Greek Life Fosters Academic Success
Westminster’s sorority and fraternity GPAs outscore non-Greek-affiliated organizations for Fall 2016 semester.
For decades, Westminster’s active Greek community has helped thousands of students ease their way into campus life and find their voices as leaders and world-changers, both on campus and post-graduation. In addition to offering leadership development, service and philanthropy, networking and social opportunities, Westminster sororities and fraternities have garnered a solid reputation for academic excellence, thanks largely to a strong network of support at both the chapter and national levels. Recently, the College announced that the Greek GPA for the Fall 2016 semester has, once again, outscored all other non-Greek-affiliated organizations.
“At the core of any Greek organization, its members are students first and are encouraged and supported by their national headquarters, advisors and the College to achieve academic excellence,” says Nicole Elliott, assistant director of campus life. “I believe the quality of the Greek experience is high because of the value placed on academic excellence by the chapter members. This is shown through the GPAs they earned this past semester.”
Westminster uses an assessment tool, through Residential and Greek Life, called the Standards of Greek Excellence. Under the section of Academic Achievement, chapters are asked for their cumulative GPA to be at least a 2.5 and that the new member class achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.0. Each chapter also, independently, has a standard GPA that every member must uphold to remain active in the chapter, as well as a chapter GPA they must meet for their respective national headquarters.
For Fall 2016, the Greek community once again exceeded all academic requirements, with the all-sorority GPA coming in at 3.503 and all-fraternity GPA at 3.142. In comparison, the all-women’s GPA for non-Greek-affiliated organizations was 3.371, with the all-men’s at 2.994. Phi Delta Theta boasted the top-scoring fraternity GPA with 3.372, which includes active members and new members. For sororities, Kappa Alpha Theta scored 3.572.
“Kappa Alpha Theta supports academics in many ways,” says junior Mallory Greaves, Kappa Alpha Theta member and scholarship director. “We have a mentoring program for all of our members. When they first become new members, they are paired with an older active member who has their same major. This helps the new member have someone who’s been in their steps before help them pick classes, study, etc.”
Theta also houses a tutoring program where students can find extra help with classes. And during midterms and finals weeks, they host study sessions called Theta Think Tanks.
“This is a fun way to get studying done surrounded by your sisters and snacks,” Greaves adds.
Fraternities also rely on a tutoring system to encourage higher academic performance.
“Basically, we track who has taken which classes and excelled,” says Trevor Neal, a member of Beta Theta Pi and new member educator and philanthropy chair. “Those guys are then the tutors when someone else takes the class.”
Although their approaches vary, each sorority and fraternity remains focused on academic success.
“Most chapters host weekly study halls,” Elliott says. “They encourage struggling members to seek out help from professors or the Westminster tutors. Other chapters have libraries with used textbooks, or they have an internal tutoring system. … Every chapter has a system that works for them. What matters to me is all chapters are doing something to work toward bettering their academic success each semester.”
At Beta Theta Pi, that system is about maintaining high accountability through goals they set at the beginning of each semester. One of those goals, Neal says, is to always outperform the all-men’s average, as well as every other fraternity.
“This competition among fraternities and sororities is one of the reasons I believe the academics thrive inside the Greek community,” Neal says. “The other, and more important, is the Westminster Greek community provides a sense of purpose and belonging, which fosters academic success. We value the school’s success because it has given us the opportunity to join some wonderful national organizations.”
To learn more about Westminster College Greek Life, visit westminster-mo.edu/studentlife/greek-life.