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How International Students Can Determine if Greek Life is Right for Them

Posted on June 27th, 2016 by Anum Yoon

Multi-ethnic group of friends in circle - Several people of diverse ethnics smiling and looking down at camera - Concepts about friendship, teamwork, immigration and unityThe college experience in America is often based around Greek life, especially in media and pop culture. In movies and TV shows, fraternities and sororities are often shown as giant groups of college students throwing parties and being irresponsible. That’s the stereotype that many people hold when they think about Greek life.

However, when deciding whether or not to join one of these groups, you’ll need to take a fair look at what Greek life really is about. Here are some things to think about when considering if you want to spend your college life in a fraternity or sorority.


One of the main things to consider when thinking about rushing (another word for applying to a sorority or fraternity) is the cost. Many organizations have fees to join, then repeated fees each year. Some also have house fees, party fees and other additional expenses that come with being part of the group. It can get expensive, especially on top of regular tuition, books, living expenses and the general cost of going to college.

During this time of your life, money is an important factor, so considering whether or not you can afford this type of organization is a good first step. Many fraternities and sororities offer payment plans if you can’t pay in full up front as well. If you’re unsure about the cost, it’s a good idea to ask about it during the first week of rush, which is when you’ll get to know all the sororities and fraternities on campus.


One of the great things about Greek life is that you have a large group of friends that you consider family who want to spend time with you. From going away together for vacation to eating lunch and from studying to exercising, sometimes the people in your organization can take over every aspect of your life.

It’s great to have so many people to hang out with that care about you, but if you’re somebody who likes alone time and doing things solo, this type of group might not be for you. If you want to keep your friend circle small and tight, a fraternity or sorority is probably going to give you the opposite.

This is something to consider when deciding how you want to spend your years at college and what kind of friends you want to have.


Greek life has a variety of aspects to it such as community service and GPA requirements, but a large part of Greek life is partying (but don’t get me wrong, not all Greek organizations party all the time). Mixers, theme parties and formals are just some of the parties you’ll encounter in a Greek organization. Every weekend (and even some weekdays) people will offer a different party that they want you to attend.

You’re supposed to have fun in college, but you should ask yourself what kind of fun you want to have and whether you think you can keep your priorities in check. Greek life takes up a lot of your time so you might also have to limit the amount of other clubs or activities you’re involved in. If you’re confident in your ability to keep up with schoolwork and still party with the group, then go for it! However, if you want to be able to give a little more focus to schoolwork and other clubs or priorities, you might want to reconsider.

How It Works

If you think Greek life might be right for you, then you’ll want to know how it works! Different campuses might handle this differently, but generally there is a pattern.

First, there is a period known as rushing, where you visit the organizations and see which ones you feel comfortable with. You’ll get to meet the people and learn about what they can offer you. After that, you’ll receive “bids” from different organizations who want you which is an invitation to join. You can then accept a bid to choose which organization you want to join.

However, you’re not automatically in. You go through a period of “pledging” which is where you learn more about the chapter. Then, you’ll finally be initiated and become a member in full standing.

Choosing whether or not to go Greek is an important decision because it will affect your entire college life. Don’t let anybody pressure you into this decision. Make sure you’re doing it (or not doing it) because you want to! Following your own instincts will make sure you have the best college experience possible.

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