Educational consultant Mark Montgomery goes to Stetson University and advises those trying to find the right college to consider fraternities and sororities, whether they’re something you want to be a part of or not.
So I’m on the campus of Stetson University here in DeLand, Florida, central Florida, not too far, about an hour or so, from Orlando. Took a tour today, and it was interesting, I asked about fraternities and sororities and we were going down Sorority Row and I was asking, “Well, how does it work here?” And it’s definitely something that you should think about. If you’re interested in Greek life or not, you should understand that extent, or the organization of the Greek life system at every college. So definitely ask those questions.
So what did I ask? First I asked, “So how many students, or what percentage or students, are involved in Greek life here?” And I got a couple of different answers. I think the official statistic is about 30%. But then I talked to the student guide and she said “Oh, no, that’s not true; it’s really more like 60%.” Okay, well, that’s a big difference because if you’ve got 60% of the students are that 40% is not, then you’re going to have a different experience than if it’s the other way around because if you’re deciding you don’t want to be part of that system, you just have to know which side of the balance, does the tail wag the dog or not? So you have to understand that, and you have to get at the bottom of that statistical difference.
The other thing that she mentioned was that here at Stetson, the rush system, they call it recruitment, they don’t call it rush anymore because that’s politically incorrect and sounds like hazing, but recruitment begins in the fall of the very first semester when you arrive. So as a freshman you’re eligible to rush, or be recruited, by a fraternity or sorority. So most of the students, because they’re desperate to make friends, are going to jump right into that system, versus a school, and we were just at Rollins a little while ago, rush or recruitment doesn’t happen until the second semester of the freshman year. Some colleges delay it even until the sophomore year, so you can’t even become a member until your second year. That makes a difference because it’s the pressure, the social pressure that you may feel when you arrive on campus, to jump into the fraternity or sorority system without really knowing whether that’s something you really want to do. And the other thing is that on a small college campus like this, it’s interesting, there are some colleges that just don’t have any fraternities and sororities, but a small college like this, like Stetson, it’s a relatively large percentage, when the good thing about going to a small college is that it’s easier to meet people anyway, without having to divide up into these social groups.
So as you’re thinking about which colleges to apply to, you need to think about Greek life, you need to think about what it means to you and are you sure you want to be a part of it? If you’re absolutely sure, great. Think about how it’s structured and when the recruitment process begins, and then also, if you’re not interested in it at all, you do want to know how many students, and is it 30%, is it 60%, get to the bottom of that statistic before you sign up and pay your tuition. It’s an important aspect of any campus’s social life. Whether it exists or it doesn’t exist, know what you want and then ask the questions of the people that you meet on the campus.