Rhodes College - Comments and Student Experiences|
Greek life dominates the social scene, and if you choose to stay independent, you get labeled a GDI (which is basically a moniker for the least cool Greek organization--you can't escape it). I had, and have, no interest in joining a fraternity, and that makes it difficult to make many friends, as those that did pledge invariably have an established (and fairly inflexible) clique. I mentioned that the school is predominantly rich and Southern, and from an outsider's perspective, I think this contributes to the importance of fraternities on campus. The statistic is 50% Greek (if I had to guess, it's much higher for sororities, and then fraternities are lower, bringing it to 50% composite), but perhaps because people who don't choose Greek life are generally just less active, and perhaps because there aren't specifically non-Greek functions to get to know others, it feels much more overbearing than the 50% would suggest. With all that being said, all on-campus fraternity parties are open to anyone--a nice touch.
Academically, I've had an excellent experience. While I'm currently undecided on a major, all faculty interactions within my areas of interest have been terrific, and I find the professors to be engaging and engaged, as well as eager to interact outside of class. I am in more geared towards the humanities/history, so I can only speak to them. Class discussions vary, but I haven't had any class without any eager students, and at the very least they keep the discussion going. Additionally, study abroad opportunities are not hard to come by, and more people take advantage of them than not.
The school widely circulates their #1 ranking in service, and I think it's well deserved. Most students seem involved in some way, whether that be in community service, sports (one note on intramurals--fraternities dominate here, too, and it can be hard to find a team if you aren't Greek), or clubs. I have been asked several time "So what are you involved in?" when first meeting people. If you are looking for a way to spend time, it isn't hard to get involved.
The stereotype of a "Rhodes Bubble" is fair, and it can be very hard to get to see Memphis itself. An administrative body, "The Big Diehl," will offer some discounted or free opportunities like arts/culture events, Grizzlies games, or fun activities like Laser Tag, but really the walls around campus keep people out as much as they keep students in. If you're considering Rhodes, take your time. If academics are most important to you, be a Lynx, but make sure you understand the social dynamics. If you plan to join a fraternity/sorority, by all means, do, you'll probably really enjoy it. I have met plenty of people that embody the "Work Hard, Play Hard" ethic, and thrive in both the Greek and classroom setting. It hasn't been a good fit for me, but it is for many. You really just need to know what you're expecting, which I don't think I did when I originally signed on (mostly due to financial aid).