How to convince your professor to accept late work/assignment submission

Convince your professor to accept late work

At the beginning of the semester students receive a syllabus from every professor with all the assignment due dates. If students are proactive, they should set up a calendar and reminder system for every class. Then it becomes up to the student to use effective time management skills to turn everything in on time.

However, that doesn’t always happen. When a student can’t make a deadline, it’s always worth contacting the professor to see if the assignment can still be submitted for a grade. Even if it isn’t accepted for full credit, it’s still advisable to put in the effort to get as many points as possible and to show the professor that the extension is appreciated.

Sometimes students complete their assignments on time, but they may miss the deadline due to various reasons such as last-minute changes, being absent etc. In that scenario, students can contact the professor to check whether they can submit the work.

Why do students fail to submit assignments on time

  • Due to some mix up regarding the deadline. 
  • Power cutoff in your locality.
  • You had some family emergency to attend to. 
  • Your laptop was out of order. 
  • Needed more time for research.
  • A professor wouldn’t trust you if you constantly keep making excuses regarding a submission. To gain the trust of the professor, submit the assignment in the new given time frame. 

Smart2write is here to help you out with your assignments and avoid missing any deadlines.

Steps to get your professor/teacher to accept your late assignments.

Acknowledge your mistake first

It is well known fact that if you start with justifying your mistake, it won’t end well. So acknowledge that you have made the mistake and there is no excuse for it. Be ready to accept any punishment which the professor may give you. Sometimes your professor may give you low grades. It is important not to react impulsively in that situation. If you remain calm, you may get a chance in the future to rectify your relationship and may be able to compensate in other ways.

Take personal responsibility. 

Professors appreciate the acknowledgement that deadlines were announced in advance. Also, taking personal responsibility shows a maturity level and an ownership of your actions.

Build Rapport with the Professor

Reach out to your professor if you are genuinely in trouble and if there is a serious reason for your late submission, chances are that he may understand your point of view. You can highlight to him the earlier situations in which you have done good work in his class and that this assignment is the only outlier. You can show that you are committed to being a model student and you won’t disappoint him. It helps if the assignment you have submitted late is of good quality.

Flatter Moderately

Well, a buttering up never hurts anyone. But you have to be careful that it does not come off as trying too hard without any substance or as being sarcastic. You can say that you love their class and the subject. Also be appreciative of the dedication of their teaching. Try to talk to the professor that you understand his point of view. It may cool down the professor and he may be ready to listen to your reasons for late submission.

Do more than expected

If you are expecting your professor to extend the time for submission, it is justified on the professor’s part to expect more of you. In return for accepting late submission, they may ask you to add more elements to the analysis and increase the depth of the assignment by adding relevant research. Whatever it is, accept their terms and try to finish the assignment with high quality. If you can delight your professor with your assignment, chances are that your grades will not get affected.

Keep excuses to a minimum

Not to be harsh, but sometimes the excuse doesn’t matter because there was such advanced notice about the deadline. Oftentimes, excuses just make the student look lazy even if that may not be the case at all.

Send Email to your professor

It is always better to contact the professor as soon as possible, if you find out that you are not going to be able to submit the assignment on time. If you do not have his phone number, you can send an official email or write a letter stating the conditions that you are in now and apologize for the incident, then request for time extension for submitting the assignment. Also, assure him that you would not repeat the same mistake again and that you would ensure that the assignment is submitted on time every time.

Emails which you send to your teacher or professor are not the same as the ones you would write to friends or family. They have to represent you as a mature and polite person who understands the value of the professor’s time.

Email Professor late assignment

Here are a few tips that will help you to write an excellent email to your professor:

  1. Keep it brief. There is no need to write a long and detailed letter — an explanation in 5-6 sentences will be enough.
  2. Be polite. When starting your letter, use your teacher’s full name and title — Mr. Murray, Dr. Murray, Professor Murray. If you want, you can also use the word “Dear.” At the end of the letter, use a complimentary close, such as: “Best regards, [your full name],” “Sincerely, [your full name],” etc.
  3. Make sure to use a correct email address from the syllabus or the official website.
  4. Always fill out the subject title correctly: “Missed paper deadline,” “Late assignment submission,” with your full name and your class and section information. This way your teacher will know who is writing and why.
  5. Ask permission to meet in person if necessary to set up another due date for your assignment.
  6. Apologize for your lateness. Express your regret for not being able to turn in your paper on time. But don’t repeat your excuses — deeds matter more than words.

Sample Excuse Letter Asking Time Extension for Submitting Assignment

From: Alexia Brown

Roll No: AAA

Batch NO: BBB


Professor Murray

Phycology department,

[ABC] College of arts and science,

Dear sir,

Subject: requesting to accept my apology for late submission of Phycology assignment

I write this letter with great guilt that I have missed the deadline for submitting the assignment. It was supposed to be submitted before three days. I regret my behaviour and sincerely apologize for the same. I regret that I have not planned my activities properly and did not foresee that i would lapse in submitting the assignment. I have got caught up in the cultural activities of the upcoming function in our department. I have been travelling outdoors to meet up with sponsors and doing fundraising.

But I have realized my mistake and have given my due diligence in completing the assignment which i have submitted along with this letter. Even though I had less time to complete it, I have ensured that the assignment meets the quality standard of yours and I am sure that you would find my efforts that have gone into preparing for this assignment.

I request you to accept my sincere apology and allow me to submit the assignment today. I assure you that this kind of lapses will not happen again. As i know that you take concerns about student’s academic grades, i promise you that I will excel in my grades and become a well-mannered student whom you can be proud of.

Yours sincerely,

Alexia Brown

Why should you Write a Late Assignment Email:

  • Inform the Professor: Informing the professor in advance that you will not be able to meet the deadline, rather than submitting it after the date has passed is always a good idea. It shows that you cared about the assignment and tried your best to complete it by the assigned date. 
  • Stating the Reason: When an unavoidable emergency comes up, you would want your professor to know about it. The professors do understand that juggling between certain emergencies is beyond a student’s scope. 
  • Request to Give an Extension: Once you are aware that you might not be able to complete the assignment on time, you would want the professor to give you an extension. This mail should contain the details regarding your reason for asking to get an extension, the overall progress you have made with the assignment and how much time might be required to complete it. 
  • An apology mail: Once you are past your deadline, it is important to draft an email addressing the same. An apology mail is required to be drafted to avoid losing out on your grades. The mail should be sincere and polite to get some leniency from the professor. 

Why try to convince your professor to accept late assignment

Better Late Than Never

Your professor is all human after all. You might be shocked to find they are understanding that you assume.

We all make mistakes, and missing a deadline is no biggie – so long as it does not become a habit.

The best thing you can do is to put effort into completing your assignment – even if it will be late. Many students could still have gotten partial credit for turning in their assignments past their due date. But they refused to do so because they thought that work wouldn’t be accepted.

Missing the missed deadline and filing to make an attempt to convince the professor to accept late work could mean many things to the professor:

  1. You don’t care about your grade
  2. You are too proud, arrogant and naive
  3. You are onto substance abuse which keeps you distracted and arrogant

Word of Advice

Even though the deadline has elapsed always finish your assignments — you have nothing to lose. If you come up to your professor with a finished assignment, he or she might give you a chance, and you won’t get zero. As long as you try, your effort and patience can be rewarded. You don’t want to fail because you haven’t used your chance, right?

Parting Shot

Missing a deadline is definitely a problem for a student. No one wants to receive zero credit for a work they did well but had to turn in late. However, deadlines are made for a reason — they teach you to be more responsible and attentive. After you graduate from your learning institution, you will face deadlines at work, and your everyday life more often than you think. That’s why you have to be prepared for them.

Don’t give up if you find out that you can’t be on time with your next assignment. Keep a polite and positive tone, and maybe your teacher will grant you an extension. Anyway, you should never feel desperate because of missed deadlines — a few years from now, you probably won’t even remember such a situation.