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What do Katie Couric, Sheryl Crow, Condoleezza Rice, and Jennifer Garner have in common—other than their incredibly successful careers? Each pledged a sorority while she was in college.
Nationwide, more than 300,000 female undergraduate students are members of a sorority, according to an annual report by the National Panhellenic Conference, which includes 26 long-standing sororities.
[Learn what to consider before going Greek.]
The distribution of those sorority sisters varies widely across campuses. At Welch College in Tennessee, for example, 98 percent of female undergraduate students enrolled during fall 2011 were part of a sorority. That percentage dropped to just 0.3 percent at Shepherd University in West Virginia. Total undergraduate enrollment at Welch during that time was 290 students, compared with 4,240 at Shepherd.
On average, close to 9 percent of female undergraduate students across the country were in a sorority in fall 2011, according to sorority participation rates submitted by 945 ranked colleges and universities in a 2012 U.S. News survey. Among the 10 schools with the most female students in sororities, that average climbed to 74.5 percent.
[Discover which colleges have the most students in fraternities.]
But the sisters on those campuses only account for a small proportion of total sorority membership nationwide, as 5 of the 10 schools enrolled fewer than 1,000 students in fall 2011, and only one school, DePauw University in Indiana, had more than 2,000 undergrads.
Schools designated by U.S. News as Unranked were excluded from this list. U.S. News did not calculate a numerical ranking for Unranked programs, because the program did not meet certain criteria that U.S. News requires to be numerically ranked.
Below are the 10 colleges and universities with the highest percentage of female students in sororities in fall 2011:
|School name (state)||Percentage of female students in sororities (fall 2011)||Total undergraduate enrollment (fall 2011)||U.S. News rank and category|
|Welch College (TN)||98||290||42, Regional Colleges (South)|
|Lyon College (AR)||90||600||156, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Tougaloo College (MS)||86||945||RNP*, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Olivet College (MI)||79||1,128||62, Regional Colleges (Midwest)|
|Washington and Lee University (VA)||79||1,790||14, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|York College (NE)||70||510||68, Regional Colleges (Midwest)|
|Sewanee—University of the South (TN)||69||1,477||36, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|DePauw University (IN)||63||2,352||54, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Millsaps College (MS)||56||910||90, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Wofford College (SC)||55||1,536||63, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
*RNP denotes an institution that is ranked in the bottom one fourth of its rankings category. U.S. News calculates a rank for the school but has decided not to publish it.
Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find information about sorority participation, as well as complete rankings and much more.
U.S. News surveyed more than 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2012 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported a myriad of data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News's data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools. The sorority participation data above are correct as of Dec. 11, 2012.