Information for Families

A Loved One’s Guide to Fraternity and Sorority Life

You might wonder whether joining a fraternity or sorority is right for your student. Unfortunately, the media often highlights stereotypes and portrays Fraternity and Sorority Life as nothing more than expensive clubs that party. USC Upstate boasts a diverse and growing fraternity/sorority community. Our members are engaged in both campus and community organizations, and our Chapters provide opportunities for members to create life-long friendships and create a home away from home.

Find out interesting facts, ways to support your student’s interest in membership, and overall expectations for what the Fraternity and Sorority Life Experience has to offer. Deciding to join a fraternity or sorority can be a difficult decision for most students, and as a loved one, you should keep the following in mind as your student navigates this process:


Support your student as they decide if Fraternity and Sorority Life is for them. Learn more about our fraternity/sorority community and the resources offered by the Office of Student Involvement so you can refer your student to us should they have questions.

Attend the chapter’s Family Weekend and attend the chapter’s service/philanthropy events


Encourage your student to keep an open mind while they make their decision. It is easy to get caught up in the events and “clout” associated with affiliation; however, joining an organization is a life-long commitment. Encourage your student to take his/her time getting to know the members and researching the organizations.

Additionally, encourage your student to take advantage of USC Upstate numerous resources and opportunities outside of Fraternity and Sorority Life.


Respect your student’s decision. Often, students decide to join an organization that is different from the one their parent or other family member belongs too. Joining a fraternal organization is a personal decision, and students should find the best fit for them, regardless of their Legacy status. Additionally, should your student decide they don’t want to join a fraternity or sorority that is perfectly, okay, as well. Membership in a fraternal organization Life isn’t for everyone and there are numerous other opportunities for students to get involved on campus.


Recognize there are financial obligations associated with joining fraternities and sororities. Have an honest conversation with your student beforehand to determine who will be responsible for paying their dues, membership fees, etc. or if there are any limits to what you are able to afford.


Allow your student to advocate for his or herself as they navigate this process. Encourage your student to contact the Office of Student Involvement if they have questions about membership, Fraternity and Sorority Life information events, etc. 

Know your points of contact

Know who your main points of contact are. Know the name and phone number of the chapter president, new member educator, big brother or big sister, chapter advisor, and resident advisor. If you are worried about your student or have other questions or concerns, you can also contact the USC Upstate Assistant Director for Fraternity and Sorority Life


Understand joining a fraternity or sorority is a competitive process based on various criteria such as academic performance, campus and community involvement and interactions with current members. Although the University establishes policies regarding the operation of all registered student organizations, the membership selection criteria are determined by each individual fraternity or sorority based on the policies and procedures of its inter/national headquarters. Any questions regarding selection criteria should be directed to the Chapter.

Some advantages to fraternity and sorority life include:

  • A support group which will serve as a family away from home to help make the adjustment to college easier.
  • Scholastic resources to help students achieve their academic goals,
  • Leadership skills acquired through hands-on experience.
  • Encouragement to get involved and maximize their potential on campus.
  • Opportunities for active participation in community service projects.
  • National research has shown that involvement in fraternities and sororities increases students’ chances of graduating from college.
  • Membership in a fraternity or sorority is for a lifetime, and extends far beyond the IWU campus. Your son or daughter will join a national network which can benefit them for years to come.

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