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Fraternity And Sorority Life GPA vs. Non-Affiliated Student GPA

pierre0913pierre0913 Posts: 7,602Registered User Senior Member
edited February 2010 in Parent Cafe
same thread from the College Life forum but I wanted to know what some parents (maybe some Greek Life alumni!) have to say:

Saw this in the campus newspaper today:

Congratulations Fraternity And Sorority Life!
Fraternity and Sorority Life GPA - 3.15
Non-Affiliated Student GPA - 3.04

415 Fraternity/Sorority Students on President's List (4.0 GPA)
716 Fraternity/Sorority Students on Deans' List (3.5+)
(*I go to a school with 13,780 full-time undergraduates where 23% of girls join sororities and 17% of guys join fraternities)

I've seen this phenomenon at many schools where the push by the Greek Life office to join a fraternity/sorority is because the Greek Life GPA is higher than the Non-Greek Life GPA. I've been torn over whether to join a fraternity for several months now. Is there a secret to the higher GPA or is this just a case in which the non-Greek Life GPA is a bigger sample than the Greek Life-GPA?
Post edited by pierre0913 on
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Replies to: Fraternity And Sorority Life GPA vs. Non-Affiliated Student GPA

  • interesteddadinteresteddad Posts: 23,569Registered User Senior Member
    Those stats are a lie.

    Most schools have a requirement to maintain a certain GPA to remain an active member of a fraternity. What happens is that, when a member falls below the threshold (lets say, 2.5 GPA), they are removed from the membership rolls (wink, wink), even though they continue paying dues and enjoying fraternity privledges (wink, wink).

    Voila, you are no longer counting any students with poor GPAs in your "average" for Greek members. Guess what? If you didn't count poor students at all, the whole schools average GPA would go up, too!

    There may be some arguments in support of Greek organizations, but improved academic peformance is not one of them.

    These are shopworn talking points trotted out by every fraternity organization in the country. They probably aslo mentioned how many US Presidents were fraternity members, too. Right?

    If you really want to know the truth, go talk to some professors at your school. Ask them how the frat boys do academically during rush? Alert? Eager to learn? Almost every frat school sees a decline in GPA during the rush period.
  • mamabear1234mamabear1234 Posts: 3,045Registered User Senior Member
    Back when I was in school, the fraternity my boyfriend belonged to had copies of the notes and tests from many classes, which certain professors never changed. They had copies of advanced labs and papers too. They had a ready-made study group and help from students who had taken the class in other years.

    I wouldn't join a fraternity just for this reason, however.
  • sunnyfloridasunnyflorida Posts: 4,790Registered User Senior Member
    At FSU, at my daughter's sorority, there is no winking going on. Girls whose GPA's fall below a certain level are on academic probation. They have study hours they have to attend at the house, the have to sit on the floor at chapter meetings in the front of the room, and not on chairs in the rows, so that the rest of the chapter knows who they are and can offer assistance. Even if a student has a good GPA but gets a D or F in one course (yes, organic chemistry can do that), they have a certain partial probation. And if the girls with the low GPA who are on full probation do not elevated their GPA, they not only loose their membership, they loose all privileges associated with that membership. Sure, girls can still hang out together, but the nonmember cannot attend any sorority function such as socials or date functions or formals. They cannot dance with them at dance marathon ( raised over 450,000 this past weekend for Childrens Miracle Network), they cannot walk with them at Relay for Life (raises money for American Cancer Society). They can attend these events as spectators, or can join a group of independents and participate, but they cannot participate as a member of the sorority. They cannot attend meeting, and they have to move out of the house.

    I have to admit, members of my daughters sorority are VERY INVESTED in their grades, their community service, and leadership roles outside of the sorority. Each sorority knows EXACTLY where they stand compared to the other sororities each semester, and where they stand compared to the independent GPA. I do note know how this is handled anywhere else, but the Office of Greek Life, Panhellenic, and the individual sororities are very competitive about this, and take it seriously. In fact, last year, one sorority was stripped of their 2nd place finish at dance marathon (the largest student-run philanthropy on campus) when it was discovered that they had a GDI (G-d D-mn Independent dancing for them. They had a hard time getting a pairing with a fraternity or multicultural group this year. (sororities pair up with frat and multicultural groups on a rotating basis to compete as a pairing.)

    I do believe that sororities handle things differently that some of the Frats. But GPA is a big deal, and lack of a good GPA gets you bounced out. Period.
  • MidwestMom2Kids_MidwestMom2Kids_ Posts: 6,673Registered User Senior Member
    Membership in the Greek system and GPA are independently correlated with socioeconomic status. This is not a causal relationship; joining the Greeks does not cause students to have higher GPAs.
  • Cardinal FangCardinal Fang Posts: 8,975Registered User Senior Member
    What are the majors of fraternity/sorority members? Lots of engineers?
  • UCDAlum82UCDAlum82 Posts: 1,065Registered User Senior Member
    My daughter's pledge class (20 girls) had three engineers, about 4 bio chem/organic chem majors, a few nursing majors, one dance major, and quite a few double majors in things like a language and sociology. So it tends to run the gamet. I suspect it's about the same range as the non-sorority frosh class. (Though I'm not sure 15% of freshman women are in engineering, that might have been a little high...)

    Her sorority does have better study groups than her dorm floor provided. The dorms tend to be mostly freshman, but the sorority provided sisters that had taken the classes before and could tutor. And the girls are motivated to keep grades up, as they get to share their grades with all the members. So it tends to be a point of pride.

    I was not in a sorority when I was in college, and had the apparently not so rare prejudice that they weren't the best students or environment. My daughter's experience has certainly proved me wrong.
  • erhswimmingerhswimming Posts: 1,207Registered User Senior Member
    At my small private LAC, greek life GPA is currently above non-affiliated GPA. Often, during pledging periods, pledges' GPAs go UP, as a result of required study hours and other academic programs put into place for Greek members, similar to those for athletic teams.

    Often, those who join Greek life are the more motivated members on campus, and at just about any school are more involved with extracurricular activities such as volunteering, clubs, and intramurals than their non-Greek counterparts. Greek life may not be for everyone, but nearly everyone who joins considers it a positive experience.
  • barronsbarrons Posts: 23,734Registered User Senior Member
    Idad--I have never heard of any such thing. There are no special scholarship rules for Greeks. They are under the same rules for probation as any student. And I do believe they have higher grad rates than the average non Greeks at most schools. They are more attached to the school and rarely transfer or flunkout.
  • BayBay Posts: 10,745Registered User Senior Member
    My dad was an engineering major in a fraternity way back in the 1940s.
  • pugmadkatepugmadkate Posts: 5,807Registered User Senior Member
    I'd like to see the DUI rates and the like.
  • Nrdsb4Nrdsb4 Posts: 9,024Registered User Senior Member
    At my daughter's school, it is my understanding that many of the sororities are looking for girls with high gpa's (much higher than the minimum requirement the university sets). One sorority supposedly wouldn't take anyone with less than a 3.6 high school gpa.

    If this is true, it certainly gives no credence to the concept that joining a fraternity or sorority somehow increases the chances of the member having a high gpa. It simply means that the members are already predisposed to making their academics a priority.
  • oldfortoldfort Posts: 17,050Registered User Senior Member
    My daughter is a math/econ double major (3.5), roommate with 3.9 pre-law, another one 3.8 pre-med, and the fourth person has the lowest GPA 3.2 from engineering school. They were 4 best friends from freshman year, all pledged the same house. A frat boy she was dating freshman year, graduated with highest GPA in engineering chool and is now at Stanford. Two other fraternity guys she is good friends with will be working at Goldman this summer, another one is going to Columbia law. Those are just kids I have met and know personally. I am sure there are high achievers outside of Greek life at her school.

    Kids in Greek life are not slackers, as a matter of fact, most of them are very focused and driven. kids who decide to rush tend to be more confident, not as afraid of being rejected, and are also more competitive. This is in no way saying that kids who do not join Greek life do not have such characteristics. At top tier schools, when most kids have certain IQ, if they are driven and competitive, it is not surprising that their GPA would be higher than average.
  • LonghaulLonghaul Posts: 2,314Registered User Senior Member
    My undergrad experience was like MamaBear & UCD described

    Basically the upper classmen were mentors/tutors/great resources for old tests/resources for what prof to NOT take/resources for the order to take classes (sometimes better to push off a weeder class if possible).

    At my UG the Greeks definitely had higher GPAs (not by a large gap). The Greeks tended to stick it out thru the weeder classes too. I personally attribute the stick it out to the upper class mentor. And also to seeing said mentor in non-academic environment (as a drunkard/partier/airhead) -- If "so and so" could get thru O-Chem then of course I can!

    Basically, my Greek experince gave me a built in support system when I otherwise won't seek out the official tutoring. I was not one who would seek out academic tutoring. Seemed the only ones I knew seeking tutoring were those close to failing. Years later & with adult experience I now see tutoring as "extra practice for all" instead of "dire help for the desperate few" and hope I can rely this to my kids.
  • barronsbarrons Posts: 23,734Registered User Senior Member
    It's well documented that Greeks of both sexes tend to drink more than others in college. I don't think this leads to anything much as they also do as well or better in school and tend to be more successful in life. I call it enjoying the full college experience.
  • jrparjrpar Posts: 2,083Registered User Senior Member
    Idad, I don't think those stats are lies. I know it seems counter-intuitive but it isn't all that unusual for Greek GPA to be higher than non-Greek or all campus GPA's. At both of my sons' schools that is the case. I suspect the factor Midwestmom mentions above is part of the reason, and others above have made good suggestions too. Northwestern's Office of Frats publishes GPA stats each quarter; these stats also include retention rates, which tend to be in the 95% range. Not a lot of manipulating of stats going on there (I suspect most of those dropping out of Greek life are doing so for reasons other than grades). And, as far as academic performance during pledging, both of my sons' grades went up.

    I don't get it, but I've seen it first hand. I'm sure this phenomenon doesn't hold true across all colleges.
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