14 Feb 2024
by Gary Pike, Dawn Wiese

The Fraternity/Sorority Experience Revisited - JCAPS Vol. 6 Issue 1

Gary Pike and Dawn Wiese describe their quantitative research showing the connections between fraternity or sorority membership and student engagement and campus learning outcomes, using NSSE data.

The Fraternity/Sorority Experience Revisited: The Relationships between Fraternity/Sorority Membership and Student Engagement, Learning Outcomes, Grades, and Satisfaction with College

Fraternities and sororities are an important part of American higher education. However, some scholars question the value of fraternities and sororities. Recent research on the educational outcomes of fraternity/sorority membership is limited, with more research focused on health and safety issues. The present research addresses the gap in the literature by examining the direct and indirect relationships among fraternity/sorority membership, student engagement, and college outcomes using structural equation modeling and data from the 2017 administration of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). Results revealed fraternity/sorority membership had significant, positive direct relationships with student engagement and strong positive indirect relationships with self-reports of learning and acting through student engagement. Moreover, despite being less diverse than students in general, fraternity/ sorority members reported higher levels of interaction with people different from themselves than did other students. In addition, the largest positive effects were generally found for first-year students, arguing against deferring recruitment until the second semester or second year. Membership in a fraternity or sorority was negatively related to self-reported grades, particularly for males and seniors.