The Fraternity Conversation

fraternity conversation

Eventually, during every recruitment, the fraternity conversation happens. It happens at different times for different people. The people that are truly interesting in joining a fraternity will ask the questions that all fraternity men have asked during recruitment.

When they ask you these questions, you have to be prepared to answer them.

How you answer them is up to you. There is no right or wrong way to answer them as long as you answer them honestly. Remember that friends don’t screw friends.

If you attempt to deceive a rushee by feeding them what they want to hear, eventually they will find out and quit. That will be a lot of wasted time and energy for both you and the guy rushing your fraternity. Also, by being honest, you will get guys who are truly interested in your brotherhood.

That being said, here are the questions that are going to be asked, and how I would answer them. Remember that because this is how I would answer them doesn’t mean this is how you should answer them. Each fraternity is different, as is each brother. The point is you need to be prepared to answer them, because eventually you will have to.

Common Questions Asked by Rushees

Q. What is the cost of joining a fraternity?

A. I would tell them exactly what the new member dues and brotherhood dues are. Then I would explain where every penny went and why that expense exists. The critical question he is looking wants to be answered is he getting enough out of the fraternity to justify the cost. Explain to him the benefit of each expense. For example, make sure he realizes that because all the brothers pool their money together they are able to afford great parties and events that you can’t have without being in a fraternity.

Finances are probably the number one excuse guys use when they don’t want to join a fraternity. Many times though it is just an excuse for covering up the real reason. It is important not to sugarcoat this obligation.

When I was recruiting, some guys would tell me they would have problems paying their dues. I often told them not to worry about it and that the fraternity would work with them. After all, a fraternity is a collection of friends. The money is not what we are after, their friendship is. I would go on to explain that if they were having problems paying dues, we could put them on a payment plan where they could pay their dues off over the summer. Or, if things were bad enough, we could have a fund raiser to help him with his dues.

I did my chapter a huge disservice by telling potential members these things. A financial obligation to the fraternity is a huge deal that must be understand when you join. I believed that everyone would love the fraternity as much as I did, and that when you truly love something you figure out a way to make it work.

I would find out that not everyone had the same passion for fraternity as I had. As a result, many of the guys I recruited ended up owing the fraternity thousands of dollars in back dues. Eventually, a lot of these guys quit without meeting their financial obligations. I lost a lot of good friends because of this. Not everyone is cut out for being in a fraternity. It is best to be honest and open up front with guys you plan on inviting into your chapter.

Q. Does your fraternity haze?

A. If you chapter does haze, then you need to reevaluate what your chapter is all about.

To answer the question though, I would explain that my fraternity has a no hazing policy. I would explain though that during their new member period, they wouldn’t do anything that they wouldn’t want to do in front of their family.

That being said, I would explain to them that it wouldn’t be easy. Like anything worth having in life, it would take some work and effort to make it through the new member period. They must remember that every event in the new member program has a reason. Some of the stuff might seem dumb, or pointless, but it has a reason. There are going to be good days and bad.

One day though, it will all click. This moment is hard to explain, and everyone has it at a different time. When a new member has that moment, he will understand the reason for everything you have been taught in the new member program.

Q. What are the time commitments?

A. Again, you need to be honest when answering this question. Let them know that they are expected to attend whatever you expect them to attend. Remind them that even though this will be an extra commitment, this is something they will look forward to doing. New Member nights are designed to be a lot of fun, and will often be the highlight of the week. In addition, if they didn’t have new member commitments, they would probably end up wasting time watching TV instead of enjoying the things that college life has to offer.

The most important thing I would explain when this question is asked is that the new member period is a probationary period. They really don’t know the brothers, and the brothers really don’t know the guy rushing. If the rushee feels that the fraternity isn’t a good fit, they can quit with no hard feelings. By letting the rushee know the commitment isn’t permanent, he will become more willing to take a chance and try it out. And if it doesn’t work about, at least he’ll have the knowledge that he tried and it wasn’t right for him.

Q. Will joining a fraternity hurt my grades?

A. I would always tell the perspective member that it is up to them and fraternity is really irrelevant in this regard. If they are looking for an excuse for not performing well in class, they will be everywhere. However, if they are dedicated to their studies, they will perform well regardless of their extracurricular activities.

Remind the rushee that there are brothers who are excellent students. Also let them know that the success of the fraternity is partially judged on GPA, especially new member GPA. In fact, most fraternities are punished by the university if the new member GPA is sub-par. A fraternity would be stupid to do anything that would hurt their new members academically.

Go on to explain the academic benefits of joining a fraternity. I would always explain how I would seek tutoring from a certain brother before every math test. This guy was super smart, and was always available to help me because I was a brother.

I would also explain that brothers would conduct group study sessions for new members for common classes. Joining a brotherhood isn’t just something we say, we back it up with our actions and common concern for each others success.

The bottom line is letting the rushee know that joining a fraternity can be a liability or an asset. If they choose to use it as a valuable resource of guys who have been there before, they will be more successful academically by joining a fraternity.

Q. My parents won’t approve

A. This is another common excuse. You need to ask them why their parents won’t approve. They will probably be the questions listed above. If this really becomes a hold up, offer to have someone from the fraternity or your alumni advisor speak to their parents. If you are the right person to speak to them, then by all means do so.

Most times they will not take you up on the offer, but if they do, at least the parents will respect that you are concerned enough about their opinion to call.

If you do end up speaking to the parents, be sure to have good answers for the questions you know they are going to ask. Parents are looking out for the best interests of the child. They want to make sure that their kid is not joining Animal House.

Let them know that you are a respectable group of guys, and let them know about the accomplishments they are going to want to hear. If you do a lot of volunteer work for charity, tell them. If your chapter GPA is really good, tell them. At this point you are rushing the parent. Be sure you put your best foot forward.

Q. I think I want to wait until the spring semester

A. This is a very common statement, and to be honest, one that makes a lot of sense for most people. However, your objective is to get a rushee to join. Most of the time, this is an excuse. It is an easy way to say no without saying no.

Remind them that they can wait, but if they really want to join, why would they wait six months? Life is full of opportunities that present themselves at awkward times. This is obviously one of those awkward times. By not taking advantage of this opportunity, they will miss out of six months of great times and great memories that they can never get back.

Also, joining in the fall semester of freshman year is the best time to be a new member. For one, everything is new and they don’t have any preconceived notions of how things should be. This allows them to make an honest evaluation of the organization they are looking to join. The fall new member class is always bigger than the spring class, which equals a lot more fun and energy. There is no time like the present. No one knows what tomorrow holds.

Q. Do I have to live in the house?

A. The thought of living in the house does not make sense to people who aren’t in a fraternity. Most fraternity houses are border-line disgusting, and probably don’t create the best academic environment.

My fraternity always had a policy that the brother did not have to live in the house.  If they chose not to, their brotherhood dues were a little higher. I would explain to a rushee that while they may not understand the appeal of living in the house now, they probably will in the future.

The fraternity house is the center of the fraternity, and by living there they will always be in touch with what is going on. I would always point out the older brothers who were great brothers but never lived in the house as proof that it isn’t required.

Remember, the goal is to get the guy to join the fraternity. This question is a minor obstacle to overcome.

To learn more, check out our most in-depth article on fraternity recruitment: The Complete Guide to Fraternity Recruitment.

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