Can Greek Life Ease the Transition into College?

By Mel DeCandia on June 20, 2013

The transition into college can often be a challenging one; students sometimes struggle to find a place for themselves at their new home. Luckily for some, pledging a fraternity or sorority can ease that transition.

“When I thought of the friends I had made in college thus far, I knew I wasn’t as happy as I could be. I decided to rush because I wanted to find an infallible support system of girls who shared common interests with me,” said Sarah Collins, a freshman at Syracuse University.

Collins admits to having early reservations about joining a sorority, but she now acknowledges the benefits of being a sister of Kappa Alpha Theta, Chi Chapter.

“I can see just how much rushing has helped me transition into the college lifestyle. Theta has brought a wide range of personalities together and provided us life-long friendship as well as given us the strength to be active members of society,” Collins said.

Not everyone can get involved in Greek life on campus right away. At the University of Maryland, sororities require students to have 12 credits and a minimum GPA of 2.5 to rush, and formal rush is held during the spring semester only. As a result, many girls, like freshman Kayla Yerkes, wait to rush.

Yerkes, now a sister of Alpha Xi Delta, Beta Eta chapter, nonetheless admits that waiting to go through the formal process in the spring had its benefits. “I’m glad I did formal rush because I got to see sororities I would have overlooked had I not been forced to see them all,” she said.

Jake Wegbreit, a freshman at the University of Rochester, also waited until his second semester to get involved in Greek life on campus. He learned about his fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Rho Nu chapter through friends he met at Hillel.

“Right after winter break, I was at Hillel and there were three brothers talking to me about how great it was and how happy being in AEPi has made all of them. They told me how they have gotten so much out of being part of AEPi. That was the deciding factor so I went through rush and I pledged,” said Wegbreit.

Other students wait to rush until even later in their college career. Kat Cook, a sophomore at the University of Maryland, pledged Alpha Chi Omega, Gamma Theta chapter just this past semester.

“As a freshman I had a solid group of friends and didn’t feel like I needed it to have a fun social life, but then sophomore year I decided wanted to get involved,” Cook said.

Despite different rushing experiences, students across various campuses have found it to be a rewarding experience.

“Brotherhood is indescribable. All I know is that I love it. I love how there will always be someone that wants to hang out at almost anytime,” Wegbreit said about his fraternity.

Tyler Varian, a freshman at George Washington University, spoke similarly about his experience as a brother of Zeta Beta Tau, Phi Alpha Alpha chapter.

“Being part of a fraternity has allowed me to expand my social network and has enhanced my college experience as a whole,” said Varian. “Being a brother in ZBT has helped define who I am as a person and has allowed me to seamlessly transition from high school to university.”

Additionally, Greek life provides an opportunity for students to get involved in a far more extensive way than other extracurricular activities on campus allow.

“We, as an entirety, strive to make noticeable differences in our local and global communities,” said Collins about her experience in Kappa Alpha Theta, and also the Greek community as a whole.  “Being involved on a campus expanded my connections and allowed me to meet so many goal-oriented and caring people,” she said.

Greek life may not be for everyone, but for those who do choose to pledge in their college career can find their niche in college as soon as their first semester, easing the move to college.

Said Collins: “Greek life is the perfect combination of sisterhood, service opportunity and social expansion to create a smooth transition into college.”

University of Maryland, Merrill College of Journalism '16. Terp, show-tune enthusiast and part-time Belieber. Sometimes I write things.

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