Dormitory vs. Sorority House

The Pros And Cons Of Living In The Dorms VS. Living In A Sorority House

Living with your sisters is life changing.


After my freshman year of college, I was faced with the decision of living in the dorms for another year or living in my sorority house. I wasn't completely sure of what good or bad could come from the sorority house, but I was already familiar with the life of a dorm dweller. The idea of doing something a little less familiar was definitely a little more nervewracking, but I also knew it would be a great opportunity, so I officially decided on the sorority house. So far, I've only lived in it for a short amount of time, but since I moved in I've learned a lot about the living situation, so I'm hoping that by sharing my knowledge on the matter, I can help the rest of the sorority sisters out there decide on their living situation.

First are the pros and cons of living in a sorority house.

Pro: Living in a sorority is cheaper

In most cases, it costs less to live in the sorority while paying sorority member dues than to pay those dues and live somewhere else, so it's much more cost efficient.

Con: Living in can be crowded

You will be sharing a house with a large number of other girls, sometimes adding up to over 60. This can cause the house to feel rather crowded and can make certain everyday tasks more difficult to accomplish.

Pro: It's more social

It's a much more social atmosphere. If you ever feel alone, sad, or just want to talk, you can walk to the dayroom next door and your sisters will most often happily talk to and support you.

Con: It can be difficult to accomplish certain tasks

Referring back to the previous con, tasks such as laundry, showering, and even brushing your teeth can become more difficult. Once the school year starts, the washers and dryers start filling up and you have to try to find a decent time to do laundry when others aren't, there are only so many showers in the house, so you have to wait your turn to take a shower, and depending on the day and time, sometimes the bathroom sinks get quite crowded.

Pro: It's easier to attend events

It's much easier to attend events. Personally, when I lived in the dorms, I was much too lazy to walk up a hill for 15 minutes to attend a sisterhood, but when I began living in the house, I could just walk down the stairs.

Con: It can be loud at night

Because sororities are on the greek row, there are loud, drunk people often passing by the house at night. This happens mostly on weekends thankfully.

Pro: Food's not a problem

You don't have to worry about making your own food unless you want to. Sororities have personal chefs who make their meals, which often turn out being absolutely delicious. So instead of having pizza, a cup of noodle, or microwavable mac and cheese every night, I would actually eat a decent, healthy meal.

Con: Items may accidentally get lost

Multiple people live in close quarters, so others may accidentally borrow or steal your stuff thinking it's theirs, or your stuff may get buried in other people's belongings.

Pro: Dedicated study areas

Many sororities have areas dedicated to studying and school work. This can result in not only an encouragement to study, but also if you want to go to a quiet area with fewer distractions, you wouldn't even have to leave the house. This turns out being really nice in the middle of winter when you don't want to go outside because you feel that you will freeze.

Con: No pets

You can't have pets due to possible allergies, so if you want to have a pet anytime soon or already have a pet than this may not be the best option for you. Some sorority houses do have house pets though.

Pro: It may be closer to the center/main part of campus

You may be closer to campus/classes than some dorms and apartments. This may not be too big of a deal if you have a car unless you want to save gas money, but for those without a car, it makes their lives so much easier so they don't have to get up a half hour earlier than usual just to give themselves time to walk to class. It also can cause people to be willing to study in more efficient areas such as the library due to being closer.

Con: No boys

You can't have men/boys in the house. They may be able to be downstairs away from the day rooms for a short bit of time, but because multiple girls live in the house, there are multiple precautions when it comes to the opposite sex.

Pro: It's more homey

It's much homier than a dormitory. You walk out into the hallway in a sorority house and you will be welcomed with warm greetings. Also, not every room is the same, causing some variety and making it seem more like a normal house than just somewhere for college students to live.

Con: Rules

If you break any major rules, it will have a negative effect on the sorority as well as yourself. This applies to people who don't live in as well, but there are more rules for those who do live in, as well as some of them may be more enforced.

Pro: They are cleaner

Sorority houses are cleaned often, leading to them being cleaner than dorms. Dorms are still cleaned, but not as often as a sorority is.

Then, there are the pros and cons of dorms.

Con: Fire alarms

If the fire alarm goes off while you are on a higher up floor such as the 12th floor, you would have to walk down 12 floors and out of the building.

Pro: On campus

Dormitories are always built very close to campus, if not on campus in order for the students to have a more practical distance between where they live and where their classes are.

Con: You can easily lose items and never get them back

It can be harder to locate items you lose in dorms because if someone found it, they most likely don't know you and therefore wouldn't be able to give it back to you.

Pro: Grouping together

Most times they group people together with similar age and interests so you won't have many conflicts as roommates such as heat or messiness.

Cons: Don't have many ways for you to get to know your fellow floormates

Dorms don't often have ways to get people together to meet each other, you just have to go up to them eventually in the hallway or maybe meet them in class.

Pro: You get a choice in what gender you'd rather live with.

You can live in an all of one gender dorm or a co-ed dorm.

Con: Maintenance takes a while

Dorms tend to take longer to fix cosmetic (i.e. holes in the wall, chipped paint) problems.

Pro: Ideal dining hall location

They are often close to dining halls or something of that sort so you can easily pick up food on the way to or from classes.

Con: Dorm room location

Dorm rooms aren't determined by certain aspects, but by more of the luck of the draw.

Pro: Diverse Personalities

You get to experience more diverse personalities due to possibly living with different genders as well as many other aspects.

Con: Quiet hours

Dorms tend to be more strict about quiet hours. This could be considered a pro for those of you who prefer silence, but if you like being able to have friends over and not have to worry about how loud you're being it might be difficult.

Pro: Personal rooms

You can request rooms for yourself. Yes, it may cost more, but if you have a hard time sharing a small area with another person it does provide you with that option.

Con: Cleanliness

Dorms aren't known to be overly clean. It's not like they are uninhabitable or anything, but there are cleaner situations. Especially when it comes down to the bathrooms and shower rooms.

In the end, both dorms and sorority houses have a variety of pros and cons. One may appeal to you while it doesn't to someone else or vice versa. Personally, I have enjoyed living in a sorority house much more than a dorm, although I have plenty of good memories in both. I'm sure there are more pros and cons in each category, but for the time being, I hope this article is able to reach anybody who may be struggling with such a decision like I had.

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The ABCs Of Greek Life

Greek Life From A to Z

When you enter into Greek life, it's like having to learn a whole new language, but it's a language that everyone comes to love. So here's the Greek alphabet, from Alpha Chi to Zeta.

A is for Alum

The members of our chapter who have graduated. These members are a range of ages and can participate in all kinds of alumna events.

B is for Bid Day

The best day of the year when our chapters get to accept a new pledge class of members.

C is for Chapter

Our weekly meetings where we learn about sisterhood and philanthropy events, date parties, etc., as well as take care of any sort of chapter business.

D is for Date Parties

Some of the best nights of the year are getting dressed up with your friends and your dates and attending date parties.

E is for Executive Board

The people that make the chapter run smoothly. The chapter wouldn't function without your president, VP, finance, standards, etc.

F is for Fried Friday

The best day of the week at the house. When the chefs cook up chicken, mozzarella sticks, fried pickles, french fries, corn dogs, fried mac n cheese, fried corn, fried green tomatoes and whatever else your heart desires.

G is for Greek Week

One of the most competitive and most fun weeks of the year. Spent playing dodgeball, whiffle ball, doing dance-offs, and more!

H is for Hand Sign

No matter what sign it is, we love to throw what we know!

I is for Initiation

The day that we get to cross from new member to active member of our chapter.

J is for Just Here So I Don't Get Fined

As much as we love to hang out with our sisters, sometimes life gets in the way and we wish we had more free time. Sometimes we're only attending an event so that we don't get fined.

K is for Kick-Off

Of course, all college students love football but game day is something special when you're Greek. From getting ready with your sisters to eating at the house to tailgating with the fraternities, it's all a part of the game day experience when you're Greek.

L is for Letters

Our identity within the Greek community.

M is for Mom

Our house mom can never take the place of our real mom but she is great for lending an ear and helping solve any issues that come up within the sorority.

N is for Norts

Part of the "sorority girl uniform." We can't get enough of our Nike shorts

O is for Organized

With constantly running between classes, chapter meetings, and other events, you become extremely organized when you join a Greek organization.

P is for Philanthropy

One of the biggest reasons many people choose to go Greek. We love to spend our time, money and energy towards a cause that's close to our heart such as Ronald McDonald House, Make a Wish Foundation and CASA.

Q is for Queso

Okay, maybe a bit of a stretch but it's true! Ordering Fuzzy's to the sorority house or going out to eat at Moe's or Chuy's are not uncommon activities. We love chips and queso!

R is for Recruitment

The craziest week of the year where the chapter decides which PNM's would be the best fit for the chapter and new members run home to your chapter at the end of the week!

S is for Sisterhood

What a sorority is really all about. The friends you make in your sorority are some of the most interesting and genuine girls you'll meet!

T is for T-Shirt Tuesday

The one weeknight that tons of people go out. Whether you're at Harry's bar or Rounders, T-shirt Tuesday is sure to be a blast.

U is for Unique Experience

No two people have the same experience with Greek life. Whether you're the most involved person, just in it for the sisterhood, or you're fairly uninvolved, your experience will be different than everyone else's. You get out what you put in, as the saying goes.

V is for Vineyard Vines

One of many popular brands among sorority women and fraternity men alike.

W is for Wine Wednesday

Another fan favorite of the week is Wine Wednesday. Whether you're celebrating at Gallette's or from the comfort of your own dorm or apartment, Wine Wednesday is awesome.

X is for XL T-Shirts

Another part of the "sorority girl uniform". The bigger the T-shirt, the comfier and more confident you'll be. It's science.

Y is for Youth

Many philanthropies work with children, which is great because we love to spend time with the youth in and around Tuscaloosa!

Z is for Zero Sleep

When you're taking 14-18 credits, working, in a Greek organization and you're involved with several other organizations it's easy to see why we never get our full 8 hours of sleep. We're always going and we're fueled by coffee and a passion for whatever it is we're doing on and around campus.

Cover Image Credit: UA Panhellenic

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I Didn't Join A Panhellenic Sorority

It's okay if you don't join a panhellenic sorority. Sometimes a different organization can turn out to be the best thing.


Before going to college I was faced with a dilemma, should I rush? I wanted to rush just for the social aspect, I thought it would be my best shot at making a bunch of friends. However, deep down I knew that greek life really wasn't me. I didn't want to do something if I wasn't one hundred percent behind it. There was a part of me that did want to be in a sorority but the other part of me really didn't want to rush. Let me be clear, I don't think Greek life is bad, I just think it wasn't for me. I talked to my brother and sister-in-law about this because they both were in Greek life at the college I attend now; they told me that they didn't think I would like it either.

What my brother and sister-in-law told me that I might like was, a Christian sorority called Sigma Phi Lambda. When they described it to me it seemed like exactly what I was wanting. As soon as I got to college I sought them out; and I went to their recruitment nights. I loved it! It was exactly what I was looking for. I ended up joining. This sorority brought me an amazing group of friends! Most importantly, I have joined the perfect sorority for me! A few things I liked most about Sigma Phi Lambda was the people were so welcoming, it was more low key and laid back, I was still able to have a big and a "Pham", we still did lots of sorority things whilst also having activities that strengthened us on our walks with the Lord, and I gained so many sisters that I now have strong relationships with. Sigma Phi Lambda gave me so many friends and something to be involved in on campus. They gave me somewhere to belong and I am so glad I chose to join them.

Rushing may be exactly what you need when you go to college, but if it's not that is okay. Just join something that makes you happy. Join an organization that helps you grow and surrounds you with people that you want to be around. I promise when you get to college that there is an organization for just about everything, find the one that fits you. No matter what you choose I promise it's good. Just make sure you choose what is right for you.

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