Mothers and fathers ask this very question each semester. They are concerned with the well-being of their son. Most of what they know about fraternities comes from Animal House. The real question here is whether joining a fraternity will cause their son to flunk out of school. My answer will probably surprise you when I say it really doesn’t matter.
Each student’s academic well-being is completely up to them. Being in a fraternity will not strengthen or lesson that responsibility. Sure, being in a fraternity will provide an excuse to avoid school work. However, that excuse exists everywhere in university life.
Some parents might be afraid of the influence of drugs or alcohol in the fraternity. This is a valid concern. Many fraternities do drink too much. However, they do not drink anymore than the rest of a student population. Your son will have access to all the negative vises imaginable regardless of who they associate with during college.
Ultimately, the responsibility will rest on him to make smart decisions.
There is also the concern of fraternity hazing. This is frightening for a parent, and unfortunately hazing does happen in some fraternities. However, most fraternity hazing (while not right) is extremely minor such as making a pledge get a beer for a brother. Thankfully, in light of all the negative publicity, most serious hazing such as forcing pledges to drink has been eliminated. Parents who are seriously concerned should contact the Greek Life office of the university for an unbiased opinion on the fraternity.
Ultimately, joining a fraternity will have little bearing on whether a student succeeds or fails in college. If a student has the gumption to stick with his studies, he will have no problem making it to graduation. However, that journey will be much more rewarding by joining a Greek Organization, and that is where the value in fraternity lies.
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