The trend of fraternities and sororities is quite common among most colleges and universities. While some are highly against it, there still are many colleges which support the Greek culture as a part of their academic setup. Some students are eager to find a group of people to befriend. Although frat life can be associated with wild partying in popular culture, the reality is not all that. Greek life does have benefits of making students more confident, responsible and active, and there are a number of fraternities that are making students smarter and more contributive towards their society and their community. However, the growing insecurities among students and a need to fit in can sometimes encourage students to join fraternities and sororities without doing any prior research about what exactly they are joining. In a time when student loans have reached an extreme, your costs can double by joining the Greek life. And if you are in the wrong fraternity or sorority, you’ll be paying a membership fee along with other dues that can add up to a staggering figure every year.
Is it really worth it?
1. “I used to work when I was in college but being in a sorority diminished all my chances to save anything for myself or for the hefty college loans I took. Being a sorority sister isn’t all just fun and doesn’t necessarily provide you with the links you need to connect with the rest. It sometimes outcasts you further from your own chapter and from the others at college,” says Jessica, who graduated last year and is not quite happy with her decision to pledge. As she now thinks of it, she realizes how her savings would have amounted to half of her loan repayments and she wouldn’t be struggling with two jobs. “My sorority required more than just the 3 figure, non-refundable membership fee and almost every week we were to spend at least $20 on average, just because the competition within was so hard to beat. I still ended up being bullied by a few mean girls within the sorority and it left me with a lot on my plate.”
2. On top of tuition, if your sorority or fraternity requires you to live in house, food and complying with a dress code, things can sometimes get out of hand. It can sometimes lead to unnecessary partying, affecting not just your budget, but your academic life as well.
3. Students who pursue higher studies and incur loans and financial aid have to be a bit more frugal when spending in college. They work part time to cover their academic expenses, and Greek life can make the struggle more cumbersome with extra costs. On top of the membership dues there are additional costs like: insurance, social, and risk management per semester. For parents and students, certain chapters offer stipends but that doesn’t usually cover the cost.
4. Sororities are comparatively more difficult to keep up with as some of them require the a dress code for the girls to pledge. “I had to buy a new dress, jewelry and shoes just to get in because that’s what their pledging dress code required. Later, we were expected to get gifts for our younger sisters. Apart from that, formal wear was a necessity and we don’t usually pack our prettiest dresses along with the Greek letter printed sorority shirts and jackets. Almost every month we would go out to dinners and arrange theme parties along with the sisters. All of these would add up to almost an additional $100, every month,” says Rachel, an undergraduate who is also an active sorority member.
5. Living in a fraternity or sorority house comes with paying for room and board. However, the cost of living in a chapter house is comparatively lesser than that of renting a room on your own.
Being a part of fraternity or sorority entails responsibilities which makes students more socially active, and moulds students into being a “complete” person. However, all of this comes with an additional cost, and before you pledge you should weigh your pros and cons.
This article was contributed by guest author Shawn Stevenson.