The Perks of Going Greek

To the future college freshmen reading this article, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news? You don’t actually have to listen to me. The bad news? I may not have applied to college yet, but the truth is, you know as much about college life as I do, which is basically nothing.

In college, there seems to be a negative stigma towards GDI’s, (pronounced: “Geeds”), probably more with guys than girls, but, in reality, no one actually cares. There’s no problem with not wanting to be a part of Greek life, but if you shut yourself off from it, you’ll never know whether it would have been the right fit for you or not.

Depending on your school, Greek life might be huge, or it might have less of a presence. Maybe the eternal “brotherhood/sisterhood” thing scares you, or maybe you “literally cannot wait to be a Tri Delt!” but don’t approach Greek life with your mind already made.

The beauty of it is you don’t have to sell your soul to Sigma Alpha Epsilon; you can drop out at any point if you realize, during your time spent with Sperry-wearing, beer-chugging frat boys, that it doesn’t suit your personality (Frat boys aren’t always like that, unless you’re going down South. You’ll never see as much Vineyard Vines and American flags in your entire life). But hey, at least you tried.

The only problem with dropping out of a sorority is that once you’ve already gone through the rushing period and committed to a specific house, you can’t drop it and choose another one.

Even if you transfer to a different school, you have to stay with that same frat/sorority. If that worries you, there are some perks to this long-standing tradition.

Let’s say you go to University of Wisconsin and you’re a Delta Gamma, but you realize you’re a true Illini at heart, and belong at University of Illinois. You’re automatically in the DG sorority at U of I.

I’d like to return to this brotherhood/sisterhood idea for a second. Yes, rushing a sorority or fraternity is both competitive and intimidating and maybe even a little scary (for all you future frat bros just a heads up, some experiences in frat life will not be that “great”), but the point of it is to immediately bond with new people.

Anywhere you go there’s going to be a level of prominence with Greek life on campus, so hopefully you already considered this factor before committing anywhere. Big ten schools will have a large Greek life, along with other big universities or state schools and a ton of southern schools.

Surprisingly, some smaller schools have the most students in fraternities/sororities (maybe not that surprising; it’s not rocket science).

Take DePauw University. Of 2,304 students enrolled, 78% are in a frat or sorority. University of Illinois, while they have the most chapters in the country at 97, has only 23% of the 44,520 undergraduate students in a chapter. So you see, a lot of it has to do with the size of the school as well.

Anyway, if I could leave you with one thought, it would be don’t let your friends, or even the presence of Greek life, pressure you or make you feel like you have to join “because otherwise you’re an irrelevant loser.”
That’s not the case.

If you love tradition and huge parties, you’ll find that Greek life is totally your thing. Be sure to rush around to find the best fit socially for you, because you will be spending a lot of time with the people in your frat/sorority for the next four years.