For some people, there’s nothing scarier than the idea of a group project. If you’ve been burned several times before by lazy partners who leave all the work to you, then you know just how difficult it can be to take on the burden of several people’s work and the pressure to not be a snitch. Every now and then you might be lucky enough to be in a group of high achieving students, but the odds of finding that depends a lot on the type of college you’re attending. Either way, here is how to survive your group projects in college.
Choose Your Partners if Possible
If you do have the option of choosing your partners, you should definitely try to do so as quickly as possible. Be sure to be constantly scouting out the best students in the class. These are the ones who participate the most, show up the most, and always arrive on time. You may even want to take note of their names in your notebook. This way, if the option of choosing partners is given, you can approach these people before all the nervous slackers start approaching them.
Assign Tasks Right Away
Whether your partners were chosen by you or not, the moment that you can all sit down together, you should start assigning tasks to each person in the group. It should be very clear what is expected of everybody and you want to be sure that all the tasks are delegated equally. Be sure to emphasize that if any one person doesn’t feel they are given a fair set of tasks, they can speak now or forever hold their peace.
Schedule Meetings with Your Group
In addition to making sure that everyone has a clear set of tasks, you want to set clear dates for when each person’s tasks should be completed. This means that you will need to meet a few times and check in with each other along the way. If anyone starts to fall behind, you will need to stress the importance of catching up. If they have not caught up by the next meeting, it’s a good idea to redistribute their tasks and ask them to leave the group.
Of course you can’t schedule meetings without exchanging contact information. This is especially the case if you’re earning a top level degree like Pepperdine’s MBA degree online. If this is the case, then you’re going to have to schedule conference calls, or preferably video chat meetings. This way you can see each other’s work visually, and you can actually see each other’s faces.
Check in Right Before the Project is Due
Your last meeting with the group should ideally be on the day or two before the project is due. You want to make sure that everything gets done at least 24 hours in advance and if anyone has fallen behind, you want assurances that the work will get done. Plus, if you need to present your project, you don’t want to be jumping into the presentation cold. You’ll want to practice together a few times.