Advising Right Now: Fifth Week Flags and Beyond
Fifth Week Flags will be sent via email starting the week of March 9 and thereafter. A Fifth Week Flag is an early warning notice sent by faculty, instructors, or TAs to any freshman whose work, by the end of the fifth week, is below a C level. Remember that "C" is the passing grade for freshmen.
Both the freshman advisor and the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming (UAAP) are copied on the flag to the freshman.
- Dean Elizabeth Young will follow up with an individual email to the freshman, copy to the advisor, with encouragement to access timely help and advice to access help from a list of resources.
- The UAAP will also forward a list of flagged students to Housemasters and and to those athletic coaches who have been trained in how to help their varsity athletes respond to flags.
Please be in immediate touch with any flagged advisee to encourage her/him to engage resources right away.
- Timeliness for getting help is critical. At this stage, it is still early enough in the term for students to take steps to improve their performance. Let your advisees know that freshmen who get Fifth Week Flags and go for help are statistically far more likely to pass the subject in which they were flagged.
- See Helping Advisees Improve Performance for 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. Last year the ten freshmen who were asked to leave MIT had each received multiple flags in both semesters.
- We ask you to be aggressive in reaching out to your advisee. UAAP expects that your advisee will submit a Performance Self-Assessment and Recovery webform within 2 days (48 hours) to you with a a copy to Dean Elizabeth Young.
- 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. You can help your student assess his/her situation and focus on what s/he needs to do differently to improve performance now.
- If your student does not respond immediately, either your UAAP Advising Consultant or Elizabeth Young can help you to strategize how to reach the student.
- If the student is seriously considering dropping a class, s/he should drop well before Drop Date, which is 10 weeks into the term. Dropping the subject early may significantly increase the student's chances of success in his/her remaining classes. See more information on To Drop a Subject or Not: Helping the Student Make the Decision.
If you are copied on one or more Fifth Week Flags for an advisee who is currently on Warning, it is critical to be in immediate contact with both the student and with the TA or instructor in the subject(s) in question.
It is critical that your advisee pass at least three full subjects this semester to avoid end-of-term review by the Committee on Academic Performance and the possibility of being required to leave MIT.