Rejected by a Fraternity

When you are rejected by a fraternity you need to understand why you were rejected, and then formulate a plan to be accepted in the future.  This plan requires a lot of commitment, but the result will lead to a lot of personal development.


Take a Hint

I receive this question a lot when guys submit questions through this link:Fraternity Advice.

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?

I hate to give this answer, because I know it is a blow to the ego, but these guys need to take a hint.  The fraternity doesn’t want you.  Go find someone that does.

Think about it from the fraternity’s perspective.  They desperately need to find new guys every year to join to ensure the future of the chapter.  If a fraternity struggles with recruitment, they will fail.  It is the single most critical function to ensure the longevity of the chapter.

If you are willing to join, and the fraternity tells you no, they don’t like you.  They don’t want you around.  You won’t change their mind.  Move on and find someone that appreciates you.

Be Aware of Your Situation

I receive this type of comment every-so-often through Fraternity Advice.

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. 

Like above – take a hint.  Further though, don’t be the type of person that wants to join so bad you lose sight of what you are joining.

Think about the comment.  This person is essentially saying that they are so desperate to join a fraternity they are willing to overlook the fact that they may be hazed.  In what world does that make sense?

Never forget that rush is a two way street.  Both parties should be learning more about each other.  Both parties should be evaluating the other for fit.  Don’t let your desire to be accepted blind you to the organization you are thinking about joining.

Develop Social Skills

After failing from rush, a person needs to reevaluate their situation.  In most situations, a person is not offered a bid because they have poor social skills.  Take advantage of the time to the next rush to develop your social skills.

First, you need to have an honest look in the mirror.  Realize who you are, and who you aren’t.  The huge turn-off is when people try to act like someone they are not.  You need to have the self-worth in who you are.  If others don’t like it, that is their problem, not yours.  Learn to be comfortable in your own skin.

Second, you need to join other organizations.  You can’t develop social skills without being around people.  So go join a club or a group.  Attempt to make a difference in that organization.  Volunteer for a something.  Most importantly, make friends.

Third, be more engaged in the university setting.  Find people to study with.  Become closer friends with the guys in the dorm.  Make real connections and relationships.  Make it a point to grow your network.

Personal Development

You also need to focus on personal development.  You weren’t good enough to get accepted by a fraternity during your first attempt at recruitment.  Make it a priority to become a better you.  After all, this is the point of college right?

This is a good time to take an evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses.  Then, focus on both.  Most people will only tell you to focus on your weaknesses.  I think that is a poor strategy.  I actually think most of your time needs to be spent on developing your strengths.

Let’s take an extreme example – Steve Wozniak.  If you looked at the Woz’s weaknesses, he would probably list interpersonal skills.  Would it make more sense for him to develop his real talent and change the world with his computer skills, or to try to work on being the life of the party in social settings?

Being exceptional by developing your talents will make you stand out in life.  And most people are good at what they like doing.  So focus on that.

In addition, focus on being a good student.  Grades matter.  Education matters.  Your primary job at college is to get an education.  Don’t lose sight of that.

Getting Over Rejection

Being told no is tough.  It doesn’t matter if you get dumped by a girl, or if you are rejected by a fraternity.

It is normal to have a bruised ego and feel a bit down in the dumps.  I have always used the following strategy to get over the bad times in life.

First, write down ten things you have wanted to do but have never found the time to do.  This could be as simple as watching a certain movie or reading a certain book.  It could be as complicated as starting a long-term goal.

Then, write down the ten places you have always wanted to go but haven’t made it to yet.  This can mean restaurants or local hotspots or sports stadiums or events.

Finally, write down ten people that you know you should reach out to, but haven’t in a while for some reason.  Maybe you haven’t called Grandma in a while.  Or maybe you owe your high school best friend a phone call.

When done, you should have a list of 30 things.  Start knocking them out.  As you start accomplishing things off your list, you will feel better.  You will get a sense of achievement.  On top of that, you will be keeping your mind active and off of your earlier disappointment.

After your list is complete, and if you feel down, start again by putting together a new list.  Rinse and repeat until you are good.

Prepare for Next Rush

At the end of the day, I know you are reading this because you want to join a fraternity.  This is a great pursuit and I completely get why you want to join.

I hope you have followed the above steps to drive some self-development.  Further though, you need to think and prepare on how to make yourself an attractive candidate to fraternities.

Think about what fraternities want.  The most obvious and most important is they want someone that will be a good friend.  As you expanded your network, hopefully you have met and became friends with members of different fraternities.  This will give you a tremendous advantage during the next round of recruitment.

Further, fraternities are looking for men that are a cut above the general student population.  You are desirable if you are a good student.  The same is true is if you are active in many student organizations.  If you are a resident advisor, you are super desirable as you have a direct link to a fertile recruiting ground.  Spend some time thinking about what you want to bring to the table.

Next, become smart on fraternity life. Understand what you are getting into.  If you want to be a leader in a fraternity, read my book The Fraternity Leader.  Look at the social media of different chapters.  Figure out who won awards and who hasn’t.  Learn as much as you can about your local Greek community.

Another great way to do accomplish this is by having a meeting with your school’s Greek Life advisor.  Send them an email, and ask them for a 20 minute meeting.  Explain to them that you struggled during the first round of recruitment, and you would like advice on how to be successful the next time through.  Additionally, they should be able to provide advice on what chapters could be the best fit for you, and even set you up with great contacts.

Finally, when it is time to rush again be very proactive with the process.  By this point, you should have narrowed it down to two or three chapters you want to rush.  Let them know you are interested shortly before rush.

You want them to reach out to you on day one.  If you do this right and visit a couple different chapters you won’t have much time.  You can’t afford to miss a few days at the beginning of rush.

When you are at rush.  Have fun.  Make friends.  Be interested but not overly excited.  Be yourself.  Definitely don’t talk about your previous rush experiences.  That is water under the bridge and besides, you are a different person this time through.  You are prepared and you will be a great match for some fraternity.

I sincerely hope you find them.

Both of the questions in the above article were submitted by readers. If you have a question you want me to answer go here to submit it: Fraternity Advice.

 






Join my Newsletter to Recieve:

The Checklist – 10 Things your Fraternity Should Do Every Semester

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *