At Penn, fraternities and sororities provide students myriad opportunities to participate in an already vibrant campus life. Our values-based organizations offer experiences to foster friendship, engage with the community, increase cultural and social competency, and support academic success.
Student culture has evolved over the years, and Fraternity and Sorority Life at Penn can be confusing, even for parents who are alumni members of fraternities or sororities. As you talk with your student about recruitment and intake, please take the time to learn more about the fraternity and sorority community and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, or OFSL.
Penn recognizes chapters in the Intercultural Greek Council, Interfraternity Council, and the Panhellenic Council. All of these chapters are supported and advised by OFSL. Importantly, members interact regularly with inter/national leaders and distinguished alumni. All recognized OFSL chapters are required to follow University health and wellness protocols and responsible event planning mandates.
We strongly encourage all undergraduate students and family members to refer to our How to Join OFSL website.
Joining a fraternity or sorority can be a different process depending on the organization or council; however, Penn has academic requirements which apply to all students. Due to the increased demand on their time and energy, first-year students are prohibited from joining a fraternity/sorority until their second semester, when they have a stronger sense of what it will take to be successful at Penn. All students must have a minimum of 4 completed course units at Penn and a GPA of 2.50 or higher to be eligible to join a fraternity/sorority. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors are welcome to join!
What about off-campus groups?
There are some “identified off-campus groups” which operate independently of the University, without advising or regulation. This can be confusing for students and families because they are not Recognized Student Organizations, although some utilize Greek letters or refer to themselves as a fraternity. They recruit members independently, host social events in private off-campus residences, and operate new member processes separately from Penn advisement on risk reduction practices. They often formed after a national fraternity or sorority closed its Penn chapter due to policy violations (sometimes including hazing and alcohol/substances). They do not receive University funding and no longer have the rights and privileges afforded to Recognized Student Organizations. They are not able to verify official academic standards for their members, do not follow the established rules, procedures, or risk management procedures required of recognized social fraternity and sororities, are not covered with general liability insurance, and are not affiliated with a national organization.
Some current identified off-campus groups may include male groups (Apes, Owls, Oz, Phi, Theos) and female groups (OAX, Tabard). They are not Recognized Student Organizations and are not members of the Penn Fraternity & Sorority Life community.
When talking with your student about joining a social fraternity/sorority, please discuss with them the risks associated with joining unrecognized off-campus groups.
Please visit the OFSL Joining Website for a list of recognized fraternities and sororities in our three councils: Intercultural Greek Council, Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council.