Fraternity Life/Pledging

<p>Family can’t make it to IFC preview week. If son attends, he is looking hard at fraternities. It seems that pledging “starts” in the summer, but we are not in SE, so weekend trips, etc are not an option. Also concerned about Fall Rush since that is a lot to put on a plate of a freshman that must maintain certain standards to stay at Bama. Also, I just remember too many people that pledged Fall of freshman year and were not ultimately happy with their selection. So from experienced parents (and students)—</p>

<p>What does pledging in Fall involve time-wise and financially?
If you can’t connect over the summers/get a summer bid, what are your odds of connecting with the right people to get in the group of your choice (and their choice)?<br>
Is there a Full Spring rush for all fraternities?
Do many people rush Fall of sophomore year?</p>

<p>Finally, the age-old question–How is social life if not in a fraternity or at least pretty well aligned with a group of people that are in one?</p>


<p>I had the same exact questions when our son decided to go to UA. We are from the Northeast (NJ) and had the same concerns. I can only tell you from our experience that I think our son pledging was the best thing for him. He has met some great friends from all over the country. My son is very social and I knew having an immediate circle of friends would be very important to him. The only chance he had to check out any of the fraternities was during Bama Bound because we weren’t able to go to Greek Preview either. When we went down to take the tour of the campus during March of last year, we set up an appointment to meet with a Greek Life contact who showed us around his fraternity house. We had a lot of questions for him and he was very helpful. He told my son to register with the IFC which would enable him to get the contact information for the fraternities on campus. He was in touch with some guys prior to Bama Bound so he had an idea which ones would be available to check out. We went to Bama Bound in June so a lot of the brothers had already gone home. My son ended up getting a bid from one fraternity during Bama Bound but wanted to wait until he got there in the Fall before he made any decision. They still have opportunities to get bids so don’t feel like he should rush with any decisions. Others on this board can give you more information about old vs new fraternities but my son ended up accepting a bid from another “new” one once he got there. I am glad he got the pledging over with his first semester because at least it is behind him and he can now focus on his academics. He carried a light load his first semester knowing he would be pledging and although he met the minimum GPA to get initiated, our standards are a little higher!! It is very time consuming and a little pricey. This is our first experience with fraternities so I don’t have anything to compare it to. I will be happy to answer any questions - good luck to your son—roll tide!! :)</p>

<p>Hi Aggie,</p>

<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 didn’t 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 DH’s fraternity. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. Hubby’s chapter is one of the top in the country and at UA it seems that it’s 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 don’t 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 he’d 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. He’s one of those “grass is greener” people. Overall, he’s very happy where he is.</p>

<p>Don’t worry too much about your son not having choices if he rushes in the fall. True, he won’t 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 son’s roommates received bids in August and they didn’t 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 son’s pledge class that were not initiated because they didn’t meet the GPA requirement. </p>

<p>Financially speaking, it’s 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 there’s 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.
I’m 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 that’s something to check out on the IFC website. I don’t know about rushing as a sophomore. I’m sure that there are houses that accept sophomores. </p>

<p>From what I’ve 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 it’s 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 don’t care if you’re 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 doesn’t 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 isn’t his thing he will be fine, especially if he’s in the honors college. </p>

<p>If you have any more questions feel free to send me a PM.</p>

<p>I’ll lay it on a plate for you. As a current member of an IFC organization, I’d say that recruitment is very competitive. You have Old Row and then you have New Row. The vast majority of the kids in old row come from in state or surrounding southern states. </p>

<p>As far as connecting goes, if your son is sociable and likable, he will find a place where he meshes well. I’m not going to specifically name any fraternities, but certain ones have particular preferences as far as their pledges go. </p>

<p>Being a member of a GLO is not cheap whatsoever at all. Aside from dues, there are a lot of other factors that come into play. </p>

<p>If you have anymore detailed oriented questions about certain houses, etc. feel free to message me and I would be more than willing to help you out. Best of luck.</p>

<p>Most OLD row fraternities do rush early and get their quota in the summer… I am sure that there are plenty that will rush in August/Sept- I don’t think the preview weekend is that important-just sign up online so that they knos that your son is interested.-I’ve been quoted 3-4K per semester…</p>

<p>since there were issues last year -I bet they will really be watching the frats this fall with pledgeship…</p>

<p>Some fraternities do take spring pledge classes. There is no announcement…often they don’t decide until right before rushing. There is no formal rush as in the fall. Often it’s just members inviting guys they know to a party or two.
And that formal fall rush is a bit of a joke. Many have their classes filled by then (as noted above) and many won’t even look at the guys who signed up for the formal rush stuff. They want guys who are pro-active and take a good bit of initiative in seeking out contact.
In addition to the fraternities in the big houses, there are a handful that are “off-campus” because they are brand new and just building their membership.
I would 1)e-mail all the houses and fraternities (but not in a mass e-mail) to let them know of my interest 2)attend functions at as many fraternities as possible and 3)talk to as many fraternity guys as possible. 4) When he meets fraternity men around campus, he should casually let them know he is looking for a fraternity to join.
It’s also possible to join a fraternity as an upperclassman.
Things are not clear-cut as it is with the sororities. There are no deadlines, no “pledge by” dates, no “you must attend X number of parties before you are extended a bid.” I know one fraternity legacy who kept getting invited to parties at said house, got along fine with everybody, but they never extended him a bid. He finally quit going to their parties and pledged elsewhere.
If you receive a bid, some fraternities want an answer right away. Some are willing to wait a few days so you can think it over. I wouldn’t take more than a couple of days to think it over, though.</p>