Tips for College Group Projects

Since you’ll often be working with others in the real world, college professors like to assign projects in groups. This gives you a chance to put several heads together, learn from each other, and learn how to work well together.  These can be some of the hardest projects for those who prefer to work independently. If that is you, here are our tips for getting through the projects and maintaining your GPA.

Photo by Kennedy Library on Flickr

1. Make assignments early. If everyone knows what they are expected to bring to the table upfront it will be easier to organize things in the end. Set clear expectations and goal deadlines. Recognize the strengths of your team. Often times group projects depend on presentations and it is likely you have someone in your group far more outspoken than the rest.

2. Review the project often. Check in with your classmates on a regular basis to see how they are doing on their portion. Make sure everyone is on the same page and that there are no hold ups. It is a good idea to schedule a check in mid-way through the project. This will help you to see any problems that may be arising and work as a group to remedy them.

3. Meet before the project is due. Set a time to meet to go over the project before it needs to be presented. Make sure you give yourself ample time before it is due to make any changes necessary. It is not recommended that you just come to class early on the day of a presentation. At that point, there is no room to correct mistakes that have been made or to add in valuable suggestions.

4. Don’t be afraid to talk to your Professor. If one of your teammates really dropped the ball, don’t be afraid to approach your professor about this.  If you pulled your weight then it is fair that you are compensated for your work and that your slacking team members are not. Try to explain to the professor why you feel you should receive a higher grade than another group member without placing too much blame. Emphasis all the work that you did instead of pointing out work that was left incomplete.

If you really don’t like group work try out an online course. You may still be required to work with other students but it will all be via email or other online sources.

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About SherRon Marcek

SherRon is a writer and editor for MCC. She studied journalism and writes a blog of her own. She loves to cook and try new recipes when she isn't out shopping for new shoes or walking her pet beagle, Charlie.

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1 Comment

  • Hello Sherron,

    Currently I am an MBA student at UCF. As you know group projects are the ever present element in education–especially at the graduate level. Always looking to utilize the resources around me, I had come across this post during my last spring semester. It was extremely helpful, and wanted to share how our group was able to effectively implement your strategies.
    Last semester, one of the girls in my group suggested we use an online program called Group Table. Slightly apprehensive, we decided “what the heck!” From there she sent us all an e-vite which granted us access the the many resources the program had to offer. Keeping your tips in mind, we were able to upload and revise documents into our Group Binder, allocate and assign tasks among the members, set milestones and deadlines in our Group Calendar, and we were able to use the Live Chat to collaborate when outside of the classroom. We were even able to invite our professor as a “guest” to view our progress and make suggestions to our existing paper and presentation.
    It was honestly the perfect hybrid for completing the group project efficiently, and wanted to thank you for reminding us the simple steps that will always get the project done.
    http://www.grouptable.com

    Comment by Alexandra — October 27, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

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