Around this time of year, high school graduates are preparing to attend college in the fall and exploring the question, “Do I want to join a sorority?”

Sororities might not be for everyone, but membership in a fraternal organization can actually be the key to long-term success.

In fact, sorority and fraternity members are more likely than all other college graduates to be thriving in five elements of well-being, according to a 2014 research study released from Gallup.

As a sorority woman myself, I see a correlation between the skills developed as a member and the ability to be successful in any endeavor. Sorority women develop characteristics that contribute to their success professionally and personally in college and beyond. Specifically, sorority women thrive in all elements of well-being — purpose, social, financial, community and physical — throughout their post-graduation years.

Today, members continue to be more prepared for post-grad life than their unaffiliated peers. This preparedness comes from the wide spectrum of leadership, involvement and personal development opportunities offered to members.

From attending regular meetings to holding officer positions to committee participation that mimics real-world experiences, the transition from college to the workplace is less intimidating and more exhilarating. Members also learn the importance of working together efficiently and effectively, which applies directly to the work environment.

Throughout the sorority experience, interacting with a circle of leaders and mentors is the norm. Not only do women absorb new, valuable skills, but membership instills a new pinnacle of significance on mentorships. In fact, this value of mentoring and intergenerational relationships is one of the reasons why 43 percent of college graduates are more likely to be engaged in the workplace, compared to the college graduates who were not members of a sorority, according to a recent Gallup poll.

In addition, 16 percent of graduates who participated in fraternal organizations had a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their dreams, which can instill a new level of eagerness about the future.

Most important, long-term success is not measured by employment and salary, but by the quantity of support you receive. Sororities are authentic communities that provide a network of support throughout life. Even as an alumna, I still receive an unwavering amount of support from the women I met through my sorority experience.

Looking back, the priceless values and talents my organization instilled in me have transformed my life and, honestly, I would not be the woman I am today without my sorority. So, before embarking on the collegiate chapter of life, consider this: joining a sorority.

Students who join these organizations build strong networks, make lifelong friends, develop resilient leadership and social skills — and change their life for the better.

Donna King of Lake Oswego is vice chairwoman of the National Panhellenic Conference.

Contract Publishing

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