Do you have an assignment that is going to be late and want to break the news to your professor in the most digestible way possible? Well, you are in luck.
Here is a step-by-step process to writing a late assignment email to your professor.
How to Ask Your Professor to Accept a Late Assignment?
You should always contact your professor as soon as possible, even before the deadline passes – then, start by apologizing and expressing regret, provide a legitimate excuse, make a plea for understanding, and guarantee that the mistake will not be repeated again.
When Should You Send the Email?
It is always best to send the email before the due date has passed.
Now, of course, this is only possible if you aren’t overcome with an emergency at the last minute.
If you do know that you are going to be late with your assignment, tell your professor ahead of time. It is far more respectful and your professor will appreciate it. As a result, they may be more likely to accept the late submission.
If this is not possible, then make sure to send the email as soon as you can. The earlier that you do this, the better.
Keep in mind that professors often have a deadline to hand in grades. So, if you inform your professor too late, then there may be nothing that they can do to help you.
If you warn them ahead of time, then they may be able to reach out to the administration and make some allowances for you.
Begin by Acknowledging Your Mistake and Regret
It can be tempting to launch into your excuse but you should refrain from doing this. Most professors will not take too kindly to you providing excuses right off the bat.
This is why you should start off by saying that missing the deadline is an error on your part. This, of course, is unless there was some unforeseen and unavoidable emergency.
You should follow this up by saying how deeply regretful you are and that you understand how your actions can complicate things for your professor.
“I have the utmost respect for you and your class and hate to have added any complications to your work schedule.”
If this is the first time that you have made such a mistake, make sure to mention this. Professors are likely to go easier on good students having an off day.
Provide a Good Excuse
As you can imagine, a flimsy excuse isn’t going to fly well with your professor. They have heard it all before and as a college student, you are expected to be mature enough to manage your responsibilities properly.
If you have gotten the submission dates mixed up, then this is a common occurrence. However, if possible, make sure to attach your assignment or project along with the email to prove that this isn’t an excuse. This is something that you should consider doing even if the assignment hasn’t been completed yet.
If you are claiming an illness, then it is best to attach a doctor’s note or some form of proof to let your professor know that you really were ill. If you were attending to a sick family member, try to provide similar proof.
If you need more time to work on your assignment, then tell your professor that you have recently discovered a new path of research or study. Attach the assignment that you have completed so far along with the new resources that you have found.
Make a Plea for Avoiding Consequences
Most professors will penalize you for late assignments. You may get an incomplete, failing grade, or lower grade. As you can imagine, this is something that you want to avoid at all costs.
This is why you need to acknowledge that your actions come with consequences:
“I am aware that the penalty for turning in a late assignment is [insert punishment], however, I would be grateful if you considered my situation and didn’t penalize me for this infraction.”
If your circumstances were truly an emergency or unavoidable, it is a good idea to follow up with something like this:
“My situation was unforeseen and unavoidable and this is the only reason that I am submitting my assignment later than instructed”
Assure That They Will Not Be Future Recurrences
Prior to signing off, make sure to repeat that such a mistake or issue will not arise again. It is a good idea to also mention once more that you have previously never been late with a submission:
“I would like to reassure you that I will not be late with submission again. As you can see from my record, this is the first instance that I have been late to submit an assignment.”
If the late submission was the result of an unusual emergency, then you can follow up with this:
“It was only due to these unforeseen circumstances that I was unable to submit my assignment on time.”
At this point, you may want to wait for your professor’s reply rather than making any arrangements for pushing back the deadline.
How to Write an Email to Excuse a Late Assignment?
Try to send in the email sooner rather than later – always start by apologizing for your tardiness and express your regret, this should be followed by a legitimate apology and associated proof, if possible, then make a plea against consequences, and assure the professor that your actions will not be repeated.