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High Pressure Groups

Learn how to identify high pressure groups and how to use caution if you are approached by a high-pressure group.

Some UCSD 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.