What Does “Rushing” in College Really Mean?

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Joining a fraternity or sorority is more than just something to do in college; it is a lifelong pledge. Are you looking to join a sisterhood or a brotherhood that you can be a part of for life? Are you looking for a way to network and cultivate relationships and join an organization that is bigger than you? If you answered yes to these questions and are ready to embark on a new journey, you are in the right place.

Several things may come to mind when you think about Greek life. Chances are high that you have seen movies and television shows depicting big fraternity houses and massive parties. Contrary to popular belief, that may not always be your reality. We will help you understand what rushing a sorority means and help you know what rush week is in college.

All you have to do is keep reading for some of the most helpful information.

What Does Rushing Mean in College?What Does Rushing Mean in College?

On college campuses across the country, a rush week is a span of time when Greek letter organizations actively begin recruiting for their organizations. You may think the term “rushing” is relatively new; however, it dates back to the 1800s. Though some colleges may be ridding their traditions of names like “rushing” and replacing them with “recruitment,” the purpose of the activity remains the same.

During this period, current fraternity and sorority members would rush to train stations to greet incoming first-year students to garner several new recruitment prospects. Once the organization welcomed these students, they would pin their organization’s colors on them to denote that they were “spoken for.”

You may be wondering what rushing in college really means. However, to put it simply, rushing is a time for you to get to know as much as possible about an organization and for them to get to know you. It is important to remember that many students know what sorority or fraternity they plan on rushing long before the rush week begins. During this time, organizations will often have several events and other activities.

Rush week is meant to be taken seriously. However, you should not be engaging in prohibited activities during this time. If you find that while rushing a sorority or engaging in a fraternity rush that things are going down an unfair path, you will need to make the right decision. If you are found to be partaking in prohibited activities, you will likely be banned from crossing the Greek organizations.

What is Greek Life in College?

What is Greek Life in College?

Though you may think that Greek life is what you see in movies, you will likely be wildly mistaken. Greek life is an area of the college that is largely secretive for some Greek organizations. Though you may see them around campus, outside of the events they host and rush week, joining the organization may be hard to find information for. However, we will give you all the information you need to begin your journey into Greek life.

In short, Greek life can be considered the lifestyle of the community of Greek-lettered students. This includes several different organizations. The university you will attend will also play a large part in your Greek Life experience.

There are three different Greek Councils that students may elect to be part of; this includes the Multicultural Greek Council, the Interfraternity Council, and the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

For example, if you attend an HBCU or a historically black college or university, the Greek Organizations around campus are likely considered the Divine 9. The Divine 9 refers to the 9 Historically Black Greek organizations within the National Pan-Hellenic Council. This includes the following universities:


  • Alpha Phi Alpha
  • Iota Phi Theta
  • Omega Psi Phi
  • Phi Beta Sigma
  • Kappa Alpha Psi


  • Alpha Kappa Alpha
  • Zeta Phi Beta
  • Sigma Gamma Rho
  • Delta Sigma Theta

Greek organizations can vary by type. Some organizations include social organizations, academic societies, and professional groups.

Though some organizations are more socially driven, that is not their sole purpose.

The rules of rushing and acceptance may vary depending on the type of organization you join. The living situations may also vary depending on what your university offers. For example, some schools have frat houses near campus. This may be a living option for some but not for others.

What are the Pros and Cons of Rushing in College?

What are the Pros and Cons of Rushing in College?

There are several pros and cons to joining a fraternity or sorority. You should not feel pressured to join simply because a specific sorority rush is happening. Joining a Greek organization should have a purpose. There are several reasons why individuals opt to join an organization of this caliber; however, reasons like attention, pride, or ego should not be a part of them. The list below will brush the surface of the things you can look forward to when rushing in college and some not so much.

Pros to Rushing in College

Networking & Making New Friends

Being in a sorority or fraternity will undoubtedly introduce you to people you may have never otherwise met. This happens during college and even long after it. Being in a sorority means making lifelong friends and connections. You are forever bonded with the select individuals who have had the same or a similar experience as you. These organizations are heavily selective, and many individuals you meet will have a breadth of life experiences. Being Greek is also heavily respected and may get you into rooms you may have never been in. This can aid in jobs and even your personal life.

Develop Leadership Skills

One thing that rushing and beyond will help you do is to build leadership skills. Networking is one skill that will be highlighted after joining your organization as you will meet individuals from several walks of life who may also be members of your organization. Several individuals who have never held a leadership position may be called to serve as chapter president or other important roles. Teamwork is another skill you will likely start building as soon as the rush process begins. This is because you will work consistently with the individuals on your line; you are no longer a team of 1.

Becoming a high-ranking member of your Greek organization is a valuable skill and one that is very respected. This may be the first time you are blazing your trail in some scenarios. Being in these organizations also helps you to build qualities within yourself through your service to the organization. The skills you gain can be applied throughout your lifetime. They will help you not only in the classroom but in your career as well.

Community Service

Community service is one area that is emphasized in Greek life. If you are joining an organization, you are familiar with, you may have already seen some of the community service projects that the organizations perform. One of the pillars of the majority of these organizations is community service. They are taught early in the rushing process the importance of community service.

Helping others is something that not only looks good, it allows you to connect with individuals you may not have associated with before. Helping people in their time of need can be an advantageous activity and increase our personal satisfaction with yourself.  Selfishly, it can also look good for jobs to see that you are committed to something that gives no direct benefit to you.

Cons to Rushing in College

Are you paying for friends?

Cost is one significant determining factor that can hinder some students from rushing. Many individuals have referred to joining a sorority or fraternity as “paying for friends .”In addition to the cost of dues, the amount you pay to join and the cost of the events you may have to attend can be pretty hefty. Rushing and becoming a part of the organization can be highly expensive, especially if you live in a sorority or fraternity house. This may often come with additional boarding fees. It is also likely that because you will have the attention of the people around you, you will want to look your best. Generally, pledges may splurge on new clothes to go along with this new chapter of their lives.

These things’ costs vary based on what organization you are looking to join. For example, after completion of rush activities and acceptance into the organization, students must pay new member fees. These fees can range from a few hundred to upwards of a thousand. In addition to these one-time fees, some dues must be paid. These can happen yearly or even monthly. Some universities, like the University of Michigan and Vanderbilt, have begun including this information on their websites so that students know what to expect.

However, these are simply the apparent fees; the list below shows other items you may be responsible for during the rush.

  • Gifts for line sisters/brothers or pyrophytes
  • Event tickets
  • Specialty clothing or regalia
  • Trips or Greek activities
  • Misc purchases like food and alcohol

As a college student, money is one of the most significant missing elements, and rushing can be costly. For this reason, many choose to pass. However, other students do things like increase financial aid, get new credit cards or work extra to adapt.

Shhh, it’s a secret

Though some information is known about rushing traditions, much of the information surrounding some Greek organizations are held tightly. There is much secrecy surrounding what happens during the time between a person being chosen for rush and a person fully crossing over. Much of the actual inner workings of Greek organizations are kept secret unless you are a member.

Potential humiliation and judgment

You may have heard this term if this is not your first time reading about Greek life. Hazing has been given many definitions, with the majority centering around the intimidation, embarrassment, or causing of intentional discomfort, for initiation. Though Greek organizations outlaw hazing, it still happens in some organizations. You should not allow it to continue and alert someone immediately if you find it happening.

3 Other Things to Consider Before Joining the Greek Life

3 Other Things to Consider Before Joining the Greek Life

1. Your life will change

Whether you would like to admit it or not, after becoming Greek, your life will change. In the beginning, you will likely spend large amounts of time with other members. This often means your circle of friends will change. For some, this can be a significant shift many do not often consider.

2. All of your friends won’t make it

rushing in college is something friends will typically embark on together. However, it is essential to remember that all of your friends will not make it. This is a commitment that you go into alone. You have to be happy with your decision whether your friends make it or drop out. Make sure you are thinking about things from your personal perspective and not from the idea that all of your friends will be right next to you the entire time.

3. Greek life is a Massive Commitment

If we have reiterated it enough, Greek life is a massive commitment. It is not for the faint of heart. Greek life will consume a good majority of your time, and you are still expected to keep up with school work and other educational commitments. It would help if you were an example for the instruction you are providing to others. There is a minimum GPA that students in Greek organizations must adhere to.

Though all of the things about joining a Greek organization may be true, there are several pros to rushing a sorority or fraternity. You build not only a network of endless connections, but you also build lifelong bonds. You are forever bonded to everyone before you and everyone that comes after you. These become the people you will celebrate milestones with.

Should You Join the Greek Life?

Should You Join the Greek Life?

It would be best to ask yourself this question before going any further in the process. Several things should be evaluated and considered. You will be Greek for not just the college moments everyone sees. You will be Greek for a lifetime. This comes with dues, responsibilities, and commitments. Lastly, consider if you are doing things for the right reasons and not just on the social side.

Wrapping Things Up: What Does “Rushing” in College Really Mean?

Rushing in college means you are ready to plunge into Greek life. It indicates that you are committed mentally, financially, and physically to the unknowns ahead. Though it may be a strenuous and secretive process, most people that come out on the other side do not regret it. If you feel you are ready, no matter what stage you are at, start doing your research. The more you know, the more you will see if it will be for you. Happy Rushing!

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out our other blogs for similar content:

> How to Drop Your Sorority: 3 Things to Know

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Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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