by Gwenyth Easterling
Considering how often you hear about fraternities and sororities, many incoming freshmen enter college with the same question: “What is Greek life?” There are over 9 million Greek members nationally. Many sororities and fraternities give back to their communities via volunteer work, and have an integral network of brothers and sisters for lifelong friendships and professional affiliations. For many people, one of the most important components of Greek life is the lifelong friendships that come. Greek women and men find that a sorority or fraternity often makes them feel comfortable or at home. Aside from social sororities and fraternities there are also professional fraternities. Professional fraternities are co-ed memberships that are geared towards a person's professional success in a given field, such as arts or business. One great thing about professional fraternities is they are tailored to your desired degree.
Greek life enjoys a storied and long connection to higher education. However, a cost of membership could possibly be one of your largest expenses in your college budget. The dues and fees for a single semester in a fraternity or sorority can cost a few hundred dollars to several thousand per semester. A member of Delta Sigma Theta Incorporated, says “Many students interested in Greek life are not prepared for the social and financial obligations. Not only are there membership dues, but also the cost of housing, penalty fees, or costly mandatory attendance events.” You can usually calculate the price of membership when researching the organization you wish to join.
Although the financial aspect of Greek life is very looked down upon, there are many benefits and advantages to joining an organization that can certainly outweigh the cost. Jayla Dawson, who is a member of business organization Alpha Kappa Psi, says “Alumni and members have helped me with professional development and given me a ton of insight on internships and career options. I would not have been given such a great job opportunity when I graduated if it were not for Alpha Kappa Psi.”
During your college experience, joining a Greek life organization of any kind can be vital to your professional career. If you choose to do so, make sure you take advantage of your experience and optimize the available professional development and networking tools to further your career.