A Basic Intro to Fraternities & Sororities
When many people think of college fraternities and sororities, images of keg parties and hazing often come to mind. Despite the negative rap these organizations tend to get, they exist for a reason and do come with benefits for college students that are interested in being a part of such a group. One of the best ways to find out whether joining a fraternity or sorority would be the right fit is to know more about what they are and how they operate, as well as what advantages students could gain.
What Are They?
Fraternities and sororities have been around for many years and is seen as a common tradition that many colleges and universities uphold. These are social organizations, with fraternities being for male college students and sororities being for female college students. These groups serve various purposes, including creating academic and social events for students, assisting with charities and community related events, as well as providing valuable connections and networking opportunities for its members. Many fraternities and sororities also have their own housing, which is typically located off campus and is known as a “chapter,” where the members live.
Who Can Be In It?
While any student can apply, not just anyone can become an initiated member of a fraternity or sorority. Each has its own set of requirements or criteria that must be met in order to be considered. Not all of these organizations have the same rules and guidelines so it is important for students to research the ones they are interested in so that they’ll know what to expect. Generally, there is a formal time period for recruiting new members, which is known as a “rush” or “rush week.” Potential members are given a “bid,” which is a formal invitation to join the fraternity or sorority. There may be a trial period where prospective members, known as “pledges,” are tested in various ways to show whether they would truly be a good fit, as well as show their loyalty to the organization. This can include maintaining a specific GPA, learning the background of all the existing members or reciting the history of the organization. The pledging process can last anywhere from a few weeks to over one year. After the pledge period is over, those still in the running will be accepted as official members, followed by an initiation ceremony to celebrate this achievement.
Benefits of Being a Member
Perhaps the most important benefit that comes with being part of a sorority or fraternity is the sense of family that is created. Members see each other as “brothers” and “sisters” and this bond is shared long after graduation. In fact, membership in this kind of social organization is considered a lifelong one.
Networking is very prevalent in fraternities and sororities. Some of the most elite individuals in society, including famous celebrities, have been members of such groups–many continuing the tradition by having their children as members as well. Having such notable “legacies” within an organization provides college students with amazing networking opportunities, which could help them with careers goals upon graduation, such as seeking references, receiving letters of recommendation or even having one of the members put in a good word with an employer using their connections.
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