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The Dos and Don’ts of Semester Long Group Projects

Group and projects can make or break your semester. Relying on anywhere from one to five other people for a grade that’s most likely 20 percent of your grade can be incredibly stressful. And as a journalism major at Hofstra, you’re going to have to take Media and the Law, and a huge part of the class is a semester-long group project worth a ton of points. Successfully getting through this project takes a few tricks, but there are plenty of mistakes you can make. So here’s how best to get through any of your super long and important group projects.


Pick your group carefully:

Your group is obviously the most important part of a group project. Picking a group that you trust is essential to passing, especially for the long projects. Picking the group you like doesn’t mean you best friends though. It means picking people you trust to do good work.

Meet Outside of Class:

Even when a professor gives you class time to work in groups, it’s not enough. Finding a few times that the group can meet is essential. You can tell which groups took extra time outside of class during presentations. Plus having the time to throw ideas at one another when the professor isn’t hanging on to every word allows for far more creativity and innovation.

Hold Up Your End:

Group projects are long and annoying, but they’re also important. As much as many of us hate them, they do help us in our communication with colleagues, which will be important later in our careers. But every person has to pull their weight. I’m sure we’ve all experiences a group project where we’ve done all the work. They aren’t fun. At all. So don’t make sure you’re holding your weight and contributing what you can.


Don’t Miss A Lot of Meetings:

For the long lasting group projects, like creating a Bill for Media and the Law, you’ll have to hold several group meetings. Do not miss too many of your group meetings. Understanding your project in and out will help you in the Q&A portion of the presentation, and if you miss a lot of meetings, you’ll have no idea what’s going on. You don’t want to let your team down or look clueless in front of your class, so go to the meetings.

Don’t Do All the Work Yourself:

If you’re the “go-getter” personality, the Type A, “my way or the highway” type, this one is for you. Do not take over the entire group project. You may think “oh it’s no big deal, I’ll just do everything, it’s easier that way.” But it’s incredibly frustrating for the rest of the group. They’ll feel like they have no idea what’s going on, and that’s nerve-wracking. We’re all worried about our grades, and there is no time when we’re more worried than when someone else is in complete control, and we’re left completely in the dark. So do yourself a favor, save yourself all the work, and let your group help.

Don’t Throw Your Group Under the Bus:

You’re a team. Maybe the team makes a decision you’re not 100% for, and that decision fails. Don’t say “well they didn’t listen to me.” You all worked hard on your projects, you all held up your end. Maybe something didn’t work out as planned, but throwing your entire team under the bus because an idea didn’t pan out makes not only you look bad, but it makes the rest of your team feel even worse. So don’t do it. Chances are, one piece of a presentation or project not working out won’t fail the entire thing, but immediately turning on each other potentially could. Stick together and learn for future.


Group projects may be the bane of your existence, but unfortunately, they’re necessary. The ability to successfully work with others will take you incredibly far, especially in journalism. I mean, communication is key after all. Getting through a group project in the middle of the semester with a million other things going on may seem like the worst thing in the world, but hopefully these dos and don’ts can help you through. So take a deep breath, and get to work.

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