Fraternity/Sorority - Tiers

What do the terms upper, middle, and lower tier mean when referring to fraternities/sororities?

Is this purely a superficial label based upon wealth, looks, social schedule, exclusivity (which combines some of the prior things), academics, or other things?

Levels of popularity on a particular campus. Superficial rankings.


Also class. Race sometimes sneaks in there as well, but only indirectly.

A quick persual through the Instagram and Facebook pages of the “most popular” fraternities demonstrates this pretty clearly.


Tiers that are completely arbitrary. And on the website that claims to “rank” houses, the reviews mean nothing as members at many schools upvote their house and leave nasty reviews for the “competition”.

Side note: The only reason I go to that site is because it tells me a lot about the greek culture at different schools. Every once in a while you will see a school where all of the houses talk highly of each other. That’s the greek system you are looking for.


For sororities, my observation has been that the tiers are formed by ranking looks and wealth first, which translate into social relationships with equally “top” frats and then exclusivity is an outgrowth of those 3 things (as most want to be in the houses that are viewed as the most beautiful and wealthy and that have the best social opportunities, and so the loop is perpetuated as those houses have “their pick” of new members). It’s very “high school” in mentality imo. But it’s a very common conversation at schools with a strong Greek life presence (such as my and my daughter’s experiences at CA public schools)