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Teens and Greek Recruitment: College Greek Life Isn’t A Guarantee

There are many things to look for when exploring college options for your teen. Many consider academics the top priority. But there are plenty of high school seniors who place a warmer climate, playing a sport, or joining a fraternity or sorority at the top of their list.

While this is a fair and understandable criterion on the part of many college counselors, it begs the question, “What if?” when things don’t pan out the way they hope.

What If You Don’t Get That Greek Bid

Over the past couple of years, I have seen many students choose specific colleges for their lively and heralded Greek system. Living in the Midwest offers a variety of Big Ten schools – all with opportunities for participating in college Greek life. But what so many fail to discuss with their teens is the possibility of not getting an invitation to join a house and continuing life on campus without that experience.

To many, it seems unimaginable. We love our kids. We cannot fathom how anyone would not want our teens to be a part of their organization. But of course the reality is that every year, after both fraternity and sorority rush, I receive a few calls from emotionally distraught parents and students, looking for a way to transfer. In some instances, I have seen young women jump ship immediately, if only to quickly transfer to another school in time to rush as a sophomore. Is this what we want for our college kids?

We live in an age of instant and viral gratification; pictures of parties, football games and dances cover the social media  of my students who have gone “Greek.” And yet, the poor kids who do not receive that Greek bid are left watching their friends carry on through the unrelenting lens of social media.

Questions to Consider

It takes a mighty strong young adult to weather that storm as a college freshman. And we need to assess whether our teens have the emotional fortitude to hack it. Will you still love school without that life? Will you be able to handle the rejection of Greek recruitment? All excellent questions to pose before packing them up.

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The heartache is palpable and as parents, we suffer with them. Ready to jump in the car or catch a plane if only to sit with them while they mourn; but I’ve discovered by then it’s too late. Talk about it first, weigh the options out loud. Introduce the prospect of what might happen, giving them a moment to consider the alternative. It’s all part of the decision process when looking at college.

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