.
Being in a fraternity or sorority sounds like it takes a lot of time.
Participating in any worthwhile activity always requires an investment of one’s time. Research has shown that involved college students are more likely to graduate and they report greater satisfaction with their college experience. Through fraternity or sorority involvement your son or daughter will learn how to balance their academic, work, campus involvement, and social commitments.
How does my son or daughter go about joining?
Fraternities and sororities organize a process of meeting people and making friends called recruitment. Recruitment offers your son or daughter an opportunity to meet current members on campus and learn what each fraternity or sorority has to offer its members. While there is a more formal recruitment process at the beginning of each semester, most organization’s are getting to know potential members all year long so we encourage your son or daughter to attend their events or seek them out throughout the year.
Everyone likes to belong; to feel apart of something. Each fraternity and sorority has its own unique programs and strengths, yet all are primarily based on the development of character, friendship, social skills, service to humanity and academic skills. Just like researching, visiting and choosing a college, your son or daughter should seek out the organization that best fits their personality, needs and desires. Each student will find that there is a place for everyone.
What is my role as a parent?
Be supportive and learn as much as you can by asking questions of your son or daughter as he or she meets people through the recruitment process. Fraternity and sorority members will be more than happy to tell them (and you) more about their group.