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  #1  
Old 01-10-2008, 07:36 PM
TechTransfer TechTransfer is offline
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affect of admissions on rush

I work for the university archives, and today I was very bored, so I decided to start playing with the yearbooks. I noticed that fraternities appeared to have been significantly larger in the past, and again, being bored, decided to start counting. I noticed a marked phenomenon in the 1990s:
Year: Total Greek men (number of chapters) [average chapter size]:
1990: 755 (12) [62.9]
1992: 698 (11) [63.5]
1994: 578 (10) [57.8]
1996: 514 (10) [51.4]
1998: 452 (8) [50.2]
2000: 422 (7) [60.3]

Before 1990, it had been a slow but steady increase through the 70s and 80s (from about 600 to about 800), and since 2000 it's been a very slight rise, up to about 450. The increase in the 70s and 80s makes perfect sense, because the student population was increasing during that period, but we've held steady at about 9000 undergrads since 1988. So what explains the drop in the 90s? The system lost 11% every two years on average.

Extra fact: in 1991, we implemented selective admissions. Before then, to get in all you had to do was graduate high school. In '91, the school implemented admissions standards for the first time, and has been gradually increasing them every year since- the bottom third of students admitted in '91 wouldn't get in now.

My theory: The fraternities didn't adapt (and still really haven't) to the higher academic quality of the students. Someone who got a 38 on their ACT is looking for something very different out of college than someone who just barely graduated high school, and as the average student has become the former rather than the latter, they haven't adapted their programs.

Why do I care? Partly because I see a niche for my group, and partly because I'm thinking about writing a paper on this.

Has anyone noticed this at other schools, or is it just us?

Last edited by TechTransfer; 01-10-2008 at 07:41 PM. Reason: oopsy in my numbers
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  #2  
Old 01-10-2008, 07:40 PM
nate2512 nate2512 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TechTransfer View Post
Someone who got a 38 on their ACT
Side note: 36 is the highest attainable ACT score.
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Old 01-10-2008, 07:41 PM
TechTransfer TechTransfer is offline
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it was hyperbole
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Old 01-10-2008, 07:43 PM
nate2512 nate2512 is offline
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my apologies.
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  #5  
Old 01-10-2008, 07:47 PM
DSTCHAOS DSTCHAOS is offline
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So your point is that you work at a school that used to be really sucky not that long ago and has improved. Even if that improvement still doesn't place the school up to par with much more demanding schools.

You may be assigning causation to something prematurely, but here goes....

Fraternities always go based on their surroundings. They have minimum GPAs but there is no maximum. So a smart student won't be turned off from them unless the particular chapters are filled with idiots who barely got into college.
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Old 01-10-2008, 07:51 PM
TechTransfer TechTransfer is offline
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it is possible that i'm guilty of post hoc, propter hoc on this, but I don't think so. the trend goes steadily up for twenty years, then very suddenly down for ten, then levels off. Sharp peaks in data don't just happen.
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Old 01-10-2008, 07:57 PM
DSTCHAOS DSTCHAOS is offline
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Originally Posted by TechTransfer View Post
it is possible that i'm guilty of post hoc, propter hoc on this, but I don't think so. the trend goes steadily up for twenty years, then very suddenly down for ten, then levels off. Sharp peaks in data don't just happen.
There's a reason for everything.

But the reasons aren't always observable and attributable to the obvious. You have to control for other factors.
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  #8  
Old 01-10-2008, 08:05 PM
WarEagle07 WarEagle07 is offline
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Perhaps you are onto something here but you won't know without further investigation. My suggestion: Has the trend statewide and nationwide been aligned with the trend at your school? Did your administration do anything unfavorable in terms of rules and regs that impacted fraternities? And lastly, there are many schools that are very selective and have strong greek traditions... Duke to name just one. Why are those students willing to be greek even though they have obviously scored in the top tier? Do not make the presumption that greeks are not great students. It could be as simple as a rise in tuition equals less cash for greek life. I can see that as the most plausible answer.
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Old 01-10-2008, 08:05 PM
TechTransfer TechTransfer is offline
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Male enrollment and total enrollment was steady, so that's not it.

I can't control for socioeconomic factors, because that data isn't collected (except by financial aid, and I doubt I can get my hands on it). I can see that this could be caused if there was a sudden decline in the average student's wealth- poorer students can't afford to be Greek. I'm going to have to account for that.

It isn't geographic region of students- I've got those numbers, and they don't change over that period, so it's not like we were getting significantly more out of staters.

I'm trying to think of other things that could affect student body composition in a way that would cause this. We didn't get any new dorms. It's possible there was new apartment construction, which might reduce Greek involvement, that's easy to check. No new academic programs. We changed from Div II to I-A in football, but I'm not what affect, if any, that would have on this.

Please don't think I'm upset you're poking holes- I appreciate it, because it's what the people who read my article are going to do as well. Every theory needs a devil's advocate.
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Old 01-10-2008, 08:06 PM
TechTransfer TechTransfer is offline
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WarEagle: Thanks. Those are good suggestions, and actually really easy to check on.
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  #11  
Old 01-10-2008, 08:19 PM
DSTCHAOS DSTCHAOS is offline
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Originally Posted by WarEagle07 View Post
Why are those students willing to be greek even though they have obviously scored in the top tier? Do not make the presumption that greeks are not great students.
I think he was basing that on the Greeks at that school and not the Greeks nationwide.

There are plenty of campuses that always had high admission standards.
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Old 01-10-2008, 08:23 PM
Benzgirl Benzgirl is offline
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I have a feeling what you have seen is just the ebb and flow that goes through all campuses, and has a lot to do with what is happening in the current environment and the political climate.

Starting in the 1940s, Greek Life had dropped off quite a bit because of the war. It took years for the Fraternities to rebuild. Many students after the war were married (GI Bill paid for school) and had little interest, money or time.
In the 50s, Greek life in general grew, peaking in the early 60s.
By the late 60s, the anti-establishment grew in popularity and many houses closed by the early 70s.
Around 78, things became moderate to conservative again and Greek Life grew into the 80s. It peaked, however, in the early 90s. Again, many chapters closed by the late 90s.
From what I understand, there is a resurgence again.

There is a company that does assessments of Greek Life on campuses, comparing them with like-campuses. I have seen this report on the DePauw and Bowling Green websites, and perhaps on the Lehigh website. If you are really interested in doing research of this kind, you might want to check this out.

If you need some help, let me know and I'll see if I can find the reports again.
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Old 01-10-2008, 08:24 PM
WarEagle07 WarEagle07 is offline
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No problem! One of my favorite books is Freakanomics. I love how the author Steve Levitt was able to take a set of data to prove that what we think is a cause and effect corollary actually is not. And often the true corollary is something I could not have imagined myself. It sounds trite, but think outside of the box!
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  #14  
Old 01-10-2008, 08:31 PM
DSTCHAOS DSTCHAOS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TechTransfer View Post

Please don't think I'm upset you're poking holes- I appreciate it, because it's what the people who read my article are going to do as well. Every theory needs a devil's advocate.

This isn't a devil's advocate kind of discussion. It is an academic one.

You have to always control for various factors before you assume causation (especially as distinct from correlation). For instance, if you were submitting your article to a refereed journal, the reviewers will ask "how do you know this" and "what have you controlled for?" If you do not control for anything else, they will tell you that your quantitative methods are elementary school-level and similar to doing crosstabs.

You aren't the first person to do this type of research. I suggest searching your university's library webpage and so forth. If this is more than an undergrad course paper, there is other data that's accessible even if it's not through your university.
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Deele "Two Occasions" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUvaB...eature=related
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  #15  
Old 01-10-2008, 09:12 PM
violetpretty violetpretty is offline
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When I was researching the possibilty of extension at my campus, I noticed a similar trend in numbers. Granted, I'm talking about sororities, and Maryland is a very different school that Louisiana Tech (that is the Tech you are referring to, right?).

Back in the 80s, quota was 40-50, and this was with 18 chapters; chapter size ranged from 100-150. In 1987, Maryland had a record number of PNMs register, and to accomodate the growing interest, PHA added Zeta Tau Alpha 2 years later. However, from 1990-1993, 4 chapters closed (1 for immediate financial issues, 1 for RM issues, and the other 2 were low membership), and a 5th chapter closed in 2000, also due to low membership. One can theorize that with less diversity of chapters, fewer students will seek to find their niche in a GLO.

In 1996, Maryland switched to a deferred formal recruitment. Almost always, having a deferred recruitment will decrease the number of PNMs because they get into a "grind" with the activities and clubs they joined first semester and then they decide they can't/don't want to commit their time to a GLO. However, one strong argument for deferred recruitment is that the GPA is higher, since PNMs will have a semester of college coursework under their belts, so PNMs are weeded based on college GPA, not high school GPA.

Also, in the mid 1990's, a strengthened Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life implemented a "Vision" program, requiring chapters to submit a vision statement, have values-based programs in a variety of areas, academic requirements, etc. to be recognized. The social policy has become stricter, and much more regulated.

Maryland, like Louisiana Tech, has also become more academically selective in the last 20 years, but enrollment continues to grow (and our Greek community is slowly growing again).

I think the Greek community at my alma mater (and I am sure it is a common trend at many other Universities) faces a double-edged sword. The stereotypes of Greeks would suggest that dumb, materialistic, party-hard students go Greek. However, the Greek community seeks smart, well rounded students, who value friendship. These students may be turned off by the stereotypes of Greeks, and therefore, not go Greek.

Sorry to ramble, but I hope this may give to some ideas to explore about membership at Louisiana Tech.
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Last edited by violetpretty; 01-10-2008 at 09:15 PM.
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