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How significant are frats in helping you network later in life?

  1. Apr 14, 2013 #1
    So, I see a lot of my peers joining frats. Even my sister has joined one. With so many people joining now, what are the chances that it would help them hook up with a job later on in life? I mean, in the 1950's, the chances were high, but now it's 2013 - everyone's going to college and a large portion of everyone joins a frat.

    How much more helpful are professional frats in helping you join a frat as opposed to say, a community service frat or a social frat?

    Also, do engineers really benefit from engineering frats? Because to reap networking benefits, you make friends with someone whose daddy or relative is rich and probably CEO of something. Most engineers don't come from rich families- that's why they sweat through school in hopes of landing big out there. But even if engineers do meet some rich guy whose daddy is CEO of something, engineers don't get management positions right out of college- they need decades of experience before they get into management in engineering.

    And would you conclude that those who benefit most from frats, career wise, are the people in business frats or social frats(whose members tends to be more well off)?
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  3. Apr 14, 2013 #2
    You are better off making connections through extra-cirricular clubs that are pertinent to your major. I only knew of one frat when I was in college that was academically oriented, the rest were alcohol oriented. When it comes down to it if you want to be one of the better (or even best) student you dont want to be associated with the slackers/drinkers. Not saying that all frats, but in my experience they were always the ones asking for help last minute. Hell, I even knew of a group of kids that paid my friend in beer for him to do their work!
  4. Apr 14, 2013 #3


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    Wow, things have changed since I was in college! :uhh:
  5. Apr 14, 2013 #4


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    At the school I graduated from, there was not one fraternity or sorority member in the physics department, despite the fact that there were many, many such organizations associated with the university. I heard this repeated many times, not just by students but even professors.

    Aside from fraternities, though, there is value in a strong social network once you leave school. I'm just not sure fraternities have members in places that a physics grad would find valuable - but that's just my experience.
  6. Apr 14, 2013 #5
    Its important to think strategically about what kind of resources you want to connect with, and from there decide which kind of social networks will get you access to those resources. If you want access to early stage venture capital funding for your new tech startup, then it would pay off to make friends with a bunch of business fraternity members. If you plan on developing a strong network of research collaboraters, then you might be better off hanging around the grad lounges and chatting people up there.

    Fraternities can be beneficial in terms of opportunities later on in life, but that comes with a big qualification. First off, for people to really help you you need to actually connect with them in a significant way. Focus more on making good friends than making good contacts, at least in the early stages. Second, is that the traits and habits of people you associate with will bleed over into your life, and you'll become obligated to do the things they do lest the relationship atrophy over time. So, if you don't like keg stands, red solo cups, and yelling "bro", don't join a social frat.

    In any case, if your purpose is to find a job after school then there are more direct ways of doing it than joining frats. Most people join frats for fun, to party, to get laid, drunk, look cool, and most of all, to feel like they belong somewhere / to something. If you're just after good job opportunities, 5% of your effort will pay off in jobs and 95% will be payoffs in drinking and partying.

    Edit: I was part of a fraternity for a short period of time. Some of the people from the frat went on to start business ventures together, get each other jobs, etc. But to be honest, those are the people who actually connected with each other. Most of the peripheral members just centrifuged off into their own lives after school and were never heard from again, (I'm one of them).
  7. Apr 14, 2013 #6

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    No kidding!

    First, it's a fraternity.

    Second, the nature of the fraternity varies from fraternity to fraternity and college to college. There are places that emphasize beer drinking. There are places where the GPA is substantially above the university average.

    While there is networking potential, I would not make any decisions based on potential future networking. In college, it's impossible to tell who will be of the most help. ("Senator and Mrs. Blutarsky") I would make the decision solely on the basis of where you want to live for four years.
  8. Apr 14, 2013 #7


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    I don't think fraternities are the type of things that will take a person who is having a hard time finding a job to a person who never has to worry, but I don't think they are useless. (Well, perhaps more so in academic world, than in the industry world.) There is something to be said for having a common background with someone who is doing the hiring and being able to achieve references from within the company. When I had to hire my programming monkeys, I was partial to prior military service, because I am prior military and I can relate and communicate with prior service easier. We have a common background and common reference point. In much the same way, a fraternity gives people a sense of belonging and a sense that you know this person to some degree. The key, I think, isn't to join a group (any group) just for the name, but to have a genuine interest in the group and to build an actual meaningful relationship. If a fraternity or sorority do not interest you, then your life won't crumble for not joining them. There are plenty of other clubs and groups out there that can assist you with your networking and your academics.
  9. Apr 14, 2013 #8
    I'll mention this as well, that fraternities can be really good venues for developing strong leadership skills.

    The people that served as presidents of my fraternity were able to go one and get great jobs for themselves. Wasn't necessarily through fraternal connections, but no doubt showing you can manage a large group of unruly people, budgets, resources, and so on, is a great skill.

    Same goes for accountancy / finance positions in fraternities.
  10. Apr 14, 2013 #9

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    My experience is the opposite: my fraternity had a higher fraction of physics graduates in my class than any other living group. Looking at alumni records, overall, in the last decade, 32% of physics graduates were members of fraternities or sororities. Institute-wide, 40% of all graduates were members of fraternities or sororities.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
  11. Apr 14, 2013 #10
    Never joined a fraternity but it seems some of the opinions on fraternities are kinda narrow minded ,naive and short sighted.

    Not every fraternity is a bunch of alcoholics and even for the hard partying frat boys it doesnt mean that they wont be good networking connections. In regards to drinking, dont be naive, the reality is that some people are well connected enough that they just need to graduate college to go on to a high paying job and as it turns out these people also have the money to pay fraternity dues. Then there are fraternities that try to maintain a good academic reputation.

    The point is that you cant really paint them all with one stroke of a paint brush and even the drinkers might be good networking connections because they might have been born into a much more impressive social network than your own.

    Even Feynman was in a frat.
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