Accountability Groups for Grad Students

bird's eye view of a study group table with several laptops and snacks

Joining an accountability group or forming one of your own is an effective strategy for getting writing done and for making progress on large projects. By meeting at set times and giving everyone a chance to report their progress and goals, accountability groups leverage social commitment, provide structure, and help ensure students focus on tasks they might otherwise avoid. 

Common Features of Accountability Groups

  • Groups decide in advance how many times to meet per week, usually one to five times.
  • Sessions are scheduled for a predetermined block of time, usually one to four hours with planned breaks when work time exceeds 45 minutes.
  • Participants usually share goals at the start of a session, work silently together or separately, and then reconvene to report progress toward goals or plans for next steps.
  • Accountability groups are welcoming and non-competitive.

If you want to join an existing accountability group or create one of your own, try one of these options:  

ARC Graduate Student Accountability Groups

  • ARC Academic Coaches facilitate several accountability groups each semester.
  • The groups meet at set times for about 60 minutes with 45 minutes of focused, quiet work bounded by brief check-ins where students report their progress and goals.
  • The groups currently meet via Zoom, and participants are free to work with their cameras on or off, or to go offline during the work period.
  • To register for an Accountability Group at the ARC, log into the ARC Scheduler with your HarvardKey.
  • If you do not see an ARC coach-led group that meets your needs, feel free to email Graduate Academic Coach Dorothy Bisbee with a request. Or please complete this short survey and note that you are seeking a coach-facilitated group.

ARC Productivity to PhD Accountability Groups for Dissertation Writers

  • Productivity to PhD groups are held during the winter session and during other breaks to support students' intentions to make significant progress on their PhD work during breaks from classes and teaching.
  • These more intense groups meet five days per week for one or two weeks.
  • Participants share goals, progress, and often tips at check-ins and check-outs.
  • ARC Coaches facilitate. 
  • Productivity to PhD groups are normally announced a few weeks before the semester break. To register, please log into the ARC Scheduler with your HarvardKey

Student-Led Accountability Groups

  • The ARC is here to empower students to create lasting accountability by helping them connect with prospective accountability group leaders or form their own accountability groups.
  • The ARC is currently using a list-serve to help students make these connections.
  • To ensure fairness and inclusivity, all student group leaders using the ARC list-serve agree to admit, space permitting, any graduate student eligible for ARC services.
  • All group leaders using the ARC list-serve must have participated in at least three weeks of an Accountability Group facilitated by an ARC Academic Coach.
  • Students interested in leading or joining one of these groups or recruiting new members should complete this brief survey.
    • The ARC will get back to you shortly, generally within 48 hours or less.
    • If you do not hear back within a few days or have other questions, please email ARC Graduate Academic Coach Dorothy Bisbee.
  • Please Note: Student-led groups operate independently of the ARC. The ARC does not assume liability or responsibility for any problems arising from a student-led group.

GSAS Writing Oasis Accountability Groups

  • Hosted by the Fellowships & Writing Center (FWC).
  • Some groups are facilitated by FWC staff and others are autonomous.
  • The groups are offered in a variety of formats based on interest, schedules, and time zones.

Learn More

If your student organization would like help with creating an accountability group, please contact us!

Email the ARC team

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