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  1.    #1  
    Sorry to post another topic so quickly but this is of considerable interest to my friends attending college soon but also of interest to me even though I've still got two years of HS left. Everyone in our group have begun their college search at least preliminarily. We were discussing this on our way home from seeing The Fast and the Furious (after we had a short race stint with a Z28 ). Should we consider joining fraternities? I know some colleges depend soley on the Greeks for all social life--on the other extreme some don't allow frats (Notre Dame comes to mind). Assuming there is a decent balance between the Greek and non-aligned--what do college-goers or college-wenters have to comment regarding this?

    I would love to hear all opinions on the matter. I have heard multiple sides of the story. A friend of mine at the University of Toledo says he would never join a frat because he hates them and thinks they're stupid institutions that humiliate freshman. Others, including an English teacher I respect considerably, implored me to join a frat. I have heard that joining a frat causes you to limit your social life to those only close to that culture. I've also heard stories that you make friends for life. That person also said joining the frat made their whole college experience much better.

    Thanks in advance
  2. #2  
    Don't take frats into consideration when choosing a college. Those with frats provide excellent opportunities to bond whilst drinking, those who don't also provide these opporutnities, albeit in a more free-form fashion. Instead consider what you want to do, size, cost, etc.
  3. #3  
    I'd agree. If the frat issue is your major concern, then you probably aren't ready for college.

    Keep in mind that there are different 'levels' of fraternitites.

    There's the stereotypical fraternities where you get hazed as a freshmen and then spend the next 4 years of your life with the same group of guys. These ones are only useful if you need that type of social support. Personally, I'd find that crippling, but some people need that type of clique to survice.

    Then there's the 'general interest' fraternities that are really more or less professional groups. ie, the architects have a frat, the farmers have a frat, etc. These frats can be good as you get further along in your college career simply as networking tools. You are not 'hazed'. You do not live in the 'frat house'. But you may attend occasional social events where you can meet ex-members who are now working professionally in the field.
    We're all naked if you turn us inside out.
    -David Byrne
  4.    #4  
    One thing I might have mentioned was that I'm not making it a basis of my college search--I'm using criteria such as quality of programs offered (I want to do something in computers--not sure what yet), size, what they have to offer students, etc. I haven't gotten my flood of mail from taking the PSAT again this fall my junior year, and from taking my SAT this fall my junior year so that could change what colleges I consider. Right now PurdueU looks to fit my criteria if you're interested in knowing. It mainly depends on what I intend to pursue as a major when I decide.

    Drinking buddies isn't really a valid reason soley for me I can always do that with friends elsewhere if I must. I don't know about in two years, but I really don't drink at all really anyway. I always have to drive home when the opportunity arises and those two can't mix.

    I hadn't thought about the multi-level before. Although now it makes something else I heard make sense. My friends have gotten scholarship offers which depended on him joining a certain frat which I bet was one of the certain interest group ones (for engineering I think).

    Thanks for the comments, appreciate them--love to hear anyone else's too. Does anyone have any positive experiences?
  5. #5  
    It really depends on the school. I went to Georgetown undergrad, which didn't really have a greek system. I didn't miss it. GU only has about 5,000 undergrad students, broken into several different schools (school of foreign service, business, arts and sciences, etc.), so it didn't really need one - you could find friends in your freshman dorm, or in your school pretty easilly.

    However, I have friends who went to much larger state schools, like Univ. of Michigan or Univ. of Washington (where I went to law school), who swear a greek system is vital. The theory is, it's easy to get lost in a school with tens-of-thousands of undergraduate students. They seemed to get a lot out of their experience with a frat and/or soroity.

    I agree with one of the prior posts - decide what school you want to go to, based on factors like good programs in things you are interested in studying, location (maybe you want to be close to home, maybe you want to get as far from your parents as possible), cost, reputation, etc. THEN look at whether the school has a greek system, and whether it makes sense to join.
  6. #6  
    I chose a fraternity at my school which was a smaller state school, and definitely enriched my experience there. I wouldn't choose a college orimarily based on its number of greek organizations though.
  7.    #7  
    Okay--just to get things straight. I am not deciding on colleges based on their Greek systems. This is more for my friends going to college this fall who are considering the option but also of some concern to me as I will be making the same decision in two years. I shouldn't have mentioned my college search I guess--sorry for the confusion.
  8. #8  
    I went to the College of Charleston, which is a relatively small school in Charleston, with the majority of undergrads living off of campus. Had I not been in a sorority, my "college" experience would have been very limited. i.e. I wouldn't have attended as many school functions like basketball games, etc.

    Also, there is some (kinda limited) networking that a frat may provide after college.

    I loved it, but some don't.

    changed "lots of" to "the majority"
    Last edited by K. Cannon; 06/27/2001 at 03:34 PM.
  9. #9  
    Vinny --

    Fraternities have widely different characteristics depending on the organization, the location of the school, the size of the school, and many other things. I did my undergrad work at Tennessee Tech, a medium-small sized state university; my grad school at Vanderbilt, a medium-large private research university; and I now teach at Franklin College, a small liberal arts college (we're just south of Indianapolis and have a terrific math and computer science program , by the way... ). All three schools have Greek systems and they all have a completely different "feel" on each campus.

    Traditionally, fraternities developed in European universities as a way to provide the social and character formation to complement the intellectual formation taking place through studies. The early American universities like Harvard copied the European system. The thing to keep in mind is that a fraternity is a good thing only insofar as it provides that kind of formation. I have known fraternities that do nothing of the sort -- it's more a venue for bad ideas and a distraction from what you should be learning. But a lot of fraternities genuinely try to work with, rather than against, education. I have found that to be true at Franklin, where the campus is small enough (1000 students) that students can easily get to know each other with or without Greek systems and in which social and character formation is actually part of the goal of the curriculum itself.

    I personally never joined a fraternity. I went through pledge week with one fraternity as an experiment. During the week, the brothers were extremely nice to me and I felt really welcome. Then when I decided not to join, they wouldn't say a word to me. I figured I was interested in relationships that were a little less superficial than that. I think it's entirely possible and very common to get plugged in socially, even on a large campus, without the help of the Greek system. Conversely, a person get join a fraternity and still be socially isolated. It's more a matter of choice than one of environment. I was friends with several guys who were in fraternities, and they seemed to turn out fine.

    You sound like you are on the right track -- pick your school based on the quality of education you will receive and how well it will prepare you for professional life afterwards. I think everything else will fall into place.
    Mark 12:28-31
  10. #10  
    Definitely Frat!!! I joined a Fraternity when I was a student at Purdue University. It was an awesome experience, it will change your life. You'll make new friends, meet new people, learn self discipline...and then unlearn it while binge drinking!

    The greek system isn't just about Those are just added bonuses!

    Seriously, it can do great things to mold you into a better person. Just look what it did for me....ok bad example.
  11. #11  
    Being a recent graduate from a school dominated by greeks... I think that I saw alot of what happens on both sides. I think that Frats are for certain people, and you need to work out if you are the type who will benefit from them. If you have trouble meeting people, then they would be good... not to say that the only people in Frats are like that, it just helps some people.

    Frats were not for me, I did not see the logic in paying a bunch of money in order to have friends... I made my own friends, and hung out with who I wanted. Others I know have had some awesome experiences with frats. But, I know some girlfriends of frat boys who did not like it so much, the frat became a priority over them. It is a hard call... but not one you can really get wrong, try it, if it doesn't work... stop. I guess it is that easy.

    -Anybody we have not unplugged could potentially be an agent-
  12. #12  
    Originally posted by foo fighter
    Definitely Frat!!! I joined a Fraternity when I was a student at Purdue University. It was an awesome experience, it will change your life. You'll make new friends, meet new people, learn self discipline...and then unlearn it while binge drinking!

    The greek system isn't just about Those are just added bonuses!

    Seriously, it can do great things to mold you into a better person. Just look what it did for me....ok bad example.

    If you join a frat, you will become like FooFIghter...Confused and undecided.

    I suspect most huys going into frats for the sex and booze factor. Some see it as a way of getting laid in COllege..sad but true.
  13.    #13  
    I'm interested in them for friends and something more supportive than a dorm. I've heard stories of a whole floor being so cooperative they left their doors open all the time and never had a single theft and all of them were great buds. I've heard other stories of not being able to trust your roommate and not liking anyone you lived around (and shared a bathroom with). Another reason I'm asking is that I'm not sure exactly what is offered and what it's like. I want to know if it's something me and my friends would want to seriously consider.
  14. #14  
    Originally posted by RocketScientist
    I did not see the logic in paying a bunch of money in order to have friends
    No offense, Russ, but this statement is always thrown out and accepted as fact by non-Greeks when a discussion of the pros/cons of greek organizations come up. The money that I paid to my sorority went to paying for catering, rental of space, the house, furnishings in the house, and other things.

    I hung out with many folks in college who weren't in my sorority, but also enjoyed hanging out with those who were. When is the last time a group of non-organized friends threw a formal with a band, food, and a nice location. How about a boat cruise with 250 people around the Charleston Harbour? I don't remember any of my non-greek friends in college working as a team with the Special Olympics, the American Cancer Society, and/or the Adopt a Highway program.

    My parents came to the sorority's parents weekend festivites, which we coordinated with the college's parents weekend festivites to encourage participation in the school's stuff. Greeks also throw fun beer-drinking type parties, it's true. But I remember encouraged participation at the Schools sporting events and study halls "monitored" by sorority sisters. We organized trips to events with other colleges and around the state in general.

    As I tried to imply in my previous post, my undergraduate experience was richer because of the many opportunities I had to participate in things I would otherwise not have done. My money went to help pay for these opportunities. My friends I made on my own.
  15.    #15  
    I'd like to thank all those who have replied already with their very informative posts (I'd love to hear anything anyone else would like to comment still too). I have another question though. What kind of cost differences are we talking between living in a dorm and joining a frat and how is that done paperwork-wise normally? I know recruiting/rushing occurs after the semester begins so what do you do with your contract with the housing division of your university at a residence hall? Sorry if I've botched terminology--I'm not too familiar with this yet.
  16. #16  
    At my school, the Fraternity/Sorority Houses were all old Historic Charleston houses, so only 10-20 people could live in them. The rest of the group lived elsewhere. I lived in a dorm my freshman year (rushed first semester freshman year), an apartment my sophomore year, and the house the last two.

    My younger brother was in a frat at Clemson (a bigger school than mine) and he lived on the frat hall his sophomore and junior years--I don't think it was mandatory. It may be mandatory in larger schools, but I'm pretty sure there's a system in place to take care of any dorm contracts.

    Cost is going to vary widely from school to school, so I can't really speak to that. (Not to mention, I graduated from undergrad in 1992, so I have no clue about current cost.)

    An idea for you may be to wait and rush 2nd semester or your sophomore year, that way you'll see if it's something you are interested in or not and/or if there are any frats that you would want to associate with. A fraternity is going to have people you love and people you don't like so much--just like any group of people. The trick is to find the ones that you would have been friends with anyway and use the greek system to enhance your college experience.


    Edited to add comments on cost and other "helpful" statements.
  17.    #17  
    Hmm. I hadn't thought about that. My friend who goes to University of Toledo had a friend who joined a frat and he lived in the house right away.

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