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Tips for Working on College Group Projects

Some people look forward to group projects, but others absolutely dread teaming up with their fellow students. If you're in the latter category, these tips should help you get through your next group assignment with minimal stress.

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Group Project Logistics

Most professors prefer to assign group projects rather than individual projects for many reasons. Group projects can help you learn essential workplace traits, such as patience, tolerance, sensitivity, and collaboration. However, working in a group often has drawbacks as well - you can end up being the lone hard worker in a group, or everyone may clash over the most trivial of decisions. Here are some tips to make your next group project go a little more smoothly.

Divide and Conquer

Once you receive your assignment, meet as a group and plan a direction for the finished product. Set a timeline, and divide different tasks according to each member's skills and interests. Keep the actual group work to a minimum, and allow each member to work independently. For an uninterested individual, assign him/her a minimal task to avoid a great impact on the final product.

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

It's important to pick your battles when working in a group. Don't get hung up on small details, like the color of your poster or whether you like the font that's used for the final write-up (unless it's a design project, of course). Group projects often require compromise - the important thing is completing the project and receiving a good grade.

Don't Be a Martyr

Try to avoid policing your peers or taking on the lion's share of the work. Each group member should have a role, and everyone should be on the same page from the get-go. Talk to your professor if someone isn't putting in the time. If other group members have been helpful, it's a good idea to bring them along.

Show your professor what you've done and explain how much of it was completed with the assistance of others. If you decided to divide the tasks, make sure your professor knows you intend to stick with the specific tasks you've taken on, and ask if individual performances can be considered separately from the rest of the group. Hopefully, your instructor will bring his or her sense of fairness to the table.

Group projects aren't the only challenge that college will send your way. Don't miss these essential tips for keeping your grades up.

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