Should You Join a Fraternity?
What are fraternities?
Before deciding to join a fraternity, many may be wondering what a fraternity even is. A fraternity is a group of men in an organization with similar goals, interests, aspirations, etc. The men in these fraternities share their talents, knowledge, and friendship with one another to form a strong bond and organization. Their shared experience in their fraternity creates bonds that last a lifetime. The first ever Greek organization, Phi Beta Kappa, was founded in 1776 when its founding members decided they needed a way to discuss current events outside of a school setting. They kept their organization a secret, which is something many Greek organizations carry with them today. Many of their rituals and initiation ceremonies are secret, and are only allowed to be known by their members. This bonds the members through secrecy; something only their organization knows and understands.
Types of fraternities
There are four major types of fraternities you can find on campus:
Social fraternities are likely the most popular types of fraternities, as they are most commonly shown in movies and television shows. The goal of these organizations is to bring men together from different majors, backgrounds, ethnicities, etc. with an end goal of friendship. These friendships often not only last throughout the collegiate years, but throughout the rest of their lives.
Academic fraternities focus on the academic success of their members. These organizations bring students together who have a common goal of excelling in school. These fraternities can be extremely helpful when it comes to applying for jobs after college, and can really help you focus on your studies with others who are interested in doing the same.
Similar to academic fraternities, professional fraternities are also beneficial for its members after graduation. These organizations are typically centered around a specific career or major. These organizations are a great networking opportunity for its members and can really help get your foot in the door in highly competitive fields. There are a number of professional fraternities focusing on specific majors and interests, including business, agriculture, medicine, engineering, science, law, military, government, music, pharmaceuticals, and plenty more.
Finally, service fraternities are dedicated to helping make a difference in both their local communities and throughout the world. Service fraternities typically have a guiding principle, whether that be a religious reason or a social goal. These fraternities are great for those looking to make an impact in the world!
What do fraternities do?
Why do people join fraternities? Many people who are not involved in Greek life think that all fraternities do is party. While that is what the media portrays, that is far from the truth. Fraternities host social events with other fraternities and sororities. Oftentimes, these events do not involve drinking, rather serve as an opportunity to get to know members of other organizations better. Fraternities also typically have a philanthropy or community service event that they support throughout the year. The specific ways that fraternities support their philanthropy can vary between organizations, but most fraternities find unique ways to raise money for their philanthropy. In addition to supporting their own philanthropy, fraternities also support other Greek philanthropy events as well.
Fraternities also have many leadership opportunities, as well. Not only in their own chapter, but across other chapters in the nation as well. In their own organizations, there are typically similar positions across fraternities like president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, and more. There are also smaller titles that can give you a sense of responsibility and accountability for your fraternity. There are also opportunities to govern all the fraternities on your campus through your school’s Interfraternity Council. Roles within the Interfraternity Council are similar to those in your own fraternity, but expand to all fraternities on your campus. If interested in holding a leadership position in your fraternity, reach out to a current leader! To learn more about governing through the Interfraternity Council, talk to your campus’s Greek informational office!
Pros of joining a fraternity
There are many benefits of joining a fraternity during college.
Joining a fraternity is a great way to make connections. Being in Greek life is a great way to meet people in your field and an awesome way to find something in common between you and another person. Greek life can also help you build your resume when looking for jobs post-graduation. Leadership roles, volunteer experience, and academic success are just a few of the ways being in a fraternity can help you stand out from competition.
Greek life gives its members a chance to meet people they likely would not have met otherwise. Many people only socialize with classmates or neighbors. Joining a fraternity helps you step out of your comfort zone and become friends with people in other majors, friend groups and other Greek organizations. Joining a fraternity can really help you find your closest friends that will likely stick with you throughout your life!
Social and Philanthropy Events
Coming out of high school, many college students find themselves bored because they aren’t as busy as they used to be with sports, volunteering, and other activities. Fraternities give its members the opportunity to spend time with their brothers, doing things that they enjoy. Many fraternities have intramural sports teams where they play against other fraternities and clubs. As stated above, fraternities also have philanthropy events where its members must plan and execute them with an end goal of benefiting the charity they are supporting. These events and many more help keep their members busy while allowing them to spend quality time with one another, making their brotherhood and friendships stronger.
Cons of joining a fraternity
You are probably starting to think, should I join a fraternity? There are a couple things to keep in mind when deciding if joining a fraternity is right for you.
There is a monetary cost involved in joining a fraternity. There are many details that go into the cost of being in a fraternity. The cost varies depending on the organization, school, size of the chapter, and more. Typically, there are payment plans offered to its members to make the payments more manageable. There are usually scholarships as well that its members can apply for. But for students paying for tuition, housing, food and other necessities, this might be something to keep in mind. To find out more about ways you can finance or save when looking to join a fraternity, ask your Treasurer of your organization, or ask your school’s Greek office!
Just like with any other organization, fraternities require a lot of your time. Some members give more of their time depending on how involved they want to be in their Greek organization. For some, this may be easy if you are good with planning your time. But for others, this may be overwhelming between school, work, and your fraternity’s required events. We recommend you put as much effort into your Greek organization as possible to truly get the most out of your experience! If you are good with time management, this will not be an issue for you. This can also be an opportunity to learn how to better manage your time, which is a skill that will definitely come in handy after college.
10 Largest Fraternities by Members
Below are the ten largest fraternities by member number
Sigma Alpha Epsilon (304,000 members)
Sigma Chi (300,000 members)
Sigma Phi Epsilon (289,000 members)
Lambda Chi Alpha (280,000 members)
Tau Kappa Epsilon (265,000 members)
Pi Kappa Alpha (240,000 members)
Sigma Nu (225,000 members)
Beta Theta Pi (183,769 members)
Alpha Tau Omega (181,000 members)
Alpha Phi Alpha (175,000 members)
10 Largest Fraternities by Chapters
Below are the ten largest fraternities by chapter number
Tau Kappa Epsilon (290 chapters)
Sigma Chi (246 chapters)
Sigma Alpha Epsilon: (246 chapters)
Sigma Phi Epsilon (234 chapters)
Pi Kappa Alpha (220 chapters)
Lambda Chi Alpha (218 chapters)
Sigma Nu (184 chapters)
Alpha Epsilon Phi (155 chapters)
Pi Kappa Phi (142 chapters)
Delta Chi (137 chapters)
So, are fraternities worth it? Joining a fraternity is a great way to meet new people, help in your community and create relationships and memories to last a lifetime. If you decide to join a fraternity, make sure to check out shop.universitytees.com. We are the best place to find single piece apparel for your Greek organization! Best of luck in your search for your fraternity!