If you’re like me, you’re currently being hit by a tsunami of papers, exams, and dreaded group projects. Group projects can be incredibly challenging, especially in college when each group member has different opinions, work schedules, and procrastination tendencies. Here are some tips for dealing with group projects to make your final weeks at school a little less terrible:
1. Clearly assign tasks to each group member.
This should be the first step in any group project. There does not necessarily have to be one set “leader” in the group who delegates tasks. However, it is necessary that each group member knows what their responsibilities are for the project and that each group member has an equal amount of work. To help keep everyone accountable for their own work, create a project group chat, which allows the group to collectively remind members of deadlines and other important project information.
2. Set deadlines.
I cannot emphasize how important this is. If deadlines are not set, there WILL be some people who complete their part of the project five minutes before it is due. This can be especially disastrous in group projects that require each member to be informed about all parts of the project, such as a powerpoint presentation to the class. If a group member changes something last minute, it throws off the whole group and makes your presentation look unprofessional. For me, setting deadlines for different parts of the project has proved to be incredibly effective. For example, if you have a project due on Sunday, set a deadline for the outline on Thursday, the rough draft on Friday, and the final draft on Saturday. This makes it very difficult for team members to procrastinate their parts until the last minute, and also gives you a time cushion to edit your project before it is actually due.
3. Be kind with critiques and always thank people.
If I’m working on a group presentation and notice that a group member has made a mistake on their part, I like to text them separately from the group chat to avoid any possible embarrassment they may feel. It is also very important to thank each group member whenever they announce that they have completed their part. It may seem small and silly, but it ensures that each member feels that their contribution to the project is valued.
4. Congratulate each other on a job well done.