Joining a fraternity or sorority on campus
As an international student trying to socialize in a new environment, you’ve probably thought about joining a fraternity or sorority on campus. Here are a few things you should consider before making your final decision.
The benefits for students range from leadership opportunities and various interesting projects you can join to scholarships and off-campus housing. They provide an excellent social support network and are usually committed to public service. Not only could you find friends there, but also get a good advice on anything happening on campus including who the best professors are, where and how to find an internship or a summer job and also where the best parties are. Many times relationships built through fraternities and sororities at university last for a lifetime.
And the Cons
Joining a fraternity or sorority may be a lot of fun, but can sometimes come with hidden disadvantages. Consider the membership costs before you sign up. Later on during the semester you may find that you pay way too much for membership. Social groups and projects could be time consuming and you will need very good time management skills to handle that, especially as a freshman. Lastly, be careful which house you join; party houses may seem like the most fun option, but this may lead professors and even future employers to be cautious about you.
Some tips on how to decide (How do I know if I should sign up?)
Visit a recruitment meeting and interact with members. Make sure to ask about their history, mission, activities and projects. Ask about their day-to-day life duties, membership fees and goals. Try to figure out how would you fit in the organization and how this could help you improve your skills, learn new things or meet interesting people. Remember, fraternities and sororities are all about your personal growth – they should be challenging, yet not overwhelming.
Consider the rumors you have heard about this organization. Are they true? Research the Internet, social networks or ask fellow students about their opinion. You may find that many of the rumors are not true or exaggerated.
What career advantages does the fraternity or sorority offer? Apart from the social activities and meeting alumni you should make sure this organization could offer you support in your career path. Visit their website to see which companies are cooperating with them, what projects they have and what the career path of the alumni is. This could be very helpful to visualize yourself a few years ahead in time and take the right decision.
Don’t focus on your national/international organization. If you are Chinese, you can join the Chinese organization, but don’t get limited to that. Remember that studying in the U.S. is all about interacting with new people and cultures and diversifying your experiences. It would be a waste of time if you don’t consider any other options, just because you want to be comfortable with the familiar. Step out of your comfort zone and explore!
Hazing. No matter what, never ever, ever engage in hazing. The majority of universities have made hazing illegal, but despite this, it still exists on the down low. If you are ever involved in hazing and a university official finds out, you will most likely be thrown out of college and have a black mark on your record for a very long time. This may sound extreme, but we cannot stress enough how horrible, dangerous and now illegal hazing is – never do it. Full stop.
There are just as many great reasons to join frats and sororities as not to; in the end you’ll make your own decision, and we hope you’ll have a great time with your brothers or sisters! Have you joined a fraternity or sorority? Share your experience of Greek life with us on our Facebook page or Twitter profile with the hashtag #SprintaxGreekLife
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