Updated: December 6, 2023

What is Rushing in College?

Greek Life 101

College freshmen may hear the term “rushing” being used everywhere and often aren’t actually sure what rushing is. This article will answer all of the questions you may have on the subject and possibly more.

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Students looking to join a sorority or fraternity will go through the process of “rushing” to meet the current members of organizations on college campuses. Greek life at university offers many benefits and exciting opportunities, and we’ve answered the most commonly asked questions about the rushing process and everything that follows.

How Does Rushing Work in College?

Starting university can be a daunting experience, especially if you’ve chosen a school far from home. Joining a sorority, for female college students, or a fraternity, for male college students, can be a great way to connect with like-minded people and develop a sense of community to enhance college life on campus.

According to the National Panhellenic Conference, over 20 million people have been initiated into a sorority or fraternity since 1850. Greek life can help you to meet people who will be your lifelong friends, and many people look to join sororities or fraternities for this reason.

Rushing is the process where students seek membership in a fraternity or sorority. The rush period is a two-way process, where students decide which organizations they like, and the organizations decide which students they like.

What is Pledging?

Rushing is generally a formal recruitment process that takes place in the fall semester. Typically, interested students will sign up to ‘rush’ and then participate in a range of rush events and Greek life activities.

The membership base will then vote for which potential new members they wish to join the fraternity or sorority. This is called ‘pledging’. During this time, potential members will receive invitations to join but have not yet been initiated into the organization.

This process can vary from school to school, but some fraternities or sororities will host formal ceremonies to initiate students into their organization. Other schools will have a more informal rush process and this ultimately depends on the school and its organizations.

Typically, sorority rush is known for being a more formal process, whilst fraternity rush is often a more informal event with casual hangouts, although this depends on the school and its undergraduate organizations.

What are the benefits of joining a fraternity or sorority?

Being a part of Greek life can offer many opportunities that would otherwise not be available to you in college. Many graduate students reflect warmly on their time as a part of a Greek organization in college, as the friendships they made often continued well into their adult life.

The Ultimate College Experience

You may think life at college will be nothing like the movies, but being a member of a fraternity or sorority can actually make your time seem just like that.

The vibrant social life offered as part of the Greek community is like no other. If you want to make lots of friends in college, attend social events and parties, and generally make the most of your college experience, then joining a Greek organization is the option for you.

You will often live in a sorority house or fraternity house, helping you to bond with other members. Greek life is known for its parties, formal events, themed events, and special activities throughout the year which makes it especially exciting for new college students.

Brotherhood and Sisterhood

Fraternities and sororities are known for their older members acting as ‘mentors’ for younger students, and this setup can make the transition to college a much easier one. You will have a support system throughout college as part of Greek life. Whether you’re struggling with exams and deadlines, having relationship troubles, or feeling homesick, being a part of an exclusive and close-knit organization can give you much-needed support.


Greek Life is known for organizing fundraising events and their consistent focus on philanthropy throughout college. Greek organizations contribute over $7 million to philanthropic efforts annually, highlighting how this charitable work is not just a facade.

If you want to get involved in volunteering and community service, then there will be many leadership opportunities focused on this, in which you can show your efforts as part of a Greek organization.

Networking Opportunities

Being a sorority sister or fraternity brother allows gives you access to networking opportunities with other members who have graduated from college. Many graduate students from Greek life organizations go on to have great careers working for top companies, and having a Greek life connection makes you instantly more likely to network with these people.

Greek life also provides you with opportunities to develop your leadership skills by hosting activities and events, helping you to become more employable upon graduation.

What are some common misconceptions about Greek life?

Negative Stereotypes

Stereotyping can be a real issue and put many students off joining a Greek organization in college. Movies often play into this stereotype and only perpetuate the idea that students in sororities or fraternities are all rich, dumb, and secretly hate each other. This is definitely not the case, and Greek life in reality is known for creating long-lasting friendships and for hosting fundraising events to support the community.

Drinking and Party Culture

While going to parties can be a big part of Greek life, there is a myth that members of fraternities or sororities, or those rushing during the recruitment process, are expected to drink heavily and endanger themselves in the process.

If you choose to rush, then you should evaluate this carefully and only choose an organization that you feel comfortable in. However, the myth around hazing rituals is simply that: a myth. Whilst it can happen and end in unfortunate circumstances, dangerous hazing activities are not a common part of Greek life and rarely occur. Students should be mindful, but do not assume that this is standard practice in Greek organizations.

Academic Success

The stereotype that Greek life students are ‘dumb’ is simply not true. In 2019, the average GPA for fraternity and sorority members was higher than the campus-wide GPA. Many fraternities and sororities require members to have a minimum grade point average (GPA) and good attendance in their college classes before joining. They will often expect members to maintain this as a minimum throughout college, too.

Whilst the social aspect of Greek culture is a big reason why people want to join, academic performance is still considered to be a part of the recruitment process. In fact, 85% of Fortune 500 executives are members of a Greek organization, so studying definitely doesn’t disappear once you join a fraternity or sorority.

Frequently Asked Questions about Rushing in College

How do you prepare for Rush Week?

‘Rush Week’ is the week when you meet the current members of the Greek organizations and participate in activities with them. It is a busy time across many college campuses, but there are a few simple steps you can take to prepare.

What happens during the pledging process?

If you are a ‘pledge,’ meaning you are invited to join the organization but yet to be formally initiated, then you will undergo an orientation period before officially joining the fraternity or sorority.

This is generally a six-week process, and it can be quite intensive. You will be expected to familiarize yourself with all aspects of fraternity life and bond with your new brothers or sisters. Each fraternity or sorority will have its own special history, and during pledging you will be expected to learn important information such as its Greek letters, core values and ideals, chapter founders, the structure of the organization, and the rules members must abide by.

During this time, you will have to earn the respect and trust of your fellow fraternity or sorority members. It is important to take this time seriously, as joining a Greek organization is like joining a family, and it is a lifelong commitment. Members will judge your character so remember to show your best self.

It is important to not lose focus of your studies during this time either, despite it being a busy period. Try to keep a schedule and stay in a healthy routine so you can be at your best both socially and academically.

To rush or not to rush?

If you have any interest in joining Greek life, then rushing can be a great opportunity to decide if it’s really for you. However, if you feel uncomfortable during Rush Week or overwhelmed by the commitment you need to make, then consider whether this is the right choice for you.

In 2018, research showed that 66% of U.S. Presidents were members of a fraternity. The opportunities afforded to you by being a part of Greek life can help benefit your future and give you lifelong friendships. Rushing can be the start of a fantastic college experience for you, and if you want a vibrant social life, then Rush Week is the place to start.