Tips on Navigating Group Work in College

We’ve all had times where working with others didn’t quite work out like we thought it would. There’s either someone who doesn’t put in enough work, someone who is overly assertive, or someone who never shows up to anything at all. In fact, when I had to work in a small group for a science project, one of my group members decided that going to her soccer games were more important than working on our project, which left me and my other group member to do the entire experiment ourselves.

However, I ended up having to type the entire paper as well as graph our experiment by myself. This process took me longer than I thought, and my efforts were put to shame during our presentation which left our group with a “C” for our project. Like me, many of you have probably had a similar experience which is why some avoid working in groups like it’s the plague. However, most of us will have to work in groups at some point. Luckily, I have come to the rescue!

Here’s a few things to keep in mind when working in a group:

  1. Know your group members. If you have the option between working with friends or complete strangers, depending on who those strangers are, it may be best to work with friends.  Communication will be a lot easier when deciding when to meet up, work on the project, or discuss work, being that you already have their contact information and may even know a little bit about their schedules. Besides, who doesn’t want to have an excuse to hang out with their best buddies!!
  2. Have perspective. Due dates are one of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to group projects, especially if yours has multiple due dates for certain things. Therefore, it is imperative that you and your group members are on the same page at all times. In addition, creating a schedule to keep track of important due dates will put things into perspective in terms of how much work needs to be done so that everyone completes their part.
  3. Divvy up the work. Although leaving it all up to one person to do the work takes the load off of others, it is very unfair. For this reason, it is best to decide who will be responsible for what part of the project in order to hold everyone accountable. However, if one of your group members still doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain, letting your professor know by email or at office hours is key. Besides, no one wants their grade to suffer because of someone else.
  4. Cohesiveness is key. If you or your group members have a disagreement, it is best to take the time out to discuss it and reach an agreement. Letting disagreements/pass frustration fester does not help with getting your work done. This will also hinder you from working as a team which is why it’s best to iron out your disagreements early on.

And last of all …. Good Luck!!!  You’re probably going to need it.