It's syllabus day, and the professor is going over how the class will be laid out. And then they say it, the words that college students hate more than anything else: that one of the assignments for the class is a group project. While projects are awful, group projects are a whole other beast.
Not only do you have to find times where you can work on the project, you have to make your schedule line up with the other people in your group and make sure that you all know what is happening before you get in front of the class to present. Here are some helpful hints to surviving group projects in college, where you don't see these people every day in class.
1. Get their phone numbers.
An important first step in making a successful project is to know who you're working with and to have a way get in contact with them. It's good to have their email, but it's better to have their phone number because they can ignore emails. It's harder to ignore people texting you all day long.
2. Respond to your group.
This is your grade too, so it's important to do your share of the work. It's such a simple thing, but the first step of a successful project is just to respond to them about how you're going to do this project, or how they can send the project to you. I've done projects where people haven't sent me their email until the night before when I've already done their part of the project. Don't be this person; it's not that hard to respond to your group.
3. Have a Gmail account.
If you can't find a time to work together, then one of the easiest ways to work on projects together is through Google Drive. It's a free account and super easy to set up. Also, as a college student, it's important to have an email that sounds professional (first name, last name) and not still be using the one that you made in middle school. There's no reason that a college student shouldn't have a Gmail; it makes projects so much easier.
4. DON'T link your school email to a different email.
This isn't just for projects; this is for college and professional life in general. It's important to keep personal and professional emails separate. It's especially important to not link two email accounts so that everything that is being sent from the right email and that nothing gets lost when one filters into another.
5. Divide the project evenly.
The thing that makes group projects worse in college is the fact that you don't see these people every day, so when someone doesn't respond, you're left with more work than you should need to do, or maybe even left to do the whole project yourself. One easy way to make sure that your project goes well is to divide the work evenly and for everyone to actually do their own work.
6. Set deadlines.
One way to make sure that everyone doesn't wait until the night before to do their work is to set personal deadlines. While this might not work for every group, and you shouldn't freak out if some people aren't onboard with this idea, it's a good idea to try and implement, especially if you want to get an early start on your project.
7. Do your work.
Do your part of the project by the deadlines that you've set for yourself/the group. Once you have your work done, you have more power to convince others that they need to put in the same effort. Also, doing your work earlier than it needs to be done creates less stress leading up to the day of the presentation.
8. Keep in contact.
Don't just think that once you're done with your part of the project, that you never need to speak to these people again. It's important to not just do a slide or two and then drop off the face of the Earth until presentation day. Sometimes groups like to meet up and go over the presentation either a few days before the presentation or right before the class. If you don't respond to your group, then they won't know whether or not you're going to be there or what you want to do.
9. Make sure that everything is clear.
There is nothing more frustrating than getting to the day of the presentation only to have one of your group members admit that they don't know the information they're supposed to present. So if you make sure that everyone knows what they're supposed to be knowledgeable about, or at least say, then it makes the day of the presentation go a little smoother.