Fifth Week Flags & Beyond


A Fifth Week Flag is an early warning email alert sent by the instructor of a class to any freshman whose work is below a grade of C at the fifth week. Flags will start to be sent during the week of October 9. Flags are sent via email to you from your instructor or TA, with a copy to your firstyear advisor, and a copy to the UAAP.

The Flag is an alert to let you and your advisor know that you need to improve your performance in one or more subjects at the point where there is still enough time in the term to do so. Fifth Week Flags are for your information; no notation is made on your internal or external record.

Fifth Week Flags Process

Respond to a Fifth Week Flag!

Approximately 18-20% of the firstyear class is flagged in any one term. But, you do need to take any flags seriously and proactively address the issue(s) affecting your performance. Do not wait until the end of the term to respond to a Fifth Week Flag - by then it will be too late. MIT subjects cannot be learned in the last few weeks of a term. Firstyear students who receive Fifth Week Flags and access resources are likely to go on to pass the subject(s) in which they were flagged.

  • Be in touch with your advisor, who will also want to know what steps you are taking.
  • Make an immediate appointment with your TA or recitation instructor to discuss ways in which you can improve your performance.
  • Go to subject review sessions. These are advertised in your subject syllabus.
  • Review the useful tips on time management, test-taking skills, finals prep, and other topics found on this site.
  • Take advantage of available tutoring resources.
  • If you still believe you are in serious trouble in a subject, and may possibly fail it, meet again with your advisor and instructor.
  • Make an appointment right away with Student Support Services. Whether you are struggling with any personal, social, academic, or mental health problems, the S3 deans can help you figure out the issues. If necessary, they will advocate on your behalf and/or direct you to other helping resources.
  • Make an appointment with Dean Elizabeth Young or one of UAAP's advising staff, firstyear-www@mit.edu, to get support and formulate a plan for recovery.
  • Use the Academic Performance Self-Assessment and Recovery webform to help you identify the issues affecting your performance. After checking off all the issues that apply to your situation, take some time to formulate a recovery plan. 

Two or More Flags: Make a Recovery Plan

If you receive two or more Fifth Week Flags, you need to take action on your own behalf to improve your performance. The UAAP wants you to not only assess the issues affecting performance, but also to formulate a written plan for improving performance. Be Proactive and note the steps below.

  1. You will en email strongly encouraging you to join the SEM.XL "Limited Edition," a program sponsored by the Office of Minority Education. This "Limited Edition" seminar has been specifically designed for firstyear students who receive multiple flags.
  2. You will be asked to formulate a recovery plan and to sent it to your advisor and Dean Elizabeth YoungComplete the Academic Performance Self-Assessment and Recovery webform to develop your plan or develop your own written assessment and recovery plan. If developing your own plan, it must be emailed to your firstyear advisor with a cc to Dean Elizabeth Young.
  3. Dean Young will simultaneously contact your firstyear advisor with similar instructions to urgently meet with you to discuss your plan.

You may need to consider dropping a flagged class in order to dedicate the necessary time and effort to pass your other subjects. Take a look at the information about making the decision to drop a subject or not.

You should also consult your advisor and/or Dean Elizabeth Young, in the UAAP, Room 7-103, firstyear-www@mit.edu, about your options.