Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Why are women the only ones who care about scholarship?

Now that we have your attention...

In February, the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) celebrates the "Month of the Scholar." But, obviously, scholarship is something that all college students - especially members of fraternities and sororities - care about, not just the women.

Or do they? It's pretty much known nowadays that college women outperform their male peers. There are more of them enrolled, they study more, they earn higher grades, and they graduate sooner. Yikes. If that hit you hard, consider this: men not only perform worse than women, they actually value college less and don't try as hard.

Men: are you still standing? If you are, you might want to sit down for this one. Some are actually suggesting that fraternities contribute to men's underperformance. Ouch.

So, what gives? Fraternities and sororities are supposed to enhance a member's academic experience. We know men aren't stupid. Statistically, they're actually better prepared for college than their lady friends. Yet, once they get here, they do worse. Why is that?

Here's the good news. Fraternal organizations are set up to support scholarship. Newsflash: our organizations were created around this concept. Members of fraternities and sororities have more support than most other college students. That's probably one reason why we outperform our non-Greek peers, but it's no excuse for not doing better still. Each chapter, council, and community has a network of support that includes advisors, volunteers, and alumni. Don't forget, there are also 10 to 200 other members of your chapter; all of these people can provide low performers the support they need to do better. And, to top it all off, you're all students - at a university. A school that has endless offices, departments, and professionals who get paid to help you succeed.

So, what gives?

To recognize the Month of the Scholar, the NPC is offering Academic Excellence: A Resource for College Panhellenics from their website. And, lo and behold, we've got a pretty useful Office Manual for your council's Scholarship or Academic Chairperson available. You should take a look.

We've said in previous blog posts that fraternity and sorority members are superior scholars to their non-affiliated peers. And, we still mean it. But, being better than others doesn't automatically mean you're good. Our organizations aim to teach and support us in becoming our personal best - not just better than others.

What is your organization doing to be the best group of scholars it can be? What you are doing do be the best scholar you can be personally?

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