Do you know who your “person” is? Do you have a community to call upon in times of joy and strife? Do you have a cause you’re ready to devote time and energy to promoting?
If not, you might thrive in a sorority! A sorority is a college Greek organization that provides structure to your social experience. You’ll build relationships, perform acts of service, and become part of a network for life.
Do you know what Greek Life on campus is really about? We’ve collected eleven tips that can help you understand the truth about joining a sororal organization.
Read on to learn if joining a college sorority is the right option for you.
The Process Begins with Formal Greek Life Recruitment
A lot of what the average college student knows about college Greek Life comes from the movies. While some popular culture makes it look hip, others portray weeks of challenges, hazing, and stress.
While you must go through a formal recruitment process to join a sorority, don’t expect the wild, dangerous Hollywood version!
The length of the recruitment period will depend on your school. Many schools have a “Greek Week.” Other institutions recognize that you are a student first and break it up across two weekends. If you’re lucky, Greek Week will take place before classes formally begin, so you’ll know your standing before school officially starts.
You might hear some students refer to recruitment as “rush.” Traditions dictate nearly every rush activity. At older schools, these sororal traditions may go back generations!
As a result, many of your Rush Week activities may seem strange! The process involves a lot of talking and socializing. If you plan to rush more than one sorority, you might have many similar conversations over the week, so prepare for some monotony.
Connecting with others is the most essential part of the sorority recruitment process. Try to put your best foot forward and be your truest self. Authentic individuals are far likelier to stand out and receive a pledge invitation!
You will Make Friends
Joining a sorority is a great way to make friends and connect with like-minded peers, especially on a larger college campus. Having a community of sisters around you makes college life much less intimidating. You’ll always have sorority sisters to go to for advice as you progress through your college career, and you’ll never have to worry about loneliness or isolation.
That said, there is no need to socialize within your sorority exclusively! While they’ll serve as a phenomenal family structure during your educational journey, you can (and should) have friends outside your house.
Consider signing up for college extracurriculars, especially professional organizations related to your major or future career. If your sorority members share a particular field of study, use college activities to form connections outside your department. The more meaningful connections you have, the more prepared you’ll be to thrive beyond college.
Furthermore, at many colleges, freshmen must live in the dorms during their first year, whether or not they pledge to a sorority. You will often have the option to move into your sorority house during your Sophomore year. Living in Greek housing is always optional, and it’s OK to make friends in your dorm and expand your social network beyond your sorority!
There are different types of sororities on your average college campus, so do your research and learn about Greek Life before committing.
There’s a Focus on Philanthropy
Once you get into Greek Life, you’ll begin to hear the word “philanthropy” more than ever before! In a sorority, the term is sometimes used as an event title. You might plan or attend “a philanthropy,” which is an activity to give back to a community in need.
“A philanthropy” can also refer to a specific charitable organization associated with your sorority or chapter. Different sororities focus on and champion different causes. Your organization might have one cause at the national level and another cause at the chapter level.
A sorority’s philanthropy might include a children’s hospital, a women’s shelter, an awareness cause (such as breast cancer), or animal welfare. It can be helpful to know your sorority’s focus before you pledge. This will help ensure you’re doing meaningful work during your time in the organization.
Raising money for these organizations can often be a lot of fun! Prepare to plan exciting and engaging fundraisers that bring attention to your cause. Planning these events helps build many real-world skills that you can include on a professional resume in the future.
You Don’t have to Join as a Freshman
There is a misconception that you must join a sorority as a first-year student to get involved in Greek Life. The truth is, as a brand new college student, undergoing recruitment can be stressful! Many students want to dig into academics and learn more about campus organizations before committing.
By the time you’re a second-year, you might feel more prepared to undergo the rush process. You might even have a few friends in campus sororities who will fight for you, which can help your chances. Some students don’t rush until their Junior year and still have an excellent Greek Life experience!
You Might have a Big/Little Relationship
In most sororities, mentorship is part of the structure of the program. To encourage relationships between sisters, many sororities will assign you the role of “Big” or “Little.”
A “Little” is typically a newer member of a Greek Organization. They may be just beginning to make friends. A Little is not always a first-year or young student, just a recent pledge.
In contrast, a “Big” is a sister who has been a sorority member for at least one year. They have experience in the organization and on campus. They are often, but not always, older than their Little.
Essentially, a Little will choose a Big, or the sorority leadership will assign her one. The Big will serve as the Little’s mentor during their first year in the program. It’s like having a built-in best friend to go to with problems or exciting news.
Big/Little relationships often begin as mentorships and transform into close lifelong friendships.
One year later, the Little might find that they have become a Big themselves. It’s common to end up with Grand Littles and Great Grand Littles during your time in a sorority!
You’ll Attend Regular Chapter Meetings
Generally, your sorority leadership will expect you to participate in most of your chapter’s events. You will help at philanthropies, boost fundraisers, attend formal and semi-formal dances, and engage with your Big or Little. Nearly every sorority will also have weekly or bi-weekly chapter meetings to keep members abreast of news and upcoming events.
While no event is absolutely mandatory, the basic expectation is that most members will attend most events most of the time. Leaders will incentivize some forms of participation above others. Leadership will probably encourage you to attend weekly meetings and expect you at most philanthropic events.
The more involved you are, the more likely you are to rise through the ranks and take on leadership positions yourself. Roles are generally decided by popular vote. If you demonstrate interest and initiative, you’ll rise through the ranks, which looks great on a resume.
You will get out of sorority life precisely what you put into it. Prepare to participate fully for the most complete and satisfying experience.
There is a Financial Investment Involved
Nearly every Greek organization requires dues or other fees to become a member. The cost will depend on the Greek organization, your school, and your specific chapter. Some schools fund Greek organizations more than others; individual members may have to pick up the slack if yours doesn’t.
On average, expect to pay about $2,000 annually to maintain your membership status. This can vary depending on whether or not you live in Greek housing. This amount can also decrease the longer you remain a member.
The annual dues will fund sorority events such as dances and outings. You may also be responsible for monthly dues, which will go to the National headquarters of your sorority. Either pool of funds might pay for general maintenance and upkeep costs.
During recruitment, sorority leadership will likely talk to you about dues and financial expectations. Be realistic about whether Greek Life is an affordable option for you.
That said, many sororities offer scholarships to students for whom paying dues would be a hardship. If you have your heart set on sorority life, look into all your options before giving up. If you’re an excellent fit for your campus chapter, leadership should be able to help you make it work!
Fashion is Part of the Recruitment
While showing off who you are as a person is the most essential part of the recruitment process, dressing up is also a component. Sororities run on traditions, and there is an expectation that most students will dress to impress during Greek Week.
Typically, students begin in nice but casual clothing, such as sundresses. You might need to dress more formally by the end of the week. To get an idea of the outfits and progression, check out “Outfit of the Day” videos on YouTube and TikTok.
Most girls spend time doing their hair, nails, and makeup during recruitment week. Consider it like a job interview and prepare accordingly. The nicer you look, the stronger your first impression will be.
Greek Life is a Lifetime Commitment
College may only last four years, but you commit to membership for a lifetime when you join a sorority. You will continue your affiliation with your Greek organization long after you graduate. It can be an excellent tool for networking once you enter the professional world.
Think of it as a real sisterhood. If you have siblings, you don’t stop being their sister just because you no longer live in the same house. You remain sisters wherever you go!
Likewise, members continue fulfilling sorority commitments until the end of their lives.
Prepare for Teamwork
You will need to be open-minded to have a successful sorority experience. You might need to step up and contribute to the organization in ways that might otherwise be outside your comfort zone. For example, you might have to engage in public speaking, which many students find nerve-wracking.
Consider it an opportunity to build and develop new skills that will serve you in the professional world. Teamwork is one of the most sought-after soft skills in the workforce, after all.
Don’t Believe Stereotypes
Everyone’s experience of sorority life will be unique. Different chapters have different cultures, and sisterhood is not a monolith. Don’t go in expecting Delta Nu from the movie Legally Blonde!
Instead, look at Greek Life as an opportunity to meet and connect with students from many different backgrounds and walks of life. There is a lot more diversity than you think. Furthermore, campus sororities frequently cooperate and work together, so don’t assume there will be rivalries.
Remember that Greek Life is about so much more than drinking and wild parties. Foremost, it’s a way to make a difference in the world. Let that be your priority, and you’ll have a wonderful experience.
You’re Ready to Join Your Dream Sorority!
Joining a sorority is a lifelong commitment. You’ll make friends, build connections, develop a professional network, and improve the world. If you do your research into each organization and its mission, you’ll find a family who will support you fiercely during your college journey and beyond!
What else do you need to learn before you can take on the world? Browse the rest of the blog for more informative posts that can help you do good every day.