Here is something posted by CC sn Troy a few years ago, and hopefully I post it again (with a few edits for frats that aren't here anymore) with his blessing.
Keep in mind this is somewhat outdated now:
The good frats- First let me tell you that the greek system is changing as SC recruits a new breed of student...it has actually toned down over the years...it's not your dad's usc anymore although the football team is coming back (which is sweet)...The image of each house changes depending on the kinds of guys that are brought into the house. Houses that may be "cool" now can go down in flames with a bad pledge class...If the house is iffy but brings in some dope guys, the house can get "cool". If you don't like the system, then don't join but I'm going to tell you right now that the hottest girls at USC are in the greek system and like it or not they usually won't talk to you unless you're in a fraternity (pretty lame if you ask me but I call as I see it) alright these are the fraternities: Kappa Sig, ZBT, SAE, AEpi, PiKapp, Theta Xi, Lambda Chi, Sigma Chi, Sig Ep, ATO, Phi Psi, Pike, TKE, Delts. Every one of these houses have a unique personality/image to them and even if you are hell bent in joining a certain house, you better have a certain pedigree or you won't get an offer...I'll just go down the list and describe them.
Kappa Sig-don't join/ lame
ZBT-"zero b!tches there" there are some nice guys though
SAE-Good old boys club, they have alums on the board of trustees, tall good looking rich stereotyp, very exclusive, dickheads to non-members, athletes, a lot of girls, if you don't have the pedigree don't bother trying, don't expect AA to get you into this fraternity...I have yet to meet a minority in sae...they seem to get into trouble with the university but their connections usually save their asses, and yep they haze too.
AEpi- Jewish fraternity but surprisingly has a good mix of member. They are a solid house with some cool guys. Many of the leaders in the greek system seem to come out of that house. They pull in girls too and (surprise) they haze.
PiKapp-Pi "crap" There are some chill guys but overall they are ****** bags. They're the first house you'll encounter walking to the row and freshman seem to think they are really cool the first week they get here...don't get suckered by these guys. They'll usually take anyone. This has led to a volatile mix of idiots. Did I mention they pull ugly chicks and haze.
Lambda Chi-"Rambda Guy" A lot of pretty boys in the house but I think their image is changing. They are starting to pick up a "prick" image with girls. Despite this, they're still one of the better houses on the row and they pull a lot of hot girls. They don't haze...but the house feels more like an organization/club than a fraternity with real brotherhood.
Theta Xi- A smaller house but they're some cool guys there. They seem to pull girls but it's hard to gauge the kinds of guys they got...usually you'll walk by and they'll have a fire going in the front of the house a la campfire style with guys and girls around it...with about six hundred empty beer bottles in the front lawn...they don't seem to haze but I wouldn't expect it to be a cake walk either
Sigma Chi- Solid house, still trying to build it's reputation up. They bring in hot girls too. I think they haze but not too bad...Awesome alumni support and presence.
Sig Ep- This house fluctuates in terms of the kinds of guys they pull. One year, they're really "cool"...the next they look like they're about the fall apart. It's a brand name frat and they have a good alum presence. They haze
ATO- These guys are top tier house cuz they have money and a *sniffing* habit...they are the hardest hazers in the whole greek system...60% on pledges drop out of their pledge semester with them. Good luck buddy if you want to be an ATO.
Phi Psi- Party party party...that's about it...they are always on the verge of getting kicked off...I believe they haze.
Pike- Pike is just like SAE except imagine them as the obnoxious little brother. Not much class to the guys but a fun group. They too are always on the verge of getting kicked off and they haze hard. Unlike sae, they'll take a minority if they're cool, usually rich, decent looking and pulls chicks.
TKE- this house is dying...they don't haze...I think they are building a new house though...so they may rebound.
Delts-Revenge of the Nerds house...they don't haze...nice guys...no girls...be nice to them, they're the future millionaires/billionaires of the university.
Overall- These houses along with the 14 sororities create a unique community that, yes, makes for a notorious reputation. But it is also one of the funnest experiences I have ever had. Oh the stories that you will take away after four years in the greek system...
My stance on hazing:
I really hate to admit but I think hazing, when done right, works. I used to be totally against it when I was a freshman (for obvious reasons) but now that I look back...hazing has its merits...most the people on this site do self-inflicted hazing to gain admission to ivy league schools...Hazing only gets bad when it gets bastardized (i.e. "I got hazed and you're gonna get it worst than me"). Think of it as a breaking down process followed by a building you back up process...trust me you'll have a good laugh with your buds once you're through with it...
My stance on the drug culture:
There are various sub-cultures that reside in fraternities...and yes some franternities have a drugs subculture. That doesn't mean most frats and their members consume drugs. Most students and fraternity members do not engage in drugs. Contrary to popular belief, a lot of people involved in the greek system have really good moral judgement...Kids that end up using the "harder" drugs usually have severe personal issues and it's quite easy to tell who the "high risk" kids are. Fraternities try to avoid those kind of students because they bring a lot liability to the fraternity. Houses don't want to get kicked off.
There is a zero tolerance policy with drugs and fraternities caught are immediately disbanded.
My stance on beautiful girls and the greek system:
I figure I let the freshmen know which fraternities bring in the hot girls...and yes there are A LOT of beautiful ladies at SC...personally, I'm so desensitized by beauty that I'd rather date a girl with an awesome personality than a drop dead gorgeous girl with the personality of a bacterial infection.
My stance on not joining the greek system:
the independent route is a great way to experience SC...it also appears to be the prefered route in recent years (probably cuz the students are getting smarter). Drinking the milk without buying the cow is always best.
Plenty of my best friends are independent and are enjoying an independent social life...granted, these guys are outgoing, have self confidence, and aren't ugly. With those qualities, it doesn't matter what route you take at SC."
Here's my take, both from my experience and the female perspective, and from stereotypes:
SAE: generally seen as the top frat. Rumor is that they check parents' tax returns before letting you in. Guys here are richand some of the best-looking on campus
Sigma Chi: good-looking guys, not always the nicest (my friend in ATO who was friends with a guy in high school that is now in Sigma Chi at USC can't stand the guy anymore, and says he's turned into a ******).
Lambda Chi: also has a lot of good-looking guys. Some girls don't see them as the nicest guys, but I've met some cool ones.
Pike: girls seem to like it, but I never really hear anything about this frat.
ATO: My friend from high school is in this one, so I've done a lot of stuff over there. It's pretty fun. Not every guy is the best looking, but it seems like they are really a family, and have a good time.
TKE: I've been to a lot of fun parties here, and they are always packed.
ZBT: Probably the best party I've been to in college was a ZBT one. It's not on the Row, but it is right there on a side street.
AEPi: Coming in to USC, I didn't really think of Jewish guys as cute. I've found that many here are both really attractive, as well as a lot of fun, and really cool. They recently got in trouble for a controversial party theme, and it's not sure how severe their punishment is going to be.
Kappa Sig: I've had fun here, but it never seems as packed as other houses. Guys I've met ranged from pretty cool to pretty dorky.
PiKapp: Not every guy is the coolest, but I've met some nice ones. I've also been to a fun party or two here. They are on 60-day probation, and their punishment might be extended.
Delta Chi: I don't hear as much about them.
Delta Tau Delta: typically seen as the dorkier house because they are super nice guys, but I've noticed recently a lot of attractive guys in this house.
Theta Xi: I've never really heard of a party here. I think they're getting a new house, which should help.
Sig Ep: eh. I've been there, but it wasn't that fun.
Phi Psi: I think they were on probation my first year and didn't have a house, so I really don't have any experience with them. I know some girls that really like them, though.