if you are warned
Here is what you need to know if the Committee on Academic Performance votes a formal Warning on your term record at either the Grades Meeting or a Deferred Action Meeting:
For further information, contact CAP's Staff Associate (see Contact).
You, your advisor, and your department's undergraduate office will be notified of a Warning vote by email soon after the Committee meets. You, your advisor, and your department will also receive a printed letter confirming the vote. This letter is mailed to your term address in January and your permanent address in June. You can update these addresses in your Biographic Record on WebSIS. You may also ask CAP's Staff Associate (see Contact) not to mail a letter to your permanent address.
Warning status appears on your internal record with the code "W" next to the word "Academic", following the term's grades on your WebSIS Grade Report. CAP actions, including Warning, never appear on external records.
A few medical and other graduate schools ask in their application forms for information on "institutional actions". MIT does not consider CAP votes as institutional actions. Warning is a temporary internal status used for advising purposes. You should not report Warning status to another institution.
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. It challenges you to prove that you can make satisfactory progress toward your degree and meet the Institute's minimum expectation during the rest of your terms. It also prevents you from overloading in a misguided effort to make up for failed or dropped subjects: it is much safer to catch up during IAP, summer, or later terms, once you're off Warning.
The Warning Credit Limit for upperclass students is four subjects, 48-51 units. First-year students are strictly limited to 48 units. Occasionally CAP will impose a higher or lower limit based on department request; this will be stated in the Committee's email and letter reporting the Warning. It is also possible to petition the Committee to exceed the Warning Credit Limit, but such petitions are rarely approved. See the Warning Credit Limit page elsewhere on this site for more information.
How to Respond to Warning
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 with your advisor and your department's undergraduate academic administrator.
- Reassess your study skills and time management.
- Use support resources.
- Observe the credit limit right from the start.
- Do your best in each subject.
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 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, and check in with your undergraduate academic administrator at the beginning, middle, and end of the term. You and your advisor should meet on this schedule:
- Before Registration Day, to discuss a realistic recovery schedule: see Observe the Credit Limit below.
- Face-to-face again in the second full week of the term, to decide whether you need to adjust your registration.
- Then keep in touch each week, in person or by email or phone: share good news when you have it, ask for help when you don't.
- Get together in person at midterm: discuss a possible drop if you are struggling in one subject.
- Resume weekly contact until you receive your grades.
- Then meet face-to-face one more time to celebrate or plan your next steps, depending on your record.
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.
Start with the Learning to Learn site, maintained by the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming (UAAP). The Teaching Yourself to Learn section begins with tools for assessing your current practice. Once you have that data, use the following sections to evaluate and improve the times and places you study, make use of study groups, learn better note-taking and reading skills, and use time more efficiently. UAAP staff will be glad to consult with you individually as well: stop by 7-104, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 617-253-6771. Also ask your advisor to help you upgrade your study methods: advisors were students once, and their experiences can help you.
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
As a student on Warning, 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:
- Set up your schedule to attend every lecture, every recitation, every office hour.
- Set aside the right number of study hours (the third number in the unit count in MIT's subject listings).
- Only then, add in time for a job, a club, a sport (notice the singular), and recreation.
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.
How to Respond to a Communication Requirement Warning
The most direct way to respond to a Communication Requirement (CR) Warning is to take and pass an appropriate CI subject.
To discuss your individual circumstances and your plan to fulfill the CR, including whether or not a petition to the Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement (SOCR) is appropriate, please contact the Communication Requirement Office (email@example.com, room 12-126, 617-253-2313).
CAP will not rescind a CR Warning on the basis of an approved SOCR petition; it may, however, look more favorably on a petition to exceed the credit limit.