You’ve thought long and hard, and you’ve finally decided to join a sorority. Congrats!
But are you financially prepared? Do you have the time to devote to the sorority? Before you take the Divine Nine plunge, read through our guide and make sure you know all there is you need to know.
1. Trying to Decide on a Sorority? Look to the Women You Admire
Some women join a sorority because of family ties. Others join because they simply like the colors. However, it’s imperative that you take a step back and consider which sorority is a good fit for you.
Take a look at some of the sorority’s members and go from there. Is your role model an AKA/Delta/Zeta/SGRho? Is that woman at church who you’ve always admired in a sorority? If you find yourself looking up to a sorority’s members, chances are that that organization might be a good fit for you.
2. Make Sure You’re Financially Prepared
Before you jump into any intake process, slow your roll, and take a long, hard look at your finances.
According to research conducted by Auburn University, the average initiation cost for joining a National Pan-Hellenic Council sorority can run anywhere from $700 to $2,500. And that’s not all: Be prepared for unforeseen costs, whether that means buying clothing items, purchasing conference tickets or paying for monthly and/or annual dues.
Joining a sorority ain’t cheap!
3. It’s a Time-Consuming Process
Though it varies from organization to organization, you will be on line anywhere from one to three months (and chances are, you will eat, sleep and breathe your soon-to-be sorority that semester).
Each sorority has its own traditions and practices, but in many cases, expect to spend a percentage of each day either with your line sisters, brushing up on your chapter history or doing other mandated rituals.
For that reason, it might be smart to…
4. …Lighten Your Workload While You’re on Line
Believe us: You’ll thank yourself later.
All NPHC sororities have a minimum GPA for all of its potential and current members (check with your local chapter for details). When you consider the time commitment that most intake processes require, it might be smart to take a lighter course load that won’t wreck your GPA.
Don’t get us wrong: We’re not telling you to slack off for a semester. However, the semester that you’re on line might not be the best time to enroll in Organic Chemistry. Just sayin’.
5. Know Your History
Remember how we mentioned that a significant portion of your time on line would be spent studying? We weren’t kidding.
Not only is it crucial that you know your organization’s history, but it’s also important that you know everything there is to know about your own chapter: history, founders, you name it. And yes, that includes your songs (and strolls). Study up!
6. Staying Tight-Lipped is a Must!
Now is not the time for gossip.
Each sorority prides itself on its own unique traditions, which means that all rituals are secret and must never be discussed with non-members.
You may be used to telling your girlfriends everything and then some, but you’re going to have to remain mum on this area of your life. So apologize to your bestie in advance—this experience has to remain between you and your sisters.
7. There’s More to it Than the Social Aspect
Repeat after us: “I will not join a sorority simply so I can throw up my sign for the ‘Gram.”
Yes, there are certain social aspects to each organization, but each of the Divine Nine sororities put an emphasis on community and service (Seriously! It’s in all of their mission statements).
A percentage of your time might be spent planning parties and rehearsing for step shows, but the majority of members’ time is spent giving back to local—and national and international—communities.
8. Pledging Post-Grad is an Option
Maybe your finances weren’t right the first time around. Maybe the intake deadline passed. Shoot, maybe you just decided that you wanted to pledge yesterday. But whatever the case may be, it’s never to late to join a sorority.
Unlike most White organizations, all NPHC sororities and fraternities boast graduate chapters. Before joining, get familiarize yourself with the chapter by attending events and meetings its members. Added bonus: You’ll be among the first to know about any upcoming membership intake processes. Visit the sorority’s website to find a grad chapter in your area.
9. It’s a Life-Long Commitment
Your sorority affiliations don’t end on graduation day. Once you’ve pledged, you’re a member for life—many women find a new grad chapter home.
From graduation to marriage and beyond, your sorors will accompany you on all walks of life. So wear your colors and letters with pride; you’re fam now.