Greek Life 101: What Is Rushing In College?

Whether you love or hate it, Greek life is still a big part of most colleges in the U.S. Yes, you might have heard many stereotypes about this community. Still, countless freshmen “rush” to become members of a fraternity or sorority every year. 

While it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, there are undeniable benefits to joining Greek life. I decided to join a sorority during my first year of college, which was one of the best decisions in my life: I met the coolest peers, built essential skills, and received precious lessons that are still valuable in my career path. 

But, I had absolutely no idea about Greek life at the time and only decided to attend the rush event to see how it went. Most people spent years considering the fraternity or sorority that suits them most, then made a careful plan to get into it, but I did that within like three hours. 

To save you from the confusion I had gone through, this article will explain everything you need to know about fraternities and sororities. How do you become a member? What does that have to do with “rushing”, and what is rushing in college? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Welcome you to our College Application section.

Break The Stereotype: All You Need To Know About Greek Life  

College life is not all about exams, writing assignments, and lectures. When you enroll at a university in America, you also get a chance to live Greek life. 

In case you still have no idea, Greek life is a collective term for undergraduate organizations known as fraternities and sororities. The names of these organizations contain Greek letters, that’s why they are associated with this country. They are also known for throwing exciting get-togethers, which include Greek-themed Toga parties. Other than that, fraternities and sororities don’t further embody Greek culture. 

Indeed, movies like “Scream Queens” or “Legally Blonde” typically portray Greek life as endless parties and excessive drinking. Nonetheless, being in one of these organizations means much more than people presume. Well, it does offer students many chances to expand their networks through social events. This is a major draw to joining frats and sororities, especially for students going to colleges far from home. 

Greek life offers students many chances to expand their networks
For many students, the most important component of Greek life is the exclusive network – Source: Business Insider

Beyond social functions, though, the main aim of these organizations is to provide members with career, leadership, and mentorship. Older members can serve as mentors to support new members who have trouble adjusting to college life or classes. Plus, upon graduation, you will also join a community of a million alumni who have graduated from the same organization. When you apply for a job or get a promotion, this exclusive network will benefit you greatly. 

Does that make you interested now? To become a member of a fraternity or sorority, college kids have to go through the rush process. So, if you think it is for you, let’s move on to the next question: What is rushing in college? 

What Is Rushing In College? 

The rush process is different in each college, but in general, it consists of a few steps, beginning with “rushing”. 

Rushing to a sorority
What does rushing mean in college? – Source: Saint Louis University

What is rushing in college, exactly? It’s a wave of social events and gatherings where freshmen get to meet the members of fraternities and sororities. Traditionally, the rush takes place at the start of the fall or spring semester and lasts for 5-7 days.

During these events, students will have an insight into each organization’s values, including leadership, religion, and philanthropy. Depending on each frat and sorority, this process can be very structured and formal or relaxed and casual. It gives freshers a chance to get to know each organization and decide if the house aligns with their interests. 

At the same time, the members of each organization also consider the students and seek potential members. As soon as it ends, they will gather and decide which student would be a good fit for the chapter. The chosen ones will then receive invitations.

Below, JobandEdu will go a bit deeper into the rushing process of sororities and fraternities. If you ever wondered, yes, they are a bit different! 

Rushing A Fraternity 

Rushing A Fraternity
What does it mean to rush a frat? – Source: People

Just like the previous part mentioned, fraternities will throw parties and social events to get to know prospective candidates. 

“After being a part of a fraternity, I noticed something,” Quora user Tanner Papy wrote, “the freshmen often overthink the rush events. I bumped into many dudes who acted as if they were in a formal business meeting. It killed the whole vibe of the events and resulted in them not getting a single bid. “

You have probably figured it out by now: Most rush events hosted by these brotherhoods are going to be more on the casual side. Some examples include barbeques, touch football games, and parties. Hence, it is fine to show up with some nice khaki shorts and a well-fitting tee or polo. Be yourself, socialize, and talk to brothers as much as possible – your rushing process should go well with that. 

Rushing A Sorority 

Rushing a sorority tends to be a bit more formal, with different themes and requirements for each day. 

To begin this process, the girls are expected to attend scheduled events or casual hangouts where they get to know the other sisters. Meanwhile, members of the chapter will see which ones can get along well with the organization. 

The most common type of rush event involves a show where prospective recruits can showcase their talents. Students also have to go through several interviews. The chosen rushees will receive an invitation to join the sorority sisterhood.  

As you can imagine, dressing is much more important when it comes to rushing for sororities. But don’t misunderstand: “Dress to impress” doesn’t mean you have to wear something expensive and extravagant. Instead, think more along the lines of going on a fun date. You may keep it simple with shorts, skirts, or a simple dress, but elevate the look with a chic top and accessories. 

Explaining sorority recruitment/rush

To Rush Or Not To Rush? Consider These Factors! 

That’s everything you need to know about the rushing process. Doesn’t sound too complicated, right? 

Selecting the right frat or sorority to rush isn’t that simple, though. It’s common to want to join a certain chapter just because your mother used to be there, but if you put in the effort to find the most suitable one, you can dodge some pitfalls of Greek life. 

With that in mind, before going through the rush week, make sure you consider these factors: 

Your Schedule

Both the rushing and pledging processes require a significant amount of time. Therefore, if you choose a hard major with a tough workload or are struggling with the responsibilities of living on your own, joining a frat or sorority might not sound like a good idea. In case you are interested in an organization but don’t have time to rush during your freshman year, ask them if they have another rush event in the spring semester. 

Monetary Commitment

How much does it cost to be in a frat or sorority
Depending on each house, being in a frat or sorority can be expensive – Source: Towson University

Being a member of a Greek-life organization might also be costly. Most chapters require members to pay dues at the beginning of each semester, which can go up to a thousand dollars. This does not include the costs for trips and events that take place during the school year. So, when going through orientation, don’t forget to discuss the charges of joining the house. 

Your Own Interest 

Aside from the cost, learning about the culture of the frat or sorority you want to join is essential. What is the main aim of this organization? What connects them and becomes their core values? Only when you have the answers for these questions can you decide whether or not this is the right house for you. 

Get The Right Fit!

Now that you’ve got the answer to “What is rushing in college?”, you can go to the rush week feeling all prepared. Just like applying to a college, choosing a frat or sorority is all about fit. I wouldn’t recommend rushing for a fraternity or sorority solely for its reputation. After all, the original purpose of Greek-letter organizations is to foster lifetime friendship and community, among other things. Hence, it should be the place where you feel most comfortable and thrive. 

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