Need to Ask for an Extension on an Assignment? Try This

Maybe a project is taking much longer than you expected, you have due dates for several classes around the same time, or other aspects of your life have taken your attention away from your studies. Whatever the case, realizing that you’ll be unable to turn in a paper on time can be stressful.

As with any other problem you face at university, the best thing to do is talk to the people who can help you. In this case, it means reaching out to your professor and asking for an extension. Although you may feel intimidated at the prospect, this is far better than the alternatives: handing in an unfinished assignment or submitting a paper later and potentially receiving a failing grade. Here’s what you can do if you find yourself in this situation.

1. Ask in Advance

Requesting an extension the night before your paper is due will show you lack forward thinking. It may look like you forgot about the assignment until now — which is not a good reason for needing an extension. Whatever reasons you do give will appear disingenuous. Most professors refuse to grant extensions unless the student gives them at least a few days’ notice.

2. Send Your Professor an Email

The best way to approach the topic of an extension is through an email. Keep the email short, polite, and reasonably formal. As well as explaining the situation, it’s a good idea to propose a new deadline that’s just a couple days after the current due date. You could also offer to meet with your professor during office hours to discuss the assignment further.

3. Say Why You Need the Extension

Explain why you’re requesting an extension without providing too much extra detail. The reason could be that you’re struggling to understand the instructions and need extra guidance before you can finish, you’re having trouble acquiring certain resources, or you simply found that there was not enough time to complete the assignment — such as if you need to gather data or perform a great deal of research. If any of these are your reason for needing an extension, there’s a high chance other students are facing the same issues, meaning your professor may end up extending the deadline for everyone.

4. Show That You Are Making Progress

To support your claim that you just need a few extra days to finish your assignment, it’s a good idea to show your professor what you have done so far. This can demonstrate that, with a little extra time, you would produce a great piece of work and receive a much higher grade.

5. Keep Up with Other Homework for the Class

Your professor is more likely to be lenient if you have a good record in class. Whereas you can’t change the past, you can make sure to do well on any tests and hand in any other homework (including when it’s optional) between now and the due date.

One of the best ways to avoid the need for extensions is to improve your study habits. This is easier to achieve when you’re able to study at home without constant distractions. You can receive your own room in a fully-furnished suite at 17Hundred. Our Ontario Tech University off-campus housing is located just a short walk from OTU and has dedicated study spaces on site. Contact us to join the waitlist for a unit.