I'm applying rd and visited bucknell and colgate. Academically I loved both schools- schools really important to me. And socially I love to have a good time and school spirits definitely a plus. However at the same time I'm pretty liberal, laid back and really into music indie and classic rock. I want to meet people I can genuinely connect with not just on a superficial Greek level. Which would be better for a more diverse and intellectual student body where I could go to a football game but also an open mic night or a Buddhist chant circle? Or are neither good places foe this
"I want to meet people I can genuinely connect with not just on a superficial Greek level"
I would caution you about adopting beliefs (and making statements) based on what appears to be a superficial understanding of greek life.
Potential fraternity members must make the effort to get to know members if they want any chance of being considered for a bid. Members, as well as people considering pledging, look for people they connect with. Certainly not all pledge class memebrs know each other prior to pledging, which is why the members generally look to assemble a pledge class they feel will gel. There must be a connection to get a bid. Pledging and ongoing membership continues to build on that initial connection and has done so successfully for decades.
Beyond that, think about the common sense implicaitons of the statement.
Why would people invest the time to pledge if the reward for pledging is only a superficial friendship? They invest time pledging because they know that is not the case.
Greek life is just one option on the long list of opportunities available to students at Colgate, Bucknell and other colleges.
You are looking at 2 wonderful schools - many similarities, including the student body, with probably the biggest difference being that Bucknell draws engineering students.
The beauty is you can't make a bad choice when choosing between these 2. You might take a look at some little things that may make a difference to you.....a particular club/activity, course emphasis within a department, look at the events calendar, etc.
The key thing you are overlooking is that going to a college with greek life is a choice and joining a greek organization once there, is also a choice.
People go to a school, knowing what the environment is....no greek, some greek, heavy greek....your choice.
I struggle with people choosing to become part of a community and then complaining about it when they get there. It's unfortunate when people realize they may have made a wrong choice for them, but just because something isn't the right fit for someone doesn't mean the community needs to change. Again, individual choice.... stay and find your niche or choose to go somewhere else that is a better fit.
The fact that you don't "get it" does not mean that it is bad, wrong, etc. Just means it's not right for you.
mrb3, the thing is that in some schools the Greek life is so pervasive that there really isn't the feeling one has a choice. Students report that there social life suffers unless they join if the Greek presence has such a high percent. So they join but they really don't have a desire for Greek life, they are likely the ones who don't like it.
That means students need to put the choice of Greek social life above or as high as the choice of the quality of the academics when selecting a school. They must then choose to join a community that they really don't want to embrace if they desire that educational quality available.
That is an unfortunate dilemma that would disappear if Greek life simply functioned like clubs. Anyone could join or not. No initiation, no ritual, no exclusion.
The part I don't "get" is why would you want to be part of something that causes the same emotion you must have had at least once growing up when you were cut out of a group or not invited to a party. Tell me, it had to have bothered you.
Bucknell graduate ('06) and first time poster here. I think it is important to remember that simply because you choose not to integrate fully into the Greek system (which, of course, is a large part of the Bucknell social scene), doesn't entail complete exclusion from said system. I was not a member of a fraternity; in fact, I lived in CHOICE, which you could consider almost anti-Greek. Despite this, I did have quite a few friends in fraternities, so I was never lacking for anything to do - I hung out in frat houses occasionally, and party admittance was generally not an issue. Not to mention House Party weekend is open to all.
Maybe some people had different experiences, but at the most basic level, both those within the Greek system, and those outside of it, are members of the larger Bucknell community. Bucknellians, by and large, are a pretty inclusive bunch, despite internal affiliations of Greek, non-Greek, etc.
Well that is good input. I have been looking over both Bucknell and Lehigh for my son and I have a hard time visualizing him at a school with such a strong Greek presence which is disappointing since the academics at both are so strong. It isn't that the Greek scene doesn't exist at the other schools he is applying but they seem less dominant.
Lakemom: That's understandable. The 'dominant' Greek presence at Bucknell wouldn't really factor into my decision if I had to go back to undergrad. I wouldn't, for example, matriculate at a lower-ranked school with a weaker academic reputation simply on the basis of Greek life.
I say this as a Bucknellian who is now doing a PhD at a top ranked research school. In fact, tons of my friends and acquaintances from Bucknell are now doing PhD's, MD's, JD's, etc. Insofar as the typical PhD student will not typically have been in a sorority or fraternity, I don't think any of them have retrospectively questioned their choice to attend Bucknell. Quite the opposite - a lot of fellow Bucknell-turned-PhD friends say that they wish they were back at Bucknell, since it was overall a great four years.
Thanks for you input antikantian. As we draw close to the final month or two to get apps in, I have been trying to see if either of these schools should be considered. My son intends to major in Mech Engineering and both schools have good reputations. Size is good, close to home, close to snowboarding (his only real sport). I don't want to discount them but it is hard on these boards to get a solid impression on how he would fair.
funny, I had the exact same internal dialog last year around this time regarding Bucknell vs. Lehigh. We visited both places.
Not that I could decide for my son - just some thoughts, worries, etc, but it was good that in the end I felt much better about Bucknell in this dimension. Both seemed to have a strong Greek culture, but it appeared that at Bucknell it was not as exclusive or domineering as it was at Lehigh. That was a big factor for me to recommend Bucknell over Lehigh to my son. I also liked the fact that at Bucknell, they don't allow freshmen rush - it gave students an opportunity to form friendship at the beginning that is not completely depended on Greek membership. Perhaps that's why there is an overall sentiment that though Greek culture at Bucknell is strong, it is not exclusive or domineering as it is in some other places.
I am a very happy Bucknell parent. I think my son is at an excellent place.
in fact I believe a lot more people share your concerns about domineering Greek culture on various campuses. I have a similar sentiment about totally domineering sports culture also. Nothing against sports, but when that becomes a dominant scene over academics, I start to wonder what the core mission of that institution is.
I have to say that I believe the core mission at Bucknell is academics. The greek scene is definitely a big part of Bucknell. But EVERY student, greek or not, has rigorous classes, ie lots of reading, papers tests, labs, etc.
Courses are completely independent of a students greek choices.
My D2, a student at Bucknell, is an independent, ie non greek. She is getting a great education, great outside class experience, great outside Bucknell experience.
She has truly gotten a lot out of Bucknell. RA since sophmore yr., a semester abroad, a summer internship and RA on campus, membership leading to leadership in several Bucknell activities, volunteer activities such as a going to New Orleans for Katrina relief., independent research w/ a prof., etc
I believe my D2 has gotten the most offered out of her 4 years at Bucknell. I didn't even mention them all.
She is NOT a sorority member. She is very social and has many friends.
You can get by at Bucknell w/o joining a frat or sorority. You will probably end up at a party. You will be ok if it is open.
That too will end if you are an independent or senior bars and can get into bars.