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THE USA: Once you arrive

5 reasons to join a sorority or fraternity in the USA

How can joining a sorority or fraternity benefit you and your future? We find out.

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During your time abroad there are many ways that you can get involved in the student community at your university. For example, in the UK, you can join clubs and societies to meet new people and experiment with your interests and hobbies. In the USA, you can do the same, but they are more often referred to as sororities and fraternities. You’ve probably seen or heard of these in films or on TV shows set in America where students can be seen partying with their fellow sorority or fraternity members. In this article, we explore five reasons to join a sorority or fraternity while studying in the USA.

 

What is a sorority or fraternity? 

 

First things first, what do the terms sorority and fraternity mean? A sorority is a type of college organisation for girls while a fraternity is an equivalent for boys at universities in the USA. These may also be referred to as “houses”. Members of these houses are then known as “sisters” or “brothers”. 

 

These groups also often have Greek or Latin names such as Alpha Phi Delta or Alpha Delta Gamma which it is argued were historically chosen to reflect academic and scholarly intentions. Students in sororities and fraternities get together for different events, activities, social gatherings, and charity fundraising. 

 

Perceptions of sororities and fraternities are mixed as some view them as old-fashioned and traditional. However, depending on your viewpoint, there are benefits to joining a sorority or fraternity, which we’ll take you through.

 

1.Gain leadership skills

 

There are plenty of opportunities to take on leadership roles within a sorority or fraternity. With every formal, event or charity ball, members are encouraged to step up and take on some added responsibility that will benefit your CV. Employers often look for candidates who have proven experience in leadership positions. This is because effective leaders can communicate well, make decisions, organise a team of people and manage projects independently. 

 

No matter what your personality, extroverted or introverted, you can still gain leadership skills when working on events behind the scenes of your sorority or fraternity. You may need to ask someone in the house how to get involved as they may not immediately think to ask you. 

 

2. Make friends

 

This is perhaps one of the most appealing reasons to join a sorority or fraternity. When starting college, particularly in a different country, you may know very few people or none at all. By joining a sorority or fraternity you will be mixing with lots of fellow students who will also be keen to make new friends. 

 

As sororities and fraternities are often tight-knit groups, bonds are easily formed. It is often said that being part of a sorority or fraternity is like being part of a family which is the type of connection that you’ll be missing most as an international student. These groups also tend to be made up of hundreds of students, giving you lots of opportunities to meet like-minded people. 

 

3. Boost your employment prospects

 

Joining a sorority or fraternity shows dedication, commitment, loyalty, and philanthropy. These traits are highly desirable for all types of employers who want to hire someone they can trust. It also demonstrates that you can manage your time effectively as you have balanced your academic pursuits with extracurricular activities. 

 

Similarly, you will be working on projects which give something back to the community. This reflects your core values and is something that can be sought after by employers who also care about involving the local community.

 

While grades are of course important, employers also want to see that you are a well-rounded individual with other interests and life-skills. For example, working with others and problem-solving are key skills that you will gain from being part of a sorority or fraternity when organising events and socials. Find out what other skills employers want to see in graduates.

 

4. Networking 

 

Finding a job after university can be challenging, particularly if you are entering a competitive field. One great way to land a role is through networking. Ask the people you know about the industry you want to enter into as they may have tips from their own experience of applying. 

 

As part of a sorority or fraternity, you will be able to ask older members about internship opportunities and their plans for the future. You never know, someone may know someone who heard of a job opening at a company you would like to work for. Speaking to others and learning about their career aspirations is also a great way to reflect on your own goals.  

 

5. Receive academic support

 

Despite their reputation for partying, sororities and fraternities also require members to maintain a certain GPA. This means that you’ve still got to be studying and working hard during your time in one of the houses. 

 

You can’t afford to focus solely on your extracurricular activities. If you need support, you should reach out to older members of your sorority or fraternity who have been in the same place as you. There is also likely to be at least one other person studying the same course as you so try to reach out to these people to organise some study sessions.  

 

Have a look at some of the universities in the USA running sororities and fraternities:

 

 

How to get into a sorority or fraternity

 

You firstly need to make sure that your university runs sororities and fraternities, as not all institutions do. Once you arrive on campus you can sign up for tours of the houses to find out more about them. Events are also run by “sisters” and “brothers” of the houses where you can register your interest and ask any questions you might have. 

 

If you have been successful you will receive a bid from the sorority or fraternity. You then have to accept the bid and will enter the pledging period which can be thought of as probation, a time when you will be adjusting to life in the house. You may also be assigned a mentor to help you get settled in.

 

Ready to apply to university in the USA? Use our course matcher tool to find a course and college suited to your preferences and qualifications. 

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