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Sorority Stereotypes and Commonly-Held Opinions
The biggest sororities have hundreds of chapters across the U.S. and abroad—the oldest have been around since the 1850s. There is a wide variety, culturally, from one sorority to another. Some are more popular in the northeast and others in the southern states; some sororities focus more on philanthropy or academics and others on social activities.
It’s hard to generalize about a sorority’s reputation nationwide; there are many differences from campus to campus. While some have strong national cultures across all chapters, there are bound to be differences from one university or college to another.
After being exposed to many sororities in my sophomore year in college, I arrived at these decisions and learned a bit through “osmosis.”
The following are among the largest national sororities that are members of the National Panhellenic Conference, an umbrella organization comprising 26 member groups. These commonly-held opinions give an idea of each sorority's culture, values, and image.
The tier has everything to do with how picky it can be about members. A “top” tier sorority can basically pick just who they want among pledges, while a “low” tier sorority takes the leftovers.
nice, sweet, classy but exclusionary, not partyers
“easy,” fun, supportive, active in Greek life, partyers
fun, easy-going, social, not academically ambitious, quirky, major partyers
supportive, active in campus activities, classy, focused on “girl power,” not partyers
Delta Delta Delta
service-oriented, aloof, snobbish, not partyers
Zeta Tau Alpha
Southern, exclusive, “hot” in a fake way, partyers
Kappa Kappa Gamma
rich, cute, popular, not partyers
Alpha Chi Omega
low-profile, down-to-earth, involved in service, not partyers
Pi Beta Phi
fake, social, pretty, not service-oriented
popular, diverse, social
“Chi O’s,” as members are sometimes called, like cultivating a “good girl” image. The national organization stresses “Christian ideals.” Chapters are generally considered to be well-organized.
Among the negative sentiments about Chi Omega members is that they can be a bit isolated (maybe even exclusionary) and limit themselves to their own philanthropic and social activities over cooperation with other Greek-letter organizations. Many have noted that while Chi O’s are sweet and classy, they are not necessarily known as the most physically attractive women (but not the ugliest, either; many have said they are “plain Janes”).
Some say the sorority is full of girls who were rejected at top-tier sororities but are still solidly mid-tier. The sorority touts its diversity, but some say the standards are so loose that there’s very little tying all Chi-O’s together in terms of personality, looks, campus activity, or academic performance.
The consensus, if there is one, is that Chi Omega is respected but not necessarily exalted among sororities.
Delta Zeta (DZ) girls are generally considered approachable and easy to talk to. This description may be related to two stereotypes about them:
- They're not generally the most beautiful women on campus
- They’re “easy”
Unfortunately, this reputation has led most other sororities on some campuses to consider them lower-tier. They have a reputation for accepting those who were rejected by top-tier sororities and that they are a backup option for many.
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However, DZ women are also known for their strong sisterhood and mutual support. Fraternity members consider DZ girls a lot of fun. DZ members take pride in their deep involvement in campus Greek life. Because of this, only the nastiest sorority girls will outwardly dislike a DZ girl. Think of them as the Betty Suarez, or even the Amanda Tanen, of sororities (for you Ugly Betty fans).
Alpha Phi girls are generally thought of as partiers who like to drink and have a good time. Their academic reputation is good, but they also have a reputation for avoiding tough majors in favor of less-demanding subjects that don’t conflict with their social lives. “Classy” and “involved” are not words typically used to describe Alpha Phi girls, but “fun” and “popular” are.
Alpha Phi is considered by many to be an upper mid-tier sorority. Because Alpha Phi girls are perceived to be confident, you will find some quirky and offbeat members among them and plenty who don’t care what other sororities think. They are considered laid-back and probably the least likely among major sororities to worry about their reputation.
Delta Gamma (DGs) is considered a mid-tier sorority almost everywhere across the country. The reputation of DG is that they are classy, supportive of each other, focused on “girl-power,” and heavily involved in campus activities. DGs tend to enjoy a level of respect among other sororities and fraternities.
The words you’ll often hear about DGs are “nice,” “social butterflies,” and “good girls.” Their “good girl” reputation means they typically don’t tolerate mean girl cattiness. Girls who pledge with DG are usually very happy when accepted into the fold.
Delta Delta Delta
Delta Delta Delta ("Tri-Delts") has a national reputation that was lampooned in a 1980s episode of Saturday Night Live ("Delta Delta Delta, can I helpya helpya helpya?"). Some consider them the quintessential sorority, in both a good and a bad way. Depending upon the campus, Tri-Delts are either regarded as lower-end top-tier, or higher-end mid-tier. The fact that many Tri-Delts consider themselves top-tier might explain some of the resentment they get from other sororities.
DDDs tend to be heavily invested in philanthropy and prefer to be labeled "classy" over "fun to party with," although they do not want to be considered boring. They take sisterhood seriously and try not to get caught up in drama, which might lead to the sentiment that they're aloof and snobbish.
Zeta Tau Alpha
Zeta Tau Alpha tends to be far more popular in the South than elsewhere in the country. The reputation of Zetas ranges depending on who you talk to, but “party girls” is a fairly common descriptor; the less charitable have compared Zetas to the cast of the Jersey Shore. Possibly because of this, other Greek organizations have highly polarized opinions about Zetas. Many other sororities say they are “hot in a fake way,” with heavy use of makeup and a bit of a princess complex.
Although Zetas are often committed to philanthropy and successful fundraisers, they have a reputation for only accepting white girls. This stereotype is, of course, hotly disputed by the Zetas themselves.
Kappa Kappa Gamma
Kappa Kappa Gamma (“Kappas”) are known for being rich girls. Their reputation varies from campus to campus, but they are universally considered top-tier. Maybe because of the money they bring with them, their houses tend to be one of the nicest on campus. However, many consider Kappas materialistic. Members have a reputation for hunting down other trust-fund kids to marry—something that they probably don't have much difficulty doing since they are also considered cute or pretty by most.
You also hear Kappas described as popular and sometimes (but not always) smart and classy. They have a reputation for behaving like daddy's little princess, but their top-tier reputation is intact across the country.
Alpha Chi Omega
Alpha Chi Omega (“AXO” or “A Chi O”) is a mid-tier sorority with a widely varying reputation. AXO girls are generally not considered terribly hot or popular, but they are respected for being classy and involved in campus life. Despite their relatively low profile, AXOs are considered down-to-earth and genuine. They don't tend to be as social as other sororities and can sometimes seem invisible compared to more visible sororities.
Pi Beta Phi
Pi Beta Phi girls (“Pi Phis”) are considered by most to be top-tier but also have a reputation as fake and superficial. They are not regarded as nice—but not outright nasty either. Many consider them obsessed with their looks and say they have a reputation for body image issues. However, this stereotype may be sour grapes on the part of other sororities with inferiority complexes.
With consistently high marks for physical attractiveness, sociability, and popularity, Pi Phis certainly earn the envy of other sororities and the interest of fraternities. What they tend to lack—in philanthropy— doesn’t seem to concern them too much.
Kappa Delta (“KD”) is considered an up-and-coming sorority, one that has risen to the top-tier in terms of reputation in recent decades. This reputation is by no means uniform, which may be due to the diversity of girls who pledge KD. Unlike some other top-tier sororities, Kappa Delta members do not have a reputation for being all clones or princesses, but they tend to be popular and social. Everyone knows at least one KD they really like and one KD they really hate.
One consistent observation is that KDs are obsessed with popularity. This may be because the sorority has recently fought its way to the top tier and has a reputation to maintain. This may not be a fair assessment, though, and might simply be the sentiment of those who have seen—and resent—KD’s rise in rankings.
Choosing a Sorority
- A general image is dangerously close to a stereotype. Take what you hear with a grain of salt and research your specific chapter. Ask past and current members, and even people who rushed but did not join for whatever reason, about their opinion of a sorority.
- Attend a recruitment orientation session.
- Participate in recruitment activities. These are where you’ll learn the mission and values of each sorority, and you’ll pick up whether what a sorority says is in line with what is really going on.
- If you pledge to a sorority and then think it isn’t for you, decide on joining before the initiation process. There is normally a 6-8 week new member period when you can assess whether you want to commit. If you decide that you are not ready before initiation, you can break your pledge from the organization. If you want to participate in recruitment again, you can during the next primary recruitment period.
What You Don't Know About Sororities
KKG on May 26, 2020:
Proud KKG, but all of these sororities are amazing with outstanding members. No need for competition and comparison.
Macy ZTA & Luella ZTA on March 28, 2020:
I am a proud ZTA, I do not wear heavy makeup, I do not act like a princess, this website is very wrong & this author needs to meet REAL ZTA and do more research, we are good people with empathy and love . To ALL of the sororitys we are great people and DONT let a random website tell u what u are not!!
DZLAM on March 07, 2020:
I’m a DZ and we just received the 2019 Chapter of the Year award from the University of Tennessee Panhellenic Council. A fellow DZ is our Panhellenic President now for 2020. Two DZs are on our school’s Junior Panhellenic Council. But according to this middle aged man, we all just sleep around and party all the time. :) Don’t believe everything you read people. And don’t let some guy on the internet define what you’re chapter is. I’m proud of my sorority. PNMs...Don’t take advice from a dude who’s never even been in a chapter. BECAUSE HE IS A MAN! PAN LOVE PEOPLE!! Sisterhood is not a competition!!
Sorority Sis on March 06, 2020:
You clearly are very close-minded and ignorant. Each chapter differs from each campus, and obviously you didn’t take that into consideration. In fact, you shouldn’t even be “tiering” sororities, because that shouldn’t matter. What should matter is that you choose the sorority that you best fit into and makes YOU happy. And if you are a girl reading this who’s interested in joining greek life, don’t listen to this shit. Not every sorority is going to have the same reputation on every campus, and trust me, reading this crap will just make you miserable during recruitment. Trust the process. I did and I am happier than ever in my sorority. Also remember that each sorority is special in their own way and just because you aren’t in the same chapter as your friend or someone else doesn’t mean you can’t be friends or be supportive of their chapter. That’s what we call panhellenic spirit, which this website clearly lacks!!!!
Jenna Lanston on February 02, 2020:
Pi Beta Phi girls ("Pi Phis”) are considered by most to be top-tier but also have a reputation as fake and superficial. They are not considered nice—but not outright nasty either. Many consider them to be obsessed with their looks and say they have a reputation for body image issues. They don’t’ take discuss the positive (writer’s few) compliments about popularity and attractiveness. Can you do anything about this? My mother and daughter are members of Pi Beta Phi. They and their friends are NOTHING like the disbarging comments. Based on the totally appraisal of KKG, It reeks of favoritism and lack of awareness. The Kappa chapter was shut down for drugs and hazing at Rollins and OSU, and dancing topless at SMU on bid day? These incidents don’t define them either.
TruthSpeaker1 on January 29, 2020:
This is stupid. Every chapter, every year is different. F off with this. Delete it; you look stupid.
jules on November 17, 2019:
This is literally the absolute dumbest article I've read about sororities since I went to college in 1987.
Any young woman considering joining a sorority- take my advice. DO NOT pay any attention to articles like this. Especially those that try to tell you what an organization of thousands of women across the entire US is like. Each campus is different. Your chapter sisters are the ones you need to mesh with. Not to mention some bitter girls who didn't get in just like to spread misinformation to make themselves feel better.
So of course I mean - ignore stupid trash like greekrank.com. such websites are not going to give you any information to work with when selecting (or dropping) a sorority.
And if you think you need to be in a sorority to "be somebody" you need therapy. Not a sorority bid.
St Jean Girl on July 20, 2019:
Boy, the knives seem to be out for the Kappas. My experience was that the Kappas, Thetas and Pi Phis were tops. AXO and DG not too far behind. I'm from the Midwest.
Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on December 11, 2018:
Having met women from different sororities over my life, I generally accept your assessment here. Yeah, KKG takes the cake. Those young ladies are awesome.
Fortunately, you correctly pointed out these are generalization because from campus to campus there are important differences and from region to region.
Nice on November 03, 2018:
AOIIs can have the reputation of being "srat" girls - sorority girls who hangout with a particular fraternity on campus.
T on August 25, 2018:
I think it depends on the school/region.
Delta Zeta is probably the hardest to get in on our campus. They are known as the exclusive ones. Very pretty, very smart, very snobbish.
Nice on July 17, 2018:
Sorry, I was pretty brutal with Gamma Phi Beta.
I should have said that they dress "provocatively". Also, they're extremely confident girls, and they really do not care what others think about them. They are leaders.
Nice on July 14, 2018:
What about AGD, AOII and Gamma Phi? It'd be interesting to hear people's perceptions of these sororities. I'll take a go at it.
Alpha Gamma Delta - low-to-mid tier (annoying pranksters; nice but rude when partying; service oriented) - They seem to have a good sisterhood, which seems to be fueled by their need to pull pranks on other frats or steal things from frat houses. Overall, they are nice girls. However, they do not want to be seen as boring, so they try hard to look like party girls. When they put on this show of being social, they can become unclassy and sloppy. They try to be the cool girls on campus.
Alpha Omicron Pi - mid tier (strong sisterhood; unique; not academically ambitious; fun; small town girls; down to earth) - Being a sorority with the most chapters around the United States and Canada than any other sorority, their reputations can vary. They tend to have a strong sisterhood, and they can really develop strong bonds with particular frats. This sorority seems more concerned about recruiting a wide range of girls, which can make chapters diverse and interesting, than recruiting the most "beautiful" girls. Nevertheless, recruiting in this fashion does attract beautiful girls. They're not as concerned with academics or philanthropy than they are about socializing/partying and sisterhood. They just want to have fun.
Gamma Phi Beta - mid tier (like to party; not classy; not service oriented) - If you want a party and socialize, then join this sorority. They know how to party, and they'll dress in the sluttiest attire ever when doing so. (They can definitely handle their liquor.) They can be competitive in Greek life events, which may make them appear to be top tier; however, their focus on socializing can affect their academics and philanthropy initiatives.
Angie on December 29, 2017:
Definitely ChiO and KKG are the top tier at most schools. They tend to be the prettier and wealthier girls. Pi Phi and Tri Delt are usually pretty strong up there as well. Those were the "big four" at my school.
Maya Williams on August 11, 2017:
I find that college is s great place to create lasting friendships, with or without a sorority. The only girls on our campus who were involved in sororities were out of state kids that needed this sense of inclusion to fit in. The rest of us made great friends with other girls in our dorms or in our major. I am happy to say I still have close friends from college 20 years later, sans a sorority.
Sheryl on April 12, 2017:
Alpha delta pi is missing
Lisa on February 22, 2017:
Pi Beta Phi is known as Pi Bitchy Phi and is the recognitized,as far and above,'The Top' sorority on my huge Greek-led campus. Yes, the Pi Phi National standard of being beautiful, rich, blonde, and'hot' is upheld. They can be really snobby to girls on the first day. I mean they must race to the computer to drop anyone who is a hayseed/dork (Kappa), fat/jockish (Theta), ugly/tacky(Tri Delt) and they were 'nice enough' to give me 3 days. I went DG, (slu++y/partners) reputation but undeserved, except for 30-40%.
KD is nothing except in the South, same with Zeta, which folded. Lot of truth inthe reputations, except there are a lot of really genuine, nice, friendly Pi Phis who are my friends. My roommate, whose dad owns half the state, went Pi Phi. They pick each other out before recruitment even begins. They're smart in that way.They use their elevated social status to close the court doors. Fake, no, if they don't like you, YOU know!! DG and Chi O are top of the middle tier with Phi Mu, and Kappa at the bottom. Kappa.doesnt have the rich rep, or cute, they kinda hate each other. Half of KKG's pledge class drops out before graduating.
AK Mishra on January 15, 2017:
Very Helpful. Thanks.
lucy29850 on January 01, 2017:
Sweeping generalizations all around. This is complete nonsense and pure garbage. Every chapter within a sorority is different. Rather than judging women before you even meet them, why not talk to them and see if it is right for you?
yes on November 21, 2016:
As a generalization of the whole country, this is pretty accurate!
Beann on September 28, 2016:
The description of my Fraternal organization does not fit my experience in the least.
West Coast on September 26, 2016:
I agree that you have to look at each campus to determine the "worth" of a sorority. This article was definitely slanted toward Southern and Eastern campuses since the "hottest " sororities in the west (with two exceptions) were not on the list. Time to get with the times and realize that the top houses are no longer in the south and east and beauty and wealth are not considered as much as grades, sports and philanthropy. The women of the west are changing what it means to be part of a strong group of women who want to help change the world not just change an outfit. Ole Miss, Bama, LSU who cares!
Bitsy on August 19, 2016:
Most of the girls who were debutantes with me were Pi Phis. I'm a Chi Omega from Ole Miss. The Pi Phis were from 4 different schools, and they were all the most beautiful group of girls, classy, richer than the 1 Kappa, and fun. OK, honestly, they were all beautiful blondes, great bodies, looked alike, and were a tad snobby, but not mean or fake. If they didn't like you,you knew it. My younger sister pledged Pi Phi at Kansas, and again, mostly blonde, debutantes, and extremely selective. Chi O id top tier there also. Kappa is mid- tier and Theta is very good. I'd say Chi O is more top tier and Pi Phi is universal top tier. Kappa is slipping after being kicked out of Rollins,
UConn, and Ohio State. They are known for hazing and weak sisterhood. Just saying what is the truth now. I've met s lot of heavy, mean, unattractive kappas and KDs. Article seems slanted.
Jason Menayan (author) from San Francisco on July 05, 2016:
The title says it all: these are stereotypes. An individual's personal experiences might corroborate one or more of these, or they might stand in direct contradiction of them. :)
PanhellenicPresident on July 03, 2016:
I can not believe that this is something that exists. I hope that whoever wrote this or may read this can see beyond stereotypes. To stereotype any organization and the members a part of these organizations is belittling of what these organization were founded on. I'd hope that by now people would be able to see how each organization is full of unique and diverse members who find shared values in their organization. NO ONE has the right to try to determine which is "better" than the other. Each group is made for members who share values and are willing to grow through their ritual. All these Panhellenic chapters have something to benefit their members and shouldn't be labeled by one person's opinion based off of numbers and observations.
Jason Menayan (author) from San Francisco on April 18, 2016:
Do you know what a "reputation" is?
Disappointed on April 01, 2016:
This article is extremely offensive. With national chapters having hundreds of thousands of members you can't possibly categorize all of them into a few nasty words.
Like my mom always said, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all.
Steph on October 04, 2015:
I am at a TX college and top tier is Kappa, Theta and Pi Phi. Chi-O and Tri Delt are mid. Kappa is rich and cute. Theta smart and cute. Pi Phi is cheer or dance types.
Elle on September 20, 2015:
What about Alpha Sigma Tau? It’s interesting because they seem to have almost no current rep at all
Proud ZTA on September 20, 2015:
This is the most ignorant post I've ever read. Each sorority's traits vary by campus. But leave it to a narrow minded individual like yourself to generalize thousands of women based on most likely your own observation of one school. I'm a Zeta Tau Alpha and I don't wear heavy make up nor do I have a "princess complex." We have the highest chapter GPA on our campus and we're beyond passionate about our philanthropy. This is why sorority stereotypes exist. So if you're reading this article, please do more research than this fool did. Go to whatever campus you, your daughter, etc. plan on rushing and MEET THE GIRLS. Learn their philanthropy, their academic achievements, their sisterhood. Look past the make up/money/chapter stereotype. No matter what sorority it is you'll find beautiful women inside and out that want to achieve great things.
Tami Rogers from Seattle, Washington on February 09, 2015:
Both of my daughters are DG's at the University of Washington. They are incredibly happy there and I was shocked frankly that they rushed to begin with. Neither one is the "sorority type". What I have learned is that we all have our pre-conceived notions about what sororities are and most of it is crap. They have found a place to do philanthropy, learn incredible study habits and make life-long friends. I also know they party--but that is not their focus (particularly after freshman year!) I have always been anti-sorority and wouldn't have been caught dead joining one myself--but I have changed my mind. Interesting Hub conversation @livelonger. Thanks!
Caitlin on January 12, 2015:
I'd like to see all the sororities here.
One thing I have noticed recently at a lot of campuses, is that kappa kappa gamma getting a reputation of being druggies,
That thing that has changed the most is the KappaKappa Gammas are known for hazing. Charters suspended at CSU, Depauw and being kicked off the University of Connecticut and a bus load urinating in public park at Washington state. I hear of strife in the sisterhood between the goody two shoes and wild partiers especially with cocaine.
Now their National name is Kappa Kappa Gramma. Well, they will have bail $.
You seem very accurate in your general portrayals of the different sororities. Generally everywhere I see pictures of Pi Phi's (top tier) and Tri Delts as having the most consistently beautiful members of the sororities.
If KD is a top-tier and that is the South only. Chi O is probably the most well-known sorority, especially in the South, and is a top-tier at many of those schools, not nationally.
AXOs are nice and friendly, which can make them somewhat classy.
What about Theta?
I would say pretty girls but many chunky and athletic. Generally rich, classy, snobby, and brunettes Who are equestrians. I've heard a lot about PKT, Pi Phi ,Kappa, Theta, because they all go after rich girls
Lissa Clason from Fayetteville, NC on October 17, 2014:
Delta Gamma became infamous a while back due to an angry, profanity-filled email by a member of the University of Maryland chapter. Talk about bad publicity, and self-induced to boot D: http://gawker.com/5994974/the-most-deranged-sorori...
Julie on June 20, 2014:
At my school, the universal fact is that
Pi Phi gets the 'Best' girls, (i.e. Beautiul, rich, smart and even many nice ones).
Then it's between Tri-Delt, Theta, and DG.
At the bottom tier is kappa kappa gamma, delta zeta, AZD, and kappa delta.
It's so weird to see girls get so upset over getting dropped by the good sororities and having to go to the lowest tier parties.
They actually drop out of recruitment than pledge a bottom tier sorority, like kappa Kappa Gamma or DZ.
Travis Wakeman on May 19, 2014:
Isn't a lot of this subject to what school you are at? Surely different schools will have different stereotypes for what each sorority is like based on the local population.
Lori on March 17, 2014:
I agree that at my school Pi Beta Phi is the Top of the Top Tier, but they are nice, friendly and beautiful.