Last Updated on January 21, 2024
Photo credit: National Pan-Hellenic Council at Vanderbilt University.
When I considered Greek life, I took my decision seriously. I studied the history of each organization, and I made sure that their campus chapters supported their national programs. As a result, I have always loved my fraternity and the values that it represents.
Choosing a fraternity or sorority in the realm of black fraternities and sororities is more than just joining a social group; it's about finding a community that resonates with your identity, aspirations, and values.
I have served as a chapter president at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and today, I help fraternity and sorority members transition from Greek life to Corporate America.
You can get the same results if you are willing to do your homework. Any student who is serious about Greek life can use the internet, interviews, and human intuition to find the fraternity or sorority that is right for them.
There are so many options for college students, and at the end of the day, it is not about picking the best Greek-letter organization at your university. It is about picking the best Greek-letter organization for you. Here are five tips that will help you make the right choice:
1. Do Your Research – Exploring Historically Black Fraternities and Sororities
Begin by diving deep into the rich history and ethos of various organizations. The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), encompassing the Divine 9, plays a pivotal role in the landscape of black Greek life. Explore the websites of black greek organizations to start your journey. Also, do a web search to find the latest news, social media posts, and stories about each of the black fraternities and sororities.
- Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., founded December 4, 1906
- Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., founded January 5, 1911
- Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., founded November 17, 1911
- Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., founded January 9, 1914
- Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., founded September 19, 1963
- Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., founded January 15, 1908
- Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., founded January 13, 1913
- Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., founded January 16, 1920
- Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., founded November 12, 1922
2. Align with Your Personality, Interests, and Values
NPHC organizations are strong because they are made up of strong individuals. Each black fraternity and sorority has its unique culture and focus. When you know yourself – your personality, interests, and core beliefs – you can find out how you can contribute to the black fraternities and sororities of your choice; it will also help you find the best organization for your personal values.
Assess your personality and interests to find a match that feels like a natural extension of yourself. A personality test is the most convenient tool that you can use to evaluate yourself. You can contact your career center to find out if they offer personality tests (like Myers-Briggs and DISC), or you can do an internet search for free personality tests.
3. Becoming a Stellar Student – Academic Excellence Matters
It's not all fun and games. Academic achievement is a cornerstone of historically black sororities and fraternities. Strive for a strong GPA and demonstrate your dedication to intellectual growth. If you don’t have good grades, you shouldn’t start searching for black fraternities and sororities on your HBCU campus.
For now, the best thing that you can do is to focus on your education. The pledges with the highest GPAs get the most favorable looks from selection committees because they know that those students are taking care of business.
4. Experience Greek Life Firsthand – Engaging with Members
Attending college fairs and Greek events offers invaluable insights. Of course, the best way to get more information about the black fraternities and sororities is to visit black colleges and see their campus chapters! When you speak to black fraternity and sorority members, you should make sure that you’re prepared to interview them.
Don’t be afraid to dig deep, to go beyond the basic questions that most students ask. You can ask them what their organizations’ missions mean to them, and you can ask them about the experiences that helped them bond with their fellow members.
You can ask them how Greek life has changed their worldview, their relationships, and their college experience, and you can ask for their contact information if they are willing to answer more questions in the future.
5. Embrace the Right Attitude – Contributing Positively
Your attitude plays a significant role in your Greek life experience. At the end of the day, no organization is perfect. A proactive and positive approach will enrich your journey and the lives of others within the fraternity or sorority.
If you think that one of the black fraternities and sororities chapters has not met the standards of its national organization, you should figure out how you can change the dynamic.
If you found one of the black fraternities and sororities chapters that has exceeded your expectations, you should figure out how your academic, social, and leadership skills can take that organization to the next level.
Remember: NPHC organizations are strong because they are made up of strong individuals. The more tenacious the initiate, the more positive the outlook of the chapter.
In conclusion, choosing the right black fraternities and sororities is a deeply personal and significant decision. It's about finding a group where you can grow, lead, and contribute meaningfully. As you navigate this path, remember that it's not just about fitting in; it's about finding a place where you can shine your brightest.
Eddie Francis is the HBCU Lifestyle Podcast host and Greek life contributor. He is also a speaker, award-winning media veteran, and talent acquisition professional. Eddie is a regular contributor to “The HBCU Nation Radio Show” and award-winning “Sunday Journal” talk shows; and he has written for The Huffington Post, The Ladders, Great Black Speakers, LinkedIn, Social-Hire, Write to Bear Alms, Greek Ladders, and Careers in Government. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and you can learn more about him at EddieFrancis.com.