Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sororities and Money...

So I know you've probably already seen the tips for recruitment and outfits that I suggested, but I decided I needed to back up a little bit, and talk about some things you need to think about before taking the leap. Going through recruitment is a serious decision, one that will impact you in a lot of ways, and joining a sorority is just as serious.

The first area I'll discuss is...

 Finances (cue the lightning strikes, thunder, and scary music)

 I don't want to be a Debbie Downer, but sororities do cost money. And at many of schools, they cost a lot of money. I'm not trying to scare you, but it's something that the sororities will undoubtedly talk to you about during recruitment, after recruitment, and even after the new member period. The exact number differs greatly from school to school, sorority to sorority. For instance, at my school, the new member dues (a one time sum you pay up front when you first start), range anywhere from $500-$1000. And for regular dues (the amounts you will pay once initiated, every semester) also range from $350 to $950. See, the range is huge. The sorority that is $950 has larger Parlor fees (it basically is the cost for you to come over and spend time in the house), mostly because they pay for a maid service. When considering costs in dues, consider these things (great question to ask during recruitment by the way):
Is the sorority all inclusive?

Meaning, is formal included in the dues, required shirts, activities, socials, etc. As often as sororities say this (that they are all inclusive, I mean), watch out. They usually aren't. Be prepared to drop at least another $100 or so on stuff that isn't included in dues.

Are there discounts?

My sorority offers discounts for things such as paying early, living in the actual sorority house, and paying with a check instead of debit/credit card. These discounts can either come straight away, can cover the costs of shirts not covered by dues, or a pin upgrade.

 Do they have a pay plan?
Unfortunately, it just sometimes hard to drop $500 or more just at one time, so see if you're sorority can offer you a month to month way to pay off your bill. This is helpful especially for those that want to pay their own sorority dues.

Are you paying for it? Or your parents?
My parents pay my sorority dues. Say what you want, but that's how it is. If you are going to work, you need to first, make sure you have job, and second, make sure it will be enough to cover dues plus all your other sorority expenses.

Can you/do you want to live in the sorority house?

Most houses require you to live in the house at least one year. Can you afford to live in the house? I know for me personally, it's the cheapest option. That's because the rent is only $2,100 a semester. They serve you dinner five nights a week, they do all the grocery shopping, and utilities and all that jazz are included. Plus, the member dues are discounted by $200. So yes, I'm actually saving money. Every sorority is different, though, so be sure to ask them during recruitment/new member period about living in requirements and the costs.

 If things get rough, how can they help?
Once again, if you find yourself, for whatever reason, unable to pay dues, find out what they can try to do to help. My sorority offers girls the chance to go on "status" meaning that they aren't truly active in the sorority, but they remain in. Others might be able to work with financial aid of some sort. But be sure you talk to the treasurer about this. They have all the answers.

Not only are sororities a time commitment, but they are also a huge financial commitment. But here is the thing: it's not paying for your friends. You are paying for experiences. Don't let anyone discourage you about going Greek with that stupid saying. Any club you join will require you to spend some sort of money, and this is no different. However, at most sororities, the cost includes fantastic things like life-time subscriptions to their magazines, your pin, formal, sisterhoods, socials, mixers, Mom's Day, Dad's Day, and other cool stuff like that. To me that's not paying for your friends. That's paying to have make the most out of your college experience.

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