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High Pressure Groups

Some UC San Diego student organizations and events are affiliated with outside groups. While the vast majority of groups may be helpful and beneficial to you, some may use high-pressure tactics to recruit students. The information below can help you make an informed, free choice about associating with such groups.

Why are high-pressure groups so harmful?

  • They tend to isolate you from family, friends, and other groups.
  • They may ask you to give up control of your thoughts or decisions.
  • They may focus on guilt and shame.
  • They may promote crises with school, your career, or your social life.

What are warning signs of a high-pressure group?

Ask yourself these questions: Does the group or its representatives:

  • Speak in a derogatory way about your past religious affiliation?
  • Describe your parents as unable to understand or help you with religious matters?
  • Label your doubts and questions as signs of a weak faith?
  • Invite you on a retreat but can't (or won't) give you an overview of the purpose or activities before you go?
  • Insist that you spend so much time with them that you can't get your studying done or you don't have time for your other friends and activities?
  • Pressure you to get others involved in the group?
  • Discourage you from keeping in touch with your family and friends or not allow you to talk to your friends or your family alone?
  • Deflect questions you ask about their group and tell you they'll answer your questions later?
  • Claim to have the answers to your problems and that you can't find answers anywhere else?
  • Pressure you to give them money?

Answering "yes" to one or two questions doesn't mean that a group is destructive or harmful, but it does mean you should proceed slowly and investigate the group more carefully.


CSI advisors are available to help student organizations virtually! Reach out to your advisor to schedule an appointment.

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