Is “Going Greek” Right for My Student?

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Tanner Marcantel
Assistant Dean, Director of Greek Affairs
tanner.marcantel@vpss.gatech.edu

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There are many benefits for students who join a fraternity or sorority at Georgia Tech.

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What if there were an organization your student could join that would make him or her more likely to return for a second year, more likely to graduate, and happier during his or her time at Tech? There are many benefits for students who join a fraternity or sorority at Georgia Tech. These organizations, among the oldest establishments on campus, provide a vital social outlet that teaches leadership skills and civic engagement, and produces a happier, more well-rounded student.

Listed below are some of the major benefits of fraternity and sorority membership. You may also find information about individual chapters, programs, services, and membership and academic statistics at www.greek.gatech.edu.

Academics

The Greek New Member grade point average (GPA) is higher than the non-Greek freshman GPA, and this doesn't happen by accident.

  • Sorority women, average GPA = 3.23
  • All female undergraduates, average GPA = 3.20

  • Fraternity men, average GPA = 3.13
  • All male undergraduates, average GPA = 3.09

  • All undergraduates (male and female), average GPA = 3.13

Most parents are surprised to find out that we have documented proof of significant academic benefits to joining a fraternity or sorority at Georgia Tech. All of our fraternity and sorority chapters have programs in place to help new members and pledges perform well academically during their first year of college and learn study habits that will serve them well over the course of their academic career. Of course, individuals have to make the decision to attend class, do their homework, and be dedicated to their academics, but the fraternity and sorority chapters are accountable for each member’s grades. In addition to study hours, tutors, and other chapter academic programs, this kind of positive peer pressure does wonders.

Freshmen at Tech who join a fraternity or sorority are more likely to return for a second year than non-Greek peers (97.6% for Greek students vs. 94.7% for unaffiliated students).  In addition, fraternity and sorority members are more likely to graduate from the Institute than their non-Greek peer (87.6% for Greek students vs. 80.0% for unaffiliated students).

This is a great testimony to the connections students make when they join a fraternity or sorority early in their academic career. I have had countless recent graduates and alumni tell me that they would not have completed their education if it were not for the support of their fraternity brothers or sorority sisters, and our research proves these personal testimonials. 

Leadership and life-skills

There are numerous opportunities to gain and develop leadership skills within the fraternity and sorority community. There are committee member, committee chair, and executive board opportunities within the 56 chapters and four governing boards – the Collegiate Panhellenic Council (CPC), the Interfraternity Council (IFC), the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) and the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC).

Leadership among peers is an important skill that gives our students valuable experience that transfers to group work in the classroom, networking in the workforce, and participation in civic and community organizations. We also find that working in close proximity with fellow students is a great laboratory to practice life lessons that contribute to education from outside of the classroom. These life skills equip graduates for the rigorous demands of their careers and augment the lessons learned in the classroom.

Service

All fraternities and sororities have service as a value of their organizations, which makes giving back to the Tech and Atlanta communities and integral part of membership. Through hands-on service projects and philanthropic fundraisers, our fraternity and sorority members live the values espoused in their rituals by helping those around them. In addition to local work, most chapters nationally partner with a philanthropic agency that will raise money for notable causes. At Tech, we are proud that our students are learning to be life-long volunteers and donors as a part of their membership in a fraternity or sorority.

Networking

Making connections with their chapter members, working with students in other chapters through Greek community-wide activities, and learning from alumni are just three examples of networking that occurs when a student joins a fraternity or sorority. Because these are social organizations, students often build extensive networks without even realizing it. While some of these networks are just great ways to make new friends and get to know people, some of them are far more lucrative and meaningful. Many students make connections with alumni that lead to co-op jobs or internships while they are in school. It goes without saying that making alumni connections in various fields of employment is certainly valuable in today’s job market. Chapters can also help to connect a students’ family members to other families with students at Tech. Many fraternities and sororities host activities and events in conjunction with the Institute’s Family Weekend and at other times during the year. Some chapters also have organizations for parents to join, such as a parents association, a moms club, or a dads club.

Lifelong membership

Recently, an incoming freshman said to me, “You say joining a Greek organization is a life-long obligation. So what happens when you graduate?” I thought this was a fantastic question from an 18-year-old. Upon graduation, members have the opportunity to give back to their organization through donations of time, talent, and money. All of our chapters have alumni volunteers — some who graduated from Tech and some from other colleges and universities — who serve on chapter advisory teams, house corporation boards, and others who serve as alumni mentors to our undergraduates. Many of our fraternity and sorority alumni have risen through the volunteer ranks of their organizations to hold local, state, regional, and inter/national offices, helping to guide the fraternity and sorority movement at the highest levels.

Alumni continue to network through their fraternity or sorority, making new friends and business contacts while maintaining friendships they began in college. Most fraternities and sororities have alumni chapters all over North America, so no matter where their career takes them, our alumni have a built-in resource right when they settle into their new city.

Going Greek

Going Greek can be an excellent opportunity for someone who is looking to gain additional learning and support, get involved, and connect with their peers. Encourage your student to visit www.greek.gatech.edu to learn more about the programs and educational opportunities provided by our community as well as information about the upcoming recruitment period this fall. We look forward to seeing you and your student at FASET!

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Status
  • Created By: Rachael Pocklington
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Jul 9, 2013 - 11:29am
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:14pm