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Fraternity discussion with Freshman on Parent's weekend ?

blevineblevine Registered User Posts: 649 Member
My son is considering a frat, one where the process allows plenty of time to get to know each other,
no bids to anyone yet. Just hangout and meet brothers a few times/week to make sure this is right.
Supposedly a no hazing frat, on a campus known for less wild parties than many other frat oriented schools
(tech school where kids study alot).

Still I worry, for a couple of reasons :
1) He did not drink in HS, don't want him to get started now
2) House is far off campus, unlike many others (and no car)
3) He is very busy with a D3 sport, tough major and interest in other clubs

National frat with bad reputation, though he says this chapter has self imposed rules...
Didn't want to get him a car, wanted him to live on campus 2 years.
OTOH, dorm mates and teammates are mostly in frats or freshman looking into them.

He does not seem set on this, but thinks he found a frat that is friendly and not so crazy
(no hazing supposedly). I just don't believe it. I worry about his time, reputation of the frat,
driving more if he lives off campus eventually, and distractions from a very busy schedule.

Ideas on how to discuss this on Parents weekend, and what to look for to determine
if this is a good social outlet for him, a distraction or worse a path to trouble ?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Replies to: Fraternity discussion with Freshman on Parent's weekend ?

  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 25,347 Senior Member
    "I think it is great that you are looking at that frat, but remember that you won't have a car until junior year, and then only if you absolutely need it for a paid internship. So, go ahead and hang out with your buddies, but you won't be able to join anything that requires you to live that far off campus until you have a paid internship that justifies us getting you a car."
  • happy1happy1 Registered User Posts: 18,202 Senior Member
    edited October 2016
    I would just have an honest talk about the pros and cons of joining the frat. Talk to him about your concerns. Listen to your son's answers. It could be a good thing for him.

    I was shocked when my D said she wanted to join a sorority (she also had a hard major and a full slate of ECs) but it turned out that a number of her friends she made through her ECs were in it and being in the sorority did add to her campus life without taking up too much time.

    And I do think that the campus reputation of the frat/sorority is what is important as opposed to the national reputation.
  • blevineblevine Registered User Posts: 649 Member
    edited October 2016
    In HS he shied away from the kids who had drunken house parties when Mom and Dad were not home.
    He preferred sports (playing and watching), and even Chess ! Hard for me to picture what attracts this kid to suddenly take interest. The sudden news that the one he is considering is not walking distance to campus, got me considering again that this is a bad idea for him. We did speak, and his reasoning was that this was the only one that claimed no pledging/hazing. Again, don't believe that, but even if true, transportation is a big thing, and convenient access to his activities, classmates, library etc are impacted. You know even if he can get rides (or a car eventually) once you drive off campus, you are not coming and going as much as when you live on campus in dorms. Pretty small campus, and moving far off campus eliminates the advantages.

    When I was a student I stayed on campus the entire time, and my older S is staying on campus.
    Hardly my only concern, just the newest one since I had assumed all of them were nearby.
  • ProudpatriotProudpatriot Registered User Posts: 1,480 Senior Member
    I found that joining a fraternity was good for my son. I know they had some sort of initiation and it was supposedly not hazing. I wasn't there so I don't really know but I can tell you that he got straight As the semester he pledged. Does your son's school make public data about greek organizations and the GPAs of members of each organization? That information made me feel much better about my son joining.

    One thing we made clear to him was that while we would pay for his housing/food (which wound up to be less expensive that the school meal plan) we were not paying any fraternity expenses. He paid his own dues. You can do the same for your son wrt the car.

    My son also played a D3 sport. Many of his team mates were also fraternity brothers.

    I hope this helps.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 14,077 Senior Member
    My daughter plays a D2 sport and joined a sorority. We had to make it clear to the sorority that the sport came first as they are paying part of her tuition. It's worked out fine and she often plays one off the other, saying she has a practice she needs to go to so can't go to a sorority function or a meeting so can't hang out with her teammates for an optional activity.

    The Greeks also have housing that is a few miles from campus. It is owned by the college, but each house has a section with room for 12 to live there. You pay the university for the housing. She didn't want to live there as a sophomore so she didn't because the transportation was too difficult (trams and buses). Almost everyone who lives in housing has a car to drive to campus.

    I think it has been a very good experience for her. She attends a school that is 75% male/25% female, so having a group of women to be friends with helps.
  • TbosmomTbosmom Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    edited February 19
    Our son joined a social fraternity his freshman year. He is now a sophomore, and it is great for him. The group has required study hours and community service events. Every Friday afternoon, he spends time with special needs kids playing basketball with the Special Olympics organization. He has been encouraged to try leadership positions next year within the Inter-fraternity Council and has a clear understanding of the risk management policies of that council and his brotherhood. He has a network of boys who value academic success (the frat buys dinner for guys who earn high grades each semester), and has acquired a summer internship in his major as a direct result of relationships he built within his fraternity. There is a website called greekrank.com where you and/or your son can read about fraternities at your son's specific college. Some of what is posted there just like anywhere online is garbage, but if you read enough of it, you can glean the general reputation of each group. I understand your fear, and certainly, you know your son best. Try listening to his reasoning at Parent Weekend, and ask him what his plan is for success. Best of luck!
    Post edited by juillet on
  • twocollegekidstwocollegekids Registered User Posts: 88 Junior Member
    I would encourage him to wait another year before joining a frat. Time to understand his classroom and athletic commitments, not to mention this particular group of kids. i assume he wouldn't be required to live in the house. Does the school offer transportation (campus bus) to the area for frat get togethers and meetings? As a parent, I would not be providing a car and he cannot rely on others to get him to campus, practices, the grocery store etc. Also, frat dues can be expensive and it was my son's responsibity to cover this expense.
  • bopperbopper Registered User Posts: 8,073 Senior Member
    I would present it to him as what you will support, but let it be his decision...but you have some items you would like him to think about.

    You can ask if he has to live in the Fraternity house?
    How will he get to class?
    What if nobody can drive him?
    How will sports conflict with Fraternity activities?
    How will he pay for Fraternity fees?
    How will he deal with underage drinking?
    How will he be able to study for a test if the brothers want to do something else?
    How will he make sure school comes first?
  • blevineblevine Registered User Posts: 649 Member
    Just to close the loop... the discussion sort of wrote it's own script based on events just as parents arrived.
    A student was unfortunately hospitalized related to alcohol at a frat house, someone he knew, and this frat is
    under investigation. Certainly caused son to consider things on his own. That and he was so busy, he was missing
    events anyway, that made it difficult to join anyway. Good to be prepared as a parent, even better when kids figure things out themselves ! Thanks for the suggestions.
  • 2017girl2017girl Registered User Posts: 105 Junior Member
    Sorry about your son's friend. However, if you are worried about alcohol, this list was just published at my university concerning where most alcohol related accidents occur for college age adults. The list is in order of highest number of occurrences. Not saying yea or nay for a fraternity just pointing out that alcohol is everywhere in college and that the vast majority of alcohol related accidents happen outside the Greek system.

    Drinking in conjunction with athletic events
    Drinking in residence halls
    Drinking in off campus housing areas with a high proportion of students
    Drinking in bars adjacent to campus
    Fraternity parties
  • blevineblevine Registered User Posts: 649 Member
    I may be a parent, but I was a college student at one time. Yes drinking is everywhere, but nowhere is there greater social preesure than in frats. People want to belong, and often will do things they otherwise might not do elsewhere.
    Nobody is forcing you to go to a bar, and they might even card you. No such deterrence in a frat house, just the opposite.

    We visited one campus where a coach stated "nobody on my team can join a frat". He was concerned about embarrassing the team. I later read about severe problems at that school, clearly the coach had had enough. I am sure some frats are cleaning up, but if they do not, this is the reaction they will get.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 62,948 Senior Member
    Part of the issue may be that it may not be that easy to find out which chapters are the problem ones, or which schools have more problem-prone fraternity systems.
  • tutumom2001tutumom2001 Registered User Posts: 565 Member
    " Yes drinking is everywhere, but nowhere is there greater social pressure than in frats."

    Not necessarily. I've known many kids in frats/sororities who aren't drinkers. I've known many kids who weren't Greek who could out-drink the cast of "Animal House." And, I've known kids who have gone to a religious college in a dry county who drank heavily (and drove). Kids who are going to drink in college are going to find it. Kids who don't want to drink aren't going to drink. But as someone who was never in a sorority, I can personally attest to the fact that both drugs and alcohol were present at every party I attended in college, and yes, there was just as much of the social pressure to partake as my friends at Greek parties. Yes, I drank; No, I never did drugs. Your best course of action is to discuss your views, and your son's views, on alcohol and drugs before he goes there.
  • ClarinetDad16ClarinetDad16 Registered User Posts: 3,420 Senior Member
    Parents pay the bill? Should be able to decide this issue. Period. Encourage dialogue but unless the case is truly compelling the answer is clear.
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 21,014 Senior Member
    If your kid is interested in joining the Greek life, the best time to join is when they recruit, not to wait for a year, or your kid would have slim picking on which house he/she could join.

    Both of my kids joined a sorority (same one and 5 years apart). For them it was a positive experience. I was very worried when D1 joined, but in some ways it turned out to be safer for her to be in a sorority than if she didn't. When they had mixers, they had soberers at the event to make sure they didn't get sloppy. They also had designated brothers to drive them home. The soberers and drivers were not allow to drink at the event, and they had take turns for the duty. D2 told me they caught few designated drivers drinking at one mixer and her sorority decided not to do any more mixers with the fraternity that year.
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