Massachusetts Institute of Technology: For Advisors
The First Year at MIT

Advising Right Now: Advising Students Mid-Term

Mid-term is a good time for freshmen to assess study habits and skills while it is still early enough in the term to adjust their learning strategies.

Assessing Academic Performance

A Fifth Week Flag is a clear indication for action and improvement, but even advisees who have not been flagged will benefit from assessing their progress to date. What is going well? What is not working? What does a student need to adjust or tweak to bring performance up?

A first step may be for any advisee to assess where s/he stands in all subjects. There is a mandatory Academic Self-Assessment and Recovery Plan form that multi-flagged freshmen must submit. However, the most important piece of the self-assessment exercise is to develop a reasonable plan to improve performance; the Sample Academic Recovery Plan has some common "action steps" that any student might find helpful.

The Center for Academic Excellence website has comprehensive information and advice on time management, best practices for maximizing lectures/recitations, studying, test-taking strategies, tutoring resources, and videos featuring advice from MIT Students. The ACADEX site also has the current schedule of study sessions, workshops, and events to help students succeed.

See Fifth Week Flags and Beyond for more information about helping struggling freshmen.

Thinking ahead to IAP and Beyond


It is not mandatory for freshmen to be on campus in January for IAP (Independent Activities Period). However, IAP is a unique opportunity for freshmen to explore both their educational and extra-curricular interests in a relaxed atmosphere, with more than 600 non-credit IAP offerings. The IAP website is updated with new activities and subjects starting in early November and continuing through the IAP period

Some freshmen will want to take a class for credit. All students are limited to no more than 12 units of academic credit during IAP.

Encourage Major Exploration

Many freshmen are already considering their departmental majors. You can help advisees to examine their academic interests, experiences and goals and encouraging them to explore options during IAP and spring. Don't forget to engage your associate advisor, who can offer the student perspective on the day-to-day experience in a given department and potentially connect advisees to other students in majors they may be considering. Major Exploration resources include:

Detailed major exploration information will be posted to the Class of 2018 site later this fall.