I'm an incoming freshman here at MIT and I've spent the past few days rushing with fraternities. I was just wondering what some of the fraternities are known for? Like which ones are the hard partiers, which ones are more academic, which ones have more athletes, what's in between. I know the best way to figure this out is to spend time with them (which I've been doing), but since rush week is supposed to be dry, it's a little hard to gauge what they'll be like once real life actually starts. Are any of them known for being tamer, or having non-drinkers with them? If anyone knows specifically about Theta Chi, Phi Sigma, Zeta Beta Tau, Zeta Psi, or Sigma Alpha Epsilon, I would appreciate it!
Here's what I have so far:
DKE-football, hard partiers
DU-water polo, hard partiers
TC-work hard, play hard
SAE-"true gentlemen" (I don't really know what this means)
PDT-nice guys, party with BU a lot
Pi Lambda-very studious
(If any of these conceptions are wrong, please correct me). I appreciate the insight!!!!!
I am an MIT fraternity brother from a long time ago. From my experience, it is hard to pin down "exactly" what a house will be like year to year. After all, you are adding about 25% new people each year. Those new people help shape what the house will be like in the coming years. The house I joined had been a big A league intermural football power and by the time I was a junior we were C or D league at best. We were jusst inot other sports. The distribution of majors also shifted quite a bit during my time.
My advice, if you decide to join a fraternity, is to join the one you feel most at home in. You will then have a chance to help shape it into what you want it to be.
ZBT -- My daughter's long-time boyfriend lived in this fraternity, and she and several female friends rented rooms over the summer while doing UROPS. They have both graduated and are still very close with many former "Zebes", some of whom have visited and stayed at our house here in Silicon Valley. She characterizes ZBT as "more of a brotherhood" than a fraternity, although I always point out the terms have an identical meaning. What she means, though, is that it's more of a supportive living group than a hard-drinking party house. The Zebes I've met claim it is the nerdiest fraternity at MIT, with an average gpa much higher than the mean for the campus as a whole. There is a good deal of mentoring within ZBT and lots of support for study as well as fun. During the academic year the fraternity has a chef -- my daughter ate there once a week and reported the cooking was wonderful.
If my son had gone to MIT, this is the fraternity I would have wished for him. It would have provided solid long-term friendships with really great people.
Although I worry that my stereotypes are woefully out of date (it's now been, ahem, ten years since I arrived in Cambridge for orientation), I also have a soft spot in my heart for ZBT -- every guy I've known in that fraternity has just been such a good, nice, decent person.
This was very helpful to me. I will keep the author anonymous, but they are very thorough, and I observed similar circumstances:
"Here is a breakdown of the fraternities that I've observed. I'm going to group them in tiers of most fratty to least fratty, based on the stereotypical stereotype of frattiness -
Chi Phi - Very rich, quite a few internationals and Europeans
Delta Tau Delta - Lots of people from California, into alternative and electronic music
Delta Upsilon - Water Polo players
Lamda Chi Alpha - Basketball players
Sigma Chi - Similar to Chi Phi, but a lot more white and America, versus Europeans and a minority of Indians and stuff
A little less fratty
Delta Kappa Epsilon? (DKE) - A lot of football players, but they seem more quiet and not really as fratty as one might expect
Kappa Sigma - Overall, pretty athletic but not necessarily centered around one sport. Possibly they are more into intramurals
Phi Beta Epsilon - Lots of Asians and Indians, lots of course 6, they're the type to work hard and party hard, and they're pretty into themselves. A small minority is track players.
Phi Delta Theta - Don't know too much about them, I think they're pretty diverse but kind of generic, with quite a few people in MIT's dancetroupe
Phi Kappa Theta - A lot of asian, and a slightly tamer version of PBE, but they're not into themselves at all
Phi Sigma Kappa - A tamer version of Chi Phi, they are a lot more chill though, not as full of themselves and have a pretty tame pledge program, they hang out with girls from A Phi a lot (the most stereotypical sorority) since they live right next door
Sigma Alpha Epsilon - I think they have a house now, but I don't know if they throw a lot of parties. They have a lot of track players.
Not so fratty
Nu Delta - Black
Phi Kappa Sigma - Kind of like a tamer version of Phi Sigma Kappa.
Pi Lambda Phi - A lot of asians, kind of like a tamer version of PBE.
Sigma Nu - Don't know too much about them
Theta Chi - Don't know too much about them
Theta Delta Chi? (TDC) - Hispanic
Theta Xi - Don't know too much about them, I think they're less nerdy than they might have been in recent years
Zeta Psi - Basically a tamer version of Kappa Sigma
Not fratty at all -
Alpha Delta Phi? (ADP) - Pretty nerdy, they play video games a lot, but they still throw parties and stuff
Sigma Epsilon - They just re-colonized a few years ago, so they aren't crazy like they were in the 90s.
Tau Epsilon Phi? (TeP) - A weirder version of East Campus and Random. Probably should be an ILG instead
Zeta Beta Tau - It's far away and in Brookline, pretty academic, they're the type to play board games for fun"
@JQ: You have to define what you mean by "frattiness." Sigma Chi was kind of preppy and they seemed to take the whole brotherhood seriously, but they weren't the drunken kegger type of fraternity. So they're fratty in the preppy dimension, but not in the drunken jerk dimension. As down as I am on frats in general, I don't think sigma chi would be a bad choice for your average MIT student.
As someone that graduated over 25 years ago, these descriptions are really interesting and things have changed a LOT! Pi Lambda Phi was hard core partiers. Lambda Chi Alpha was the soccer players. SAE was the jocks, mostly football players. DU was gentlemen. DTD was the nice guys next door. Chi Phi was not rich Europeans. I realize that there is a lot of turnover each year but I would have thought that similar people were attracted to the existing character of each fraternity so there wouldn't be such drastic change. Interesting.