College Survival Guide: Group projects

It is approaching the midpoint of the semester and your professor instructs the class to pull out the syllabus that everyone has either misplaced or crumbled into their backpack from the first week. As you dig out the syllabus, you realize that you forgot about the big group project assigned for the end of the semester.

It is a huge percentage of your final grade and you wish you could somehow work on it by yourself instead of having the burden of another student. After realizing that cannot be done, you come to the realization that you will have to work on a project with another student or multiple students.

Here are some tips to help make your group project a successful one:

Choose your group members wisely.  

You may be tempted to team up with your friends. Choosing to work with people you already interact with will not help you grow nor provide a way of think significantly different from your own. Do not be afraid to partner up with strangers.

Additionally, be careful when choosing your group members. Choose wrong and you might end up with someone that, while a good person, is a bad student.

Figure out a way to communicate with your partners.

Lack of communication is often the downfall in group projects. Figure out a way to communicate, whether that is through social media or exchanging phone numbers, as soon as possible.

Also understand that face-to-face communication is incredibly value. Emailing is helpful, but nothing is more efficient than getting together and working on the project in person.

Establish meetings and discuss each other’s schedules so you know what the best times to meet are.

Make due dates earlier than needed.

In case of lost files or illness, try to stay ahead of schedule. This way, if anything goes wrong, you have the chance to make up the work.

Plus, if there are no issues, then you can be finished early.

Be positive.

Nobody wants to work with someone who is negative. Be sure to bring a positive attitude and try to contribute to the group.

Determine each other’s strengths.

Maybe your partner is a good writer and you are more comfortable with public speaking. The whole point of working in groups is to feed off of each other’s strengths and to help with each other’s weaknesses.

Divide the work fairly so that everyone has their own responsibility towards the project.

Clearly determine what every group member is responsible for, so there is no confusion.

Everyone needs to be responsible for a portion of the project. Attempt to divide these responsibilities up evenly.

You can survive this group project.

Group projects can be very beneficial if you allow them to be. If you get to know your group members, it allows you to create a relationship with them that you would not have established without the project.

How many times have you done a group project and afterwards, you suddenly find both of you greeting each other? That relationship was created from working together towards a goal. That person could even become your best friend on campus and you would have never expected it.

Group projects also give you the ability to learn from a different point of view. Perhaps the way you are explaining your topic that is unclear and your partner has a better way to explain it. This could even help the class understand better if you have to present the project.

While working together, it lets you see the project from another person’s point of view. Depending on the project and if it relates to your career, you could show it to the future job you want. This could strengthen your resume and show that leadership role you showed back in college on a group project.

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