College Sororities: What’s Fact & What’s Fiction?

Being in a sorority is a longtime dream for many young college women, and there is no doubt that they came to college with expectations and preconceptions in mind.

If you’re a high school student or even a current college student and you’re considering sorority life in the future but don’t know if it’s the right thing for you, have no fear!

I’ve interviewed several college women that are currently in a sorority and who no doubt once had some of the same thoughts and feelings about sororities like you.

They answered various questions regarding their experiences about sorority life, and hopefully their answers may give insight on the subject.

Interviewees

Emma N.

  • Year in School: 1st

  • Sorority: Phi Mu

  • First time being in a sorority? - Yes

Anna K.

  • Year in School: 3rd 

  • Sorority: Pi Beta Phi

  • First time being in a sorority? – No

    • How many years/semesters have you been in your sorority? – One year (joined last spring)

Avery M.

  • Year in School: 1st

  • Sorority: Zeta Tau Alpha

  • First time being in a sorority? – Yes

Phoi P.

  • Year in School: 3rd 

  • Sorority: Alpha Phi

  • First time being in a sorority? – No

    • How many years/semesters have you been in your sorority? – Three years (part of founding class)

What preconceptions did you have about college sororities before you started rushing?

Emma: I actually did a lot of research about sororities before coming in and rushing, so I kind of was able to see past the surface level aspects that most people would think about on first glance. I knew specifically at the University of Florida we have a strong community of Greek life so to be able to join a chapter meant having a level of commitment and integrity that others could see in me. I definitely focused on outside things such as bid day and big little, but actually being involved in a sorority has given me the opportunity to really appreciate the tradition and sisterhood that preconceptions simply do not show.

Anna: Before I was in Pi Phi, I thought sororities were the only way to meet people socially. I was like “I want to meet people and make friends so I’m going to do that through being in a sorority.” [I also thought] that there would be a lot of social events all the time, tons of required things to do, etc.

Avery: [Some preconceptions I had were that] sororities allow you to meet other like-minded people who have similar interests and passions as you, and you meet your lifelong best friends.

Phoi: I honestly was really scared; what I knew about sororities was really based on what I had seen in movies. Preconceptions were just general things, like I thought their personality would be not as genuine since they were trying to recruit me, that the social fraternities were quite… “social” and not academic-based, and that I didn’t belong in that world in general.

Why did you decide to rush for a sorority?

Emma: I wanted to rush a sorority for a couple years simply because I can see how involved and how lives have been changed just by being in one. I’ve already seen myself grow so much in the sisterhood and being able to rely on the girls that have the same values as I do is such an amazing feeling coming into the university as a freshman.

Anna: I decided to rush because I wanted to find a group of people who would motivate me to be a better self. I was really unhappy with the place I was in—I didn’t have friends, and I felt like I didn’t have a spot at UF. I thought a sorority would help me find my niche and find people who would support me.

Avery: I rushed because I’m [from] out of state and I thought it would be a good opportunity to get involved on campus and meet new people since I didn’t really know anyone coming here.

Phoi: I decided to rush because I wanted to be more involved at UF. It was my sophomore year, and from that point I can tell that my time at UF as a freshman wasn’t impactful or really was the “true” college experience. I knew a few girls in Alpha Phi, and I reached out and asked them about their involvement on campus life; they told me how the incredible Panhellenic community truly goes above and beyond your college years.

What was the rushing process like for you?

Emma: The rushing process was definitely a little intimidating. It all went by in a blur just from talking to so many people. I had researched a lot about every single sorority before coming in, so I did have my eye on a few that I thought would fit in most with what my values were. It’s all up to a system to figure out where you are placed, so it definitely can be tricky. As everyone says, you end up where you’re meant to be, and I definitely ended up in the absolute best place.

Anna: I didn’t go through formal recruitment. I rushed in the spring, so it was a lot easier. I just met with two girls in the chapter (Caro and Delany, absolutely love them; they were our new member educator and recruitment chair) and we met at Pascals and talked for a bit and I was just myself and they were just themselves and it worked out! I didn’t go into spring recruitment with the intention of joining a sorority; I figured if I liked one then great, but I wasn’t just going to join just to join, but I ended up just feeling like Pi Phi would be a great place for me.

Avery: It was long and tiring but I enjoyed it; it was so cool to get to meet so many new people and see what each chapter is like.

Phoi: Since Alpha Phi was just a colony when I first joined, my rushing experience was quite different than the formal and spring recruitments.

Now that you’ve been accepted into your sorority and have been in it for some time, what do you think of sorority life? Were any of your initial beliefs right or wrong based on your newfound experiences? How so? What were some things that you did not expect? How did your experiences change your viewpoint about what sorority life is like (if they did at all)?

Emma: I absolutely love sorority life. It combines the philanthropy, social and involvement aspects that I was looking for coming into university. Because I already had a lot of prior knowledge about what goes into being a sorority, I wasn’t really shocked by anything. I was pleasantly surprised how everyone warmed up to the new members right away and did absolutely everything they could to make us feel involved and welcome. No matter what, there will always be stereotypes about Greek life, but I can say that any good one is true. I already feel more involved and surrounded by a genuine community who all want the same things for each other.

Anna: I had a lot of wrong ideas because [sororities are] definitely not the only way to meet people (although it’s really good for that because I have met so many people through it). [Turns out,] sorority life is a lot more open than I expected it to be. It’s not all partying and socials and things like that. It’s philanthropy, friendship, studying together ,supporting each other through our problems, having fun, laughing and all of the in-betweens. My family in Pi Phi are some of the closest people to me. I go to my big to laugh and to cry, and I always feel so loved. I was really worried about not making friends or finding my place again, but everyone has welcomed me with such open arms and I’m so grateful for that. I didn’t expect it to be so laid back! But that’s what I love about my chapter. It’s not just a sorority for the title. It’s a group of down to earth girls that care about so much more outside of the bubble of Greek life. Yeah, there are parts that fit the stereotypes, for sure! But there’s so much more outside of the stereotype and it’s honestly just so much fun and I love being in something that loves me back. 

Avery: I love it! I’ve met so many girls that I wished I had known longer and it’s so cool to see what we can accomplish as a chapter! I definitely think that being in a chapter brings you so much closer to so many people as you all are involved in similar things such as philanthropy, and you’re often with these girls every day and get to know them super well! Everyone gets so close and it’s so real and you go through both the good and the bad together; people are always there for you and it’s a great support system. 

Phoi: I absolutely love being in a sorority! My initial preconceptions were completely wrong. I was a part of the recruiting class for this year’s first formal recruitment event and [was] talking to all the girls. I really enjoyed meeting new people and inviting them into our sisterhood. Especially being in Alpha Phi, we really encourage academics and community involvement through study hours, fundraisers, and volunteering at UF and the Gainesville community. Every sister is amazing and well accomplished. Alpha Phi has given us so many opportunities and networking experiences so far. We have a SEC championship player, Florida Cicerones, Student  Government members, and even Homecoming directors as sisters who always encourages us to reach out to them for opportunities within their organization outside of Alpha Phi.

What’s your favorite part of being in your sorority?

Emma: My favorite part about being in a sorority is being a part of something bigger and knowing that all across the country, I am bonded with girls at other schools who who practice the same values. No matter where I go, there were always be Phi Mu sisters leading a life of love, honor and truth. My personal favorite event was big little week. I met my three favorite people who took me under [their] wing and are like older sisters I can look up to for guidance. Being the oldest child, that’s definitely something I never had.

Anna: My favorite part is my Pi Phi family. Like I said, they are my ride or dies. We do so much together, and they have been some of the most consistent people in my life. They truly are my family and I have felt so loved; I know that they know me to the deepest parts and it’s so mushy, but I’m literally just so grateful for them and throughout any doubts that I might have about Greek life, I remember that it brought me to them and even for just that alone, it’s all worth it. The girls I have met are some of the most down to earth girls. They are so real, and everyone is so passionate about what they do. They’re really invested in their involvements and being themselves, and I think that has really inspired me because I truly feel like I’m surrounded by women who motivate me to be my best self while being their best selves as well.

Avery: My favorite part is definitely the people and friendships I’ve formed in my sorority.

Phoi: My favorite part would just be the people. There are so many sisters out there beyond the UF Kappa Eta chapter and they are always ready to welcome fellow sisters with open arms. We all bring something special to the chapter. The social aspect of being in any sorority is amazing because you will always meet someone new and create connections.

What’s the most challenging part about being in a sorority?

Emma: The most challenging part about being a sorority is balancing school in the different commitments outside of it. However, everyone knows that we’re here at school for a reason and they look up to being involved in other things. As a sorority, we value balance, and I definitely am not afraid to put my schoolwork first. We have a chapter GPA to uphold, so it is very understood.

Anna: The most challenging part is the bubble that it is. With “tiers” and stigmas like that, it’s so easy to get caught up or think you’re defined by your letters, but you’re not. But I know how easy it is to fall down the rabbit hole before realizing that letters literally don’t matter, and no one is better than someone else because of the letters they wear. Comparison will kill you! And that’s why it’s the most challenging.

Avery: The most challenging part is probably trying to balance everything, as it’s hard to balance school (especially with chemistry) and some [sorority requirements like fundraising, etc. But it’s most definitely manageable if you learn how to manage your time.

Phoi: The most challenging part in being a sorority for me would be money. I think that is a huge factor for any college student. The dues are very acceptable for the activities and the events we have, but it is still quite hard for me since I do pay my own tuition, rent and dues. Overall if you think it is worth it, you should do it. Money can always be made later on, [but] not the experience.

And there you have it! The experiences of sorority life are obviously different for each girl, but from what I’ve heard, they at least all have one thing in common: a strong sense of companionship with their sisters. After hearing these girls’ thoughts on being part of the sisterhood, what do you think about sororities now? Will you consider being a sorority girl yourself?