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Fraternity Reputations

JohnQuincyAdamsJohnQuincyAdams Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
Hello everybody!

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!!!!!
Post edited by JohnQuincyAdams on

Replies to: Fraternity Reputations

  • HPuck35HPuck35 Registered User Posts: 1,626 Senior Member
    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.
  • CalAlumCalAlum Registered User Posts: 1,367 Senior Member
    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.
  • molliebatmitmolliebatmit Registered User Posts: 12,374
    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.
  • collegealum314collegealum314 Registered User Posts: 6,768 Senior Member
    ^I feel the same way about ZBT. And it is also the only one without a pledge program.

    Sigma Alpha Epsilon had a terrible reputation. I don't remember if it was disbanded and then re-established on campus, but if so, it may be different now.
  • aria2000aria2000 Registered User Posts: 330 Member
    My son is happy with ZBT.
  • JohnQuincyAdamsJohnQuincyAdams Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    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 -

    Most Fratty

    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"
  • PiperXPPiperXP Registered User Posts: 2,856 Senior Member
    tEp isn't really weirder than EC or Random. But yes, they're definitely an east side type living group :)
  • collegealum314collegealum314 Registered User Posts: 6,768 Senior Member
    Theta Delta Chi? (TDC) - Hispanic

    I never heard that one. In my day, they were the ones that did the hardest drugs.
  • collegealum314collegealum314 Registered User Posts: 6,768 Senior Member
    Sigma Nu - Don't know too much about them

    ~10 years ago, they had mostly foreign people. I'd bet that hasn't changed.
  • collegealum314collegealum314 Registered User Posts: 6,768 Senior Member
    Theta Xi - Don't know too much about them, I think they're less nerdy than they might have been in recent years

    They are one of the few frats in Cambridge, but aren't near the other frats and dorms. They seemed kind of isolated.
  • Volta93Volta93 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    They are one of the few frats in Cambridge, but aren't near the other frats and dorms. They seemed kind of isolated.

    Theta Xi is actually located in Kenmore Square in Boston, and has been since the 1930s. I'm guessing you're referring to Zeta Psi, based on its similarly sounding name and location in Cambridge.
  • Jersey386Jersey386 Registered User Posts: 72 Junior Member
    JQA - When u refer to PKT, what do you mean by "into themselves"?
  • collegealum314collegealum314 Registered User Posts: 6,768 Senior Member
    @volta: yeah, it looks like I mixed them up.

    @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.
  • patesqpatesq Registered User Posts: 109 Junior Member
    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.
This discussion has been closed.