Join Another Fraternity

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The following is a pretty common question on the site: I was initiated in an IFC fraternity and decided it is not for me. Can I leave and then rush another IFC fraternity?

In most instances, you cannot quit your fraternity and join another one.  All national fraternities are part of the National Interfraternity Conference (NIC). The NIC explicitly states that you cannot join another fraternity if you have already been initiated into one.  However, there can be exceptions to this rule.


It is unfortunate that this question is asked so often, because it indicates that there are a lot of guys out there that aren’t happy with their chapter but do want to be a part of the fraternity experience.  It is a shame, because in nearly all instances you will not be able to join another fraternity should you quit the one you are currently in.

While typically you can’t, but there are two ways I’ve heard where you might be able to quit and join another fraternity.

First, you can request a release from your national fraternity and petition to be allowed to join another fraternity. I imagine that this happens in extremely rare situations.  The person asking for the release better have pretty solid reasoning for the request.  Some examples – maybe you transfer to a new school that doesn’t have your fraternity.  That could be a reasonable request.  Maybe your chapter disbanded at your school because of the actions of others while you weren’t on campus.  Regardless, if you are granted your release, then you will be able to join another fraternity.

Second, you can get expelled from your fraternity. In essence, this will mean the fraternity has disassociated themselves from you, and then you will be free join another fraternity. This is often a long, typically arduous process, and there are no guarantees the fraternity you want to join will accept you.

What makes both of these options especially challenging is the timeline.  You are only in college for four years (typically).  Most join their freshman year, so they don’t look to quit in the first year.  Brothers who decide to quit do so in years two or three.

The problem now becomes that the brother will need the National HQ to expel them or grant them their release.  That isn’t something that happens quickly in most organizations.

Initially, the brother who quits has his fate left with the chapter to send up the information.  Most chapters are terrible with paperwork, and may sit on the issue for a while.  This will inevitably lead to lost time.

Depending on the national fraternity’s bylaws, the expulsion process and be very tedious once the national organization gets the request from the local chapter.  If the process takes several months, you could theoretically miss a year because of the rush schedule.

By the time you get your actual release (which is a long-shot), you may have graduated or be very close to graduating.  Chances are your eagerness to join another fraternity will have waned.  As an older student, you may not want to rush and become a new member with freshman.  Priorities change as time progresses.

Further, it is a big assumption that the fraternity you want to join will actually accept you.  They have every right to not allow your membership because of your previous affiliation.

Before you decide to take these measures, be sure you understand what you are doing.

When you were initiated, you decided to join a fraternity for life. Quitting will lead people to question your integrity. Every situation is different, but there is rarely a case when doing what you described is acceptable.

For more advice on quitting a fraternity – check out this comprehensive article I wrote on the topic:

How to Quit a Fraternity

This question was submitted by one of our readers. If you have a question you want me to answer go here to submit it: Fraternity Advice.

8 thoughts on “Can I Quit My Fraternity and Join Another Fraternity?

  1. During my Freshman year I was going through a lot of emotional struggles. I made very poor decisions that can affect me for the rest of my life. 
    One on the most serious is I joined a white fraternity. This may not seem like a big deal to most people , but I come from a black family where everyone belongs to the same fraternity. When I say everyone I mean everyone 
    from my father to my uncles and cousins. I am truly unhappy with my choice and  if found out I believe it will destroy a lot of the relationships I have with family members. Again you may think this sounds crazy but I assure you it’s not. I just don’t know what to do 
    anymore. I find myself avoiding family and holiday gatherings so I don’t have to hear my family ask when I’m going to pledge. Is there anyway I can leave my current fraternity and pledge where I should have in the first place? 

  2. I can’t imagine my fraternity would ever sanction this kind of

    move on either the same campus or another one. It’s not just IFC, it was in our constitution and our membership oath. Maybe some national HQs are loosey goosey about it, but I doubt mine would be.

  3. I dropped my fraternity because I left the college- first semester  transfer on scholorship opportunity to a college out of state- I wasn’t informed well by the nationals  representative.  – who, needless to say, is no longer with the fraternity.  
    Nonetheless, what are the rules of asking to return  as an official member again? I’m liked, accepted, I’m
    In contact with members-my point if there is not a problem with house brotherhood  & me/ what’s the NIC rule?   
    Sigma phi epsilon ( SigEp) 
    Thanks 

  4. I did. I was a member of one fraternity (fully initiated) and things did not pan out the way they should. I felt no brotherhood and the fraternity seemed to be stale. I did not like it and quit that fraternity. I was interested in joining a colony that was getting ready to start. In order to do so, I had to request to officially disaffiliate myself from the fraternity from the headquarters. Thankfully, this process took one hour on the phone for me. I was accepted into the colony and still am a member.

    I love every part of the fraternity that I am with. If you have strong feelings of doing what I am doing, I recommend it. If you feel you are hating the fraternity you are in and have no way of changing the current fraternity, then I would quit. Being happy with the fraternity you are a member of makes your life so much more worthwhile. I found a dramatic difference between my current brothers and those who I used to be with. It makes me more appreciative of my brothers.

    As far as the reaction from others go, it was not what I expected. The former fraternity has mixed reactions. Many people of that fraternity will not talk to me, and I do not care. A very small number talk to me. The other greeks did not even know me before and think of me as only and always being a member of my current fraternity. All of my brothers know of my story and respect me and treat me 100% equally as every other brother.

    • Wow! This story sounds almost identical like mine! I thought I would share to give anyone reading this enough power to do it! First of all I would like to say my freshman year I made the horrible choice of pledging a really bad fraternity. We were hazed to no end, and the only people I liked were my pledge brothers (Except one of them, who always was an arrogant stuck up). Anyways once we became initiates, things didn’t get better. Different cliques hated each other, leading to absolutely no brotherhood. The new guys (Us) were treated as unequals, and this was the case everyday. Some people thought it would change but it never did. I got tired of it. My GPA slipped to an all-time low, and I was constantly stressed about different things from the fraternity. I then decided to do the most important decision of my life which was to drop my current fraternity, and join a newly started up colony at my school.
      I understand fraternities are a bond for life or whatever, but honestly if you are unhappy with it, don’t let it continue. You are identified as a Greek the most when you are in college, but once you graduate… You are a whole new person. In the future people aren’t going to ask what fraternity you were in, but where you worked. So this is really a temporary phase of importance (In regards to being in a fraternity) but let me continue… So these newly founded colony, were amazing. Working together to establish new bylaws, and actually being productive really made me a better person. I made dean’s list my first semester and made it there a couple of more times (The only reason i didn’t continue till graduation was because I was an Engineer and the 3.75 cut off for dean’s list was nearly impossible). I dressed better, I spoke better, I actually got the fraternity experience. I actually landed an internship thanks to my fraternity. We got to grow and we finally got chartered (Attain Chapter Status for non Greeks). I honestly believe I made the best decision of my life leaving that first fraternity. As to regards to my feelings about members of the old fraternity, I’d say everyone who was not a pledge brother immediately stopped talking to me (Not like I minded). The members of my pledge line also eventually stopped talking to me too. I think mostly because we honestly could have only interacted through our fraternity because all of them were not my major, and our school is huge. When I became initiated, a lot of the older fraternity members taunted me and talked behind my back. I ignored it, even though it did make me a bit sad. Because I was not really used to people hating me, but I overcame it. But I’m proud to say today, I had the last laugh, as a person who immediately got a job when I graduated and is leading a happy life 2 years after graduation. The last I heard around 70% of the members of the old fraternity haven’t graduated yet, keep in mind there were wayyy older brothers than me when I got initiated. Everyone associated my with my current fraternity and I’m glad of it. Leaving a fraternity is a really hard thing to do because once you do it is very likely a huge amount of people will hate you at the same time, but I guarantee you, you will be a much happier person, and there is always another group of people that will respect you the amount you deserve.
      PS: As to quitting the fraternity, what I did was I went and told my current fraternity my situation. They said it was fine because the fraternity was on another council. Then I went to the the National board of my former fraternity and asked them to deactivate me. In essence it meant that I will be removed from the record books, and I’ll be completely free from its bindings. It was an important decision and looking back now I’m glad I did it.

    • Hello,
      I am in this situation right now and I was just wondering what you told your nationals when you were on the phone with them?

  5. Many nationals also have strict rules about the circumstances and procedures under which they can accept such a person. And, the other fraternities you could potentially join are not going to be as open to you as they were during your initial rush. A lot of them won’t even consider it.

    There were two actives in my chapter that were initiates of another fraternity before joining mine. One pledged and was initiated at a different campus and transferred to our campus which didn’t have that fraternity. Both of our nationals allowed under that circumstance that he could pledge with us (where all his friends from high school were). The other was a fresh initiate of a chapter that got kicked off campus right after his pledge semester. He physically went to that national headquarters, turned in his pin, and got them to release him so that he could pledge with us. Both went through the pledgeship process from scratch of course, and it was interesting to hear them compare the two different experiences.

    Generally speaking though, I can’t imagine leaving one fraternity and joining another while the original fraternity still exists on the campus you’re at. I can’t imagine many fraternities would permit that.

    • I left school, joined the service, and after my service, I landed at a school in another state that did not have a chapter of my fraternity. I called my national and the IFC and explained the situation. They asked a lot of questions, but promptly processed my request and let me disassociate. I should mention that this was 8 years later and I was a completely different person. I then pledged another fraternity at my new school and ended up a past worthy master.

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