One of the most annoying things to hear in college is that you will have to work on a group project. Inevitably you’ll be saddled with some people that won’t do any work, at least one person that actually hinders the work, someone overly bossy and a bunch of people that you probably don’t know at all. Additionally, chances are really good that at the end of the day, you’ll end up doing the majority of the work because you want to get a good grade. The question is, what can you do to better your chances of surviving the group project experience? Here are a few tips to get you on the right track.
1) If you can pick your group, choose wisely. Just because someone is fun to party with at the bars, doesn’t mean he’s going to be a good person to do your PoliSci project with.
2) Try to establish a leader for your group. Nothing makes things move more slowly than not having anyone serve as a decision maker or authority. Even if it has to be you, try to get the group to choose someone to lead.
3) Divide up tasks from the outset. Make sure everyone is responsible for something. That way everyone knows that someone else’s grade is dependent upon him or her not dropping the ball.
4) Meet up as much as possible even if its just after class breaks for ten-minutes. Checking in on everyone’s progress is key.
5) Try to bond the group by inviting everyone over for beer and a brainstorming session. People are less likely to let their friends down than strangers, so make friends and lessen the chance that you’ll have to do someone else’s work.
6) Create hard and fast deadlines over the course of the projects. College students will leave things to the last minute if given the opportunity. Don’t give them the option.
7) Most importantly, make sure that everyone has each other’s contact information. Both email and cell phone. Communication is essential when working on any group project.