Talking to Reluctant Parents About Going Greek
• Top 12 Tips for Educating & Enlightening Parents on the Values of Pledging a Sorority •
Sometimes parents don't see the best side of sorority life and they need a little extra push to bring them onboard. Fight the media stereotypes and misinformation with your own facts about joining a sorority!
Do Your Homework! To have any kind of chance with your reluctant or anti-greek parents, you need to be fully informed yourself. sorority sugar, and other websites, provide the real facts on greek membership. Collect the information just like you were researching a term paper. Greeks get the highest GPAs on campus, greeks are more involved in leadership, greeks are more successful after college, membership is much more about sisterhood than parties, etc. Make your own custom list of facts that will be the most persuasive to your parents.
Collect and Create. Assemble a packet of information on your particular panhellenic council. Visit the websites/social media of each chapter and assemble a publicity profile for each one. You should include all the good work the chapters do for charity, their GPA standards, their sisterhood socials and everything positive that they accomplish. Create a booklet, large poster, or power point type presentation on your potential greek community. National and local websites for each chapter provide tons of positive information and images. If Hollywood movies can influence your parents ~ so can you! Assemble your own visual presentation to serve as a counterpoint to all their biases. Put your best sales techniques to work. Your determination and extra effort will also impress them.
Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words. In your parent presentation, include photos of “real” sorority girls on your campus. Once parents see first hand that the girls look normal, wear sweatshirts and participate in down to earth activities, the more their opinions may change. Their mental image of typical sorority girls may only be drunken, too sexy, out of control supermodels ~ but reality is usually far from it. Shine the light of reality onto the “authentic” look and feel of greek life at most colleges.
Invite a sorority alum to meet with your parents. If parents can talk to a mature sorority woman about her positive experiences, it will go a long way towards changing their minds. They can hear about sorority life from an outside source, they can ask questions and hopefully ease their fears. Find a girlfriend’s mother or other alumnae in your community who would be willing to share her greek testimonial. Hearing the facts from a person closer to their own age should help.
Address the main objections. Every good salesperson knows to zero in on the roadblocks stopping the sale from closing. Discover what your parents are really objecting to. Is it the partying in greek life? The high cost of sorority dues? The fear of hazing or snobbery? Until you know what they truly object to, you can’t present the proper counter argument. Give them the overall picture of sorority membership, and then focus on their #1 objection specifically. You need to find the solution to whatever stands in your way.
Offer to Solve the Financial Problem. If money is a concern, offer to pay half or all of your dues. Work part time and during the summers to help make your sorority dreams a reality. If you really want something, you need to be willing to work for it. If your parents see you are taking on responsibility they may agree to meet you half way with dues and expenses. Parents respond to self determination and self-responsibility. Stand strong and win their respect.
Make a Good Student Pledge. If drinking, doing drugs or other negative behavior is a parental concern, pledge to behave yourself in college. This is a concern whether you're in a sorority or not. Excessive partying on campus is not exclusive to greeks! Maintaining your GPA and getting a quality education is something you should commit to as a greek girl or an independent. You and your parents should clearly define the standards you need to maintain throughout your college years. If you agree to keep on top of things, and be a sorority member, then hopefully they will give you a chance to prove it.
De-Bunk the Clichés. If your parents think you are “paying for friends” please remind them that every club, sports team, social group, business association, church affiliation, gym membership, etc ALL have some financial commitments and social benefits. They all provide ways to meet friends. Both of your parents probably belong to several clubs or professional organizationswhere they pay to participate and enjoy social time as well. It’s human nature to bond with other people who have common interests. And there are fees attached for meetings, apparel, events, materials, education, and more. Greeks should not be singled out for what is the “typical” structure of any club. Relating membership to their own lives, should allow your parents to see sororities in a new light.
Home Away from Home. All parents worry about their daughters going away from home for the first time. Especially if your campus is a long way from your hometown. Emphasize the security and comfort which a sisterhood provides new members far from home. Finding a safe place to make friends and feeling the protection of other girls “having your back” should be a winning point with most parents. Instead of a bad influence, sorority membership provides a safety net, mental and emotional support and a place to be yourself on a campus full of strangers.
Membership for Life. Point out that sorority benefits extend after graduation too. Networking for employment and making social connections in a new city are just some of the pluses of being greek post graduation. Members include their sorority leadership experiences on their resumes to boost their collegiate profiles. Internships and future job offers are often a result of chapter networking. Having sisters wherever you live, and being connected to the sorority when you have a daughter, are all membership perks stretching for years to come.
Concede that there are issues. The best way to win an argument, or come to a family compromise, is to concede a few points to the other side. Agree with your parents that yes, there is partying in greek life, there are some superficial girls, there’s a temptation to not study and there are lots of cute frat guys to socialize with. Not all of their fears are unfounded. But assure them that you will not party out of control, you will not join the “mean girls” chapter and you will not hook up with every frat guy on campus. You will resist temptation and manage your priorities. Sorority membership provides the perfect opportunity for personal growth and for making wise life choices.
Make a Deal. Agree with your parents that if you struggle with your grades, find that greek life doesn’t suit you, experience any bad behavior, or discover anything controversial or damaging ~ you will disaffiliate. You can leave a sorority at any time. It’s not a cult. They don’t hold you against your will. If you pledge and find that your parent's opinions were true, then you can promptly terminate your membership. It happens. If your parents know there's a way out, should you need to end your membership, they may be more agreeable to letting you give sisterhood a try. Hopefully they will allow you to discover for yourself if you belong in a sorority or not.