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Group Projects: How to Handle a Not-So-Great Group Assignment
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You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your classmates.
So you’re a week into a group assignment, and things aren’t going as smoothly as you’d like. Maybe some group members are MIA, or others are scatterbrained. It happens to everyone. Despite following all the right preventative measures (staying organized, using a group chat, etc), you’re still running into issues. Now what? Whether your group members are lagging behind, there’s miscommunication, or something else, here are some possible solutions that just might save your grade.
Create Detailed Structure
Sometimes, going beyond just your teacher’s recommended timelines and deadlines is needed to keep your group on a steady pace towards the finish line. Take charge of the situation and create a list of self-imposed “mini” deadlines to keep everyone on track. (Hint: This is a great way to begin establishing yourself as a student leader!). For instance, two days to create a rough outline, five days after that for a complete draft, three days later showing a full draft to your professor, etc. Make sure you cultivate a dynamic in which people are comfortable communicating any issues they encounter as well, so you know ahead of time if they’re struggling (and not the day before it’s due). Oftentimes it’s easy to squander time one way or another, so set clear expectations and roles on Day 1.
Hold Others Accountable
Even with all the structure and planning in the world, some people still miss the mark on getting their pieces of a project done on time. But how do you bring this up without causing hurt feelings? Be sure to keep the conversation clear but compassionate. Hold them accountable to the deadlines you all agreed upon by first talking it over calmly in private. Sometimes it’s just an honest mistake, but be cautious going forward. If it happens again, mention the issue to your professor to keep them in the loop. If the project turns out less than stellar, your professor might give you some leeway grade-wise if you inform them of the issues you’ve encountered ahead of time.
Get it Done Early for Revisions
Nothing is worse than finishing an assignment the day of, then noticing a litany of small mistakes that you have no time to fix. Prevent this by doing everything you can to finish the assignment a few days before the real due date, and review everyone’s work with a fine-tooth comb. Your professor will not only thank you, but reward you with a better grade!
With all these tips in mind, you’ll be able to overcome the problems associated with a not-so-fantastic group, and get a decent grade once it’s all said and done!
The College of New Jersey
Brianna is a rising senior at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) studying English, with minors in Communications and Marketing. She loves playing video games and the kalimba (albeit badly). She is currently an intern at Macmillan Learning (BFW Publishing) in the Marketing department.
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