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Living in a Fraternity or Sorority

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Fraternities (for guys) and sororities (for girls) are social organizations designed to give people at college a network of friends or people who share a common interest. They are represented by Greek letters (e.g., Alpha Chi Rho, Sigma Delta Tau, etc.). Some of these Greek letter organizations are merely social, while others are centered around an ethnicity or religious group, designed for professional advancement or scholastic achievement, or geared toward community service.

Fraternities and sororities offer a unique college experience, and there's a special community that you get to be a part of if you join one. Additionally, you may get the opportunity to live in a fraternity or sorority house along with other members. Since you usually join Greek life mid-semester, you won't be able to move into a frat or sorority house until the next semester at least. This gives you some time to consider the opportunity carefully.

Financial Considerations

The first thing you should think about is whether or not living in Greek housing is financially feasible. At some schools, Greek housing is cheaper than living off-campus or in a dorm, while at other schools, it can be much more expensive.

Make sure you take all living costs into account. For example, rent could be low in an off-campus apartment, but the cost of utilities and commuting could be high. One benefit that Greek housing usually offers is close proximity to campus. This can save you a lot of money on parking fees and commuting costs.

Social and Academic Concerns

There are social pros and cons when it comes to Greek housing. The major benefit is that you won't have to go far for social interaction; you'll be surrounded by your fellow fraternity or sorority members all the time. You'll also have plenty of activities to keep you busy.

The potential drawback is that you may have trouble focusing on work if getting constantly distracted by the people you're living with. There's also a chance that your commitments will increase, so you'll have to ask yourself if you can handle them.

Greek housing may offer you some academic advantages, since many schools offer scholarships to Greek students who thrive academically. You may also have unique opportunities to be mentored, especially if you and some of your fellow members share the same major.

TIP: Talk to a few alumni who lived in the fraternity or sorority house you're considering. They should be able to give you a good idea of what living there would be like.

Every situation is different. You have your own way of working and interacting, and every fraternity and sorority is unique as well. Weigh your own personality and preferences against the pros and cons of living in a specific fraternity or sorority house. Determine which living scenario available to you (Greek, on-campus, or off), is best going to meet your personal and academic needs.

Sean McClain  Posted by Sean McClain on June 29, 2010

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