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Should I go Greek?

CaliKid1455CaliKid1455 Registered User Posts: 22 New Member
edited August 2014 in University of Alabama
So I went into college saying that I would wait until Spring rush or even until my sophomore year to check out the fraternities. Little did I know that there would be rush events starting the first night I got there. I go to the University of Alabama and Greek life is huuuuuge. All of my roommates rushed too and we all have bids. I have a week to decide whether I accept or decline my bid. I am unsure for a few reasons. 1.) I don't want to choose the wrong frat because it is the first one I got a bid from and the only one that I really looked in to. 2.) it is 1300 dollars per semester which is a lot to me but small compared to some of the 3500 dollar frats on campus. 3.) I don't want it to effect my grades and cause me to lose my scholarship. A lot of the brothers are majoring in Engineering like myself so I'm sure that they take school seriously and don't just party party party.
The main reason that I want to join is because I don't know anybody and haven't made any real friends yet. Most of the guys who I talk to have joined a frat and are always busy with events while I'm sitting in my dorm room bored out of my mind. It's been a week into classes and still no luck with meeting anyone new. I am seeking the kind of friendship that I had at my small high school. We preached "Brotherhood" and I would do anything for those guys. Now I am in a whole new place and I just want those same kind of bonds that I had from my old friends. Is joining a frat the answer?

Replies to: Should I go Greek?

  • SpaceCoastMomSpaceCoastMom Registered User Posts: 383 Member
    With either choice, you will make the friendships you hope for if you become active on campus. You mention that greek life seems huge, and at this time of the semester with bid day and rush finishing, it probably does. In reality though there are 2/3 of the students at UA that are non-Greek. I would not feel like the only way to make deep and lasting friendships is to pledge. It is one way. Best of luck to you on campus. You have great years ahead.
  • CaliKid1455CaliKid1455 Registered User Posts: 22 New Member
    Thanks for your thoughts...any other ideas??
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,188 Forum Champion
    Which fraternity is this? There are some that are more academic-minded then others. This may be one, and if so, a good fit for you.

  • CaliKid1455CaliKid1455 Registered User Posts: 22 New Member
    It is Phi Kappa Tau. They seem like great guys which is making my decision even harder.
  • jrcsmomjrcsmom Registered User Posts: 949 Member
    This Thursday evening,is Get on Board Day when all the campus groups will be represented and you may be able to find other activities you want to participate in so you won't be, as you said 'sitting in your dorm room bored out of your mind'. If you want to join the frat, then you should, but if you want to wait until spring or next year, there are PLENTY of other activities on campus, go to Get on Board Day and find the ones that interest you.
  • MandalorianMandalorian Registered User Posts: 1,754 Senior Member
    It's not for everyone. I would say, get more information.
  • feenotypefeenotype Registered User Posts: 2,311 Senior Member
    You should go for it. They'll have financial aid for fees I think. And you have complete control of how much time chapter activities take up. If you don't like it you can also leave later, but I doubt you will. It sounds like this one is a good fit for you.
  • hlsesshlsess Registered User Posts: 689 Member
    My S loves it:)
  • happykidsmomhappykidsmom Registered User Posts: 361 Member
    OP, I looked up PKT online and, very superficially, they look like an attractive, well-dressed, motivated group of guys. (Don't laugh at my description--this was not always the case with members of new fraternities on campus in my day.) As a brand new fraternity on campus, it can be hard to become integrated in Greek life, especially if the guys in leadership are not well connected/have friends in other established Greek organizations. Not so long ago, a new fraternity on campus was kind of a non-starter in the eyes of most sororities.

    HOWEVER, with the influx of OOS students who are interested in Greek life, but don't know people on campus prior to their arrival, things are VERY different now. Because of the way the older, more well-established GLOs have "adapted" (or not) to the exponential growth in OOS, non-legacy students on campus who want to join Greek organizations, many of the newer GLOs have stepped up and actively recruited the "best and brightest" of the OOS recruits who the older houses passed on. In turn, GLOs who had lower profiles when I was there (i.e., my sorority didn't swap with them, I didn't know their members, etc.) are now recruiting members who are the campus leaders, "swapping" with sororities that ignored them a few decades ago and building new houses as a result of their openness to recruiting outstanding OOS members.

    I think you are very wise not to just accept the first bid offered to you. Once you are initiated, you can't change your mind. However, depending on how successful PKT is in integrating into campus and Greek life, it could be a good option. A decade ago, I would not have said that. But, today, I'm intrigued by some of the new, new houses and how successfully they are joining the community.

    I would want to ask some hard questions of the PKT members before I pledged, though. I would want to know what sorts of leadership positions on campus the current PKT members hold. I would want to know what their house GPA is currently. I would want to know what the pledge program is like--what sorts of requirements you will face. I would want to know what sororities they have swapped/mixed with in the past and if they have any swaps/mixers scheduled currently. I would want to know if they have any "friendly alliances" with any other fraternities (some fraternities will join up with other fraternities and, usually, a few sororities, to hold a large group party). I would also ask yourself what it is that YOU are looking to get out of a Greek experience and make sure that you feel you will be able to get that as a member of PKT (or whatever group you join).

    I am not sure how the fraternity rush stuff works these days, but you might want to call the IFC office tomorrow and ask if they know which fraternities are still accepting pledges, then consider making contact with those houses, especially if you have already made friends with some guys in those houses. Maybe someone in the IFC will have additional advice for you, too. Greek life can be an amazing experience. You want to make sure you've chosen the right house before initiation, though. Ask questions. Meet people. And learn as much as you can before making that decision. Then, once you've made your decision, be proactive and help your house become the best it can be.

    Final, most important, piece of advice: If you don't feel 100% confident in your decision, you should do as some other wise posters have suggested and dive into campus life, first, then rush in the Spring or Fall. You would miss out on a lot of the fall Greek shenanigans, but you might have a better chance at joining a fraternity that you feel is a better fit once you meet and get to know guys in other fraternities. IMO, it is really unfair to OOS guys like you who have no idea how the system works to expect you to jump right in, knowing absolutely nothing, and make a life-long decision to (cluelessly) join a fraternity in one of the largest Greek systems in the world. They are still using the same system they used when 60-70% of Greeks were from Alabama or surrounding states and were raised knowing what houses were what, as well as many members in the houses. I hope that, at some point soon, UA will recognize the need to go to a Spring rush. It's a lot for OOS students to have to deal with. Good luck!
  • dodgersmomdodgersmom Registered User Posts: 7,311 Senior Member
    I would want to know what their house GPA is currently.
    Phi Kappa Tau: GPA (Fall 2013) = 2.88. Don’t know if there’s a more recent report.
  • happykidsmomhappykidsmom Registered User Posts: 361 Member
    Very helpful link, @dodgersmom‌ . It also raised another question in my mind. Maybe some parents with students at UA currently can help explain. Phi Kappa Tau is not an IFC fraternity. It is listed as a member of the UGC? I'm assuming that this is a group of UA-only fraternities without national affiliations? OP should find out what the primary focus of PKT is. My guess is that the UGC fraternities have special interest focuses--religion, major, etc. OP should definitely do some more research. If it is an IFC Greek experience he is looking for, he probably won't find that with PKT.
  • SouthlanderSouthlander Registered User Posts: 1,039 Senior Member
    In the spring 2014 grade report (http://greekaffairs.ua.edu/documents/201410Spring2014GradeReport.pdf) , Phi Kappa Tau is listed as an IFC fraternity (Greek Affairs' website is not always up to day). It had 41 members with an overall GPA of 2.85. It is a newer fraternity on campus. It doesn't seem to have a chapter website, and according to the fraternity's national website, it is a colony, which means members have not yet been fully initiated into the fraternity. Does it have a house? If not, that alone will make the fraternity more affordable. Having a big house is great, but houses are very expensive to operate.

    There's nothing wrong with a fraternity being a colony - in fact, you have a chance to help establish a new fraternity and create its traditions. My husband joined a fraternity colony that was begin when a group of guys quit another fraternity rather than stand for the harsh hazing. He is still close friends with many of them. OTOH, it's very hard to establish a new group at UA without substantial financial backing to maintain a house, even one of the ones that is leased from the university.

    Academically, every fraternity is going to have partiers and acadamicians. Most fraternities don't require a minimum GPA to pledge. In fact, many of them operate from a perspective of pledging every available soul and then "weeding them out" during the pledge process.

    My advice would be to wait a semester. There's no reason you can't still be friends with these guys and hang with them. Young fraternities have fall and spring pledge classes. Blame your parents - say they insist you not pledge right away. Don't lie - tell them you're still looking around, and do it.

    You might want to check out Theta Tau. It is a fraternity for engineering majors. It's co-ed now, but when I was in school, it pretty much operated as an IFC fraternity.
  • LucieTheLakieLucieTheLakie Registered User Posts: 4,000 Senior Member
    Not so long ago, a new fraternity on campus was kind of a non-starter in the eyes of most sororities.

    Truly not trying to stir up a hornet's nest here, but what exactly does a statement like this mean? If a new fraternity is a "non-starter" for most sororities, what do these young ladies think of young men who never pledge any fraternity? Does this mean they won't socialize with them?

  • happykidsmomhappykidsmom Registered User Posts: 361 Member
    @LucieTheLakie‌ , I am not sure to what extent this is true today. As I said in the explanation, it's my understanding that new fraternities on campus have an easier time integrating into the fabric of the university today because they don't face the stigmas of being made up of the stereotypical "outcasts" made famous by Hollywood. Whether fair or not, there was a sense that there were only a certain number of Thursdays (the day designated for swaps), and that there were already more fraternities than any sororities could swap with in one semester, and most sororities were not necessarily open to new fraternities filled with guys with whom they shared little in common. This was clearly NOT a UA-only phenomenon as it is a popular-enough reference that it is repeated in virtually every college-themed movie.

    My comment was not referring to non-Greeks. It was referring to the difficulty that new fraternities used to have setting up mixers and other activities with sororities--one of many ways a new fraternity integrates into the Greek community. I don't have the impression that it is such a problem anymore.

    As for non-Greeks, no, it doesn't mean that Greeks and non-Greeks don't socialize. As other parents with students at UA will attest, Greeks and non-Greeks socialize normally. The comment just referred to the difficulty new fraternities faced decades ago integrating into the already-established Greek community.
  • FamilyofFiveFamilyofFive Registered User Posts: 105 Junior Member
    Calikid- my DS is a freshman engineering major this year and he decided not to pledge. We have encouraged him to get out and meet people early on, but that is sometimes easier said than done. I know right now it seems like "everyone" is going Greek, but there are many who are not. Give it some time to meet new people. Try out different groups, etc. My DS says he has 3 or 4 small "friend groups" who are totally different from one another but enjoy some of the same things he does. I would think it is way too early to say who will end up being "real" friends and who will just become acquaintances.

    Keep in mind that classes have just started and many kids are still just trying to find their way around campus, figure out if they like the classes they are in, etc. Also, I know from our FB parents group that there are MANY kids who are feeling just like you, including some have started down the Greek path. It is incredibly hard to leave everyone you know and love behind and begin this new adventure, but it will be SO worth it. The first few weeks can feel pretty lonely, but it will get better.

    Be sure and check out the many opportunities on campus at Get on Board Day on Aug 28th.
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