How to be efficient at group projects

Rebecca Meyers | Lifestyle Editor

Every term, students across campus have to tackle what’s considered one of the biggest challenges of college: group projects. Often worth a significant number of points, group projects can be incredibly frustrating for a number of reasons. However, as they are often inevitable, the skills to finishing them in an effective manner are important to learn.

One of the biggest challenges can be communication, or lack thereof. Not knowing when someone intends to finish their part, if they need any help or not or if they are even still in the class — yes, it has happened before — can make the project much more stressful than it needs to be. Unfortunately, we can’t control anyone’s communication except our own. Making a conscious effort to clear up any misunderstanding at the very least ensures that there will be a reduced chance of a mixup.

Sometimes, that mixup will occur anyway, which brings us to our next point. Another big source of stress is when other group members don’t seem to pull their weight. No one wants their grade to suffer, but no one wants to be unsure of how much work they really have to put into it. I have witnessed many people stress over whether or not to work on an unfinished portion of a project that wasn’t assigned to them. Fortunately, many professors are fully aware that this sometimes happens. Making a plan to talk to the professor instead of continuously trying to contact an unresponsive group member makes it easier to focus on your assigned part of the project and leave behind a lot of stress.

Less common, but still prevalent, is the occasional tendency of leadership styles or ideas to clash in divisive ways. These are those “pick your battles” instances that are often raised: is it worth fighting someone else’s idea if you think it won’t get as good of a grade? This dilemma surfaces every so often, and there’s no easy answer to it. The organization of the group is something to consider, however. If there’s enough solid leadership within the group that whatever topic that’s chosen can be made to work, it might be worth it just to roll with the group.

Many people dread having to face group work every term. Sometimes we get lucky and the members work well together, but other times we have to make the best of the situation.


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