<p>My son is a freshman from the Chicago area and is in a new row fraternity. He contacted the chapters he was interested in (he searched the IFC website to get ideas about each house) and registered for Preview Weekend. Although he did attend Preview he didnt think that it was as important as reaching out to the individual recruitment chairs. Showing his interest to certain houses was the best thing that he did in his search for the best house for him.</p>
<p>My husband reached out to the chapter that he is a lifelong member of because our DS would have loved to have been able to be a part of DHs fraternity. Unfortunately, it didnt work out. Hubbys chapter is one of the top in the country and at UA it seems that its a Southern house. They finally responded to my husband after several unanswered email attempts and a phone call to the president of the house. The president of the house invited DS for a visit when he was in T-town for another event and son said that they were rude and that he felt like he was imposing. Soooo, tell your son to keep an open mind and dont get caught up in the this house is better than this house chatter. He needs to find the house that is best for him.</p>
<p>DS was fortunate enough to attend three events during the spring and summer before school began and enjoyed meeting the young men of three different chapters. Those visits helped him learn about the culture of each house and gave him an idea about where hed feel comfortable being a brother. He received a bid at Bama Bound and accepted it on the spot. There have been moments that have made him question his decision to become a member of his chapter but I know that he would have questioned his judgment no matter the house he became a member of. Hes one of those grass is greener people. Overall, hes very happy where he is.</p>
<p>Dont worry too much about your son not having choices if he rushes in the fall. True, he wont have as many choices because several houses are full by July, but there are several houses that are still open to giving bids in August. Two of my sons roommates received bids in August and they didnt go to Preview or contact the recruitment chairs of any of the chapters before arriving to UA. If your son is social and personable he will be fine.
Pledging is extremely time consuming. DS was sleep deprived but he was able to maintain a decent GPA. There is a minimum GPA that the boys must maintain to become initiated so that is a great motivator for them to keep up with their school work. I know that there were several young men in my sons pledge class that were not initiated because they didnt meet the GPA requirement. </p>
<p>Financially speaking, its expensive, especially freshman year because you have to pay dues on top of the UA housing bill. If he lives in the house sophomore year then it should be about the same as if he lived in an apartment. But, and theres always a but, the cost of being a member of a house skyrockets when you consider the extras, such as clothing (especially during pledgship), parties, formals, girls, and the list goes on and on.
Im not sure about spring rush this year or in the future. There were some changes implemented this fall in regards to both fall and spring rush so thats something to check out on the IFC website. I dont know about rushing as a sophomore. Im sure that there are houses that accept sophomores. </p>
<p>From what Ive learned this past year is that old row houses tend to recruit internally. They give bids to those who they know from their high schools, church, and family members. Most of them are Southern houses, meaning its tough to get a bid if you are outside of the surrounding southern states. The good news is that there are plenty of awesome chapters that dont care if youre not from the south. </p>
<p>UA has one of the largest Greek systems in the country but the majority of students are not Greek. Your son doesnt have to join a fraternity to have a social life as long as he gets out of his dorm and meets people. There are so many clubs and opportunities to socialize so if he finds that Greek life isnt his thing he will be fine, especially if hes in the honors college. </p>
<p>If you have any more questions feel free to send me a PM.</p>