Parent Guide to Greek Life
How Can Your Son Benefit From Fraternity Membership?
For your son, making the transition from high school/community college to a four-year college or university may seem like an imposing challenge. One or more of the following questions may be on his mind:
- Will I fit in and make new friends?
- Will I be able to succeed academically?
- Will I be able to get involved in campus organizations and better my leadership skills?
- Will I find other people interested in the same things that I am?
- How can I prepare for my career?
- Will I feel like a part of the campus community or just another number?
Fraternities exist as a proven support network for your son as he embarks on this new period in his life. Over 400,000 students across the country are currently fraternity members.
The fraternity can help personalize your son's college experience by offering a scholastic support system; hands-on experience in leading committees, managing budgets, and interacting with faculty and administrators; exposure to potential careers through educational programs and discussions with alumni; the chance to give back the community through service projects; and close friends who will cheer him on when he is successful and support him when times are tough. With all these opportunities available to them, it is no wonder that fraternity members tend to graduate from college at a higher rate than those men not involved in fraternities. (courtesy the North-American Interfraternity Conference)
As a parent, you are undoubtedly concerned about your son's college experience and the choices he will make. Check out our Parent's Guide to Greek Life below...
What will my son get out of Greek life that they would not get out of any other college organization?
Attending college is one of the major life changes that your son will go through. Joining a fraternity will help make the transition easier. The fraternity experience is multifaceted and offers numerous opportunities to your student. Developing life-long friendships with the members in their chapter helps make the campus smaller. For many members, these chapters become a home away from home. In addition to the brotherhood, every chapter is dedicated to enhancing leadership, scholarship, philanthropy/service, and financial responsibility through various programs and opportunities. It will be up to your son to determine the level of involvement they want to have in the organization and what kind of experience it will be for them.
1) How will joining a chapter now benefit my son after college?
The friendships your son will make through a fraternity can last into post-college years. Greeks also have national networks for their members to use for securing jobs and advancing their careers. Membership in a chapter is a life-long experience that the member and the fraternity enjoy together. Joining now is really an investment in your son's future as they will reap the benefits now and for a lifetime. Wherever a member ends up after college, chances are he will be able to find other members of his fraternity.
Also Sigma Pi has numerous corporate sponsorships and a job board that helps make life after college a little easier.
2) Will my son's academics be compromised if they join a Fraternity?
Students often find managing their time difficult when moving from the highly structured high school environment to the freedom of college life. Greek membership assists in that transition by offering scholarship programs that may include study partners, mandatory study hours, and time management workshops. Your son can also access the network of chapter members who already know how to use campus resources like the library, study skills center, computer labs, and academic advisors.
Nothing, however, can take the place of a disciplined and academically-focused student to ensure success in college. Thanks, in part, to the chapter's academic goals and these programs, the average GPA among Greek members has been consistently higher than the All University Student's GPA. We encourage you to take this information into consideration when helping your student decide which fraternity they may want to join.
3) What is a Philanthropy or Service Project?
Greek members take it as part of their mission to support their national philanthropies (non profit causes). Throughout the year, each chapter spends time fundraising and volunteering to help their particular philanthropy. The time spent together on philanthropic and service events is one of the many times that fraternity members have the opportunity to bond, while making a difference in a community member's life.
4) How much time does a chapter take up?
The time commitment varies from chapter to chapter but the first semester is the most time intensive as the new member goes through the chapter's Foundation of Membership Education Program. The time spent in this program will give your student the opportunity to develop their leadership and time management skills, learn about the history of the Fraternity, develop friendships with their new member class, as well as the rest of the chapter, and allow them to become involved with other organizations.
After the initiation into the chapter, expectations will vary. Each chapter has weekly chapter meetings and other mandatory events (philanthropic, service, initiation) throughout the year, but they are planned well in advance. The more your son puts into the chapter the more he will get out of being a member!
5) What does it cost to be a member?
The Greek experience is an investment in your son's future. The leadership skills, the academic assistance, and friendships will benefit your child beyond their college days. The perception that fraternities are only an option for "rich" students is widespread and false. Greek organizations are quite affordable and fees go to services that will positively impact your son.
Many students work to supplement funding for their dues. Member's dues directly support the betterment of the chapter and the national organization. To assist members, chapters may offer various scholarships and grants. We encourage your son to ask questions related to finances during the recruitment process. We have scholarships and opportunities to raise funds, in order for it not to be a burden on you or your child's finances.
Here are the fees associated with membership in Sigma Pi:
6) Are fraternities primarily social in nature?
There is a social aspect to the Greek community but these "social" events include education programs/workshops, community service events, intramural sports, Parent's Day, Homecoming Parade and dinner exchanges in addition to parties and socials. Today's Greek communities across the nation have adopted a stringent approach to socializing thereby creating a safer, more beneficial environment for members.
7) Is there an alcohol policy?
Some fraternity houses prohibit the use of alcohol on their facilities. Each chapter has an alcohol policy in which there are yearly educational programs that the chapter is required to present to its members.
8) What about hazing?
Sigma Pi prohibits all forms of hazing. A holistic definition of hazing can also be found in every University's Code of Polices and Regulations Applying to All Students. The Fraternity investigates all allegations.
9) What is my role as a parent?
Take the time to find out more about the chapter your son is joining. Ask questions about what the organizations will offer your child and allow them to make the best decision for themselves. Once your child chooses to join a chapter, there will be opportunities for Mom's and Dad's weekend activities, as well as football games, or a number of other activities.
As you look into the Greek Community with your son consider the following information compiled by national studies:
Fraternity affiliation can positively influence retention through graduation. Fraternity affiliation directly impacts campus involvement and overall student satisfaction with college. Fraternity affiliation can positively influence involvement in civic organizations after college.
Some statistics compiled by the North-American Interfraternity Conference include:
* 48% of all US Presidents have been Greek
* 42% of US Senators are Greek
* 30% of US Congressmen are Greek
* 40% of all US Supreme Court Justices have been Greek
* 30% of Fortune 500 Executives are Greek
* And Greeks only make up 3% of the US population.
National Greek Websites:
North-American Interfraternity Conference: www.nicindy.org
(Information for this site was compiled by The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Sigma Pi would like to thank them for the use of this information.)