Joining a sorority can be a fun way to make friends and network in college. The bonds you form could lead to both lifelong friendships and professional connections. However, joining a sorority typically comes with a steep financial commitment. Before joining a sorority, weigh the costs and benefits to decide if it is the right move for you. Here’s what to expect with sorority dues, what you get for the investment and how to decide if joining a sorority is worth it.

How much does it cost to be in a sorority?

Sorority costs vary by school and the sorority you want to join. Once you decide on a school, a little bit of research can help you figure out which sorority might fit your needs. From there, you can check the sorority or school website for information on pricing for your first year.

On average, joining a sorority costs between $1,000 and $4,750 per semester. These costs typically include member dues, housing, recruitment fees, application fees and social expenses. However, you typically do not have to live in a sorority house to be a member, and skipping that experience could save you money. 

It is also important to note that the initial fees for new sorority members tend to be higher than fees for returning members. For example, at Ball State University, students typically pay around $850 per semester for the first year of membership in a sorority, but active members pay $600 per semester.

Is it cheaper to live in a sorority or dorms?

Depending on where you attend college and the other lodging options available, living in a sorority house may be cheaper than living in a dorm.

At the University of Georgia, for example, the average cost of living in a sorority house is $4,359 per semester and includes all membership dues and fees, as well as meals. Pricing for other on-campus housing at UGA runs from around $2,500 to $4,200 per semester, not including a meal plan — which can add $1,300 to $2,300 per semester.

Is a sorority worth the cost?

Sororities come with some benefits that you can’t find elsewhere. Of course, sorority membership perks can vary based on your unique experience, where you live, the program you join and other factors.

Friendship and camaraderie

If you are heading off to college and worried about making friends, joining a sorority can help tremendously. After all, you will instantly belong to an organization with many members who may share common goals.

While each sorority is different, joining Greek life means that you’ll have a full roster of events you can attend while you build friendships.

Potential academic benefits

Fraternities and sororities tend to help with the transition from a structured learning environment to a more flexible college campus since they can help you find study partners and connect you with upperclassmen who have found a way to make college work.

Networking opportunities

Joining a sorority is also a great way to set yourself up for future career success since you’ll graduate college with an affiliation to a nationwide network of alumni members.

How to join a sorority

While the process for joining a sorority depends on the organization and school, you’ll typically need to take the following steps to get started:

  1. Attend an orientation session and other events. This step typically involves attending a session or meeting introducing you to sorority principles and other distinctions of Greek life. Depending on the sorority, you can also attend meet-and-greets, open houses and other events.
  2. Weigh the financial commitment. College is already expensive enough, so you should think long and hard about taking on the extra costs of sorority membership. If you have to pay for sorority dues from your student loan proceeds, you should also factor in how long it will take you to pay off your loans.
  3. Participate in the recruitment or intake process. Once you’ve decided to join a sorority, you can take steps to apply for sorority membership, a process that varies widely from school to school. Some organizations are much more formal regarding their recruitment activities, while other schools accept your attendance at events as your application for membership. You’ll typically need to pay a registration fee to sign up for recruitment.
  4. Receive bids. Once you’ve attended some recruitment events, you’ll need to wait to receive “bids” from sororities that would like you to join their house. If you receive several bids, you can choose the sorority that feels right for you and officially accept that bid, though you may be under a time constraint.

The bottom line

Sorority membership isn’t free, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not worth it. Individuals considering Greek life should consider what they hope to gain from joining a sorority before making a financial commitment. Even if sorority costs are equal to or greater than what you’d pay for other housing, the social and academic benefits could be enough to persuade you to rush.

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