Advice for son who didn't get in to fraternity

PNM stands for “potential new member”.

My son did not have self-esteem issues then, does not have self-esteem issues now, and to assume that is wrong. However, I am getting used to the need of some posters to villanize him or make it his “fault” that this happened to him It is the reason these kids do not speak out. How unpopular of him to have not taken this rejection like a man, suck it up and live among his rejection like a trooper. All so that the greek system can exist for this who need it so much to survive college. In no other place on our planet do more member’s lobby for something so bad for so many, and we haven’t been talking the physical harm and even deaths it causes. There is no need for these organizations on college campuses, that cause harm to so many.

@ellemom - I suggest you get an apartment with Heather, (just the two of you and hopefully the others in the apartment will mostly all be in the book club) and try to find something else to do on the nights when the “sisters” of the book club are coming to your room to pick Heather up for the formal or the date night or maybe when they are all wearing their book club t-shirts and leaving for the football game on Saturday afternoon because they get to sit together and you have to go into the general seating. Sit alone, eat alone, and maybe even start going back home to your parents house on the weekends and hang out with your old group of friends from high school. All this while you are not the grown adult you are today dropping hints about your jealousy over a book club, but while you turn back the clock and are 19 years old. Your callous attitude toward how hard this is on kids that don’t “get in” is hard for me to stomach. I will not post again in response to you. You have been posting since the beginning and dominating the thread with support for these organizations. That is certainly your right. I guess I will add my support for book clubs here and their ability to ask whomever they want to join. I would think they like open discussion and broad points of view. Perhaps you are too restrictive in your opinions of others. You have zero ability to see this from any point of view other than that of your own experience. I get that, but to compare the devastation my son went through for a year of his life, to not getting in to a book club is just too much.

@pizzagirl No one is saying those of you that “get in” don’t like it. We are saying the group of kids that don’t “get in” get hurt. Plain and simple. Where else in the world is it okay to “expect” a certain number of girls to cry each year and then get over it. What makes it okay to hurt students at a college on their first day of school?

@pizzagirl I am so happy for you that you were so popular and accepted into such a great group of 100+ girls. My son had a ton of best friends until the greek system stole them. His dorm roommate and both suite mates “got in” to the fraternities they had been rushing. We heard it was because they had too many from his particular high school and many of the guys that were in the fraternity were upset and sad at what had happened to him but they do not ask guys to hang out at fraternities. Once you are out, you are out! They robbed him of his social life, took most of his friends, although they still work with him and even them I can see the pain they have for him and sorrow in their eyes, but they have no choice socially and left him hanging. His only 2 friends who didn’t get in and he moved to an apartment just off campus and he has lived a different kind of college life than he expected. it took him a while, counseling and lots of encouragement but he is doing fine now. I waited so long to even start the conversation because of others refusal to see anything past their own experience with this. No one wants to look at the ugly truth about these organizations. If I can save one child from going through what he went through then my time and energy will have paid off. These organizations are cruel to certain segment of the population and have no place on college campuses.

One needs to deal in reality, carolinamom. And if one contends that if you are not “chosen” to be in a house (or choose not to rush), you can’t have friendships with anyone in that house, one is not dealing in reality. Likewise, if one contends that being Greek means you cannot initiate, maintain or build friendships outside one’s house, one is not dealing in reality.

Wow, you could not be more wrong about this. Of course you can have other friendships outside the greek house. You are free to be friends with whomever you want. What you are wrong about is assuming when you do not “get in” that you are still welcome to come and go as you please in the Greek House. How can you even say that? You know that is not truth if you were “in” the house. The only people who are getting “in” that house are those who are “invited” in by the membership and guys don’t allow guys that didn’t get “in” to come in the house. At least, in the case of the fraternities I know about that is the truth. There are about 3 sophomores year who are given a bid each year and most of those are transfer students, not guys previously denied membership. Even if all your friends get in, they are pledges and not allowed to sponsor you nor bring you to any parties.

Mommission – I wasn’t popular in high school. I was a nerd / “brainiac” type, cared about my books / studies, did not go to parties, proms, and so forth, and could not wait to get to college to be with more serious-minded students. My Greek experience expanded my horizons - I was able to make more social connections than I ever would have on my own if left to my own devices.

I’m very sorry that your son had the experience he did. I truly am. Shame on people who aren’t nice to others.

Systems are SO DIFFERENT campus to campus and house to house. There are Greek systems where I’d encourage kids to give it a try - no harm no foul - and there are Greek systems where I’d say - don’t touch it with a ten-foot pole, it’s just not set up very nicely. I think it’s really important not to tar all with the same brush, that’s all.

Missionmom, you and your son are assuming other houses are like the one he wanted, and would escort him out the basement door. All aren’t the same. I was in an unpopular house (at the time, it is now considered ‘the best’ on campus) We never escorted anyone out. We gave bids to everyone unless they didn’t meet the requirements (gpa, status with the school). I can’t remember ever not giving a bid in the 4-5 rush/bid processes when we were down to the final party. Many more people ‘rejected’ us than us them (although we didn’t consider it rejection, just them finding another house they preferred).

So not all houses are like the ONE house he didn’t get a bid from. Were there other chapters on our campus that didn’t give bids to everyone? OF COURSE! Every house can’t accept every Rushee, just like every club doesn’t accept everyone, every band can’t have 75 flutes, every college can’t accept every single applicant.

Also, we did not have ‘auto admits’ to all the other clubs and organizations on campus. Far from it.

Well, @missionmom, I think you have certainly educated many people on the potential hazards of the greek system at any university. It is not something to be embarked upon blindly, and they can cause harm beyond the traditional hazing we normally consider. I certainly learned something from your posts, so thank you.

I don’t agree with you that they should be abolished, but I do think that a school’s social scene overall should be researched very careful by prospective students and parents. There is so much more to the college experience than pure academics alone, and too often people focus on that to the exclusion of other important things. So, I think your posts and “mission” have been very worthy, even as I don’t agree with everything you say.

@mommission I have not written any posts regarding what goes on in a fraternity house. Clearly you have me mixed up with someone else.

My son was heart broken and wanted so badly to be a part of a bigger group. I bought into the entire thing and was blinded by their promise of the brotherhood. it was the most cruel experience even I have ever had. A 2 hour tour with the president of the frat over the summer, I even saw the guys bathrooms. They hurt not only my son but a handful of others that I knew about that year (not just this frat but a couple of others and one sorority that devastated a girl) and when even this year other parents have contacted me (one the father of a kid that was president of his class at a local private school here) with devastated kids, I decided to start speaking out. I asked my son first, I would never put him at risk socially again. The playing field for him is way one sided for these organizations. He calls college High School 2. He doesn’t feel anything for his school, has not been to one party or game. I promise you, there were girls who tried to get in to your organization and cried themselves to sleep the night of bids. I sense that you know this too. I have read all your posts and your empathy comes out on occasion. Is it really okay for even one kid to cry themselves to sleep so that others can have their social needs met in such an exclusionary way? Our school is 37% Greek. They permeate every single place. They take over, get voted in, have hordes of advantages on tests, internships are all but secured by alumni.

I am not liking the fact that I have to tar them all but they are all exclusionary and as long as the process is designed to make some feel included and others feel excluded socially on our college campuses I will cry foul.

@Mommission A PNM is a female rushee.

Can you share what campus this is? I think it’s important for parents / students on CC to have a sense as to which Greek systems are particularly “harsh” (for lack of a better word). Again, my heart IS broken for your son, honest.

We have threads on all sorts of aspects of colleges. I think it would be a good idea to have a thread re: which universities have disagreeable greek practices.

Note, I’m not talking about a list of schools with “strong” greek systems; as someone above pointed out, it’s not the percentage of greeks or even their presence on campus that’s the issue in my opinion. I think it would be helpful for future applicants to know which colleges have systems that engage in harsh practices, as @pizzagirl put it.

Right. Like, at least from a sorority perspective, Indiana is up there in my “wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole” list. Whatever their system is, the number of spots isn’t predicated on the number of girls going through, so many, many girls are disappointed and get in nowhere.

Frankly I think any sorority system in which recs are important isn’t good, since it gives an inherent advantage to girls who a) have mothers in the first place, b) have American mothers, and c) have college educated mothers. Recs should be optional, not mandatory.

Any sorority system in which it’s necessary to “prepare” over the summer, or for which there are clinics held for high school girls, is one to avoid as well, IMO.

I’ll get yelled at for this, but (most) SEC-style rush is a whole different animal from (most) northern rush.

@Pizzagirl Have you ever rushed a SEC sorority?

No, but I know at least a dozen girls who have (with varying levels of success).

I’m sure each school has varying practices .

If there were kids who wanted to join but didn’t, it was NOT because we excluded them. I do know, I did see the lists and bids, and everyone invited to the final party got a bid in all the years I was active in the house. I’m sure there were kids who didn’t join because they didn’t have the money (even though it was not expensive), and I think there were a few whose parents didn’t allow them to join in the end. One girl picked another house because it was closer to campus and she didn’t want to walk up the hill. Nothing we could do about those who chose other houses. We actually had quite a few local members who didn’t live in the house and I don’t know if other houses had a live in requirement or not so they may have felt excluded by the other houses, but obviously picked ours. I do remember one extended discussion on whether to extend a bid to one girl. Someone really wanted her as a member, someone else had a big issue with her (I believe all 3 knew each other from the dorms or a class or maybe even high school). In the end, she received a bid AND she joined. It is the only discussion I remember about a PNM.

Sororities are different than fraternities in the bid process. Sometimes I think the girls do it better with more rules and structure, sometimes the boys do with a relaxed rush process and more time. As I said earlier, my nephew’s roommates (2 different ones) were not invited to join his house. They were disappointed, but moved on and joined other houses. Yep, they had to look at my nephew going to parties, wearing his sweatshirt, having his mother for the Mom’s weekend, going away for the weekend to resorts and events. They could have stayed in their rooms being disappointed, but they decided to go out and join other groups. One of the roommates has been a friend since middle school. Still friends. At this school Greeks are only about 10% of undergrads so there is plenty of other things to do, but they wanted to join a fraternity so they did.

My niece was roommates with her best friend from high school. They went through rush together and joined different houses after they were dropped or selected different invitations to second and third parties (roommate was definitely dropped from the house my niece joined). Continued to be roommates all through college. It worked out fine. My daughter is in the same sorority as someone she went to Kindergarten with, and she definitely DIDN’T want to be roommates with this girl. It’s worked out great and they are now better friends than they ever thought they would be.

The OP has left the building and I believe everyone’s view point has been aired so I’m going to close this thread now.