When the average person thinks about fraternities, the first things that usually pop into mind are images of a bunch of college guys getting drunk, getting naked with the sorority girls, playing pranks on one another, and generally slacking off. The poor image most people have of college fraternities has not been helped out by the ABC Family drama, Greek.
While there is some carousing and goofing off by the members of various fraternities, they are by no means the sole purpose of frats.
Members of Fraternities are Flunking Out of School
One of the biggest myths about fraternities is that their members have to struggle real hard not to be expelled from school. This isn't surprising when you consider that almost everyone assumes the average frat guy is either getting stoned or is passed out somewhere, and that they never manage to get to class. What few people know is that most colleges and universities require that frats maintain a predetermined GPA (Grade Point Average). This GPA is usually higher than the one that some of the students could maintain on their own. Since the last thing the fraternity wants is to be put on academic probation, the members of the frat encourage and help one another maintain an acceptable GPA. Through connections with other current and past fraternity members, most fraternities actually have more academic resources available to them than other, non-member, students.
All the Members of Fraternities Want to Do Is Party
It seems like anytime you hear about a college party getting out of hand, it always involves a fraternity. This always causes people to jump to the conclusion that the only reason people join the frat is that they can drink away the four years of their college life. This simply isn't true.
Sure many members of the frats drink, but then again so do most college students. The difference is that because the campus authorities already know where the frat houses are located, they are easy pickings. All the officer has to do is drive past the house – if they see signs of a party, all they have to do is break it up.
Going with the theory that most college students are drinking more than they should, the family atmosphere of a fraternity is actually a good thing. As a member of a fraternity the student is drinking with a group of people who know him and who are concerned about his well-being. Another advantage of drinking with members of a fraternity is that they are usually very careful about laws involving drinking and driving and there is always someone in charge, making sure that brothers get home safely, legally, and in one piece.
Fraternities are Always Involved in Dangerous Hazing
Some members of a fraternity are always going to play pranks on their brothers. The average member of a fraternity is a healthy young man who is living without parental supervision for the first time in their life. Plus, they are surrounded by other young men. Pranks are going to abound. The thing people have to understand is that there is a huge difference between pranks and hazing. Pranks can be humbling and maybe a little embarrassing... OK, they definitely are embarrassing. But hazing is something completely different. It usually involves something that can jeopardize a student’s social standing, their personal and emotional well-being, or worse. Fraternities are governed by a national body, which has strict rules regarding hazing. Not only do most fraternity by-laws strictly forbid hazing, they also list activities that will be considered as such. In addition to the national division of a fraternity forbidding hazing, most colleges and universities have rules regarding pranks and hazing. In most cases, the student or students caught participating in such activities will be expelled.
Fraternity Members Have No Respect for Women
This is perhaps the most ludicrous of all the myths. Sure there are always going to be a few frat brothers who are just looking for a quick tumble between the sheets, but that is going to be the case with any group of men – it doesn't matter if they are athletes, lawyers, or fraternity brothers. The reality is that a vast majority of guys who join fraternities are actually interested in establishing a committed relationship with a girl but don't know how to go about meeting one. Most fraternities are paired up with sororities with whom they perform a variety of functions. This gives the shy brothers a chance to meet women in a friendly and relaxed environment, giving them the confidence they need to come out of their shells.
Only the Wealthy can be in a Fraternity
Since members are charged dues and are expected to help out with the day-to-day expenses associated with managing the house, many non-members assume that only the wealthy can join fraternities. If that were the case, there wouldn't be as many frat members as there are. Being a member of a fraternity does cost money, but then so does being a non-Greek college student. As members of a fraternity, boys must learn to manage their finances so that they can cover their fraternity expenses and still have some pocket money.
Fraternity Members are Lazy and Make No Effort to Improve Themselves
The reality is that fraternities and sororities are actually very good for the community and the universities. Most of the Greek organizations require that their members spend a minimum number of hours doing charitable deeds and community service.
The truth about fraternities in the United States is that their reputation is worse than they deserve. Not only is such an organization a subsitute for a family while in college – the students will continue to benefit from the fraternity long after they have graduated. The friendships they made will last for the rest of their lives, and no matter where they go, they will always find former members of the same fraternities willing to offer advice and comfort whenever it is needed.
In addition to providing the members with a lifelong support unit, the fraternity can also help them on their career paths. Many employers have been known to hire a person simply because of their involvement with a fraternity, especially if the employer was once a member of the same frat.