Despite having a reputation for partying, Greek students have managed to keep their GPAs above the University undergraduate average.
The all-Greek average — which includes organizations in the Interfraternity Council, the Multicultural Greek Council, the National Panhellenic Council and the Panhellenic Council — was 3.32, while the total undergraduate GPA was 3.20.
Lauren Glaccum, Panhellenic Council president, said sororities’ structure places academics before everything else, and that is what keeps GPAs high.
“I know to be a member of certain sororities you have to have a certain grade point average, and you get placed on probation if you’re not on a certain grade point average,” the junior advertising major from Thomasville said. “And I think that really affects the overall Greek total GPA because that really gives us something to strive for as a whole.”
IFC fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi had the highest GPA last semester with an average of 3.42.
Jacob Perlow, AEPi’s president, said their secret was a sense of mentorship and brotherhood that carries over into the classroom — along with recommendations of what classes and teachers to take.
“I really think it’s because as a fraternity we’re closer, you have classes with a bunch of your fraternity brothers, and you get to work with people and learn from each other,” the senior chemistry major from Atlanta said. “The older guys can kind of mentor the younger guys on which classes to take, what teachers they like. We have a lot of science majors and business majors that can put you in the right direction, which is very helpful.”
Previous Red & Black reports also show some Greek houses have test files where members can study older members’ notes and returned tests, an advantage Greek students had over non-Greeks until the advent of websites like Koofers and Course Hero.
But according to the average GPA, Greeks still have an academic edge on the rest of campus. This might be a result of the academic structure of many new member education processes.
Perlow said the fraternity requires new members to spend two hours at the library every day during their new member education program.
“It’s actually good because it forces me to go to the library for two hours every day, and it’s helped me as well,” he said.
NPHC sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha took first place for women’s sororities with a GPA of 3.59.
Collette Toney, a junior social studies education and history major from Snellville and member of AKA, said the structure of Greek life encourages students to succeed for themselves and for the sake of their chapter.
“When we’re picking new members, we really do look at the GPA, it’s very important to us,” Toney said. “As Alpha Kappa Alpha and as Greeks in general, we know that we’re leaders on campus, we’re multitaskers – peers look up to us, younger children look up to us, and we know that outside all this stuff that we have to do in our events, we know we have the academics to back it up.”
As for the negative stereotypes Greeks face for being only concerned with parties, Toney said the same conclusions could easily be drawn for the University as a whole, but students defy them.
“I feel like UGA as a school, yeah we got ranked highest as a party school, but in the academic realm, we are actually a very, very great school,” she said. “We are still students, we still have fun, but in the UGA community, and especially in the Greek community, academics are just more important. So when it comes down to it, we’re ready to study. We have a great time, but we know we’re here for a degree.”
Toney and Perlow both said the high GPAs were not an attempt to actively defy stereotypes; rather, students choose to succeed for themselves, and for their chapters.
“When you’re surrounded by people who want to do well, you’re going to do well too,” Perlow said. “So I think that’s kind of the culture of the fraternity brothers.”