A fraternity is often the center of social life for its members.

A fraternity is a group of men with common goals who make a commitment to one another for life. They share their friendship, connections and insight to make the road easier for their fraternity brothers. The goal of a fraternity, commonly referred to as a Greek organization, is to support each of its members while helping its community. Fraternities tend to draw a strong reaction, both from those who support them and those who believe they're better left in the past. Like many things, fraternities come with positive and negative effects.

Lively Social Life

A fraternity offers you more access to social opportunities, an especially attractive quality when you've just moved to a new place and have few friends. Fraternities often hold social events to allow their members to engage with each other and the community. You will likely have an opportunity to live in a fraternity house where you can deepen friendships with your Greek brothers.

Opportunity to Lead

All fraternities have leadership positions available. If you'd like to try to your wings at leading and organizing a group, a fraternity provides you the chance to do so. These leadership positions can go on your resume to let prospective employers know you're comfortable at the helm of an organization. Depending on your interests, you could serve on Greek leadership councils, plan charity events or organize volunteer efforts in the community.

Potential Connections

The size of your fraternity nationwide determines the scope of your potential connections. Because fraternity brothers are sworn to look out for each other, these connections can come in handy when it's time to apply to graduate school or land a job. Some people have a harder time meeting new people than others. A fraternity can help forge relationships with other men that can last throughout your lifetime. It can feel good to know that there is always somebody there for you.

Steep Expenses

One of the biggest potential drawbacks of being in a fraternity is the cost. If you join an elite fraternity at a prestigious school, your membership dues alone could cost thousands of dollars each semester. In addition to paying dues, you will need money for new member fees, Greek letter clothes, formal wear and activity costs. You can also be charged a fine if you miss mandatory meetings or ceremonies. If you're just getting by, adding these expense can prove burdensome.

Dramatic Interactions

Fraternity members spend a great deal of their time socializing, mixing with other groups, and many drink alcohol, which creates the perfect backdrop for fights and social drama. If you're a person with little patience for the drama that can naturally result from large groups of people partying, a fraternity may not work for you, especiallly if you find yourself with a group of people who don't share your goals and values. Selecting the right fraternity is critical.

Associated Stigma

Before pledging a fraternity, you need to face the fact that fraternity members are sometimes looked down upon, or thought of as party boys who had to pay membership dues to make friends. Not only do those outside the fraternity life have preconceived notions of your fraternity, but members of other Greek societies assume they know something about you based on the reputation of your fraternity. If you are susceptible to peer pressure and outside influences, you may want to think twice before joining a fraternity, unless the chapter is dry, committed to scholarship and known for upstanding character.