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  #1  
Old 09-30-2009, 06:45 PM
TriDeltaSallie TriDeltaSallie is offline
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Should you join a "lower tier" sorority?

I'd like to suggest a new sticky (if the powers-that-be think it worthwhile) with a discussion about how PNMs should think through the possibility of joining a lower tier sorority.

I know there are people on Greek Chat who object to this concept, but it is a reality on many campuses. And even if there aren't distinctive tiers, there are frequently chapters that are seen as "less desirable".

I believe it never occurs to a lot of PNMs that they could end up with their only options being chapters that they normally wouldn't consider. They all think they are going to get a "top" house. And then since they haven't thought through it ahead of time, they withdraw from recruitment and that is the end. If even some of them learned from a thread like this while they are researching sororities, it would be time well spent for all of us here.

I think it would be helpful if people shared their personal stories, linked to past recruitment stories that illustrate women being very happy and successful in lower tier chapters, etc. It is fine to address the potential downsides as well since that is something to take into consideration. But there are so many great stories told here in other threads about women who pledged the "lesser" house and ended up very happy. Or stories of women who joined a lower tier group that turned around in a few short years and is now a top group on campus.

Thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 09-30-2009, 06:50 PM
ellebud ellebud is offline
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When I rushed, oh so many years ago, I was "only" able to join the Jewish sorority. This was considered the lowest house.

Many years later, and adding more and dear friends as well, when I was undergoing chemo for breast cancer, my sisters and friends came overon a regular basis. They brought food and yes, held me up when I was vomiting.

I consider my sisters to be the highest of the top tier.
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  #3  
Old 09-30-2009, 07:05 PM
LucyKKG LucyKKG is offline
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I helped found a local sorority that affiliated with Kappa shortly after that. If I hadn't taken a chance to do that, our campus wouldn't have formed Panhellenic. We only had 15 actives when we held our first formal recruitment, but we got 13 new members (plus 2 or 3 more through COB) and doubled the chapter! Many of those girls have held offices, and the chapter now has about 50 members.

I know my chapter is still smaller than the other Panhellenic sorority on campus, but we've grown significantly and made huge changes to our campus and the Greek community. My sisters are goofy and amazing, and I love them dearly. I'm now involved with another chapter (as an alumna) on their House Board, because I want to keep helping this wonderful organization that has given me so much.

I held an office for three years, and I know it helped me tremendously with my public speaking, delegation, and organizational skills. I don't know if I would have had the same opportunities in a larger group.
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  #4  
Old 09-30-2009, 07:30 PM
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DGTess DGTess is offline
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It matters what you consider "lower tier".

Is "lower tier" a less-wealthy group?
Is "lower tier" a less conventionally beautiful group?

What is "lower tier" but campus gossip?

If you don't want to belong to a house where the sisters care about each other, more power go you. If you'd rather let someone else tell you what's "good", please don't come to my organization.

No sorority is "lower tier" to its true members.
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  #5  
Old 09-30-2009, 07:37 PM
gee_ess gee_ess is offline
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I think Trideltsallie's point is to help people understand that despite a rumor or gossip or unfair designation put upon a particular group, the group has merit. Is doesn't matter why someone is considered lower tier - because the fact is the group is perceived as lower tier by pnms.

And she very clearly points out, and accurately, that despite the best panhellenic spirited efforts, tiers do exist. Let's not argue tiers, not the who,what, where or why of them. (that has been done before, ad nauseum)

Let's, for the sake of pnms' who come on here looking for help, discuss what she has proposed. Good start, ellebud and Lucykkg.
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  #6  
Old 09-30-2009, 07:52 PM
KSUViolet06 KSUViolet06 is offline
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Let me preface this by saying that YES, I know that there are certain areas of the country (such as certain areas of the South) in which the tier of your sorority matters after college.

But honestly, in most places (particularly in those that I've lived in), whether your sorority is "top tier" means nothing after graduation.

It's just not relevant.

Maybe it's a regional thing, but I find that most college-educated adults in the world don't care about sororities in general, much less what "tier" they were.

I mean, depending on where you live, people may care that you went to Princeton, or that you interned with a Fortune 500 company in undergrad, but they rarely are concerned with your college sorority.

I know that is hard for an 18-year-old college freshmen to realize. You just have to do what is best for you, and stop caring so much of what others think. At the end of the day, you are the one who has to live with your decisions.
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  #7  
Old 09-30-2009, 07:59 PM
VandalSquirrel VandalSquirrel is offline
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I'd say do it, but I don't believe in tiers. At some schools being in any sorority is better than being in NO sorority. I'd choose a sorority people badmouth because they are immature over no sorority any day, but I'd also go where I want because I kind of don't care what other people think as long as I'm doing what is best for me.

However a good life lesson is to not let other people control your happiness and life, and joining a sorority where you feel at home and happy regardless of other people's insecurities (which is pretty much where the ideas of tiers comes from or people wouldn't talk about it) is going to serve you better in the long run than being in a sorority because other people perceive it as better.

After college (and even during) it really doesn't matter. If someone out of college is that hung up on your letters that should be a hint to what their priorities are (or aren't).
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  #8  
Old 09-30-2009, 08:05 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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I don't think this needs to be a sticky at all. A regular thread is more than ample. (I just love when people nominate themselves for stickydom.)

Automatically assuming that smallest group = lowest tier simply is not true at every single college, just as largest group does not always equal top sorority or fraternity. Sometimes the largest group is the subject of derision for "bidding anything that moves." Same with house condition, amount of money, looks, grades, etc. It is truly a campus by campus basis and at many places if you asked why PQR is thought of as the "most popular" group, you couldn't get a concrete answer.

There are some colleges where if you are in what is perceived as a "lower tier" sorority, your social options are significantly curtailed. I won't bump it because it pissed people off, but there was a post on here explaining this concept at UF. It made a lot of people understand why a girl would be wary of joining a not-as-popular group.

But there are also colleges where your social life, regardless of your sorority, is what YOU make it, not what letters you are wearing. If you let your Greek group either hinder you or you coast on its appeal, you're digging your own grave. If you say "I can't go to the Sigma Chi house because I'm an XYZ, and we just don't hang out with them, we aren't good enough" - that's YOUR issue. And if the Sigma Chis do truly believe that, why would you want to hang out with them? Conversely, if you have people asking you out or presenting you with opportunities simply because you're an ABC and they want the prestige of association with an ABC - NOT with you as a person - your life after college is going to be a jumbo box of suck.

Your letters do not define you. You define your letters.
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  #9  
Old 09-30-2009, 08:09 PM
LaneSig LaneSig is offline
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Originally Posted by 33girl View Post
I don't think this needs to be a sticky at all. A regular thread is more than ample. (I just love when people nominate themselves for stickydom.)

Automatically assuming that smallest group = lowest tier simply is not true at every single college, just as largest group does not always equal top sorority or fraternity. Sometimes the largest group is the subject of derision for "bidding anything that moves." Same with house condition, amount of money, looks, grades, etc. It is truly a campus by campus basis and at many places if you asked why PQR is thought of as the "most popular" group, you couldn't get a concrete answer.

There are some colleges where if you are in what is perceived as a "lower tier" sorority, your social options are significantly curtailed. I won't bump it because it pissed people off, but there was a post on here explaining this concept at UF. It made a lot of people understand why a girl would be wary of joining a not-as-popular group.

But there are also colleges where your social life, regardless of your sorority, is what YOU make it, not what letters you are wearing. If you let your Greek group either hinder you or you coast on its appeal, you're digging your own grave. If you say "I can't go to the Sigma Chi house because I'm an XYZ, and we just don't hang out with them, we aren't good enough" - that's YOUR issue. And if the Sigma Chis do truly believe that, why would you want to hang out with them? Conversely, if you have people asking you out or presenting you with opportunities simply because you're an ABC and they want the prestige of association with an ABC - NOT with you as a person - your life after college is going to be a jumbo box of suck.

Your letters do not define you. You define your letters.
33girl - You are always welcome at the Sigma Chi house.
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  #10  
Old 09-30-2009, 08:14 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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33girl - You are always welcome at the Sigma Chi house.
Thanks no place I would rather be!!!
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  #11  
Old 09-30-2009, 08:25 PM
aephi alum aephi alum is offline
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If you are truly happy in your sorority, who cares if others consider it "lower tier"?

PNMs: Keep in mind that you are never obligated to do anything in FR until you receive a bid (assuming you do receive a bid). If you get your invites and you find that all the sororities you think of as "top tier" have cut you, it won't hurt you to go back to the sororities that did invite you. Who knows - you may find an awesome connection with a chapter you wouldn't otherwise have considered. If you attend pref parties and then don't feel you've really clicked with the chapter(s) you preffed, just don't sign a pref card.
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  #12  
Old 09-30-2009, 08:31 PM
bostongreek bostongreek is offline
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Originally Posted by 33girl View Post
I won't bump it because it pissed people off, but there was a post on here explaining this concept at UF. It made a lot of people understand why a girl would be wary of joining a not-as-popular group.
Would you mind PMing it to me? I'm interested in reading that.
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  #13  
Old 09-30-2009, 08:55 PM
UGAalum94 UGAalum94 is offline
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I think I missed the UF thread too.

I doubt that we need to discuss why not to join a lower tier house since those thoughts are probably already present in a PNM's mind, but I think offering reasons why, despite a lack of immediate popularity boost, joining a "lower tier" group can still be worthwhile.

My first reason is that members of "lower tier" groups enjoy their Greek experience. Even though it may not wow your friends from home when they see your letters, your college experience is likely to be enriched over not joining a GLO at all.

We probably kid ourselves about the number of women who find themselves honestly deliberating, should I join the commonly viewed #1 group on campus or the bottom group, where I can make a big difference. Instead, PNMs looking at the bottom tier have limited options, and it would typically be pointless to imagine that one is going to hold out and later receive a bid from a "top" group.

You should join a lower group to be part of a sisterhood, to experience being greek, and to be part of an alumnae network for the rest of your life.

Additionally, you should be aware that at many campuses with hard work and dedication towards recruitment, lower tier groups can become middle tier groups with a couple of pledge classes. You can have the satisfaction of working hard to enrich the experience that you will offer to the young women who follow in your footsteps. It may be a lot closer to the experience of being one of our founders than many sisters at strong chapters experience.

ETA: this really just repeats what others have said well, and I apologize for that. I agree that joining a "lower tier" house is still worthwhile and want to lend my support for that. I will say that sharing personal experience in a thread called "should you join a lower tier sorority" is a little complicated because matching usernames and chapters may serve to reinforce the tent talk. I don't know how much it really helps in the long run.

Last edited by UGAalum94; 09-30-2009 at 09:01 PM.
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  #14  
Old 09-30-2009, 10:43 PM
UGAalum94 UGAalum94 is offline
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Originally Posted by Jen View Post
Are there really a lot of people who have to choose from the number one house AND a lower house? I always found that the sororities that cross rushed each other were usually on equal footing regarding whatever was considered important on the campus (whether it be size of a group, social status, physical looks of members, etc).
Exactly.

Sometimes, I think a PNM will pref on group that's a little different than her other two, but generally, your tier options are all about the same.

The choice is low tier or don't be greek, not low tier or higher tier, for most PNMs.
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  #15  
Old 09-30-2009, 10:50 PM
KSUViolet06 KSUViolet06 is offline
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Originally Posted by UGAalum94 View Post

The choice is low tier or don't be greek.
Yep.

And really, if you'd rather not be Greek at all, you probably shouldn't join.

However, if you even think you'll spend the rest of your college years saying "I want to be in a sorority soooo badly" it is definitely worth a shot.

Depending on the school, the whole "lower tier or not being Greek at all" thing is an easy choice for some.

At others, it really is tough to make that decision because a large % of the student body is Greek and that one bid is likely the only one they will get (there is no "I'll try again next year.")
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Last edited by KSUViolet06; 09-30-2009 at 10:52 PM.
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