CAP End of Term Advice for Students

If you receive notice (by email and printed letter) that the CAP has deferred review of your record to its Deferred Action Meetings, respond right away. You and your advisor have only a few days to gather information and prepare a written statement. See If Your Review is Deferred for details. 

If the CAP has made a final decision (reported to you by email and printed letter), use advice on this pages to understand and respond constructively. 

Academic Warning

Responding constructively to Academic Warning involves five tasks. Working consistently at all five should produce a satisfactory record in your next term, and that takes you off Warning. The five tasks are:

  • Keep in touch with your advisor and your department’s undergraduate academic administrator. Contact your advisor weekly, in person or by email or telephone. In addition, you and your advisor should meet in person several times during the term. Also check in with your undergraduate administrator at the beginning, middle, and end of the term.
  • Reassess your study skills and time management.
  • Use support resources. MIT offers a wealth of staff and offices whose purpose is to help you succeed.
  • Observe the credit limit right from the start. Being on Warning means that you have a credit limit for your next term. This is not punishment, but a structure to help you focus your energy. The intention of the limit is to help you improve your time management and study skills, to prevent you from over-committing yourself—and to provide a safe space in which to demonstrate that you can meet MIT’s minimum standards. It is much safer to catch up during IAP, summer, or later terms, once you’re off Warning. The usual Warning Credit Limit is four subjects, 48-51 units. First-year students are strictly limited to 48 units. 
  • Do your best in each subject. Being on Warning means that you must reassess and change your priorities. Academics must come first. That’s not to say that you have to quit all extracurriculars and study around the clock. No one can, and it’s unhealthy anyway. But:
    • Set up your schedule to attend every lecture, every recitation, every office hour.
      • Set aside the right number of study hours (the third number in the unit count in MIT’s subject listings).
      • Only then, add in time for a job, a club, or a sport (notice the singular), and recreation. 
    • Stick to your schedule, and you have every chance of compiling a satisfactory record at the end of your next term. Then you’ll be off Warning and on track toward finishing your degree.
Communication Requirement Warning
  • There are two different credit limits for Communication Requirement Warnings:
    • C: You must take an appropriate CI subject, and may take up to four additional subjects. Your total units should be no more than 60.
    • CC and WC: You must take an appropriate CI subject, and may take up to three additional subjects. Your total units should be no more than 51. 
  • The most direct way to respond to a Communication Requirement (CR) Warning is to take and pass an appropriate CI subject.
    • Contact the Communication Requirement advisor (, to discuss your individual circumstances and your plan to fulfill the CR, including whether or not a petition to the Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement (SOCR) is appropriate.
  • The CAP will not rescind a CR Warning on the basis of an approved SOCR petition, but may look more favorably on a petition to exceed the credit limit.
  • As with Academic Warning, you are not allowed to register over your credit limit and cut back by Drop Date. You must register within your credit limit at the beginning of the term. You may shop a couple of others in the first two weeks and drop/add then, but make the hard decisions no later than the end of the second week and settle down to work on the number of subjects allowed by your limit. 
Required Academic Leave

While a Required Academic Leave takes effect immediately, you are given a reasonable amount of time to prepare to leave campus. During that time, you should:

  • Contact a dean in Student Support Services (S3 immediately. If you have already been working with a particular dean, that dean will continue to work with you on the processes of taking leave and requesting return. If you have not yet connected with S3, staff there will assign you to a dean who will follow you through the processes of taking leave and requesting return.
    • Your S3 dean will help you work through the steps needed to take leave from the Institute. These include contact with Student Financial Services (term bill and financial aid), Housing, Student Health Insurance, and, if applicable, the International Students Office. For details, see the S3 website
    • The CAP’s letter reporting the Required Academic Leave will also explain the actions you need to take while away in order to qualify for return to MIT. It is important to understand these before you leave campus so that you will spend your time away constructively and resolve the issues that prevented your academic success. You may ask your advisor and S3 dean to help you understand the CAP’s expectations. See the S3 website for more on the process of requesting return.
  • Contact your advisor and discuss:
    • What you’ve learned from the process of CAP review
    • How you plan to spend your time away, including coursework at another institution. What courses should you take in your major field or to prepare for other requirements? Should you seek transfer credit? Would an internship be helpful?
    • How you hope to solve the problems that led to your Required Academic Leave.
  • Staying involved: You may continue to consult your advisor, S3 dean, and other MIT staff while on Required Academic Leave, as well as participate in some aspects of the MIT community. See the statement on Community Involvement While On Leave
Vote of No Action

The CAP occasionally takes no formal action on a review that was deferred for more information. In many cases your home department issues a Departmental Warning instead, which does not appear on either internal or external records. 

Pay attention to a Departmental Warning. It is meant as both a wake-up call, reminding you that you have not met minimum standards, and an offer of help, pointing you toward people and offices that can help you improve your performance. A second consecutive record below minimum standards may well produce a formal CAP action.