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Organizing Successful Study Groups in College

written by: RobinRaven•edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 12/7/2011

If you want to really excel at college, you need to motivate yourself to go the extra mile. Organizing college study groups, especially in the areas that give you the most trouble, can really motivate you to study hard for class. It can also lead to having fun while studying, a novel concept.

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    Make a Study Group Plan

    When setting up a study group in college, you first need to have a plan. You don't want a lot of your peers who are strangers coming to a study group and then having nothing to say to them. They are expecting the leader of the group to take charge and lay out the groundwork for how the studying should go. If you have not attended a study group before, go to the next one that you can, even if it's in a subject that you don't take. Introduce yourself to the study group leader, and explain that you'd like to observe or at least get a piece of advice. You just may find a study group mentor. At worst, you'll find some helpful hints or observe how it's done.

    You'll want to consider refreshments. If you can get the school to sponsor your study group sessions as a club, that's ideal. You don't want to pay out of pocket for everybody's refreshments. You shouldn't pay to be able to study. If you can't get the school to cover it, consider asking students to bring their own refreshments or bring money to split a pizza. A pizza split among students will probably cost each one only a couple of bucks.

    Also set a time frame as part of the plan. You don't want to study for thirty minutes, then have everybody part ways. Not much will get done in a short time frame, yet you also don't want it to go on all night. Set a time frame of how long the study group will last. Knowing this will encourage student participation as well as students are often worried about scheduling.

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    Pick a Location for your College Study Group

    There are many potential places to hold your study group. Convenience to most students is what should be first in your mind when making this decision. If you get funding and support for your study groups from the school, you may be able to use an extra room for studying. You may also be able to use communal rooms and spaces at your dorm or in the library. This makes it very convenient for students who are living on campus.

    You may also opt to have your study group in the college cafeteria where poor students on a meal plan can be refreshed while learning as well. Having it in the cafeteria will likely inspire other students to join in as well. The drawback to this scenario is that some students will also be easily distracted there as friends may come and go, tempting them with small talk and alternate plans that may break up the study group. The loud noise in a college cafeteria can also majorly distract from the fun. A local inexpensive pizzeria or diner may also be an option.

    Your college campus may support meeting in the library for a study group, but the noise in a study group can get to be too much for a library. Ask your librarian if study groups are welcome in the library, especially during the evening hours. She'll be able to let you know if the group would be welcome and what its restrictions would be.

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    Bringing Everything Together

    Once you have a set time, a plan for the evening, and a location set, you are ready to get the word out about your study group. You should have it meet once a week so that it doesn't get too overwhelming and that should be clear on any advertisements made for the group. Create a flier and postcard layout to get the word out. You want it to clearly state the study group, the subject, the time it starts and how long it will be, the location and what the student should bring (if anything). Also post it on campus online message boards, and spread the word through telling classmates and friends.

    Be sure to include your name and email on the flier. Be ready and willing to answer questions about the study group for students. You want to encourage a crowd to your study group, but you also want to carefully manage it. Keep on topic during every college study group meeting by making a list of things that should be covered in each study group based on what is due in class the coming week.

    With these tips, organizing a college study group will be easy, fun, and beneficial to you and other group members.