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Fraternities and Sororities

If you are an college student who is interested in joining a Greek letter organization (better known as fraternities or sororities) the first decision to make is the type of organization to join. If you are uncertain, the information below may be able to help. (The information in this article addresses common Greek letter organizations found on American college campuses. If you are interested in a non-campus organization or in a organization outside of the United States, you may still find some of the information below useful.) Reading a campus map
Social Fraternities and Sororities

Types Greek Letter Organizations

While all Greek letter organizations participate in social, philanthropic, and personal enrichment activities, these organizations vary based on their primary focus.

Social Fraternities and Sororities

Social fraternities and sororities are the most well-known type of Greek organization. Their primary purpose is to promote social connectedness between members. The members form a tight-knit communities who often share a living space (either in a house or a section of campus housing).

The majority of these groups are single-sex organizations (fraternities consisting of male members and sororities consisting of female members). In the United States, these groups are usually governed of the North-American Interfraternity Conference.

Service Fraternities and Sororities

The primary purposes of these service fraternities and sororities is to promote community service. Membership may be coeducational or single-sex.

Professional Fraternities and Sororities

The primary purpose of professional fraternities and sororities is to promote interest in a particular profession or field of study. Therefore membership is often restricted to students who share a specific educational or career goal.

Honor Societies

Honors societies often use Greek letters for identification. These societies are sometimes confused with professional organizations because both groups are concerned with academics. However, honor society membership is usually restricted to students with outstanding academic achievement and may consist of students with varying career and academic goals.

Historically African-American Fraternities and Sororities

The membership of historically African-American fraternities and sororities consists predominantly of African-American students. However, students of all ethnicities are welcome to join.

These Greek letter organizations arose during a time of rampant discrimination when African-American students were barred from joining many campus organizations. In the United States, these groups are governed by the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

Cultural Interest Fraternities and Sororities

There are fraternities and sororities whose purpose focuses on an interest a particular cultural issue. These groups unite through an interest in a religious belief, a particular ethnic group, sexual orientation, the concept of multiculturalism, or other shared interest.


There are many types of Greek letter organizations. If you are interested in participating in a Greek organization, research what your college offers. It may be helpful to meet members of different organizations to help you find the best fit for you.


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