“joining one looks like a perfectly rational decision”
The unfair fraternity stereotype is a football watching, beer chugging jock who is uninterested in much else. But they tend to do better than others after graduation.
The Fraternity Paradox: Lower GPA, Higher Incomes
Tragedies at college fraternities never seem to be out of the spotlight for very long.
Four men pleaded guilty in May in the beating death of a Baruch College freshman during a kind of racial-awakening ritual at an Asian fraternity. At Louisiana State University, a student died after a drinking game. A few weeks ago, a judge told 14 members of a now disbanded Penn State fraternity that they would not have to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter (the most serious charge) in the hazing death of a pledge, Timothy Piazza. Security cameras recorded the students’ cruelty and indifference to Piazza as he lay dying.
You might think that more and more parents are advising their sons to steer clear of fraternities. Instead, these associations seem to be more popular than ever. And no matter how many critics — liberal and conservative — condemn fraternity culture, joining one looks like a perfectly rational decision.
Let’s start with studies showing that fraternity members tend to earn more money after college than other graduates do, even if the record shows their grades aren’t as good. That’s quite a tradeoff: Slack off in class, party more — then still earn more money. Sign me up!
Yes, there is likely a selection factor at work. Students who want to join fraternities and whom fraternities want to recruit may start out with social and economic advantages. They could be naturally gregarious, confident, maybe better looking than average. They might not have to work part time or pinch pennies, as many other students do.
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