It is imperative that you strike down any preconceptions about the frat life before you continue reading this post. Between college’s rigorous academics, dorm life survival, eye-opening college parties, and frequent consultations with your professor, Greek life is one of the highlights of college life. Membership in a fraternity or sorority offers a strong sense of camaraderie, commitment, and care for the community. Lasting friendships, strong bonds with the school and the organization, as well as other meaningful interpersonal relationships, are likely to be forged when you become a member of a university fraternity or sorority. There is so much more to the Greek life on campus than just prestige or embellishment on your college yearbook. Aside from working on many term papers and research papers, you also want your college life to be filled with so much friendly memories.
If you are a college freshman, so fresh that you are yet to attend your first college party, you might have some apprehensions about joining a fraternity whose Greek letters you have long dreamed to be on your college jacket. It is essential to know that choosing the right fraternity is not just about having the most fun, attending the most number of parties, or rubbing elbows with the “cool” people looked up to by the rest of the campus. Choosing the right fraternity is an instrument to fully knowing yourself - your priorities and interests, as well as the passions that flow in your veins, passions that you will carry not only throughout your college life but well beyond the confines of the campus, long after you have ceased “sporting” the school colors.
In this post, we have made easy one of the more challenging questions college freshmen face – choosing the right fraternity:
More often than not, a college fraternity’s reputation precedes itself. This is where your judgment and convictions must be firm. Do not be swayed by a fraternity’s superficial popularity and prestige, or worse, empty recommendations of dubious characters. Do your research about the fraternity’s reputation, not only in your campus but also in others. If the fraternity is international, how are the chapters doing in other countries? Are they notorious hard party-goers and nothing more, or do they place a strong emphasis on noble causes such as community involvement or volunteering? Does a cloud of controversy loom over them? Or are they renowned for the nobility of their advocacies? Your research about your college fraternity should not be confined to surface level. As you progress with your research about your desired college fraternity, you will slowly inch towards a sound decision.
Research about the fraternity’s famous alumni. Are they socially aware? Do they contribute to society in a meaningful way?
Seek out like-minded brothers
In choosing the right fraternity, finding the right brothers whose interests and values are similar to yours is also a central consideration. College’s rigid academics have the tendency to take its toll on a neophyte like you. It is a fact that the academic load of the 21st-century student is a far cry from the “carefree” college days of the preceding generations, and therefore the dynamics of frat life juxtaposed with academics have also changed dramatically. Far from home, yet to make solid campus friends, and lost in the jungle that is college, your possession of a reliable support system is a boon to both your campus life and mental health. Yes, you read it right, mental health. Without psychological fortitude brought by good company, the likelihood of pressure and stress making a huge dent on your well-being increases exponentially. Before you make a decision, take a little time to examine the values you would like a friend to exhibit. Is it honesty? Credibility? Humour? Levelheadedness?
Think of your closest friends outside the campus, those back home. Are they the right company for you to overcome all obstacles that the college battlefield has in store for you? If your ideations of what your college friends should be like a mirror the qualities of your would-be fraternity brothers and your personal principles, then you are now qualified to make the decision.
If your father, grandfather, or great-grandfather, or even other close relatives joined the very fraternity you desire to join now, it’s likely that you want to continue the family tradition to strengthen family ties and live the Greek life yourself. Back in the day, sons of members were guaranteed membership and acceptance, but thanks to rapidly changing times and cultural shifts, it is no longer the dominant trend. It is beneficial to inquire and research about benefits owed to legacy before reaching a decision.
Which begs the question: should fathers force their sons to join the fraternities they themselves joined back in their college days? This is the tricky part. Once again, your research and judgment skills should come into play. Your prime consideration should be yourself. Neither tradition nor vicariousness should influence your decision. Is the fraternity’s reputation still intact? Or has it been exercising glimpses of moral turpitude? You must not let yourself be forced to join a fraternity if you have the slightest hesitation.
The college life is all about expanding your academic and intellectual horizon, episodes of experimentation, and assimilation with cultures other than yours. In choosing the right fraternity, you have to seek opportunities that can nurture your way of thinking. Choose a fraternity that prioritizes diversity of cultures and opinions, exhibits relevant social awareness, and advocates societal progress and inclusivity, for such an organization is capable of expanding the cultural sensitivity that you need to become a sentient 21st-century global citizen.
As much as possible, veer away from fraternities that espouse nationalism, or whose principles border on racism and xenophobia.
Inquire about dues
In choosing the right fraternity, it is also vital to consider the state of your finances. College being college, it is likely that you are neck-deep in student loan debt, or worse, your parents or guardians. So before pledging membership to your desired college fraternity, think it over. For instance, if you think that living in a frat house would be conducive not only to your academic life but also to your social life, ensure that you have the source to shell out a hefty amount for rent and miscellaneous fees. But if you think you’d be better off living off-campus, the yearly dues can be much more within reach. Again, your research skills will be put to test – ask the fraternity higher-ups for an elaborate cost breakdown so that you don’t end up scratching your head. Your would-be fraternity brothers will surely be more than willing to illuminate.
Make a difference
Choosing the right fraternity is not just about choosing the right fraternity on paper.
If you wish to choose the right fraternity, the decision should not be reached overnight. With sound reasoning and loyalty to morals, consider your own values, personality, interests, passions, and social inclinations. Furthermore, every fraternity has at least a few philanthropic advocacies (i.e. Red Cross, Strike Out Arthritis, Prevent Child Abuse, Orthopaedic Research, Reading is Fundamental, Service for Sight). If you join a fraternity that vigorously fights for causes like these, your college life will be extra fulfilling and you will be able to help the community in more ways than you can imagine.
We fervently hope that we have been helpful in helping you choose the right college fraternity. Living the Greek life on campus bestows on you a great number of benefits that can make your college life more meaningful and full of learning. Stagnation is detrimental to your wellbeing, so frat membership, putting it mildly, will ensure that you are going to lead a vibrant campus life.
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