Best Colleges Without Greek Life

December 4, 2020

Share on Social

About 20 million students enroll in college each year, but only about 10% seek out membership in social sororities and fraternities. There are many colleges without Greek life. Students at these schools can still enjoy active social lives by participating in school clubs and other student activities.

The best colleges without Greek life offer the social connections students seek through extracurricular clubs, intramural sports, and professional organizations. Many of these schools feature small student bodies, including some with religious communities woven into campus culture. Colleges seek to help students make new friends and create lasting memories.

The best colleges without Greek life offer various student activities, sports, clubs, and organizations. Our ranking considered the variety of student activities available to engage students in their campus communities. Our methodology also considered a school's graduation rate and student enrollment.

Top Colleges Without Greek Life

University of Notre Dame View School Profile South Bend, Indiana

Founded in 1842, the University of Notre Dame continues to blaze new trails in research and advancement. This Catholic university offers more than 70 undergraduate majors and professional programs in areas like law and architecture. Thanks to a 10-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, students enjoy ample interactions with their instructors.

About 80% of undergraduate students live on campus just outside South Bend, Indiana. The 33 on-campus residence halls serve as the center of campus life, and each provides a welcoming atmosphere for students.

With more than 500 student clubs and organizations, there's a group for everyone. Clubs include the Board Game Club, Campus Fellowship of the Holy Spirit, and the Not-So-Royal Shakespeare Company. Honor societies recognize academic achievement, and service organizations provide opportunities to help others.

William Marsh Rice University View School Profile Houston, Texas

Trustees at Rice prohibited fraternities and sororities in 1922. Instead, the school's residential colleges offer students social activities similar to Greek organizations without needing to rush or pay additional dues.

Rice's 11 residential colleges feature their own dining halls, social rooms, and dorms. Rice randomly assigns incoming students to a residential college, and students retain that association throughout their time at the school.

More than 300 clubs provide additional social, service, and professional experience opportunities. OwlNest brings together campus calendars and club announcements with a comprehensive list of student organizations. Intramural sports opportunities include games as diverse as badminton and dodgeball. Teams or individuals may sign up for intramural sports.

This private research university offers more than 50 undergraduate majors, and students enjoy small classes with a 6-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Located in Houston, Texas, the campus also provides easy access to the city's recreational opportunities.

Boston College View School Profile Boston, Massachusetts

Founded in 1863, Boston College originally focused on meeting Irish immigrants' educational needs. Today, the research university offers more than 50 majors across eight schools. BC serves approximately 9,300 students.

Learners enjoy access to more than 300 campus clubs. The student involvement fair helps learners find organizations that interest them. Additionally, the college honors student leaders with an annual awards program — Ever to Excel. Seniors enjoy a week steeped in tradition before graduation, including the Commencement Ball and Alumni Toast.

Crowds cheer on the school's 31 Division I athletic teams. Students can also have fun and stay active by joining one of more than 40 intramural sports leagues. The recreation center also offers outdoor adventure programs.

Georgetown University View School Profile Washington, D.C.

Located in the heart of Washington, D.C., Georgetown welcomed its first class in 1792. Today, the Catholic university serves more than 12,000 students through nine schools.

Georgetown developed Living Learning Communities for first-year students. These residential communities focus on academic interests, service learning, and interfaith activities. The Explore D.C. Community, for example, offers programs that introduce new students to the city.

Students enjoy access to more than 350 clubs and organizations, and the Center for Student Engagement helps students find clubs or start their own. Learners can take part in a cappella groups, volunteer to walk Georgetown's mascot (Jack the Bulldog), or join dozens of sports clubs.

While the university does not sanction or provide resources for any Greek social organizations, about 10% of students belong to unsanctioned fraternities and sororities, according to the student government.

Bowdoin College View School Profile Brunswick, Maine

This private college — nestled in the heart of Brunswick, Maine — serves about 2,000 students each year, focusing on liberal arts and research studies. Bowdoin boasts a 9-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, with 71% of classes enrolling 20 or fewer students.

First-year and second-year students must live on campus. Nine College Houses sponsor study breaks, events, and meals. Bowdoin pairs first-year students with older "buddies" at their College House. Activities include a winter book club, dinner with strangers, and a panel discussion on rural Maine education.

More than 100 student organizations offer engagement opportunities. Clubs focus on topics like art, politics, community service, and entrepreneurship. The Innovation + Entrepreneurship program plans to offer an incubator in 2021 to promote "Capitalism for the Common Good," with opportunities to connect with alumni, professors, and potential business investors.

Loyola University Maryland View School Profile Baltimore, Maryland

Founded in 1852, Loyola University Maryland is committed to the ideals of academic excellence and the whole person's education. Located in the heart of Baltimore, this Catholic university infuses campus life and academic requirements with service to others. The Center for Community Service and Justice connects students with programs where they can give back.

Each year, about 1,000 new students join the Loyola community. The university maintains a 12-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and offers undergraduate degrees in more than 35 areas.

Students can join more than 200 on-campus student organizations. These options include dance clubs, professional clubs, and a paintball club. Several clubs have taken advantage of remote engagement, including a baking challenge from the Baking Club and a 30-day Lego challenge.

Fordham University View School Profile New York, New York

Students at this Jesuit Catholic university in New York give more than one million hours of service to the community each year. Fordham's Center for Community Engaged Learning connects students to community groups, schools, and nonprofit agencies serving the surrounding community residents.

The university operates an 85-acre campus in Rose Hill in the Bronx and a Lincoln Center campus in Manhattan, serving more than 16,000 students each year. Fordham provides on-campus housing at both locations, with students forming hall councils to offer programs and activities.

Fordham houses more than 160 student clubs. These organizations help connect students with similar interests, allowing them to build new skills. Options include the mock trial club, religious groups, and performance clubs.

The intramural sports program offers organized leagues for volleyball, basketball, soccer, and flag football. Additional club sports provide athletic opportunities in rugby and sailing.

Brigham Young University View School Profile Provo, Utah

Nestled at the base of the Wasatch Mountains in Provo, Utah, BYU serves about 33,000 students each year. This private university is affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many students complete mission work.

Single students live on campus or in apartments where landlords agree to the school's honor code. The honor code provides the foundation for academic instruction, campus activities, and student engagement.

Learners can get involved in a variety of student clubs and organizations. The more than 180 options include special interest clubs and academic organizations.

The university also encourages students to support its Division I varsity sports teams, with student tickets available. Students can also participate in intramural sports and sports clubs. BYU Outdoors Unlimited helps students venture into the Utah valley with backpacking and ski trips. Students can also check out the gear they need for their adventures.

Oberlin College View School Profile Oberlin, Ohio

Located in northeast Ohio, this private liberal arts college offers more than 40 majors and a music conservatory. Founded in 1833, Oberlin celebrates a history of progressive action. The college also served as a stop along the Underground Railroad.

Oberlin strives to develop an interconnected campus community. Students can choose from various living accommodations, such as themed residence halls and communal cooking facilities. A first-year residential experience helps acclimate new students to the college.

Students can choose from more than 175 campus organizations. Some focus on service and political action, while others provide performance or creative opportunities. Intramurals and sports offer additional options. All students can easily start new clubs.

Middlebury College View School Profile Middlebury, Connecticut

Founded in 1800, this private liberal arts college — based in western Vermont — offers 40 academic programs. Middlebury's language programs, offered during summers, feature in-depth instruction in 10 foreign languages. The college's Bread Loaf Writers' Conference was established in 1926 and attracts authors, editors, and faculty each year.

Middlebury boasts more than 60 residence halls. First-year students meet peers from across campus in their residential communities. Older students can choose from a variety of residential communities.

More than 200 student clubs offer social, academic, and service opportunities. The Student Activities Office helps connect students with organizations of interest, such as sports and intramural teams, cooking clubs, and professional organizations.

Middlebury also hosts cultural events throughout the year. The college's winter carnival ranks among the oldest in the nation.

Vassar College View School Profile Poughkeepsie, New York

Vassar College offers more than 50 programs from its 1,000-acre campus in Poughkeepsie, New York. Founded in 1861, the college served only women until 1969.

Most of the college's roughly 2,500 students live on campus. House officers, selected by the residents, provide leadership for each residential community. First-year students take part in student fellow groups.

Students can choose from an array of student clubs. More than 170 groups provide special interest activities. Intramural sports offer ongoing competition, with badminton and cornhole among the many options.

Vassar encourages lifelong fitness with a variety of classes each semester. Students can also hike, run, and bike at the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve. This 415-acre area includes community gardens and houses several conservation organizations.

Williams College View School Profile Wiliamstown, Massachusetts

Williams College — a private liberal arts college in Williamstown, Massachusetts — balances rigorous academics with student activities, campus events, and athletics.

About 2,000 students call the 450-acre campus their home during the academic year. Williams maintains many traditions developed over more than 225 years. On Mountain Day, for example, the school cancels classes, and students enjoy a picnic and outdoor activities.

More than 150 student organizations and clubs give students the chance to get involved in campus life. The Office of Student Life hosts the annual Purple Key Fair to introduce students to registered organizations.

Amherst College View School Profile Amherst, Massachusetts

About 1,800 students attend Amherst, which operates as a private liberal arts college. The school's participation in the local Five College Consortium expands student academic, social, and service opportunities.

The consortium includes five schools located within 10 miles of each other in Massachusetts: Amherst, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Students at one school may participate in clubs and organizations at any of the schools.

Amherst itself houses about 100 student organizations, and more than 900 are available through the consortium. Groups include student publications, sports clubs, social justice organizations, and religious organizations.

Residence halls house 97% of Amherst students, with themed living communities available. These houses offer outreach programs to the broader community. Students can live in several different themed halls during their college experience.

Carleton College View School Profile Northfield, Minnesota

Carleton offers a small community of about 2,000 students pursuing degrees in more than 70 programs. The college provides engaged faculty and small classes, with Carleton reporting a 9-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Students can engage in campus life through the residential program and a robust slate of student organizations. Carleton offers special interest houses like the Culinary Interest House and the Science Fiction House. Carleton reports that 96% of all students live on its campus in Northfield, Minnesota.

With more than 200 clubs and organizations, students can find something to match their interests. For example, the quiz team sponsors a campus tournament each fall. Additionally, the Carleton Folkdancers welcome everyone to take part in international folk dance.

About 60% of all students take part in athletic teams or clubs. Carleton has 20 varsity sports teams complemented by 13 intramural leagues and 25 club sports, including a popular Ultimate Frisbee program.

Wellesley College View School Profile Wellesley, Massachusetts

Wellesley operates as a women's liberal arts college. It serves about 2,300 students, and the college offers 70 different academic programs. Wellesley's location near Boston has enabled it to foster collaborative programs with Babson College and Olin College of Engineering.

Student involvement remains a core value of the school. Students can take leadership roles in campus committees, service-learning programs in the Boston area, and student activities. The slate of campus groups grows every year, with more than 180 clubs and organizations available.

Students can choose from clubs related to artistic performance, cultural activities, and social awareness. Honor societies recognize academic achievement, and special interest groups provide a place for everyone.

Wellesley features 16 residence halls, each with a unique style. First-year students receive housing assignments. In their remaining years, students select their dorms at housing night. Some housing units offer special programs, such as language immersion.

Does a Greek Scene Shape Campus Life?

Learners shape campus life by getting involved and engaging in their campus community. Participating in homecoming celebrations, organizing a food pantry, or writing for the campus newspaper all enhance students' academic and social experiences.

Greek organizations can offer students a sense of belonging and help them connect with other students on campus. However, a robust selection of student clubs, intramural sports, and service organizations can offer similar opportunities.

The best schools without Greek life give students the opportunity to get involved through service organizations, professional organizations, and special interest clubs. They also plan numerous campus events throughout the year, including concerts and special lectures.

What Are the Pros of Greek Life?

Greek social organizations can provide many opportunities for college students. Fraternities and sororities offer a ready-made community of friends. Additionally, social activities and service opportunities can help learners break out of their shells.

At some schools, being a member of a Greek organization offers the chance to live in fraternity or sorority housing. Students can develop deeper bonds with housemates and benefit from the mentorship of older students.

Most Greek organizations offer national networks of alumni. These connections can help graduates learn about career opportunities and forge relationships with hiring managers or interviewers.

What Are the Cons of Greek Life?

Joining a fraternity or sorority can add another cost to your college budget. Because of dues and the cost of taking part in social events, members may spend thousands of dollars each year to be part of Greek life.

Greek organizations also require a lot of time. Some students may not be able to balance academic schedules with their fraternity or sorority commitments.

And while many Greek organizations and schools have set strict rules for alcohol use and hazing, these behaviors persist. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, schools with prominent Greek systems or sports programs report higher binge drinking rates.

How Can You Meet Other Students Without Being in a Fraternity or Sorority?

Students attending colleges with no Greek life can still forge lifelong connections with their fellow students. Residence halls, classrooms, and dining halls all provide a chance to meet and mingle with your peers. Additionally, joining a club can help you connect with students who share your interests, values, and passions.

In addition to providing a venue to meet new people, clubs can also further your personal development. Students may have opportunities to gain leadership experience and build organizational and management skills. Many fellow club members will undoubtedly become part of your professional network after college.

Find Additional Resources

Your Guide to Choosing a College

Your Guide to Choosing a Major

College Hazing: What It Is and How to Stop It

Explore Related Rankings

With over 100 HBCUs across the country, there are many options for students to choose. Learn why from current HBCU students. Student debt is a significant issue for HBCU students. Learn how to use HBCU Wall Street's tools and resources to combat financial challenges. There are many facets to advising and supporting college students. Learn from an expert how they approach advising HBCU students and set them up for success.