As a parent, it's a good idea for you to learn about fraternities and sororities so you can help your son or daughter make the best decision about whether or not he or she should be part of the Greek life. Educate yourself by checking out this parents' guide to fraternities and sororities.
Academics should be your child's number one focus while in college. That's why most Greek organizations require a minimum GPA in order to remain a member. Usually, each individual chapter has an elected official who is responsible for keeping track of members and their academic performance. Furthermore, many fraternities and sororities have educational programs, such as tutoring and study sessions, which can assist the entire chapters in excelling academically. Most chapters also offer member scholarships. Since obtaining a degree is the main reason for attending college, make sure your student realizes that he must keep up his grades if he wants to participate in a Greek organization.
Your child will have financial responsibilities when it comes to joining a fraternity or sorority. At most schools, there is a one-time new member/initiation fee as well as semester membership dues. Depending on where your child goes to school and which organization he wants to join will determine the amount of dues he will have to pay each semester. If your child is really interested in becoming a member of the Greek life, you need to sit down with him or her and work out a college budget to determine whether or not joining a frat or sorority is affordable.
In the past, fraternities and sororities have received a bad rap for participating in hazing, which is any action taken that produces bodily harm or danger, mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, fright, or ridicule. Today, all fraternity and sorority policies strictly prohibit any type of hazing activity. In fact, the organizations have taken on a zero-tolerance stance on this issue. Some states even have legislation that makes hazing a third-degree felony. If you feel that your student may be participating in inappropriate activities associated with hazing, you should contact the school's Dean of Students office immediately.
On average, your student should expect to contribute two to four hours per week for meetings and mandatory activities. If your student has the time, he can also choose to participate in optional activities, such as holding an office, attending social events, helping out with various projects, etc. Some organizations require more time than others. Advise your child to ask questions regarding time commitments during recruitment.
Fraternities and sororities participate in many different activities. The kind of activities your student may participate in will vary depending on which chapter he/she joins. Possible activities may include:
Fundraising for charities
Tutoring elementary school students
Conducting environmental and neighborhood cleanups
Sponsoring blood drives
Organizing clothing and book collections
Volunteering at shelters
Participating in intramural athletics
Attending social mixers
If your child decides to go Greek, you should stress how important it is to balance social activities and academics. If his grades start to slip, he may want to cut back on the activities in which he is involved.
Keep in mind that while Greek life is great for some students, it's not for everyone. You should discuss with your son or daughter what he/she would like to do and then support his/her decision. If your student decides that joining an organization is the right decision, make sure he researches the different chapters thoroughly. Read To Rush Or Not to Rush? That Is the Question for more information about going Greek.