How Sororities Work

Sorority Life

Sorority sisters spend time together at a sorority luncheon.
Sorority sisters spend time together at a sorority luncheon.
AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizak

So you've made it through pledging, you've been initiated and you're finally a sorority woman. Now what?

Many sororities have a mentoring program that pairs older sisters with new members, often called a "Big Sis/Little Sis Program." Within a sorority, there may be different "family trees." For example, the big sis of your big sis would be your grand big sis. Sorority families may have their own special traditions -- like wearing a particular design of necklace with Greek letters.

Sometimes the Big Sis/Little Sis process is something like rush -- a new sister is paired with a few older sisters, and they are all matched up by preference.

Costs of being a sorority member differ depending on the campus. If the sorority has a sorority house, it may be cheaper to live in the house than in a dorm with a meal plan. A new member's dues will cost more than an older sister's out-of-house dues. It is common for large sororities at campuses with a large Greek population to cost a few thousand dollars a year. Some will cost much less. A new member may be required to buy a sorority badge and pay extra administrative costs. Optional costs include buying sorority T-shirts, sorority jewelry, pictures and paying for activities like date nights.

Wearing a sorority's letters is considered an honor. Some sororities have rules about what a sister can and cannot do while wearing her letters. For example, she might not be allowed to drink alcohol while sporting her sorority necklace. If a sorority member would like to engage in behavior not becoming of the sorority, she cannot wear her letters.

Not every sorority has a classic mansion, despite what you might see in the movies. Some sororities actually don't have houses and meet instead somewhere on campus or another facility. Sororities with houses usually have a house mom, who coordinates the day-to-day affairs of the sorority from meals to maintenance and enforces house rules, like no alcohol.

Social life is a big part of being in a sorority. Sororities often have themed socials with fraternities where sorority members get to meet and mingle with fraternity members while dressed up in costume. Sororities also organize date nights and semi-formal and formal dances (think prom for college).