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What Is Rushing In College?

Amanda Hoyle, M.Ed., Psy.M. • 10 Minute Read

Socializing in your freshman year of college can be quite daunting. There are so many clubs and societies to join, from sports teams to study groups; you can pretty much do whatever you like. But have you ever wondered about what rushing a sorority or fraternity means? Look no further; we've got everything you need to know.

We're all familiar with sororities and fraternities being a group of people with similar interests and goals. They form a bond that lasts a lifetime. But what do they have to do with rushing? 

What Are Fraternities And Sororities?

Sororities 

Many students navigate their way around college through sororities and fraternities. A sorority is a group of female students that form a bond through their shared college experiences. These groups offer each other knowledge, leadership, networking, and mentorship opportunities. A majority of sororities in the United States are national organizations with formations across the country. 

Fraternity 

Fraternities are similar to sororities; the only difference is it is a group of males. Most fraternities and sororities are related to Greece as they are likely named with Greek letters. The culture of most fraternities and sororities includes hosting parties, some of which are Greek-themed toga parties. However, they don't uphold any Greek traditions or values. First-year students are required to participate in the rushing process. 

What Does Rushing Mean in College?

If you're interested in joining a fraternity or sorority in college, you'll have to go through a rite of passage known as rushing. It's mostly social gatherings early in the school year. Newcomers are introduced to senior students, and everyone gets to mingle. The seniors usually assess whether the freshmen are a good fit for their fraternity or sorority. 

The rushing season is usually during the fall, but it depends on when the fraternity and sorority would commence. Different sororities and fraternities also might have different approaches in their rushes. If they spot a freshman who fits perfectly in their chapter, they will invite them to join. 

Rushing In Sororities 

For women, you visit a sorority to hang out or participate in events. This is usually where the sorority sisters evaluate the freshmen. Sometimes, the sorority will hold a rushing event where they sing, and dance shows for the potentials. 

The sisters may also conduct interviews with candidate first-year students, and if they like any of them, they'll invite to join the sorority. Those who make it through this stage will enjoy an event with their new sorority sisters. If you rush a sorority and receive no interest from the sisters, it's not the end of the world. There are plenty of informal rushing events that happen throughout the year, so there's always another opportunity to get in where you fit in. 

Rushing In Fraternities 

This is a less formal process; however, similar to sororities, fraternities host rushing events to get to know candidates. Examples of these include playing football, hosting barbecues, or a party. Brothers will bid on their favorites and invite them to join the fraternity. If not, there are other opportunities. 

Formal Rushing 

This is a bigger and competitive process. There are more potential members, and they go through a rigorous process to impress their sororities/fraternities. 

Casual Rushing 

This is a more relaxed approach. There are fewer potential opportunities, and it's not as serious as the formal process. You are likely only to meet a few of the sisters or brothers. 

The Pros And Cons Of Rushing In College 

Cons

Expenses 

It's not cheap, so you have to consider how much it will dent your pockets. You may have to pay for merch, events, meals, and housing. 

Negative Reputation 

Some sororities and fraternities have a bad reputation. Especially if they have a history of hazing or negative allegations, some Greek Life organizations do participate in hazing. The universities have little control over their hazing activities, so be careful of those with abusive reputations. 

Pros 

Life-Long Friendships 

After the rush, you'll be invited to join current and past members. These people become a close group of friends that you can keep in your life for years after you've completed your academic career. 

Philanthropy 

You have the opportunity to contribute to society through various charitable events and activities. For example, Kappa Delta is known for its connection with Girl Scouts of the United States and focuses on helping women and children. The sorority raises about 2 million dollars a year.  

Leadership Opportunities

Fraternity and sorority organizations have plenty of opportunities to grow their leadership skills. Every year, executive board positions are opened up to members to apply. 

What Is Greek Life? 

There's more to Greek Life than toga parties, and keg stands. There's another side to it that isn't all about excessive partying. More often than not, sororities and fraternities take part in charitable activities and host fundraising events. Education is the heart of Greek Life as members must maintain a minimum GPA throughout their academic Life.

Socializing is critical as sororities and fraternities host parties throughout the school year. Sororities have weekly sisterhood gatherings; these are usually casual at the sorority house or dinner near campus. It's also a great way to network, build friendships and connect. You'll probably find it difficult to get a moment on your own, but it's all about a network of people who will support you. Additionally, you have access to mentorship from older sisters and brothers. 

What's The Difference Between Rushing And Hazing? 

You may have assumed that rushing and hazing are the same things, but they're different. 

Hazing 

Hazing includes any activity that causes pain, embarrassment, or other hurtful acts to initiate a group of new students. However, whatever you've seen about hazing in the movies isn't how things happen. Most fraternities and sororities don't force you to do anything humiliating. Also, hazing doesn't happen at every campus. 

Colleges across the United States are tightening up on dangerous hazing activities, so participating isn't advisable. Furthermore, extreme cases have led to deaths, so the government implemented anti-hazing laws. 

Things To Consider Before Choosing A Sorority or Fraternity

1. Time and Money

Rushing takes up a lot of time, and if you're in a tough course, you'll have to talk about your responsibilities and priorities. If you want to participate in rushing, reach out to Greek organizations that potentially match your interests, then see if it's possible to rush in the spring or as a sophomore.

Greek Life also comes with a price tag. Most chapters require participants to pay their dues every semester or year. The cost ranges anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars; this doesn't include paying for social gatherings, trips, and other fees that pop up throughout the year.

2. Goals

Consider what you want out of the Greek Life experience. How will it enhance college for you? Some people use it to network, make friends, gain academic support, and build lifelong connections and helpful resources for post-graduate life. 

How Important Is It To Get The Right Fit? 

Just like searching for the right college, it's important to look for the right fraternity or sorority for you too. If you're unsure, there's no harm in testing the waters. Students interested in rushing shouldn't choose chapters based on reputation and popularity, rather focus on research to find out more about all of them. That way, you make an informed decision. 

It should be about where you can fulfill your potential in a Greek Life organization or another club. It's important to discover who you are and what you enjoy, so test things out as much as you can Include President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Risk Management. Members appointed into these roles have a lot of responsibility, and they gain valuable experience and skills that they can use in their future employment.

Networking

This journey can have a lasting impact on your future. Graduates keep the connections they've made, and it can help you when you're hunting for employment. Even graduates from other sororities and fraternities may be interested in taking you on because of the Greek connection. You might not always get the job, but it can land you an interview.

Questions to Ask When You're Rushing a Sorority or Fraternity 

The rush process is filled with parties and social events but don't be fooled; it's more than just having a good time. It would help if you tried to learn and understand who you're rushing for. Learn about the chapter's values; as much as you're competing to get in; it's important to assess whether you want to be in that sorority or fraternity.

You can ask the following questions:

  1. How did the fraternity or sorority start?
  2. What philanthropic activities does the fraternity or sorority participate in?
  3. What's daily life like for the sisters and brothers?
  4. What are the interests and hobbies of the members? 
  5. How much will it cost you to be a member of the fraternity or sorority?

Is Rushing Right for You?

It would be best if you made a decision based on your experience. There are stereotypes in every chapter, but you have to make an informed decision based on your research.

Conclusion

You're in college to learn and grow; participating in the rushing process is a great way to do both. You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Just go at it with an open mind and pay close attention to your interests and values to have the best experience possible.

Amanda Hoyle, M.Ed., Psy.M
Amanda is a proficient and widely published educational leader, with Master's degrees in both Education and Psychology.
Related Articles
Amanda Hoyle, M.Ed., Psy.M
Amanda is a proficient and widely published educational leader, with Master's degrees in both Education and Psychology.
Related Articles
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