FAQs for Students & Parents
Q: Will my son be hazed?
A: He absolutely should not be hazed. He should never participate in any activity that he feels uncomfortable with. If ever in doubt, make sure he knows that he can contact his fraternity headquarters for more information or clarification.
Q: How do I know if my son is being hazed?
A: Keep the lines of communication open with him and make sure that you ask what activities he's participating in within the fraternity. If he hesitates or says he can't tell you, probe a little further (outside of the ritual, he should be able to describe anything). Some signs to look for: he is missing class, he is overly tired, his regular communication habits changes, his only focus is the fraternity, and/or his appearance changes radically.
Q: What are the total costs to be a member of a fraternity?
A: A good, but difficult, question. Each fraternity's dues structure is going to be different. It will also depend on whether or not the fraternity has a house. Joining a fraternity will usually require some sort of one time fee. Insurance will also be a major expense. Don't forget regular dues. What you shouldn't be paying for - ever - Alcohol. Visit our Directory and call the national headquarters if you still have questions.
Q: How will my son’s grades be effected?
A: Ideally, they should shoot way up! Academics must be his first priority. You can help him to remember that! The fraternity can offer support in time management, tutoring, study enhancement and incentives, and class assistance. It's up to your son to make sure that he does well.
Q: What is my kid going to get out of this?
A: You'll be amazed at what your son will get from his fraternity experience. Joining a fraternity rounds out the collegiate experience. We often say that you get a complete education in a fraternity. Here's what a fraternity offers: lifelong friends, leadership opportunities, social and sports activities, academic support and excellence, and networking opportunities. Check out the other pages here at www.fraternityinfo.com for more information.
Q: Does my son have to live in the fraternity house?
A: Another great question that depends on the chapter. Likely, your son will want to live in the house to take advantage of the opportunities it presents. Make sure that the house has passed its safety inspections and is clean. Talk to the men who currently live in the house for more information about what its like to live there. Make an unannounced stop during the week to get a sense for how the brothers live. Also, do not be surprised if there aren't fraternity houses. Many colleges and universities have moved away from fraternity houses and students either spend all four years in the residence hall's, use off campus apartments, or find other residences. The fraternity experience is not one that is 100% tied to the residential atmosphere. A true fraternity experience can be achieved anywhere. For more information visit Parent's Info or The Myth's.
Q: What is A “Bid”?
A: This is an important part of the fraternity vocabulary. The short answer is a "bid" is an invitation to membership in a fraternity. The term bid is most often used to describe a piece of paper from the chapter that formally invites a man to join the organization. You should know that every fraternity community and college or university is unique and there are various methods used to invite someone to join. Lets review some of the most popular: The NIC recommends, and all NIC member fraternities support open recruitment. This is a process through which admitted students of an undergraduate institution may join an organization when there is mutual agreement that the time is right. This is also known as values-based recruitment as men make decisions about their membership based on the level of congruence with their own personal values and the values of their fraternity. In these cases there is little need of a "bid", rather a mutual decision is reached between the man and the organization that he would like to join the fraternity and the new member education period begins. The NIC supports this method in all cases. Another process you may experience is a formal recruitment process. In this process there are various stages of the recruitment experience. It should be noted however that the NIC supports the right of chapters to extend invitations to membership AT ANY TIME. Formal recruitment may begin with a potential member visiting several of the fraternities at a campus and then choosing which fraternity best fits as he goes through the recruitment process. This is one method for learning about all the fraternities on campus but should be used in conjunction with personal time spent with members of the chapter to ensure that your values "match-up" with the organization you are joining. In many cases "bids" are extended at the conclusion of formal recruitment. You should remember that the decision you make will be an important one. Do not rush or feel pressured into making a decision that will affect not only the remainder of your college career but also the rest of your life. Recruitment can be a very exciting time for a new student on campus or an upperclassman who has decided to make fraternity part of his college experience. Fraternities normally make a large push at the beginning of each semester to market themselves and spread the word about what they do around campus and in the community. Take advantage of this time to learn about the chapters on your campus and make an informed decision about which fraternity is right for you.
Q: Why is it called a fraternity? Why is it called Greek?
A: A different alphabet, togas, salad dressing…it’s all Greek to me. Why are fraternities called Greek organizations and why are these groups known as fraternities?
The first Greek lettered organization was the Phi Beta Kappa society, founded in 1776 in Virginia by John Heath. Not wanting to be too similar to two pre-existing Latin societies, Health chose Greek letters to seem more prestigious. He even restricted group membership to upperclassmen and faculty.
As time passed and Phi Beta Kappa spread to other college campuses, the idea of secret societies caught on. In 1825, Kappa Alpha was founded at Union College, shaping its secrecy off of Phi Beta Kappa but changing its membership requirements to students only. Finally, around the 1830s, these societies became publicly known as fraternities as we know them today.
When Sigma Phi and Phi Delta were founded at Union College, creating what is known as the Union Triad, the three fraternities would often compete with each other. Each group recruited the top debaters, scholars and athletes in order to win the competitions. Immediately, Greek life was recognized as an integral part of student life as it attracted and showcased top not students.
Fraternity comes from the Latin word ‘frater’ meaning brother, signifying not only a men’s group, but also the primary meaning of these organizations. And while specific organizations derive their Greek letters from secret meanings or mottos, making each letter unique and special to its fraternity, it is these Greek letters that bond Fraternities together. Right in the very name of the organization is where the purpose is found: values and brotherhood.
Possible recruits and current members of fraternities should take the founding of their organizations to heart, realizing that each group originated from the same society and were all built to serve the same purpose. Brotherhood may seem like a cliché, but it is the reason fraternities exist and have remained relevant in the landscape of higher education.