MITCommittee on Academic Performance

End of Term Academic Review: Responding to Academic Warning

Here is advice on how to respond constructively if the Committee on Academic Performance votes a formal Warning on your term record at its End of Term Review. See the main End of Term Review page for general information on how the Committee reached this decision.

Responding constructively to Academic Warning involves five tasks. Working consistently at all five should produce a satisfactory record in your next term, and that takes you off Warning. The five tasks are:

Keep in Touch

Your advisor and your department's undergraduate education staff (faculty officer and academic administrator) are the people who reviewed your record and recommended action to the CAP. They did this in hopes of seeing you get back on track toward your degree. They care about you, they are ready to help, and they have helped many students succeed in the past.

Contact your advisor weekly, in person or by email or telephone. In addition, you and your advisor should meet in person several times during the term:

Also check in with your undergraduate administrator at the beginning, middle, and end of the term.

Reassess Your Study Skills

A vote of Warning is a clear wake-up call: your study skills and use of time have not produced the desired result, a satisfactory record. The scientific method requires that you examine, then change, the inputs in order to achieve a better result next term.

Ask your advisor to help you upgrade your study methods: advisors were students once, and their experiences can help you.

Use the Center for Academic Excellence site to assess your current practice and gather advice on improving it. UAAP staff will be glad to consult with you individually as well: stop by 7-104, email acadex@mit.edu, or phone 617-253-6771.

Use Support Services

MIT offers a wealth of staff and offices whose purpose is to help you succeed. Your tuition dollars are paying their salaries: use their services. Check out Resources for Improving Your Performance elsewhere on this site for descriptions and contact links.

Observe the Credit Limit

Being on Warning means that you have a credit limit for your next term. This is not punishment but a structure to help you focus your energy. The intention of the limit is to help you improve your time management and study skills, to prevent you from over-committing yourself—and to provide a safe space in which to demonstrate that you can meet MIT's minimum standards. It is much safer to catch up during IAP, summer, or later terms, once you're off Warning.

The usual Warning Credit Limit is four subjects, 48-51 units. First-year students are strictly limited to 48 units.

You are not allowed to overload and cut back by Drop Date. The Credit Limit requires you to register for no more than four subjects at the beginning of the term. Shop a couple of others in the first two weeks and drop/add then, but make the hard decisions no later than the end of the second week and settle down to work on your four subjects. Entering a subject any later puts you behind from the start, and that's no way to get off Warning.

With your advisor, choose a balance between GIRs and subjects in your major. Include one HASS subject, both to keep up with the requirement and to give you some relief from technical subjects. Decide on the best time to take your next CI subject. And finally...

Do Your Best

Being on Warning means that you must reassess and change your priorities. Academics must come first. That's not to say that you have to quit all extracurriculars and study around the clock. No one can, and it's unhealthy anyway. But:

Stick to your schedule, and you have every chance of compiling a satisfactory record at the end of your next term. Then you'll be off Warning and on track toward finishing your degree.