One of the most quintessentially college activities is Greek Life. Fraternities and sororities aren’t just clubs, they’re nationally (and sometimes internationally) run societies with judicial boards, standards, traditions, networking opportunities, and charitable organizations.

When I was looking at schools I was terribly skeptical of Greek life organizations. All that I heard were hazing horror stories and all I saw were crazy Animal House-esque media portrayals. An introverted nerd, I never thought Greek life would be for me. I rushed as a way to meet people, and it changed my college course. As a proud member of a social sorority, I can honestly say that Greek Life has truly enhanced my college career. It’s given me a social network, a support system, countless leadership opportunities, mentors, and a philanthropic output.

Unfortunately, for all of the good that Greek Letter Organizations do, they tend to get a bad name in the media. All I knew was Elle Woods (who, lets be fair, went to UCLA and Harvard Law–brains on brains). I didn’t know about the Condoleezza Rices or the Mark Zuckerbergs who called themselves sisters and brothers.

Though there are now more and more positive things coming out about Greek life… the news still give fraternities and sororities a bad rep.  So, looking past the plentiful social opportunities, here’s some great things about Greek life that you probably didn’t know before:

1. Greek Life is Empowering

Each chapter of a Greek organization is chock full of leadership opportunities. You might serve as President or a VP, a chair, a committee member. The great thing is that chapters aim to be self-governing satellites of a larger organization, so you can see the impact your position has made. A substantial amount of today’s political and business leaders are members of sororities and fraternities. Greek life teaches leadership skills, and empowers its members.

2. Greeks Raise a Butt-Load of Money for Charity  

One of the central parts of Greek Life is philanthropy. Greeks are constantly raising money for causes they care about. Service is a huge part, too. It could be starting a Girl Scout troop, building houses with Habitat for Humanity, or working at a women’s shelter. Another example: the Panhellenic Conference supports an amazing cause called Circle of Sisterhood, which both raises money to help out girls in need and empowers them.

3. Greeks Excel at Academics

Did you know that members of Greek Organizations graduate from college at much higher rates than their non-Greek peers? Every Greek organization has a minimum GPA that their members are required to maintain to remain a member. They have mandatory study hours, their own honors society, and many have an entire VP position devoted to keeping the academics high (like yours truly in my own chapter).

4. Greeks Have and Maintain High Standards

This might shock you considering the stereotypes, but Greeks are held to incredibly high standards when it comes to their behavior and attitudes. There is a notion in the Greek world that you are “always wearing your letters.” It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, you’re always representing the Greeks as a whole. This puts a lot of pressure on Greeks to maintain a good image, do good works, and, pardon the cliché, stay classy at all times. Furthermore, the organizations are cracking down hard on things like hazing. The face is changing, and the terribly inhumane practice is (thankfully) coming to an end.

5. Greek Life Gives You Strong Bonds

The reason that sororities and fraternities are called sororities and fraternities is because they’re about sisterhood and brotherhood. There is a special bond that forms from being in one of these organizations. You share similar values. You share the same ritual. You might live together. You work towards the same causes. You call the girls in your sorority your sisters because you love them like sisters and care about them like sisters. The girl I sat next to in my first ever sorority new member meeting? One of my closest friends, my sorority house roommate, and my sorority “cousin.”

So when you’re looking at schools, give Greek life a chance, it might just change your life.

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the author

Jillian is better known by her pseudonym “CollegeApp Chick", which is half college application blog and half small private college advising business. She’s currently studying Psychology and Religious Studies at a small public school south of the Mason Dixon line. When not advising, studying, or blogging Jillian is an active member of the Shakespeare theatre club, sandbox improv, women’s chorus, and is an officer in a social sorority. She likes to talk, a lot. Most importantly, Jillian wears dresses more than 250 days a year. For more of Jillian’s tips, find her at her website or her Tumblr.

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