Through my years here at Front Range Community College, I have discovered a variety of resources and useful tools that have helped me achieve academic success. Of all of them, though, study groups have been the most beneficial—hands down.
Think study groups aren’t for you?
You may have a laundry list of reasons why you don’t think study groups are right for you. I know I did! I thought I worked better on my own. I had no idea how to join one. I was on top of the course work, so what was the point? But I quickly learned that the benefits far outweighed my doubts and hesitations. And so I am here with my top 10 reasons why everyone (including you!) would benefit from a study group and how to start or join a successful one.
1. Something you don’t understand could be crystal clear to another student (and vice versa) and they can help explain it in a way that the professor or textbook can’t.
Instead of spending hours alone trying to grasp every element of the material, simply talking through a concept and exchanging ideas with other students can bring a clarity that wouldn’t be found by individual studying or in the classroom alone.
2. Many times, study groups are more effective than one-on-one tutoring.
In a one-on-one environment, you can start to depend on the tutor to show you the answer instead of figuring out how to get there for yourself. In study groups, you work together to find your way to the solution.
3. Study groups hold you accountable.
At home, it’s easy to get distracted and put things off. When other people are counting on you, you are more likely to show up and put in the effort. It also guarantees that you are setting aside at least x amount of time each week to work on the class.
4. They’re free!
Tutors can cost money. Having to retake a course costs money. College is already expensive enough; why not take advantage of a FREE resource that can end up saving you money in the long run?
5. Life happens.
If you do miss a class or two or forget an assignment, you have a support system already in place to help you get caught back up & fill you in on what you missed.
6. Forming a study group, especially early, helps to ensure you won’t fall behind or get lost.
The semester only gets harder as it goes along. Study groups make it less overwhelming.
7. Explaining something to someone else is the best way to make sure you completely get it.
By helping others learn, you are further ingraining the knowledge in your own brain and as you explain concepts, you will recognize gaps in your understanding that need to be further examined.
8. Study groups can lead to friendships and connections that last long after the class is over.
The people in your groups will often be in your same degree program and, as a result, you may find many common interests that lead to deeper friendships outside of school, or even industry connections down the road.
9. Study groups expose you to new ways of studying, looking at, and learning the material.
When I first came back to school, I was hesitant of study groups. I studied alone and a lot. I was working harder, not smarter. Being exposed to others’ homework routines and studying techniques has significantly cut down the amount of time it takes me to prepare for class.
10. Study groups are great practice for our careers.
We’re most likely going to be regularly working in groups of our coworkers. Why not start now?
Tips for a Successful Study Group
The earlier, the better! Study groups are most successful as a tool to stay ahead of the material. That’s why, even if you don’t feel like you “need” a study group, early in the semester is the best time to get involved in one!
Find an area with plenty of room, where you can discuss the material freely without having to worry about being disturbed or easily distracted. I have had groups that met at coffee shops. But between the crowds and spotty Wi-Fi, I quickly realized that wasn’t the best choice. For FRCC students, my recommendation is to utilize one of the amazing student spaces FRCC offers on their campuses.
I am personally partial to the College Hill Library on the Westminster Campus. They offer quiet study rooms with whiteboards and easy access to the Math and Writing Center. If you’re looking to hook up to a monitor or stay closer to your classrooms, the Student Organization Center and the new study rooms on the B Level by the Computer Commons have all the amenities you’ll need. Study rooms are sometimes hard to come by, but you can always use the numerous sitting areas perfect for groups scattered around campus that offer the comfort & electrical outlets you need.
The easiest way I found to start or join a study group is to utilize Front Range’s Academic Support Centers. Not only do they match you to other students in the same classes wanting to participate, they can schedule a study room for your weekly meeting. If that sounds like something you are interested in, you can find more information for Boulder County’s Student Success Center, Larimer’s Academic Labs, and Westminster’s Academic Success Center.