Working in groups throughout college is inevitable. Collaborative work is an essential part of your college career but it isn’t always the best experience. To ensure that your group succeeds, follow these tips on how to handle working in groups. They just might save your grade and friendships with these people!
Tips for Successful Group Work in College
1. Get Everyone’s Contact Information
A pro, and con, of working in groups throughout your college career is that you most likely don’t know these people. In order to successfully work in a group, it’s important to get everyone’s contact information at the very beginning of the project. (Make sure to add the contact info to your favorite daily planner!). This will prevent anyone from saying they weren’t communicated with, and you have a record of all communication between each other. Set up a group message with your entire group and double-check that everyone’s information is correct. This is key to running a successful group project.
2. Assign Roles for Each Group Member
To ensure there is an even amount of work for each person, assigning roles will eliminate the need to constantly contact each other about what is next for the project. We’ve all been there. You get assigned a group and at least one person ghosts the entire group with their excuses, but still ends up getting the group grade. Some professors have one group grade while others have individual grades for each group member. No matter their grading style, task allocation will prevent someone from overworking and others from underworking. If someone doesn’t complete their task, you have proof for the professor to see that someone in the group avoided their responsibilities completely. Someone can write down the different roles for the group and randomly assign them to each person, or the group can discuss which role they feel most comfortable in.
3. Create a Deadline for Each Member
Collaborative work is great when everyone actually contributes their fair share. Creating a deadline for each member and their specific role keeps everything organized for the group. Once one person is done with their deadline, it’s time for the next person to contribute their share of the work. Use a Google Calendar that has everyone’s deadlines so each member can see what is going on at all times.
4. Communicate Often
Things don’t always go as planned. Since you have everyone’s contact information, we suggest that you communicate often with the group. You don’t need to be constantly texting each other but checking in every few days ensures that the group is getting things done on time.
5. Have an Open Mind
Odds are, not everyone in the group will agree with each other on every idea that is presented. Since it is a group project, it’s important to collaborate on the ideas and think about the overall good of the project. Each person should have an open mind when discussing different ideas but it is easier said than done. If it comes down to it, you can always write down the ideas and pick them randomly to prevent any bias or favoritism.
6. Avoid Negative Feedback
Putting your ideas out there isn’t always the easiest thing. If someone has an idea that isn’t aligned with the entire project, listening to them and explaining why a different idea would be better for the project is a great way to let someone down easily. Don’t give negative feedback to group members or talk negatively about others or else drama might ensue. Remember that you’ll be given a peer assessment after your project and you don’t want it to come back that you were unkind to other team members.
7. Turn in Work Before the Official Deadline
Mistakes happen and sometimes links don’t work when you turn something in online. We’ve all been there, but to avoid that from happening we suggest that you turn the group project in before the official deadline. Create your own deadline at least 5 days before the official one so if there are any issues you have time to fix them or talk to your professor about it.
Benefits of Working in Groups
Learning group work skills early on in your college career will help your group projects run smoothly. You may not have group work every semester but it is definitely something that is part of your college experience. Once you learn to navigate it using these tips, you’ll be working in groups without any problems and get an easy A! Group assignments help with your communication skills that come in handy later in your career. Your individual contribution in your classes and career along with group cohesion is important for professional development skills.
If your professor gives you the option to work individually or in a group, take the plunge and work in a group! Group settings are the perfect way to work on your management skills and social skills. It also allows you to meet so many diverse groups of people. Student group work doesn’t always have to be hard work.