Graphs, grades and Greeks
Written by Caroline Payne and Daniel Ruhnke|
November 6, 2014
With approximately a third of the student body at the College of William and Mary involved in Greek life, we decided to take a look at some of the statistics surrounding this large and influential community on campus.
Greek life at the College has been steadily growing since 2005, although the ratio of Greek to non-Greek students has remained at about 30 percent. The entire student body is growing, and evidently, the Greek community is growing with it.
We can see from the treemaps below that fraternity and sorority chapters at the College have fluctuated noticeably since 2005. Some chapters have gone temporarily extinct while others have grown considerably in the past nine years. Moreover, the turnover for fraternities is much higher than it is for sororities. Only ten of the current 17 fraternities were around in 2005, whereas all but one of the sororities present on campus in 2005 are still operating.
The number of women in sororities has increased, and the amount of freshmen joining sororities has increased sharply, a trend perhaps fostered by the College’s zero-tolerance policy for hazing. However, our charts do not include the most recent recruitment. This year there were comparatively more sophomores and upperclassmen participating in recruitment than there were freshmen, possibly due to the cancellation of “Meet the Greeks” during freshman orientation.
The opposite trend is occurring with fraternities. While there has been an overall increase of men involved in Greek life, there has been a decline of freshmen joining fraternities.
Perhaps the most interesting finding, however, was made by comparing the average GPAs of Greek students to non-Greek students. First of all, the overall women’s GPA as well as the average sorority GPA is significantly higher than the average male GPA. Last semester the all women’s GPA was a full .16 points higher than the men’s GPA. Furthermore, in recent years there has been a trend towards members of the Greek community having higher GPAs than non-Greek students, though this certainly has not been the case in the past. This suggests a greater focus on scholarship within the Greek community.
When broken down by semester, there is a distinct fluctuation in GPAs across the board, with a trough during each fall and a peak during each spring. Nowhere is this more noticeable than in the average sorority GPA graph. Sorority women spend their fall in a whirlwind. It begins with recruitment, then clue week, then homecoming commitments, and does not conclude until initiation in November. Unfortunately, these self-imposed and partly optional commitments sometimes take precedence over school work. The same likely goes for fraternities, and freshmen still adjusting to college academics. Despite these fall slumps, however, sororities and fraternities are maintaining above average GPAs.
The Greek community, it would seem, knows how to both work and play hard.