During the fall 2013 semester, the Student Life office reported the cumulative GPA of the National Panhellenic Council (NPC) sororities as being 3.11, a decrease from the reported GPA of 3.24 from spring 2013.
The NPC page on UCA’s website states that the average sorority member has a higher GPA than the average undergraduate female student. The reported average undergraduate female GPA for fall 2013 was 2.87, a decrease from the reported GPA of 2.91 for spring 2013.
The five NPC sororities present on campus are Alpha Sigma Alpha, Alpha Sigma Tau, Delta Zeta, Sigma Kappa and Sigma Sigma Sigma.
Fall 2013 was the first semester incoming freshmen have been allowed to go through the formal recruitment process and join a NPC sorority.
According to UCA’s Panhellenic recruitment rules, incoming freshmen must have at least a 2.5 high school GPA to participate in recruitment. NPC sororities are also not allowed to extend an invitation of membership to freshmen before the fourth full week of the fall semester.
Junior Jordan Frederking, UCA Panhellenic president and Alpha Sigma Tau member, said there were several factors that went into the decision to move recruitment from the spring to the fall.
“With fall recruitment, Panhellenic hoped that more freshmen women would be interested in going Greek and would actually go through the recruitment process,” Frederking said. “Fall recruitment is a standard for many universities nation-wide and was highly recommended by the National Panhellenic Council and National Interfraternity Council. This past fall recruitment was a transition year for us and we feel very confident with the results from the switch to fall recruitment.”
Senior Maria Kramer, 2013 Panhellenic delegate for Alpha Sigma Alpha, said there were both pros and cons to allowing incoming freshmen to “go Greek.”
“The pros are that this gives them the opportunity to be involved on campus and to form connections with other UCA students sooner,” Kramer said. “Freshmen are held accountable to someone other than themselves. They have an organization that checks their grades and social involvement. The cons are that students must learn how to balance studies and Greek activities. Recruitment week can be a little more stressful, too.”
Junior Vicki Jou, Sigma Sigma Sigma education director, explained why she thought there was a drop in sorority GPA.
“College is a huge change for many people,” Jou said. “Many girls coasted through high school and never learned the proper way to study or give themselves the discipline to just sit down and focus on homework. As a freshman, the first semester is the most important because you have to figure out how to study and how to moderate between school and socializing with friends.”
According to UCA’s website, all new members of NPC sororities are required to meet certain study hour requirements, though these requirements vary for each sorority.
“Panhellenic sororities are instilled to uphold high scholastic standards and are expected to do the best that they can academically while at UCA,” Frederking said. “Panhellenic is currently working toward having a workshop for new members in the fall immediately after joining to help facilitate our new member classes in managing school and sorority life. The university also has a minimum GPA requirement to join as well as the chapters, which is always something chapters are staying on top of.”
Sophomore Heather Moix, Sigma Kappa scholarship chair, said her sorority is implementing new programs this semester to help their members achieve better grades.
“We are starting a new program where girls who are struggling in the class get matched up with girls who have done good [sic]in that class so they can help the girl struggling,” she said. “Also, we have a study hall for the new members and the girls on academic probation each week to make sure they are getting everything in their classes and see if they need any one-on-one help from me or any other members.”
Moix said Sigma Kappa limits the social events its members can attend if the girls in question are on academic probation.
“Freshmen women that are interested in joining a Panhellenic sorority should always keep in mind that we are at UCA to get an education first and foremost,” Frederking said. “Your chapter is there to help you and support you in your scholastic endeavors if you will allow them. Utilize your resources within your chapter, but also around the UCA campus.”
The reported university GPA for UCA during the fall 2013 semester was 2.74. The cumulative GPA for that semester. was reported to be 2.78.