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 6 and thereafter.
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.
You will be copied on any Fifth Week Flags to your advisees, as will the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming (UAAP).
- Dean Elizabeth Young follows up each flag with an individual email to the student, copied to you, with the exhortation to be proactive in seeking help from a list of resources.
- The UAAP will also forward a list of flagged students to Housemasters and the list of varisty athletes to those athletic coaches who have been trained in how to help students respond to flags.
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.
- Timeliness for getting help is critical. At this point, it is still early enough in the term for students to take steps to improve their performance. Freshmen who take aggressive steps to address the underlying problems are far more likely to pass the flagged subject.
- See Advising a Freshman with Multiple Flags for advice and links to resources designed to assist struggling students.
- To get a clearer understanding of what your advisee needs to do to pass the subject, you are encouraged to be in direct contact with the TA or faculty member who sent the Flag. See the list of Freshman Lecturers for instructor contact information.
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.
- Please agressively reach out to your advisee. UAAP expects the student to send you a concrete plan for improvement in both subjects within 48 hours (2 days) of the second flag.
- The student needs to assess the obstacles to his/her performance and formulate a plan for recovery, using the Self-Assessment tool posted on the Class of 2018 site.
- Your guidance in this process is critical to help the student set realistic goals for recovery. Look the plan over and help the student determine whether or not it is possible to achieve the outcome.
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.