Tips for Living in a Sorority House

Katie Markey McLaughlin
Group of college women in front of house

Living in a sorority house is a much different experience than living in a dormitory. Whether you're just starting to pack or have already moved in, these tips and tricks will help you make the most of the experience.

The Social Life

One of the top reasons to live in a sorority house is the social aspect, but transitioning to a communal living arrangement can be tough. These tips will make it easier.

  • Know the house rules. Living in a sorority house means abiding by the house rules, which are meant to make the house safe, healthy, and positive for everyone. Breaking those rules could result in eviction from the house.
  • Avoid gossip. The size of sorority houses varies by school, but some are quite large. (The Kappa Alpha Theta house at Oklahoma State University, for example, has a capacity for 86 residents.) With that many young women under one roof, a certain amount of drama is inevitable. To make sure your experience is a positive one, try to avoid gossip and negative confrontations as much as possible.
  • Clean up after yourself. While your sorority house will likely have a housekeeper, you should still do your part to keep the house clean. Tidy up your clutter, clean up any spills, and empty overflowing trash cans when you see them. Doing so will make the house more comfortable for everyone.
  • Get involved elsewhere. While your sorority sisters will probably be your closest friends, living with them means you might sometimes tire of their company. For that reason, it's important to get involved in activities and organizations outside your sorority, so that you can build and maintain friendships with a wider circle of people.

Handling Parties

Sorority houses are known for being great places for parties. Here's how to keep it safe and fun.

  • Know the alcohol policy. The alcohol policy will vary based on the particular house, sorority, and school, and some policies are more lenient than others. The Kappa Delta Sorority National Council, for example, recently adopted a policy stating that there should be no possession of any alcoholic beverage in any sorority houses. Familiarize yourself with your particular house's policy so you can properly abide by it.
  • Know your drinking limits. Everyone's tolerance for alcohol is different, so it's up to you to know when you've had enough. The risks of binge drinking for college girls are real, and getting sick from too much alcohol is the fastest way to ruin a party.
  • Take care of your sisters. One of the best parts of living in a sorority house is that everyone looks out for each other. If one of your sisters has too much to drink, be there for her in her time of need.
  • Secure your stuff. With so many people going in and out of the sorority house during a party, it's entirely possible for some items to go missing. Consider keeping anything valuable locked up.

Academic Considerations

Keep your grades on track while living in a sorority house with these tips.

  • Ask for privacy and quiet when you need it. Privacy and quiet study time can be tough to come by in a crowded sorority house. Nevertheless, if you need your sisters to give you space to study or to quiet down so you can sleep before a big exam, don't be afraid to ask for what you need in a friendly way.
  • Find an alternative study space. While many sorority houses have a designated study room, you should also have an alternative place to study, like the library, where you can go if it gets too hard to concentrate in the house.
  • Ask your sisters for academic support. Look for mentoring and tutoring opportunities within your sorority house. For example, if you're majoring in biology, find other science majors who can help you prepare for tests or offer study tips.

Lifestyle Considerations

  • Downsize before you move in. While a sorority house has more space than a traditional residence hall, your room might not be much larger than a dorm. Only bring along those items you truly need.
  • Label everything. With so many young women in one house, your clothes and personal care items are bound to get mixed up with someone else's. To ensure you get your stuff back, label everything with your name or initials.
  • Make friends with the House Mom. It never hurts to get to know the House Director, sometimes known as the 'House Mom.' Depending on your sorority, this person could be employed by your Greek organization or just a senior member of the organization. The duties vary by facility, but the House Director is usually charged with coordinating housekeeping duties, handling facility maintenance, and managing the day-to-day operations of the house. It's important to be on good terms with her, as she can help with a variety of social or personal challenges you might be facing.

What to Pack

Packing to move into a sorority house requires a few items you might not need in a dormitory or other college housing option. Don't forget to add these six essentials to your suitcase.

  • A pair of ear plugs comes in handy when you're trying to study or sleep amidst the commotion that's so common in a sorority house.
  • Similarly, a sleep mask can help you get some shut-eye if your sisters get up early or stay up late with the lights on.
  • A portable mirror is useful for those times when you need to get ready for class but the bathroom is unavailable.
  • Even if you have a camera on your cell phone, it can be nice to have a regular camera for documenting special experiences with high-quality photos.
  • Sororities and fraternities are known for having themed-parties, so bring along any costume clothing and accessories you have. You never know when they'll come in handy!
  • Some sorority houses have special meetings, dinners and other events that require dressing up, so don't forget to pack a few business casual outfits, party dresses and formals.

Make Your Experience Positive

Living in a sorority house can be a fun and unique experience for those looking for a social living arrangement. Many women find that some of their favorite memories are from their time living in a sorority house. Following these tips can help ensure your experience is a positive one.

Tips for Living in a Sorority House