As of August 2019, the degree completion and graduation rates among American college students continue to hover around 40 percent, but the Annenberg Institute at Brown University has some good news in this regard: quite a few private and public institutions that have been around less than five decades are seeing higher completion rates. While this does not imply that college is getting easier, it does shine a light on an interesting fact: with the advent of social media and advanced mobile devices, students feel more connected, and they are more likely to study in groups.
Time and time again, group study has become a dilemma for college students, leaving some of them unsettled with the idea of going at it alone. One of the problems is that some students are convinced that strength in numbers will help them academically; however, this does not mean that the potential of studying in groups should be altogether dismissed.
Effective study groups can help students learn course material in a deeper, more concrete way. Groups that are effective generate positive energy, encourage active participation, instill discipline, and require commitments from members. These skills are certainly important for learning.
Here are the top 10 reasons students should form or join study groups in college:
1. Gain Better Understanding of Subject Better
There is no argument that taking time to read, learn, and study a subject or theory will lead to a greater understanding of that particular subject. Actively engaging with the material, learning together, and genuinely knowing a subject, students can feel empowered and motivated to do well in the classroom as a group.
Learning is a different experience for each person. Students can hear different perspectives on the subject and therefore understand it from more than position. This is useful in real-world settings where more than one solution or opinion bolsters creative and analytical thinking.
2. Get Better Grades
Some students are bound to put off studying, homework, papers, and projects. A study group can help solidify and clarify course materials, leading to more promising classroom experiences, and potentially a better GPA. By understanding the subject and feeling motivated, students may feel more willing to do better in class, on tests, and on assignments.
Also, for certain concepts, some students might be better at explaining the material to their fellow cohort. In a way, a study group is also a built-in tutoring session. For those who know the material, it is a great way to review and refine their understanding of it, and for those who may be struggling, they can gain a fresh perspective to suit their learning style better.
3. Gain Well-Rounded Insight
By having each group member read, study, and summarize the most important points in a chapter, other students in the group gain the capability of understanding chapters at a deeper level. Different students might uncover themes or theories that others may not initially detect, so studying with others can be an eye-opening experience. Students can analyze their findings, which can serve as a standard to help determine the most important points of a chapter.
This is also a way to get the full value of the class textbook. Unfortunately, students may be overwhelmed with the number of readings or assignments due in a semester and resort to surface learning, which is bound to fade as soon as the material feels as if it is no longer relevant. When various students share the burden of distilling dense material, they can appreciate the broader context of their studies more than tackling them alone.
4. Maintain Personal Responsibilities
Study groups should allow each student to share ideas and thoughts about a particular subject. Depending on the group’s dynamic, students may even give small presentations that can be highly beneficial to the learning process; students who are going to present before their study groups are less likely to forget to do their reading because they do not want to be embarrassed in front of their peers.
Some college students can find themselves to be naturally rebellious toward authority figures. This rebellious attitude can lead them to feel frustrated with academic assignments; however, the added responsibility of studying with a group of peers, and without the influence of an elder figure, can enable these students to feel more apt to participate, thus promoting responsibility, education, and team building.
Besides personal responsibility, study groups can also aid in self-discovery. Perhaps students will realize that they work best in the morning or at night; perhaps they will discover that they are exceptionally good at researching but not summarizing. These insights can help them discover what kind of career will suit them best.
5. Gain Team Experience
When the time comes to look for a job, workplaces might ask about one’s experience working in teams. By forming and participating in a regular study group, prospective employees will have ample experience from which to draw answers, stories, and more during an interview and in the workplace.
Learning how to get along well with others in a team-oriented environment can show potential employers that an interviewee is a focused, patient, and well-rounded team player. While this requires patience from students who work better alone, they need to accept that the future of work is highly collaborative. It is better to get the valuable experience of discovering your strengths and weaknesses as early as possible. This is the type of career advice you can expect from Florida National University’s Job Placement Center; to learn more about our work-related services, contact us today.
6. Combat Procrastination and Achieving More
Not surprisingly, the desire to procrastinate can be much stronger when we are alone. Rather than falling to the personal pressure of procrastination, students can surround themselves with motivated, serious students who can help get the ball rolling on assignments, and who can become building blocks to success.
Naturally, some students are more organized and have better time management skills than others. Being a part of a study group will hone these skills for some and help others get a sense for how this can be done in other aspects of their lives. Again, learning from peers can sometimes be easier than heeding the advice of authority figures.
7. Sharpen Problem-Solving Skills
The idea of placing three to five college students in one room to study might not sound promising on the surface because we think about the great potential of disagreements, arguments, and distractions that can occur.
By learning how to adapt to the work and study styles of others, students can sharpen their problem-solving skills. When there are multiple conflicting ideas, theories, and practices in a group, students must decipher which idea is the best; this takes patience, sacrifice, and the skills needed to resolve the issue. Eventually, these skills are developed naturally.
In a positive way, this kind of healthy debate is also good for students. Being challenged to defend your ideas, perspectives, and find solutions that suit others, not just yourself, will be needed in every other area in life as well.
8. Why We Should Study in Groups
Forming a group with peers that live nearby means that students don’t have to commute all the way to school to study; this is especially helpful for those with longer commutes, and it can also be useful for online students. Instead of hiding behind the anonymity of the virtual classroom, you can get out and meet others from your class in a safe, public environment.
In this modern age, students must adapt to new technologies, which means that those who have difficulties meeting up can also utilize the internet for their study groups. When a group member is out of town, when the weather is bad, or when other members are having difficulty meeting in a particular location, they can connect via Skype, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp or other video conferencing websites.
With little excuse to not join a study group if you’re able to carpool or join virtually, other creative possibilities open up. Use new technologies to stay organized, committed, connected, and efficient. Invite your professor to a study session and impress them with your dedication. Study groups are a way to show others that you’re invested in yourself which will gain their respect. Keep in mind that many FNU degree programs can be fully completed online.
9. Meet in the Setting You Choose
Forming a study group enables students to decide where to study. Burned out by meeting day after day in the back of the silent, whitewashed local library? Head over to your nearest cafe, stock up on caffeine, and enjoy a humanized study experience, surrounded by like-minded professionals, students, and everyday people.
Don’t forget that your colleges and universities often have vastly underutilized resources. Start by asking your student council union, librarian and academic advisor how your study group can take advantage of physical resources such as unused classrooms or conference halls.
10. Motivate and Inspiring One Another
Having trouble getting through a difficult class? Well, a bit of moral support can go a long way. Within a group, students can not only motivate one another to do well, but they will also have the chance to form strong, long-lasting friendships.
Accountability is an important factor for success no matter the task. Applying this to your studies for excellent results could find you receiving academic honors, scholarships, or internships upon graduation. Having others challenge you to be the best version of yourself is a wonderful opportunity that even something as simple as a study group can provide.
Are You Ready to Form an Effective Study Group?
Here are a few tips that students should consider when making the commitment to form an effective study group:
- Your group should not exceed 5 members.
- Weekly meetings are essential.
- There should be a group leader who determines meeting locations, study session times and keeps the group informed about next week’s subject.
- The group should determine what they will cover from the start; the leader will only ensure that the group stays on track.
- Be sure to review together, go over difficult homework questions, and address any other problems group members face during class.
- Don’t forget to do a quick wrap up, summarizing the important details.
- Remember: this is not class, so feel free to have fun with your group!
- Bond by spending time together outside of class and aside from the group.
- Use online technologies accessible to everyone.
FNU – Helping Students Down the Road to Success
Incoming freshmen and seasoned students alike can benefit from the aforementioned tips. Success is up to each individual and can be achieved in a number of ways; we highly suggest that students form study groups in order to stand out from the rest of their peers and to do well each semester, especially when faced with a difficult class.
If you are not yet a student and are still deciding where you would like to further your education, consider FNU. We care about each individual student; our small class sizes allow for extra individual attention, thus fostering a healthy and thriving learning environment. We also offer online degree programs, scholarships and financial assistance to qualified students. Interested in one of our programs? Get started, and apply now.