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MIT student blogger Paul B. '11

Fraternities @ MIT by Paul B. '11

They're quite a Rush.

When I was a freshman, an upperclassman friend of mine described MIT like this: “You can tell what we care about by the way we introduce ourselves. Invariably, we give our name, then our class year, then our major, and finally, where we live. Four simple things – that’s what we care about most.”

As the freshmen arrive on campus, I find myself thinking more and more about my own freshman year – in particular, the choices I made that year, and how they continue to affect my life today. Without a doubt, the most important and most significant decision I made as a freshman was choosing to join a fraternity. It was, in retrospect, also one of the easiest.

MIT’s 27 fraternities stand alongside the dorms as a major living and social option for close to a thousand men. Like most other Greek men, I have a great deal of pride in not only my own fraternity, but also in the Greek system as a whole. We are, in many ways, not that different from other MIT students: we are leaders and scholars, athletic captains and student body presidents. But we are also brothers living in the same house, under the same roof, sharing the same struggles and the same triumphs – both of which can be found in abundance at MIT. We have rituals and traditions that go back as many as a hundred years or more, ranging from as simple as who sits at the head of the dinner table each night to as complex as our Initiation rites. Yet we also welcome new ideas and suggestions, which may themselves become tradition.

At MIT, fraternity recruitment – “Rush” – begins early. It begins today, in fact. Over the next week or so, each of MIT’s fraternity houses will open their doors to any and every interested freshman. Much like CPW is a supersaturated version of MIT, so too is Rush a supersaturated version of fraternity life. It is not a false version of Greek life: if anything, fraternity brothers will go out of their way to insure that interested freshmen know exactly what MIT’s fraternities are like.

Although there’s much more I want to say, I unfortunately have to run – to Rush! Despite its incompleteness, I hope t his entry gives you something more of an overview of what MIT fraternities are like – and rest assured I’ll be editing and updating this later tonight.

In the meantime, I would love to hear questions any of you, prospective students or current students alike, may have.

20 responses to “Fraternities @ MIT”

  1. Helen '15 says:

    First(real comment)!

    Question: I read that all fresh(wo)men have to live on campus for the first year.
    Sororities and fraternities are on campus, right?

    Please excuse my Aussie ignorance of the American college system. =D

  2. milena '11 says:

    what they mean by having to live on campus is living in one of the dorms.

  3. Ehsan says:

    @ everyone before me

    Learn how to count!

    @ Paul

    What are the pros and cons of living in a fraternity?

    @ Helen

    Hi, I’m also an international prospect for 2015 but because we are still prospects we do not have the right to put a class year beside our year until were certain that were MIT students. (I did the same thing before someone (cough chris cough) rained on my parade)

  4. Ivan says:

    @ Paul

    What are some of the fraternity rivalries (Skull vs Sigma Nu?) Are there these things at MIT.

    Are there competitions, be it athletics or science, between fraternities and/or sororities?

    Do students rushing have to do embarrassing and weird things to get into a fraternity or sorority at MIT?
    (Sorry if its a stupid question, all the knowledge I have about the Greek systems comes from movies and tv series)

  5. Aditya says:

    Offtopic again, but oh well.

    Does being a moderator of Wikipedia amount to big bonus points in the eyes of the admissions guys (keeping in mind the mind-numbing, copious amounts of time and dedication required to reach that position)? Or is it like a normal-ish thing?

  6. Oasis '11 says:

    @ Aditya –

    I think it’s a big accomplishment. :D My friend is a Wikipedia mod and he regularly spends 2-3 hrs on wikipedia per day…IMO, that’s more time than some school ECs! You definitely should mention it. :D

  7. Anonymous says:

    Lobster dinner, ftw!

  8. Paul says:

    @Aditya: If moderating Wikipedia is a cool thing that you love doing, why not talk about it in your application? I agree with Chris, basically, that it sounds like an interesting and relatively unique extracurricular(-esque) activity. I don’t think it’s a “normal” thing for applicants to be heavily involved with Wikipedia, so I imagine it would make you stand out somewhat…but as has been said many times, there is no formula and no guarantee about anything as far as MIT admissions go.

    @Ehsan: I’ll answer that question when I edit this entry in a day or so. smile

    @Ivan: Again, I’ll answer your question about rivalries when I edit the entry. As far as competitions go, the Interfraternity Council (the governing body of fraternities at MIT) does have awards that they give to different chapters on campus, so fraternities sometimes compete for those. There is also Greek Week, which features some friendly competitions between fraternities and sororities to determine who has the most Greek spirit.

  9. Paul, do you have any other connection with Greece, out of the system you use in Fratetnities???? “Like most other Greek men, I have a great deal of pride in not only my own fraternity, but also in the Greek system as a whole” what do you mean with this??

  10. Mollie says:

    Much like CPW is a supersaturated version of MIT, so too is Rush a supersaturated version of fraternity life.
    Uh-oh, but what happens if Rush crashes out of solution? smile

  11. Aditya says:

    Again, thanks for the replies!

  12. Ivan says:

    Thanks for responding Paul,

    I’ll wait for the rest of my questions to be answered after your done editing the entry. 0_0

  13. mom '13 says:

    Hi Paul, wanted to know a bit about fraternities…how many boys choose not to join one and what do they miss out on. How many get rejected by fraternities and what happens then?
    Are you considered a social outcast if you get rejected by fraternities? The ‘rush’is awful short timeframe to know what fraternity you want etc. Can they try again as a Sophomere.