We asked parents of rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors to think back to their student’s freshmen year and what they wish they had known. Their advice is below.
If your daughter wants to be in a sorority, I recommend that she try to meet as many sophomore sorority girls in the fall as she feels comfortable with. The more girls she knows, the better chance she has of having a positive recruitment experience.
Girls especially will be early on thinking recruitment. My Deac had a great experience with it all but it comes with its own set of anxiety even for the most confident of girls. The Wake group does a phenomenal job of educating parents on what to expect and how it all works. Get educated so you can support your daughter should she choose this type of involvement.
Know Greek life does exist and it is a big part of Wake. Have your child ask questions and make sure they want to pledge.
Know that Greek life can be expensive. Be sure your student knows what they are getting into. And if they pledge to still keep strong bonds with the students they meet before they pledged.
Be careful with alcohol and be careful with frat life! If anything fringes on hazing don’t be afraid to stand up to it. I know my son will disagree (he has LOVED his fraternity and his brothers therein), but I have not liked this aspect of Wake Forest.
Don’t get too freaked out over Greek Life. There is life outside of Greek Life.
As a parent, keep in mind that your child will find their own way and their own social place. If you were Greek and that is not their thing, don’t make them do it. There are great things about being Greek, but it’s not for everyone and you don’t have to be Greek to be someone special. This is THEIR experience, not YOUR experience.
Greek Life can feel like a big deal for incoming freshman girls and boys at Wake and may seem like the big source of social life. However, this is just a small part of your college life in the long run. Invest your valuable time and energy to the academics, friendships, service “Pro Humanitate” and yes, Greek life will also be important….but not THE most important part of college.
Sorority Rush was more brutal (for me) than I thought it would be. The hardest thing for me was trying to be objective and supportive during Rush. Be prepared for YOUR disappointment as well as hers if things don’t go as you/your daughter expect.
My daughter said that (most) girls got cut (somewhere, maybe several) on DAY 1. An advantage, however, to being dropped early allows the girl to re-evaluate other sororities that she might not have considered if XYZ sorority had invited the girl back to another round, only to be cut later. My daughter was glad that since one of her top choices cut her, they did so earlier, rather than later, so she could evaluate the others.
My disappointment arose when my daughter cut MY sorority. So tell your daughter to keep an open mind, and to keep plugging away at the parties because ALL the sororities (not just the so-called TOP) have great things to offer and can provide lasting friendships and a “social home,” which are the main goals. My daughter said she would rather be happy in a her own group than unhappy in my group, so keeping an open mind was the key to her success and happiness. Also, with pledge classes so big (@50) she can find friends within her group even if it wasn’t her first choice.
I was relieved that my son decided not to join a fraternity. He seems happy with his friends from his freshman hall. Get involved in as many outside activities as possible early on and then whittle them down to the ones that you’re passionate about.
My daughter’s closest friends at Wake Forest were the people she met through Alpha Phi Omega, the co-ed service fraternity.
[Editorial notes: there were some parents that said Greek life is the best and provided wonderful connection and involvement; others who said Greek life is the worst, exclusionary, to be avoided; and many shades of opinions in between. The comments have been minimally edited and grouped together for coherence. In come cases, comments were combined with others. When we had parents responding with the same advice, we repeated it for emphasis. In the event a parent offered advice that ran counter to what Wake Forest advises, it was not included. These comments represent the views of the parent commentators, not the views of the Office of Family Engagement (formerly Parent Programs office) or Wake Forest.]