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Greek Life: The Pros and Cons

By Zach Skillings

Zach Skillings is the Scholarships360 Newsletter Editor. He specializes in college admissions and strives to answer important questions about higher education. When he’s not contributing to Scholarships360, Zach writes about travel, music, film, and culture. His work has been published in Our State Magazine, Ladygunn Magazine, The Nocturnal Times, and The Lexington Dispatch. Zach graduated from Elon University with a degree in Cinema and Television Arts.

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and Savannah Dawson

Prior to coming to Scholarships360 for her first internship in 2022, Savannah utilized her campus publications by joining various fashion publications that are offered at Ohio University. One of those publications is Thread Magazine, where Savannah has had the opportunity to work on articles related to world-wide related fashion news and events, as well as articles closer to home, such as a fashion piece on Athens hometown-hero Joe Burrow. This year, Savannah also had the opportunity to be a content writing intern for Aiken House, as well as a section editor for Southeast Ohio Magazine. In 2023, Savannah served as the Chapter President of her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta. These collective experiences, as well as her experience currently working for Ohio University’s Undergraduate Admissions, has led her to Scholarships360 and aided in her passion for helping students better understand the college admissions process and financial aid. In her free time, Savannah enjoys horseback riding, watching Formula One races, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family. Savannah will graduate from Ohio University in May 2024 with a degree in Journalism News and Information and a certificate in Italian Studies.

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Edited by Maria Geiger

Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Updated: September 5th, 2023
Greek Life: The Pros and Cons

For some, the term “Greek life” conjures images of wild college parties. A lot of that has to do with movies and TV shows that portray fraternities and sororities as party-obsessed. While partying is often an integral part of Greek life, there are a lot more to these organizations than what we see in the media.

Getting involved in Greek life can be a great way to build lifelong friendships, set yourself up for post-graduate success, and perform valuable volunteer work. Of course, anyone thinking about going through the recruitment process should be aware of the potential downsides. Greek life can be time-consuming and expensive, plus the lifestyle simply doesn’t suit every student. In this guide, we’ll discuss some key factors to consider if you’re thinking about going Greek. 

Don’t miss: Scholarships360’s free scholarship search tool

What is Greek life? 

Before we dive into the pros and cons of Greek life, let’s cover the basics. Fraternities and sororities are undergraduate organizations that help college students develop social and leadership skills. Greek life participants attend social events together, coordinate on community service projects, and often share the same housing. At their core, fraternities and sororities provide spaces for like-minded students to support each other throughout college and beyond. Many fraternities and sororities are national organizations that support chapters at hundreds of colleges and universities throughout the nation. 

Also see: How to make the most out of college

Pros of Greek Life

Not only do Greek organizations foster the development of great friendships, but they also encourage service work and provide academic and career-related support. With so many great reasons to join, it’s no wonder hundreds of thousands of students are involved. Below we’ll discuss some of these benefits more in-depth. 

Social life

It’s no secret that a lot of students join fraternities and sororities for the social benefits. Going Greek means you’ll be immediately surrounded by a tight-knit group of people, generally those who have similar values as you. This can be particularly appealing for underclassmen struggling to find a social circle. Members share a bond strengthened by a variety of activities, which can include chapter retreats, formal dances, socials, philanthropy events and of course, parties. So, if you’re looking for a fulfilling social life to occupy your time outside of academics, Greek life may be the way to go. 

Academic support

Greek life members play hard, but they also work hard. Many organizations offer support systems to help members achieve their academic potential. These include study sessions, tutoring programs, and study skills workshops. Most chapters expect members to meet strict GPA requirements, giving students an incentive to keep their grades up. All of this should be encouraging for anyone worried that pledging may come at the expense of their education.

Many chapters also create a space to foster academic excellence by having study groups, library sessions, and partnering underclassmen with upperclassmen who have similar majors as them. This encourages students within Greek life to keep academics at the forefront of their focus throughout college.

Networking connections

Going Greek gives you the chance to build important long-term connections within your organization. As you advance in your college education and career, these connections can prove useful in securing internships, employment, and recommendations. Not only will you develop a strong network of peers within your chapter, but you’ll also have an extensive alumni network to turn to. It’s estimated that there are more than nine million Greek life alumni in the U.S. Joining a fraternity or sorority provides an instant connection to a large community of people who can point you in the right direction on your post-graduate path.

One way that many sorority and fraternity alumni connect is through LinkedIn. If you add your Greek Life organization to your LinkedIn account, it is likely that you will get a great deal of messages and connections from other alumni who want to get to know you. 

Also see: Do I need a LinkedIn account?

Service work 

Joining a fraternity or sorority also gives you the opportunity to do a lot of good in the community. Most Greek organizations devote significant time to philanthropic activities such as volunteer projects and fundraising events. Not only is this an excellent way to give back to the community, but it’s a great way to develop skills and build your resume. Many chapters even have leadership positions dedicated to the service aspect of their organization. Members in this position coordinate projects and fundraisers, log hours contributed by each member, and delegate responsibilities. 

Student author perspective

Philanthropy is the main focus for the majority of Greek Life organizations, and it is the most valuable of all the things you can gain from being a part of a sorority. My sorority volunteers at a local food bank each semester to help pack boxes for families in need. We also hold larger scale events to raise money for Meals on Wheels and other local initiatives for fighting hunger. It is beautiful to be able to see the hands-on things we are able to do for the community around us!”

Savannah Dawson

Student and sorority member/president

Ohio University

Related: How to get involved on campus

Cons of Greek Life

While joining a Greek organization can be a great experience, there are some other factors to be aware of if you’re thinking about pledging. Some students may be deterred by the cost, time commitment, or lifestyle associated with fraternities and sororities. Let’s talk about these potential downsides more in-depth. 


Going Greek isn’t cheap. Members pay regular chapter dues to support operations costs and the upkeep of community areas. These dues vary widely between schools and chapters, so it’s tough to know exactly how much to expect. However, it’s not uncommon for members to pay upwards of $1,000 per semester in chapter dues. On top of membership fees, there are a variety of other costs associated with Greek life. Members should expect to purchase attire and tickets for social events and pay fees associated with applying and becoming a new member. Although the cost of Greek life can quickly add up, many chapters offer scholarships to subsidize the cost of joining a fraternity or sorority. 

Related: How to save money in college

Time commitment

Greek life is just as much of a time commitment as it is a financial one. If you choose to join a fraternity or sorority, you’ll go through a pledging process that will last 6 or more weeks. During this period, you’ll spend all your free time attending meetings, completing tasks, and learning the ins and outs of Greek life. Even once pledging is over, the organization will expect you to attend house meetings and chapter events throughout the year. 

Depending on how demanding your chapter is, being Greek is roughly the equivalent of adding a class or two to your schedule. Of course, this isn’t a bad thing if you’re ready to make that sort of time commitment. But if you’re already juggling an intense course load, extracurricular activities, and a part-time job, you may find it challenging to add Greek life to your plate.

Potential risks

Fraternities and sororities are commonly associated with hazing, an initiation process that involves harassment. While virtually every college prohibits harmful hazing activities, unfortunately, it can just happen– just like in any organization. Greek life can also foster a culture of binge drinking and drug abuse. Every fraternity and sorority is different, though, so it’s unfair to say that all organizations partake in hazing or excessive drinking. It’s important to research the chapters you’re thinking about joining so you’re aware of the potential risks, but sometimes a lot of this simply comes down to the school you are attending rather than just the Greek Life chapter.  


The Greek lifestyle doesn’t appeal to everyone, and that’s completely okay. Maybe you enjoy partying, but you can’t see yourself going out nearly every weekend. And even if you are party-happy, you may not want to deal with the extra commitments associated with Greek life. Between attending meetings, performing volunteer work, and throwing parties, the lifestyle can easily consume most of your time. If you value time to wind down or pursue other hobbies, joining a fraternity or sorority could be overwhelming. And while Greek organizations can foster lifelong friendships, some students may want the freedom and flexibility to make friends outside of Greek circles. 

Related: What does rushing in college mean?

Should I join Greek life? 

Ultimately, that decision comes down to your personal preferences and what you want out of your college experience. Joining a fraternity or sorority can be incredibly rewarding, but it’s not the only way to achieve a fulfilling college experience. The great thing about college is that there are so many different paths you can take. Extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, and academic research are all meaningful experiences as well. If your heart is set on pursuing Greek life, though, take the time to research the fraternities and sororities at the schools you’re considering. Every chapter is different, so you’ll want to find an organization that’s right for you. In the end, you should make an informed decision that supports your personal goals and interests.

Also see: College dorm essentials checklist

Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways

  • Although Greek Life is not for everyone, it can be extremely beneficial in an undergraduate student’s college career, and beyond
  • While cost is a concern for many people, there are many Greek Life scholarships available, both through specific schools, as well as third parties
  • Philanthropy, service, and siblinghood are huge parts of being in a Greek life organization, so if you are going into it simply for the social aspect, there are other ways to access that in college
Key Takeaways

Frequently asked questions about Greek Life

Are people in Greek life more successful?

 Some studies have shown that Greek life participants end up earning more after graduation. A 2021 study showed that fraternity alumni earned higher incomes after college. This could be explained by the networking opportunities which fraternities encourage, or by the ways in which fraternities prepare their participants for post-grad life.

That being said, success can be measured in many different ways, and salary is only one of them. Additionally, this could be the result of correlation rather than causation; Greek life majors may typically choose more profitable majors or come from more prosperous backgrounds.

What are the benefits of Greek life?

 Greek life brings about great opportunities to meet people from your school, and sets you up with a network after you graduate. You’ll have academic support and friendship from a large group of peers across all grade levels. Additionally, students who enjoy parties and spending a lot of time socially will find Greek life very appealing.

Is Greek life declining?

Various surveys across the country have shown a decline in Greek life over recent years. There are a myriad of factors that might contribute to this, including COVID, highly publicized hazing mishaps and efforts to abolish Greek life altogether. That being said, Greek life is still a major force at many colleges, especially state schools and larger universities. So, although recent numbers may be lower than they have been historically, Greek life is not going anywhere at the vast majority of schools.

Does being in a sorority or fraternity look good on a resume?

 The answer to this question depends greatly on who is reading your application. To people who were not in your Greek organization or not in a Greek organization at all, your fraternity or sorority status might mean nothing. However, if you apply for a job where the boss or hiring committee is associated with your organization, it puts you at a huge advantage. Greek life alumni often land jobs with graduates of their organization. Your fraternity or sorority might even have resources to help connect their alumni with job opportunities.

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