Know to Grow

by Colleen Kelty

You might have heard us say it before: you can’t recruit who you don’t know. But who don’t you know? How do you keep up with the ever-changing population of students?


Fraternities and sororities are some of the only organizations who have a brand new group of potential recruits every year. It’s kind of special. This can be an asset, as we’re constantly offered new connections and opportunities to grow. But don’t get me wrong – this can also be a challenge. Keeping up with it can be tough, but it’s absolutely critical.


Our audience is made up of students who are not involved in a fraternal organization. To recruit them, we need to connect with them. In order to connect with our audience, we have to know who they are.


Here’s some trends we’re seeing in student populations and the higher education landscape. Which trends do you see on your campus?

  • Increase in average age of students (average age is 26 years old)

  • Increase in women’s enrollment (57.4% in 2019 to 58.6% in 2020)

  • More engagement in online options

  • Smaller high school graduation classes (2.9% decline from 2018 to 2020)

  • Increasing commuter population

  • Increasing economic cost (public 4-year institution tuition increased 9.2% from 2010 to 2022)

  • Impact from state and local legislation affecting LGBTQIA+ communities and Students of Color


There’s a lot that’s happening (this list isn’t all-encompassing!), but knowing our audience is the first step to building connections with them. So now that we know the trends in who the students are, how do we connect with them?

  • Build new relationships with Campus Partners. Contact the admissions office to learn about how you can get involved. It’s not just move-in – some campuses write postcards to incoming students, or offer free coffee for commuters. Connect with the DEI staff on your campus and the orientation leaders.  When you have cultivated a relationship with campus partners, you can reach more students.

  • Audit the inclusivity and accessibility of recruiting and membership. Would a student who is a parent be able to attend your chapter events? Are your events ADA accessible? Could accommodations be made for sensory sensitivities? Are the folks you recruit of similar identity? How can we reach diverse populations?

  • Ensure efforts reach commuter students. Make sure that your recruitment events are not just at 9pm (most commuters are home by then!). Is there parking at your events? At some campuses, commuter students can be a large population that may be eager to join a supportive fraternal group like yours.

  • Participate in diverse campus activities. Mix it up! Your usual calendar of yearly activities is probably reaching similar audiences. Where else can you participate? Welcome Week? Residence hall councils? Campus tour guides? Programming board trivia night? Get out there!


The ebb and flow of new students and graduation creates a unique opportunity for you to capitalize on the pattern and grow your chapter. The best news is: there will be another opportunity next year! We can’t wait to meet your new members!

Want to know more about the stats? Find the full data report here.