There are many ways to tailor your college experience, and joining a sorority is one strategy to build friendships and find networking opportunities that can help you later in life. However, there is a financial commitment involved with joining a sorority. Here’s what to expect out of 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.

For example, at Ball State University, students typically pay around $850 per semester for the first year of membership in a sorority, though dues may go down significantly in subsequent years.

Of course, some sorority dues are considerably higher than average, and that all depends on where you’re attending college. At the University of South Dakota, the average cost for a semester in 2019, including meals, housing and chapter dues and fees, totaled around $3,200. Also remember that most sororities charge a one-time intake fee when you join, which can cost $800 or more.

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 $4,300 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 an additional $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.

It’s common for former sorority members to help the next generation with career recommendations and advice, as well as job leads in their field.

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 that introduces 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 the steps to apply for sorority membership, a process that varies widely from school to school. Some organizations are much more formal when it comes to their recruitment activities, while other schools accept your attendance at events as your application of membership. You’ll typically need to pay a registration fee in order to sign up for recruitment.
  4. Receive bids. Once you’ve attended a number of 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. At the end of the day, individuals who are considering Greek life should think about 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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