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Why Group Projects are the Worst

We hear it all the time from professors that group projects are “great learning experiences.” Honestly, when have you ever had a good time working on a project AND successfully worked together as a team to get a decent grade? Of course, most of the time it’s tolerable but some terrible experiences give group projects an infamous reputation as being one of the most hated types of assignments in school. Having had a negative experience with group projects recently, I’ve summarized a few reasons why I dislike group projects that might resonate with a lot of other students out there!

The Complexities in Planning Everything


When you work on your own you have the power to make all the decisions based on your instincts. However, because there are other people involved in group projects, the decisions made must reflect everyone’s interests and opinions. This makes it very time consuming to come to a consensus and agree on both the topic and the division of labour amongst group members. Often, it’s hard to please everyone, which can lead to conflict and tension revolving around decisions.

Control Freaks

It’s inevitable that there will be one person who takes charge of planning, organizing and contributing the most work. For the most part it’s perfectly normal, but beware of the control freak. It’s never fun to work with one as they are very particular about the way they want things to be done, are known to shut down other opinions and give little freedom to other group members. Control freaks may get the work done and end up with a good mark, but they make the process extremely irritating and inconvenient for others.

Freeloaders and Procrastinators

The worst type of people for group projects are the ones that don’t contribute any meaningful work or don’t contribute at all. I divide these people into two groups: freeloaders, those who leave the work for other group members, and procrastinators, those who never meet deadlines or provide any useful work to the project. One phenomenon that I’ve noticed is that when there is one freeloader in the group, other group members feel that they can put in less effort, so the work piles up for one member to complete.

Communication Gaps

Ehimetalor Unuabona
Ehimetalor Unuabona / Unsplash

A lot of the times when group projects don’t work out it’s because of communication issues. There’s always someone who doesn’t reply or takes too long to reply, and it usually drives the rest of the group nuts. Lack of communication causes confusion; there have been so many times that I had no idea what a group member was working on or if they would submit something on time because the person didn’t use the group chat.

Despite all the negatives about group projects, they will, unfortunately, never disappear from the syllabus. Although most of us don’t mind working with other people, often times the problems that it creates are just too complicated and annoying to deal with. At the end of the day, all we can do is make the most of it and to try our best to get along!

Cici Wei

Wilfrid Laurier '20

A 4th year Political Science and Management Option Student at WLU.
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