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If your child is a high school senior or recent graduate, you’ve probably spent a lot of time focusing on applying to colleges and scholarships, choosing a college, deciding on a major, selecting the best dorm, and so on.
All of these elements are crucial to ensuring your child has the best college experience possible.
However, you may also want to consider the benefits of Greek life and extracurricular activities in college.
Participating in a fraternity, sorority, or other extracurricular activity will benefit your child immensely, and here’s how:
1. Form Friendships
If you’re like most parents, you may be worried about your child not forming enough close friendships in college, resulting in feelings of loneliness.
Perhaps your child must leave behind many familiar high school friendships as he pursues a college education.
- One way for your child to quickly make friends with similar interests and values is to join extracurricular activities or participate in Greek life.
If your child pursues extracurricular activities related to his interests, he’s likely to quickly form friendships with like-minded college students.
Extracurricular activities can include organizations and clubs devoted to charities or focused on particular majors and/or careers.
- Extracurricular activities can also mean intramural sports, Paintball Club, Surfing Club, etc. This gives your child the opportunity to explore his interests while also building friendships.
Fraternities and sororities are intended to provide students with a brotherhood or sisterhood, which will also result in fast friendships and close bonds for your child.
2. Academic Support
Another benefit of Greek life and extracurricular activities in college is that they often provide highly useful academic support.
Fraternities and sororities in particular excel in this area. At many colleges, Greek organizations offer members peer tutoring, upperclassman counseling, and/or chapter study hours.
Even if these programs aren’t formally in place, being part of a sorority or fraternity gives college students the opportunity to meet and interact with upperclassmen who have taken the same classes.
- This leads to helpful advice about professors and classes, plus the possibility of asking for help on assignments or projects.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, just over 50% of college students actually finish school and graduate. For students involved in Greek life, however, this number jumps to over 70%, largely due to the academic support sororities and fraternities offer.
If your child doesn’t think a sorority or fraternity is the right fit, she may want to join a club or organization devoted to her major.
- Here, too, she can network with upperclassmen who may be able to offer tutoring and advice on classes that they have also taken.
She can also meet a network of students currently enrolled in the same classes, possibly forming a study group or other academic support system.
3. Leadership Opportunities
Sororities, fraternities, and extracurricular organizations all have officers and committees, providing your child with opportunities to develop leadership skills that will be useful in the workforce.
- Even if your child isn’t an officer or committee member, he may be assigned certain tasks or asked to help organize events, all of which can help develop key leadership skills.
He’s also likely to have to speak in public and communicate with others due to participation in Greek life or extracurricular activities.
- This can help develop confidence and social skills, also important abilities for future leaders.
In fact, 85% of Fortune 500 executives and 80% of all United States presidents since 1990 have been involved in Greek life.
If Greek life isn’t for your child, the same skills that helped shape these leaders can also be developed through most extracurricular involvement.
4. Community Service
Most sororities and fraternities require community service and organize frequent service projects.
This allows your child to give back to the community, develop empathy and generosity, and become a better and more productive citizen.
Additionally, there are many extracurricular organizations exclusively devoted to fundraising or volunteering for various charities.
- If your child joins a club for students in her major, there may also be opportunities for relevant volunteer work.
For example, education majors may volunteer in struggling area schools.
Whether your child participates in Greek life or other extracurricular activities, there should be plenty of chances to volunteer and make a positive difference in the community.
5. Physical Fitness
You’ve probably heard of the famous “freshman 15” and the fact that college students have a tendency to get overweight or out of shape.
This is less likely to happen if your child participates in Greek life or extracurricular activities.
We mentioned earlier that many extracurricular activities are centered on sports, games, or fitness.
- Your child can also participate in intramural sports, competing in volleyball, football, soccer, rugby, or Ultimate Frisbee (depending on the school).
Even if your child’s extracurricular activity isn’t related to sports or fitness, he may meet a trusty gym buddy who can motivate him to stay active and healthy.
Sororities and fraternities usually participate in intramural sports or Greek tournaments as a house, giving your child additional motivation to exercise and get active.
This will lead to better physical and mental health.
6. Career Networking & Post-Greek Life
Another major benefit of Greek life and extracurricular activities in college is the opportunity for career networking.
Sororities and fraternities have networks of successful alumni in a variety of careers, and these alumni are generally willing and able to help their “brothers” and “sisters” with career advice, internships, or job leads.
Your child may also meet current sorority or fraternity members who may eventually be leaders or employers in their career field of interest.
The same is true for any extracurricular activity, club, or interest. The more people your child meets, the bigger network she builds.
- After college, this can lead to information about jobs that are hiring, connections to important employers, and more.
Joining a club or organization related to your child’s major may also be particularly helpful, as this will lead exclusively to connections with students exploring the same degree and careers.
- The Pew Research Center reports that 45% of recent job seekers have reported “personal and professional contacts” to be the most important resource in a successful job search. Extracurricular activities and Greek life provide this resource in abundance.
As your child embarks on his college journey, you’ll definitely want to consider the benefits of Greek life and extracurricular activities in college.
Not only will your child make friends and build a vast career network, but he’ll also stay active, gain academic support, build leadership skills, and volunteer in the community.
All of these benefits will lead to your child being a well-rounded, happier, healthier, and more successful individual.