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

Advising Right Now: Fifth Week Flags and Beyond

Your first inkling that an advisee is not doing well may be an e-mail Fifth Week Flag, sent the week of October 12 and thereafter.

What is a Fifth Week Flag

A Fifth Week Flags is an early warning message sent by faculty, instructors, or TAs to individual freshmen whose work is below a C level at the end of the fifth week, after the first round of quizzes and exams. Remember that "C" is the passing grade for freshmen.

You can see the schedule of First Year Core Quiz Dates on the Registrar's website.

Fifth Week Flags Process

You will be copied on any Fifth Week Flags to your advisees, as will the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming (UAAP).

Advising a Flagged Freshman

As the advisor, please be in immediate touch with any flagged advisee to encourage her/him to engage resources. It is important for the student to advocate for him/herself by meeting immediately with the TA or Recitation Instructor to discuss strategies for improving academic performance.

URGENT: Advising a Freshman Who Receives Two or More Flags

Multiple Fifth Week Flags are serious; they are predictors for review at the end of the semester by the faculty Committee on Academic Performance.

Dennis Freeman, Dean for Undergraduate Education, will follow up with his own email to every freshman with more than one flag. His message will also strongly encourage the student to take advantage of helping resources. One of the most important is to immediately join Seminar XL Limited Edition, a program sponsored by the Office of Minority Education.

To Drop a Subject or Not: Helping the Student Make the Decision

If the student has gotten so far behind that his/her performance in one subject is endangering success in the others, discuss the option of dropping one class in order to pass the other three subjects.

See To Drop a Subject or Not? Making the Decision for advice and information.