Are fraternity and sorority members ‘set for life’?

July 26, 2018

A Gallup survey has found that, of more than 30,000 college graduates nationwide, those who were members of fraternities or sororities are more likely to be “thriving” personally and professionally. Overall, Gallup found, they are more engaged at work than college graduates who did not go Greek.

But the unanswered question in this poll remains, were these students picked by fraternities and sororities because they already were attractive, and socially and academically sophisticated, compared to their peers? Were they on track for success to begin with, and thus, more likely to be recruited both by Greek organizations and future employers? The poll did not go there.

Gallup partnered with the National Panhellenic Conference and the North-American Interfraternity Conference to conduct this research. It is a subset of the initial Gallup-Purdue Index survey released in April 2014, which studied the characteristics of the student experience that are most important to long-term outcomes for graduates. The report found that college graduates who had inspiring mentors and professors, who took part in long-term academic projects and extracurricular activities, and who had an internship or job where they applied what they learned are more likely to have higher well-being and work engagement later in life.

The 16% of college graduates who were members of Greek organizations are more likely to report being emotionally supported and having experiential and deep learning activities while in college, all of which likely have contributed to their higher work engagement and well-being.

Fraternity and sorority members’ engagement advantage indicates that they are more likely to be intellectually and emotionally connected to their organizations and enthusiastic about their work. Overall, 43% of fraternity and sorority members who are employed full-time for an employer are engaged in the workplace, compared with 38% of all other college graduates. Importantly, these differences are statistically significant after controlling for key demographic variables, including gender, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.

Additionally, fraternity and sorority members are more likely than all other college graduates to be thriving in each of the five elements of well-being: purpose, physical, social, financial, and community. Thus, fraternity and sorority members are more likely than their non-Greek counterparts to find fulfillment in daily work and interactions, to have strong social relationships and access to the resources people need, to feel financially secure, to be physically healthy, and to take part in a true community.

These fraternity and sorority members like what they do every day and get to learn or do something interesting on a daily basis, which is why the majority (59%) are thriving in this element of well-being. More fraternity and sorority members are thriving in the element of social well-being than all other college graduates. More than half (54%) of fraternity and sorority members have strong relationships with friends and family that lead them to be thriving in the area of social well-being, compared to less than half of all other college graduates (48%).

Similarly, fraternity and sorority members are more likely to be thriving in the element of financial well-being than all other college graduates (46% vs. 42%). Fraternity and sorority members are also more likely to be thriving in community well-being than all other college graduates (52% vs. 46%). Exposure to volunteer opportunities via the Greek network may contribute to the differences identified in community well-being for fraternity and sorority members and all other college graduates.

Although fraternity and sorority members are more likely to be thriving in the element of physical well-being than all other college graduates (37% vs. 34%), fewer fraternity and sorority members are thriving in physical well-being than in any other element.

Additionally, fewer fraternity and sorority members are thriving in none of the elements than are their non-fraternity and non-sorority peers (13% vs. 18%). Differences in well-being between fraternity and sorority members and all other college graduates are statistically significant when controlling for key demographic characteristics including gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status as measured by first generation education status

Research contact: datainquiry@gallup.com

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