Is your affiliation with a Greek organization the best or the worst part of your law school application? It’s neither–it’s somewhere in between.
Law schools want well-rounded people. And there’s a lot of good that comes from being in a fraternity or sorority: friendship, networking, leadership, community service. But let’s face it, there are also some things that go on that law schools might not necessarily approve of. Some people leave Greek affiliation off of their law school applications, thinking it will make them appear frivolous or like a frequent partygoer. But, when mixed with a nice array of other activities, interests, and accomplishments, being a member of–and leader in–a Greek organization shows an ability to get along with others that makes for a great quality in a law school student and alumni.
When is membership in a fraternity or sorority a benefit to your application?
• When you’ve maintained a strong GPA while serving as a leader in your Greek organization;
• When you were a minority within the organization and brought cohesion to the group;
• When you helped improve the chapter somehow, either by raising the GPA as Scholarship Chair, or by starting a new philanthropic effort (that isn’t a party);
• When you became involved in the organization at the national level;
• When you have a story to tell that shows you were someone people came to for guidance, mentoring, or some other kind of help when they were in need, or that you brought together an organization at a time of in-fighting;
• When you were recognized for your achievements by the Greek System, the University you attended, your fellow brothers/sisters, or by the national organization.
When is membership in a fraternity or sorority a liability in your law school application?
• When it’s the only thing you’ve done and you never really distinguished yourself as a leader (simply helping with rush (even representing Panhellenic Council or the IFC) isn’t going to be considered a great position of leadership);
• When you were President (or Risk Management Chair) during a year when a scandal occurred that made national headlines and got your chapter kicked off campus (although, on the flip side, there’s probably a great learning experience you could share from this);
• When your dedication to your fraternity or sorority kept you from focusing on your grades;
• When you claim you were impoverished during school but you were somehow able to pay your dues;
• When you write your diversity statement about being with a diverse group of fraternity brothers (when you are not the one who brought diversity to the table).
If you have spent a great deal of your time in college involved in the Greek system, and you still have time left in your college career, try to round yourself out. You can even use your Greek involvements to do so: get involved in your philanthropy independently, or join the Panhellenic Judicial Board. However, it’s even better if you dedicate yourself to your studies, and even better if you also have other serious interests and pursuits you have dedicated yourself to during college.