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

Advising Right Now: To Drop a Subject or Not? Helping the Student Make the Decision

Have your advisees taken on more than they might be able to successfully manage this semester? It is easy for second term freshmen to become overwhelmed. Spring term often proves to be more challenging than expected, especially if the student has not developed good study habits and strong time management skills. Freshmen tend to be more ambitious in the spring by exploring options and taking risks. Classes now cover brand-new material. Many freshmen are taking on a UROP, or a leadership position in their living group or club, and/or participating in a varsity sport for the first time.

So, if someone is feeling inundated, here are some important things for you and your advisee to consider in making the decision to drop a class or not:

When to Make the Decision to Drop

Drop Date is Thursday, April 21, ten weeks into the term.

It is important to encourage anyone who is thinking about dropping a class to do so well before this tenth week deadline. Waiting until the semester is nearly over may mean that the student winds up failing not only the class in question but possibly also bringing down his/her performance in other subjects.

What is the "Big Picture"?

How many subjects is the student struggling in?

Assessing the pros and cons of keeping or dropping a subject.

Some issues to consider:

If you or your advisee needs help with thinking through this decision, some helpful resources include the Instructor or TA teaching the subject in question; your associate advisor; your UAAP Advising Consultant or Dean Elizabeth Young in UAAP, x3-6786.