The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College and The Short List: Grad School to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.
The first modern U.S. Greek academic society is usually traced back to the Phi Beta Kappa Society, founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary.
Flash forward more than 200 years to the 2011-2012 academic year, and more than 5,400 fraternity chapters exist on roughly 800 campuses in the U.S., Canada and beyond, according to the North-American Interfraternity Conference.
[Consider these points before plunging into Greek life.]
On average, 8.4 percent of the male, degree-seeking undergraduate students enrolled in fall 2012 were members of a fraternity, according to fraternity participation rate data reported by 895 ranked colleges and universities to U.S. News in a 2013 survey.
Average fraternity membership was significantly higher at the top 10 schools for male Greek life participation – about 63 percent.
Welch College topped the list, with 84 percent of its male undergraduates participating in Greek life. Washington and Lee University came in next, with 81 percent of its male students joining fraternities.
Dartmouth College, part of the inspiration for the film "Animal House," just missed the top 10 list this year. About 48 percent of undergraduate males at Dartmouth belong to a fraternity.
[Discover schools with the highest rates of women in sororities.]
Below is a list of the 10 schools with the highest percentages of male, degree-seeking undergraduate students in fraternities in fall 2012. While fraternities are predominantly male, there are a relatively few coed fraternities.
|School name (state)||Percentage of male undergraduates in a fraternity (fall 2012)||Total undergraduate enrollment (fall 2012)||U.S. News rank and category|
|Welch College (TN)||84||315||53, Regional Colleges (South)|
|Washington and Lee University (VA)||81||1,838||14, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|DePauw University (IN)||76||2,336||54, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Sewanee—University of the South (TN)||67||1,478||38, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Ohio Valley University (WV)||57||436||27, Regional Colleges (South)|
|Millsaps College (MS)||56||849||82, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Transylvania University (KY)||55||1,074||76, National Liberal Arts College|
|Albion College (MI)||51||1,382||100, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Wabash College (IN)||51||906||57, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Whitman College (WA)||51||1,539||41, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
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.
Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find schools with high fraternity membership, complete rankings and much more. School officials can access historical data and rankings, including of peer institutions, via U.S. News Academic Insights.
U.S. News surveyed nearly 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2013 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 fraternity data above are correct as of Dec. 31, 2013.