Why Should You Join a College Fraternity?
The reasons for joining a college social fraternity are abundant. I joined a college social fraternity because of the same reasons lots of guys do. The most common reasons are...friends, girls, parties, sports, and a cool place to hang out. And I was no exception from the norm on that account. But, after joining a fraternity and being a member throughout my college career my reasons for staying in the chapter had little to do with my reasons for joining. Everyone knows the saying, “You get out of something, what you put into it” and fraternities are no different. During my active membership I held a number of officer positions including VP and later President of the Chapter. I was lucky enough to see the fraternity from angles and positions that most members never see. The knowledge and experience I accrued from being in my fraternity was priceless and to this day I will argue it taught me more about business and leadership than all of my college courses combined.
College fraternities have progressed greatly from the Animal House to true small businesses. That’s not to say that there are not still chapters that haze and drink every night, because they do still exist. There is nothing wrong with just looking for a place to have fun, but you need to make sure you pick the best place. There are lots of things you won’t know before you are inside a fraternity, but if you are careful and stay open-minded you can make the best choice.
I'm Interested, How Do I Join?
There are two ways to join a college social fraternity. The first way is referred to as formal recruitment or “RUSH”. It is called RUSH, because of the hectic nature of meeting hundreds possibly thousands of men in a short period of time. The other way to join a fraternity which is not offered on all campuses is called “Open Recruitment”. Open Recruitment is simply being allowed to accept an invitation to join also known as a “Bid”, at anytime of the year. The average person will go through Rush to join a fraternity so I will focus on that. Rush typically last between three to seven days long and it is set up so that each man can go around to the different chapters and get a feel for which one he likes the most.
What Should I Expect From RUSH?
Going through college fraternity RUSH is similar to joining the military. If you have any experience dealing with military recruiters you will understand when I tell you that these people will tell you anything to get you to sign on the dotted line whether it’s true or not. Your best source of true information is to ask people in around campus that are older about the different chapters and their reputation. Older sorority girls can provide some of the most truthful information because most of them have had first hand experience with every fraternity and they have no real reason not to tell you the truth.
There are a few things that you should look for when choosing a fraternity. First, choose a chapter that has been established on campus longer than a decade if at all possible. The reason for this is because once a chapter has survived for more than ten years they begin to have active alumni contributing both financially and at an advisory capacity. Traditionally, for every year past ten years a chapter exist it only becomes more stable. A chapter below the ten year mark might be highly motivated and adaptive to change, but they also could be gone within a matter of a few semesters if they made just a few bad decisions. Second, try to choose a chapter that is strong on a national level. Although, this might not matter to you much while you’re an undergrad it is important if you plan on being active after college or you are considering transferring schools. To find out how strong a fraternity is nationally you need to see how many chapters they hold, how large their national office is, and even find out how active their alumni are with regards to yearly donations. And finally, you need to make sure the chapter fits you. When you go through recruitment you will most likely be on your best behavior seeking the approval of men, but make sure you don’t misrepresent yourself. There is nothing wrong with dressing your best and trying to impress a group of guys, but remember that you are really trying to find people that you can call best friends. The last thing you want to happen is to join a group of men who you don’t have much in common with, because then you’re just wasting your time and money not to mention a great opportunity had you been honest about who you are.
Joining a college fraternity can be one of the most important experiences in a young man’s life so I urge you to take it seriously. Don’t forget that as much as they are evaluating you on whether you will fit in, you should be evaluating them on whether they meet your standards. Go Greek!