Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Why Fraternities and Sororities Are Not Stupid: Reason 4

Graduating on time: it is a more likely outcome if you are in a fraternity or sorority.

Reason 4: Members of fraternities and sororities have been found to persist to graduation at higher rates than other students.

A study by Auburn University found the four-year graduation rate for students in fraternities and sororities to be just over 80% while only 70% of unaffiliated students graduated in four years. We put our heads together and brainstormed a few ways our brothers and sisters subtly and not so subtly encouraged us to make it to graduation (and in a timely manner at that).

First off, fraternities and sororities automatically create an environment of people with similar goals. When you're surrounded by brothers or sisters who want to succeed and progress academically, it makes it a lot easier for you to stay focused on your academic goals. By studying in groups, even when you're all working on different things, you have people pulling you through your next test or big paper. Additionally, by having a network of people with different areas of study, it is a lot easier to get help in a class you may have to take from someone who has a major in that area. If you're an English major struggling in economics, it's a lot easier to ask a brother who is majoring in business than someone you don't know in the business school.

Whenever you have a chapter of 20-300 people, there is a high likelihood you will find someone with your same major. By having a built-in cohort, you have created a learning community that increases your chances for academic success and university engagement (Zhao, 2004). 

Think about it: when you have classes together and similar material to study, you can think more critically and deeply about concepts, thus better understanding the material. In addition, by connecting with older members in your same area of study, you have an invaluable resource for knowing which classes to take to achieve your goals and more information about what you can do with your major. It's pretty hard to make those connections without a fraternity or sorority.

So, more than the general student leader experience, membership in a fraternity or sorority (if done right) can provide a dedicated network to help you succeed academically and push you towards graduation. Doesn't sound so stupid to us.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Why Fraternities and Sororities Are Not Stupid: Reason 14

So we're a little out of order today, but today's post is in honor of October 3, Mean Girls style.

We know, so fetch.

Reason 14: Membership in a fraternal organization exposes students to a more diverse variety of personality types.

Think about going through the recruitment or intake process. When you're unfamiliar with fraternities and sororities, it's easy to stereotype an entire chapter.

But once you join the chapter and get involved, you realize that each member is in fact, very different. Put 20-250 personalities together, and each chapter is bound to have internal disagreements. By joining a fraternity or sorority, you are developing interpersonal skills that will serve you throughout your life. Working with a group that doesn't always see eye-to-eye to achieve the same goal is something that you will deal with often in your professional life. Research by Hart & Associates found employers cited the ability to work in a diverse team as one of the top skills they were looking for in recent graduates.

Working with different personalities is especially important as chapter and council leaders. Disagreements stemming from different work styles and beliefs can lead to problems with communication.

Learning how to communicate with people who are different from you is essential because you make decisions for the chapter or community. Set an example for tolerance and civility.

Additionally, it is important to respect and accept each member's individual differences. Continue to recruit different members who each contribute something different and essential to the chapter. I mean, you can't expect everyone to buy army pants and flip flops or wear pink on Wednesdays (although we totally are today in honor of October 3).

We're sorry that people are so jealous of us,
but we can't help it that we're popular.

You need people of all talents and beliefs for your chapter or community to succeed. If you had a chapter full of artists, who would be the treasurer? Similarly, if you had a chapter full of mathletes (not social suicide, by the way), who would lead your public relations efforts?

So, continue to recruit all kinds of different people. It allows you to become a better person and communicator, and it makes your chapter or fraternity/sorority community better. Everyone wins!

Keep up the good work, and don't let the haters stop you from doin' your thang.