How long before dropping an unresponsive student?

How long before dropping an unresponsive student?

Owl Identified Owl Identified
Hello there, fellow mentors! I was reading a recent post about dropping an unresponsive student and I noticed there was a difference in opinion about how long to wait to hear from a student before doing so. I do not mind a class taking weeks, or even over a month to reach completion if the student is busy or has a schedule that conflicts with mine. However, I like to hear from students semi-regularly in that time (usually once a week). I take the onus on myself to contact students weekly or even more often than that if the students are responsive and seem to like corresponding. Some students are not very communicative, or may suddenly drop off of the face of the earth it seems! If I do not hear from my student after two or three weeks, I become a bit frustrated.

My question is a two-parter:

How long should you wait for an unresponsive student to reply to private messages before canceling their class or failing them? Additionally, should etiquette vary from mentor to mentor? There are no clear guidelines that I know of for this, so I'm not entirely sure. For me, not hearing from a student for two or three weeks is a long time, but others may not agree.
Answers (private voting - your screen name will NOT appear in the results):
It is appropriate to wait only one week before dropping/canceling a class
1
Two weeks
19
Three weeks
2
A month
6
More than a month
2
AND I feel that these guidelines should be strictly and universally followed by all mentors
2
I feel that these guidelines should vary from mentor to mentor, but not much
9
I feel these guidelines may vary widely from mentor to mentor
11
Total votes: 52 (34 voters)
Poll is closed
09/07/2011
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Kindred Kindred
I've waited several months before cancelling a class, and that is only after several attempts to contact them through messages. While I can understand how it could be frustrating for mentors, I don't let it bother me. The way I look at it is that it has no effect on me. As far as I know, we are only limited in the number of students we can accept in a 30 day period. We are not limited in the number of students we can have at any particular time. So personally, I'm willing to give the student a lot of leeway and the benefit of the doubt. I think it's fine for mentors to have differing "rules" as far as dropping students. However, to be fair, students should be made aware of any guidelines and/or expectations from a mentor beforehand. It's not fair to make up rules as situations arise. I try to clearly outline my expectations in a private message when I first accept a student.
09/07/2011
Owl Identified Owl Identified
Quote:
Originally posted by Kindred
I've waited several months before cancelling a class, and that is only after several attempts to contact them through messages. While I can understand how it could be frustrating for mentors, I don't let it bother me. The way I look at it ...
I am under the impression that we can only have three students at any given time, as this was my understanding when I began the program. Is this not true? If it isn't, it makes less of a difference to me whether or not a student takes weeks in responding.

I also don't have any situation at hand where this is an issue; I have two awesome students currently, one of whom is in regular contact and the other who is usually in regular contact but hasn't been in touch lately (only for 10 days though). I'm speaking purely hypothetically as it has happened to me in the past and it seems to happen to other mentors as well. I'm trying to get a sense of the protocol regarding it, although from what I can see there perhaps isn't one.
09/07/2011
Kindred Kindred
Quote:
Originally posted by Owl Identified
I am under the impression that we can only have three students at any given time, as this was my understanding when I began the program. Is this not true? If it isn't, it makes less of a difference to me whether or not a student takes weeks in ...
I was not aware of any such limitation, but perhaps there is a glitch in the system. However, I currently have 9 active students enrolled, and looking at the list of mentors, there are many who have more than 3 current students.
09/07/2011
Jul!a Jul!a
Quote:
Originally posted by Owl Identified
I am under the impression that we can only have three students at any given time, as this was my understanding when I began the program. Is this not true? If it isn't, it makes less of a difference to me whether or not a student takes weeks in ...
You can only accept 5 in a 30 day period, but you can have more than that in your class at one time.
09/07/2011
Antipova Antipova
I think it would be nice if there was an explicit protocol, but on the other hand I guess it makes sense to let fast-paced students find a fast-paced mentor. (Personally I don't mind waiting a few weeks or more in between my students submitting reviews (as long as I know they haven't forgotten about Eden completely), but I know some mentors like to work at a quick clip.)

Since there's not a protocol, I've been outlining what I hope/expect in the message before accepting the student. I actually have a student who's currently MIA, and I made sure to send her both an inbox message and a wall message (since I know default messaging settings don't send emails for inbox messages).

I guess personally I would favor a protocol (with flexibility, of course)---just a simple way to say "The community standard is that I'd like to hear from you at minimum every two weeks" with flexibility to add "and personally I like to hear from you much more often than that!" or "but if life gets in the way don't worry, I'm a laid-back mentor" as the mentor sees fit. Then the students could have a little more idea of whether the mentor they picked is a good fit.
09/07/2011
Owl Identified Owl Identified
Quote:
Originally posted by Jul!a
You can only accept 5 in a 30 day period, but you can have more than that in your class at one time.
Ah! Perfect. I don't think I could turn out 5 students in 30 days anyway, but I thought we could only have three at any given moment. This was why I was curious about what to do should a situation of an unresponsive student arise. As you and Kindred have noted though, I suppose there'd be no issue in letting a class idle for a month or so just to give the student the benefit of the doubt. Thanks for your help, guys Again, in case either of my students happen upon this - don't worry! Strictly a hypothetical question!
09/07/2011
Owl Identified Owl Identified
Quote:
Originally posted by Antipova
I think it would be nice if there was an explicit protocol, but on the other hand I guess it makes sense to let fast-paced students find a fast-paced mentor. (Personally I don't mind waiting a few weeks or more in between my students submitting ...
Until now I hadn't thought of outlining anything regarding how often I expect to hear from a student, but I think in the future I will do that just to err on the side of caution. I think it might work as a safeguard against misunderstandings in the future - both for students and myself.
09/07/2011
Coralbell Coralbell
I think it's fine for every mentor to come up with their own timeline. There are no rules set by EF on how to to run the class, and I think it's good to let everyone choose their own style.

I have no problem with a student taking a couple of months to complete the class, but I expect them to keep me updated regularly on their progress. I let them know that in the initial message I send.

If I don't hear anything for 2 weeks I send a message checking in. A week after that I send a warning message that if I don't hear from them I will cancel the class. Then I wait another week, and if I still haven't heard I will cancel the class. I think a month in total is plenty of time to expect someone to get back to me.

The majority of the time I never hear anything back, but I have had some students reply with reasons why they weren't able to respons, or why they aren't able to work on the review for a while. I'm totally fine with that, I just want to be kept in the loop.
09/07/2011
Kindred Kindred
Quote:
Originally posted by Owl Identified
Until now I hadn't thought of outlining anything regarding how often I expect to hear from a student, but I think in the future I will do that just to err on the side of caution. I think it might work as a safeguard against misunderstandings in ...
I have a standard message that I tweak and send each time. I assumed most editors did this. I wonder if it would be helpful for all mentors that do have a standard first message to post them for all of us to benefit?
09/07/2011
Owl Identified Owl Identified
Quote:
Originally posted by Kindred
I have a standard message that I tweak and send each time. I assumed most editors did this. I wonder if it would be helpful for all mentors that do have a standard first message to post them for all of us to benefit?
No, I definitely don't have a standard message! I usually write a different one each time depending one what the student's original message to me was. I would definitely love to see what your format is, as well as anyone else's; I think this is a great idea. It might be helpful for me (and probably others) to save a template to my computer and make one of my own from that. We could possibly consider the idea of creating a community standard template that all mentors would receive that they could feel free to use if they didn't want to type their own? I'd be willing to help craft this. It could be a concise message with links to important resources, a brief explanation of how the program works, and then mentors could feel free to tack on any of their personal expectations?
09/07/2011
Owl Identified Owl Identified
Quote:
Originally posted by Coralbell
I think it's fine for every mentor to come up with their own timeline. There are no rules set by EF on how to to run the class, and I think it's good to let everyone choose their own style.

I have no problem with a student taking a ...
I like your time line a lot. I will be borrowing this for future students! Thank you for posting it
09/07/2011
Jul!a Jul!a
I'm really horrible about remembering how long students have been inactive in my classes. Whenever I remember to, I go through and check out my student list and see who I've been hearing from and who I haven't. I'll send a message to everybody being all "hey, haven't heard from you in a while, still interested in finishing the class?" and if I don't hear back in a week or so, I'll send another that says something like "hey, if I don't hear from you by this date, I'm going to have to cancel our class." I don't mind the slow paced students since I'm a little slow paced myself, and I've had one student since October or November. He's been really busy with school and finding a job and all that and he responds when I message him, even if he sometimes forgets to check in on his own. I've gotta go through my students again soon I think lol.
09/08/2011
sexyintexas sexyintexas
I too think that they should be able to take as long as they want and need to complete a class. I'm sure this was on my question lol, it has been a month with no contact from them at all. I've sent messages, the last one asking them to contact me and just let me know that they are still here. I haven't dropped them yet. I will hold off and give them a little more time to respond. I don't want to drop someone if they have a reason for not being able to be on here.
09/08/2011
Owl Identified Owl Identified
Quote:
Originally posted by sexyintexas
I too think that they should be able to take as long as they want and need to complete a class. I'm sure this was on my question lol, it has been a month with no contact from them at all. I've sent messages, the last one asking them to ...
Hah, yup! I posted this after reading your other post because it made me curious about what the protocol was. I think the consensus here is that it doesn't matter how long a student needs to finish the class, but that it's important that they stay in contact. How long it should take them to get in contact is another story though, and it seems we all have different ideas of how that should work. I think most mentors though want to give students the benefit of the doubt and are willing to work around their schedules, but need to know that students are still interested in the class.
09/08/2011
Kindred Kindred
Quote:
Originally posted by Owl Identified
No, I definitely don't have a standard message! I usually write a different one each time depending one what the student's original message to me was. I would definitely love to see what your format is, as well as anyone else's; I think ...
I created a thread for any mentor to post their standard greeting message to new students: link

I didn't want to derail your thread.
09/08/2011
Jobthingy Jobthingy
Quote:
Originally posted by Owl Identified
Until now I hadn't thought of outlining anything regarding how often I expect to hear from a student, but I think in the future I will do that just to err on the side of caution. I think it might work as a safeguard against misunderstandings in ...
I always tell them that I expect to hear from them, I will respond, and I even tell them that if I am going to be away for a period of a few days, I will let them know.

I also wait about a month from when they first don't respond. So say I send a message on the 14th with no response, by the 14th of the following month I will cancel the class. I will warn them though about a week prior with something like "I have not heard from you in a while, could you get back to me and tell me if you are still interested in the class. If I do not hear from you, I will assume you are not. Take care."
09/08/2011
sexyintexas sexyintexas
Quote:
Originally posted by Kindred
I created a thread for any mentor to post their standard greeting message to new students: link

I didn't want to derail your thread.
Awesome! Thanks Kindred!
09/08/2011
sexyintexas sexyintexas
Quote:
Originally posted by Owl Identified
Hah, yup! I posted this after reading your other post because it made me curious about what the protocol was. I think the consensus here is that it doesn't matter how long a student needs to finish the class, but that it's important that they ...
Agreed. I don't care if they stay all year with me as long as I know that they are still around.....hopefully it won't be a year though lol.
09/08/2011
~LaUr3n~ ~LaUr3n~
A month if there is no communication at all. That's my deadline for that.
09/09/2011
Ash1141 Ash1141
I said 2 weeks if there is no messaging or communication that entire time.
10/25/2011
Drakoni Drakoni
Speaking as a soon-to-be-student, I think that 2 weeks is fair. One week might be a bit too short if something comes up--especially for someone who has a busy schedule IRL, such as a college/grad student. I can't really see going more than 2 weeks without communicating with a mentor and not expecting to be dropped. It wastes the mentor's time to take up a spot for so long.
11/13/2011
unfulfilled unfulfilled
Popular mentors need the slots free so they can help others that want in their class. I'd say 2 weeks to a month without communication. If their life is crazy at the moment then they wouldn't have time to write 2 reviews anyway. They can always reconnect with you at a later point and request you again I suppose and explain why they weren't able to do it at that earlier time.
02/06/2012
Kindred Kindred
Quote:
Originally posted by unfulfilled
Popular mentors need the slots free so they can help others that want in their class. I'd say 2 weeks to a month without communication. If their life is crazy at the moment then they wouldn't have time to write 2 reviews anyway. They can ...
There is no limit as to how many active students a mentor can have. Mentors are only limited to accepting 5 students in a 30 day period. By cancelling a class, you do not get that slot back.
02/06/2012
Total posts: 24
Unique posters: 11