How To Survive Group Projects In College

Aside from first day of class ice breakers, group projects are one of the most dreaded parts of college. You’ve already experienced issues with group projects from elementary to high school and so you assume that it will be easier this time around with adults. Unfortunately, this is not always the case so here are some steps to survive those important group projects in college.

1. Communicate

It can be awkward to work with a group of individuals you literally just met and sharing a minimal amount of words may seem like the best way to get through it but it’s not! With so many different methods to communicate, talking to all your group members should not be such an issue. You want to make sure that every member is actively involved in the project and this is less likely to happen if you only mutter a few words to each other. Get past that awkward stage and brainstorm away!

2. Delegate

There will always be one person in the group who attempts to take charge and one other person who thinks they can just skate by without contributing. One of the best ways to survive group projects in college is to try to distribute tasks evenly. Every group member should have a role and if your group is big enough, consider partnering up to make the workload even more manageable! It is the worst when you feel and know that you are doing more work than the rest of the group and know that this could’ve been avoided by dividing tasks up early on.

3. Extra Prep

Sometimes professors will set aside some class time to work on group projects but a lot of the time the responsibility to get things done is left to the students. In these situations, make an attempt to have your group meet up outside of class if possible. Schedules can be difficult to match up but even if you have only one extra meeting outside of class, it can make all the difference. Meeting up at a cafe on campus can take some of the edge off the project and allow you to discuss things in an informal manner. You may even end up becoming friends after these meetings and your project is guaranteed to be a success!

4. Set Individual Deadlines

Due dates can often seem like they are far away but in college they can easily creep up on you. Even if your group project isn’t due for another month, consider setting individual deadlines within your group. Have certain tasks that need to be done each week that way you are not attempting to compile everything at the last minute. It is crystal clear to a professor when a group project is rushed and smashed together the night before, so you can easily avoid this!

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5. Ask Questions

As with communicating in general, sometimes group members don’t speak up when they’re confused because everyone else seems to have it together. If you aren’t entirely clear on what your role is in the group or what the outcome is going to be, ask questions! You want to make sure everyone is clear and if there are issues that can’t be answered by other members, your group can always present questions to your professor for clarity. Things move a lot smoother if you have a clear understanding of what is expected instead of making assumptions and having to re-do your portion of the project.

6. Don’t Cover For Others

A lot of times despite taking all these precautions, there will still be group members who don’t pull their own weight. They’ll make excuses to not meet up outside of class, miss deadlines, and sometimes not even show up to class until the group project is due. In these situations, it’s easy to just do the work for them for the sake of the group and let them get the same grade you receive when they didn’t earn it. I’ve found that tactic to be more damaging to the individual, so my last piece of advice would be to not cover for them! Professors often ask for reviews to be done about your group members and you should be completely honest. Let your professor know that there were members who did not cooperate and made things difficult for the entire group. You are doing more than enough and should not feel obligated to complete someone else’s work for them.

Group projects are a part of college that you must get through, but you can do it! What are your group project tips? Tell us in the comments!
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Rebecca was born in Hayward, CA and still resides there today. She received her BA in English Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and is the first in her family to graduate from university. She is a Poetry student in the MFA program at Saint Mary’s College of California and is furthering her involvement in the literary community. In her spare time, she likes to lose her voice at Giants games, read Young Adult novels, make lists, and aims to cross become a writer off it.

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