Rejected by a Fraternity

These questions were submitted by readers. If you have a question you want me to answer go here to submit it: Fraternity Advice.

Question 1:

I just found out I was rejected by a fraternity I really wanted to get into. Also this was my second time rushing for this fraternity. My question is should I rush for the same fraternity again next fall or just try to rush for a different fraternity?

Questions 2:

I have participated in rush twice, but I haven’t received any bids. I was rejected by a fraternity multiple times. Although they wouldn’t tell me exactly why they didn’t extend an offer to join their house, one of the brother’s at one of the fraternities pulled me aside and told me that, although everyone liked me, they had concern that because I “sound intelligent” that I might be the type to rat out the brotherhood on any hazing violations which might be committed during pledging.

Naturally, as a man who would turn loyalty into a vice if called upon, I was deeply offended by this, but I didn’t express my feelings on the matter when the brother promised that he would vouche for me at the Vote. The next day comes around and, not only did I not receive a bid from that fraternity, but also not from any of the other fraternities I had rushed. I later found out that 5 people out of 80 of the brothers present at the meeting spoke out against me (and it only takes one).

Still, despite these setbacks, I remain convinced that joining a fraternity is something that I really want to do, and I am considering rushing some of the fraternities that I missed in the past. Do IFC councils keep records of how many times a candidate has gone through Rush? If so, and you were at the meeting to decide whether or not to give a bid to me, would you be thinking “If no one else gave a bid to him, why should we”? Do you see any other difficulties, other than the two scenarios mentioned above, that I might face when going through Rush again (even if I don’t even stop by the fraternities that have turned me down before?)


Both of these guys really tried and really cared, but both got rejected by a fraternity multiple times.

However, these guys did not do themselves any favors. If a fraternity doesn’t want you, then why in the world would you want them so bad? You got to remember that at the core of fraternity is the brotherhood. And if you can’t create meaningful bonds with the brothers, then your fraternity experience will be hollow.

My suggestion, find the guys you like and rush them. The fist step I would do is go talk to the Greek Life advisor on your campus. He will give you advice on what fraternities you should rush, and where you could fit in. He will also help you get in contact with those chapters.
And when you meet a new fraternity, don’t talk about your baggage from your last rush experiences. You wouldn’t talk about getting dumped by your high school girlfriend would you? This is the same thing. If the subject comes up, you can tell them you went through rush once, and you didn’t find the right fit. No need to elaborate.

As for the IFC keeping tabs on who rushes whom question – that doesn’t happen. As cold as it sounds, the only one that really cares about what you did during rush is you.

The key to receiving a bid is finding guys you have a connection with. Once you find the house where you belong, you will know it. Rush a couple fraternities at the same time next fall to find out where you fit in. It should become obvious which fraternity is right for you.

Remember that you will only have a meaningful fraternity experience when you find guys that you genuinely like, and who genuinely like you.

If you have thoughts on being rejected by a fraternity that can help these guys out, please add your comment below.

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5 thoughts on “What do You do When You are Rejected by a Fraternity?

  1. Reading this in 2015 after recent controversies over frats (SAE at OU for example) it’s interesting that no one is commenting over the fact the second letter refers to the fact that a guy was allegedly rejected because someone thought he might report hazing … something that most fraternities aren’t supposed to be doing anyway. I wonder if such “keep your mouth shut” pressure has grown as more fraternities and sororities have gotten shut down for hazing. Personally, if the situation described in #2 had happened to me I’d have immediately dropped them from my list.

  2. The fraternity system is a continuation of a high school popularity contest. Nothing more and nothing less. If it didn’t exist, like minded souls would still find each other and hang out. If a person is turned down once, they might want to inquire as to why. More often than not, it’s that the person’s level of coolness is not high enough for that group. If you are thinking of making another go around at this, then you really need to be asking yourself some serious questions and take a candid personal self-assessment. If could be that you are totally ok and a great guy, but not cut out for the Greek system. Don’t take the second run at it. In fact, if early enough and the school itself does not mean that much to you, then transfer to another school, especially if you are attending a small college. Some perfectly reputable schools do not allow them and this was specified in their founding statements and articles.

  3. I’d take it a step further. Yes, the fraternity is about the brothers, getting to know them, and having that feeling of, “yeah this is the ‘house’ I want to be a part of.” However, it’s also about the organization and the values it stands for. Find the organization with similar values and don’t be afraid to express that you share those values. Find out the expectations that a fraternity has for candidates/new members ahead of time and work to meet those. Sometimes during rush things like minimum gpa, amount of clubs your involved in, or how many events you need to attend or brothers you need to meet are not expressed to rushees. Going out of your way to find out how you can be prepared and how you might add value to the organization (is the chapter really in need of leaders? a new webmaster? a dominant athlete?) would stand out to me. If the vote came down to, “he might rat on us” or “he doesn’t seem like a cool guy”, good thing you didn’t get voted in, you saved yourself a lot of time and hassle.

  4. This is a difficult situation, to be sure. And I think it totally depends on your campus. If there are 7 fraternities, and only 1 really shares the values that you have and has brothers whose company you enjoy, ask a few friends and talk to a few of the brothers. Fraternity recruitment is about friendships, so don’t be afraid to be friends with a few of those guys. If it develops and if the setting is right, it might work out.

    On the other hand, you may have 40 fraternities on campus and didn’t get a bid from any chapter. Well, very few people know which chapters you get bids from, and if it does happen to be somewhat easy to find out who got a bid and who didn’t… most people won’t care to look. But same advice as above, I think. Develop a few friendships with these guys. You’ll be able to see when the brothers have a change of heart.

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