Is “Going Greek” Right for My Student?
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.
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. The Greek New Member grade point average (GPA) is higher than the non-Greek freshman GPA, and this does not happen by accident. 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 habits that will serve them well during their time at Tech. 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 who join a fraternity or sorority are more likely to return for a second year than non-Greek peers. This is a great testimony to the connections students make at Tech when they join a fraternity or sorority early in their academic career at Tech. 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. In addition, fraternity and sorority members are more likely to graduate from the Institute than their non-Greek peers.
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 55 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 can be transferred to group work in their classes, networking in the workforce as well as 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 the education outside of the classroom. These life skills equip graduates for the rigorous demands of their careers and augment the lessons learned in the classroom.
All fraternities and sororities have service as a tenant of their organizations, giving back to the Tech and Atlanta communities. 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.
Making connections with the other members of their chapters, working with students in other chapters through Greek community-wide activities, and learning from alumni are just three examples of the networking that occurs when a student joins a fraternity or sorority. Because these are social organizations, students often make 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. Fraternities and sororities also connect families of their members as well. Many chapters 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.
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.