How to ask for an extension on an assignment (with samples)

How to ask for an extension on an assignment

How to ask for an extension on an assignment

As the end of the spring semester 2023 approaches, you may need more time to complete an assignment. Perhaps you’ve experienced a personal emergency, a technical difficulty, a deadline clash, or underestimated the required work. The prospect of requesting an extension can be daunting, as you may be concerned about your instructor’s response, potential loss of respect, or the likelihood of your request being approved.

Asking for an extension on your assignment is not something you should get ashamed of or afraid of, as it’s a common practice among students. It can be a wise and responsible way to manage your academic performance and well-being. When you ask for an extension on an assignment, you will likely submit complete work that best reflects your abilities. It helps reduce stress and anxiety and focus on doing your best work.

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This guide will help you through the process of asking for an extension on your assignment. It explores the common reasons for requesting an extension, why you should ask for it, and provides samples.

Can you get extensions on assignments?

Yes, getting an extension on an assignment is possible if you have a valid reason. This depends on your instructor and university policies and practices.

Universities like Harvard have official guidelines and procedures for requesting extensions on assignments, while others like the University of Texas leave it to the discretion of individual instructors. As for instructors, some may be more flexible and understanding than others, depending on their teaching style, expectations, and workload.

Check your university’s assignment extension policies before requesting an extension to understand specific rules and requirements to follow. Your university’s policies may require you to submit a standard application form with supporting documents such as medical certificates or letters from counselors. Or allow you to request an extension informally via email or in person.

Read the guidelines carefully to understand what is required to get an extension and what the consequences may be for not meeting the deadline. Here are some examples of universities with assignment extension policies:

  1. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA): At UCLA, students can request an extension for up to seven days past the original due date. However, one must request an extension before the deadline, and the professor can only accept the request if they feel it is warranted.
  2. University of Texas: Each professor sets their policy regarding extensions at UT Austin. Students must check their syllabus and course guidelines to understand the policy for each course.
  3. University of Michigan: Students at the University of Michigan can request an extension up to 48 hours past the original deadline. One should request an extension at least 24 hours before the deadline so the professor can grant it.
  4. Stanford University: At Stanford, instructors have the right to set their policy regarding extensions. Students are encouraged to discuss their situation with the professor as early as possible to explore options for getting an extension.
  5. Harvard University: At Harvard, students can request an extension up to seven days past the initial due date. The request requires submission at least three days before the deadline to get granted.

Remember that requesting an extension is not guaranteed and that each university and professor may have different policies. Check your university’s policies and understand the guidelines to increase the probability of getting an extension when needed. Communicate with your professor as early as possible and provide a valid reason for the extension request.

Reasons why students ask for extensions on their assignments

Assignment deadlines can be a source of stress and anxiety for many students. Meeting these deadlines is crucial for academic success. Yet, there are times when circumstances beyond their control may arise, making it difficult to submit assignments on time. In such cases, students may request an extension on their assignments. Below are a few reasons why students may need to ask for extensions on their tasks:

Personal or family emergencies

Students may experience unexpected personal or family emergencies requiring immediate attention. This may include an illness, an injury, an accident, a bereavement, or other situations that affect mental or emotional wellness. Such issues disrupt a student’s study routine and productivity, making it difficult for them to meet their assignment deadlines.

Ask for an extension on your assignment in case of a personal or family emergency. Get a letter from a counselor, a social worker, or another relevant person, as you’ll need it to support your request. You may also need to provide a medical certificate or a note from a health professional to verify your condition.

Technical problems

Sometimes, students may experience technical difficulties such as computer crashes, power disruptions, or network problems. These issues can be frustrating and require additional resolution time, preventing them from completing their assignments on time.

If you experience any technical problem preventing you from accessing or submitting your assignment online, request an extension immediately. Take screenshots, error messages, or receipts from repair services to provide evidence of the problem and support your request.

Overlapping deadlines

Students may have multiple assignments due around the same time, making it challenging to complete them on time. This is especially common during midterms or finals week when students have multiple exams and assignments due simultaneously. Ensure you ask for an extension on time if you find yourself in such situations to be on the safe side. Be ready to explain why you have difficulty meeting the deadlines and how much extra time you need.

Academic difficulties

Students may sometimes struggle with the assignment’s content or requirements, making it challenging to complete their tasks on time. This could be having problems understanding the topic, finding sources, writing clearly, or referencing correctly.

All these consume much time, so ask for a deadline extension to be safe. Show your professor that you have made some progress on the assignment and sought help from your tutor, librarian, or writing center.

Work or extracurricular commitments

Some students have part-time jobs or participate in extracurricular activities that may take up much of their time. Balancing these commitments with coursework can be challenging, and sometimes, an extension may be necessary to ensure the quality of the assignment.

Notify your professor or course instructor as soon as possible and explain your situation. Provide evidence, such as a work schedule or a letter from your employer, to support your request. For extracurricular activities, provide a schedule of events or a letter from your club or organization leader to show your commitments are legit.

Other unforeseen circumstances

Students sometimes face unexpected circumstances, such as transportation issues or unforeseen travel. These circumstances make it difficult for students to complete or hand in their assignments on time. This is especially true if a student travels to a different place to conduct research or submit the assignment in person. In such cases, they contact their course instructor or professor to explain their situation and request a deadline extension.

When requesting an extension due to unforeseen circumstances, provide specific details. This could be the nature of the emergency and how it has impacted your ability to complete your assignment. You may also need to provide evidence to support your request, such as a note from a travel itinerary.

Understanding why students request an extension on their assignments helps you know when to ask for one. Always communicate with your professor as soon as possible if you face any issues and request an extension.

Why you should ask for an extension on your assignment

Asking your instructor for an extension on your work can be daunting as you may feel nervous, guilty, or ashamed. You may worry that they will think you are lazy, irresponsible, or incompetent. Or you may fear they will reject your request or penalize you for being late.

However, requesting a deadline extension for your assignment is not something to be afraid of. It can be a wise and beneficial move for your academic success and well-being. Here are five reasons why you should ask for extension on your assignment:

Reduced stress

You reduce the stress and anxiety associated with meeting an impending deadline by asking for an extension. You get the time and space to produce a high-quality assignment without feeling rushed or overwhelmed.

Improved quality

A deadline extension allows you to research and produce a well-crafted assignment. It gives you more time to edit and revise your work, resulting in a better-quality product and potentially better grades.

Enhanced learning

An extension can allow you to delve deeper into the subject matter and improve your understanding of the course material. You deliver a high-quality paper that helps better showcase your knowledge and experience.


By asking for an extension promptly and professionally, you demonstrate your responsibility and dedication to your coursework. This can help build positive relationships with your professors and improve your standing in the academic community.

Requesting an extension on your assignment is not a sign of weakness or failure. It is a sign of courage and responsibility. You take charge of your learning and well-being while showing respect and appreciation to your instructor.

If you require additional time to finish your assignment, don’t hesitate to ask for an extension. It may be one of the best decisions you ever make.

12 Ways on how to go about asking for an Extension on an Assignment

Sometimes, life can significantly affect your academic deadlines. You might have a personal emergency, a health issue, a family crisis, or a technical problem that prevents you from completing your assignment on time. In such situations, you may need to request an extension for an assignment.

Remember that professors are also humans, and they understand that students may face unexpected challenges that impact their ability to meet deadlines. All you need is to explain your situation well. Here are 12 ways to go about asking for an extension on an assignment:

  1. Plan: Consider planning and contacting your professor in advance if you need a deadline extension. Seek permission letters from your counselor and get the necessary proof to show that you are responsible and proactive.
  2. Be transparent and honest: Never lie or exaggerate about your situation or reason for needing an extension. Your instructor will likely know if you are dishonest or insincere, hurting your credibility and reputation.
  3. Be polite and respectful: Remember that your instructor is a human being who has their schedule and workload. Don’t make demands or threats; instead, approach the conversation respectfully.
  4. Be specific and realistic: When asking for an extension on your assignment, give an apparent, valid reason why you need it so the professor understands your situation better. Specify the amount of time you need or suggest a new deadline. Refrain from asking for too much time or extensions, as this will show that you are not serious or committed to your work.
  5. Provide evidence: Provide evidence to support your request. For example, provide a doctor’s note if you need an extension due to a medical issue. The goal is to prove that your reason for not meeting the deadlines is legit.
  6. Be proactive: Use the extra time wisely if granted an extension. Handle your assignment as soon as possible and make a plan to ensure that you meet the new deadline.
  7. Offer a plan: If you need an extension, offer a plan for completing the assignment. This shows that you are taking responsibility and are committed to finishing the work.
  8. Apologize: Be sure to apologize for any inconvenience your request may cause. This shows that you are aware of the impact of your request on others.
  9. Follow up: When you get an extension on an assignment, follow up with your professor frequently. Let them know your progress and ask for any guidance or feedback.
  10. Be responsible: Ask for an extension as soon as you know you’ll need one rather than waiting until the last minute. It’s an excellent way to show that you are responsible, making your professor more likely to grant your request.
  11. Don’t procrastinate: Refrain from using the extension as an excuse to procrastinate or slack off. Instead, use it to improve your work and learn from your mistakes.
  12. Be grateful: Always show gratitude when your instructor grants you a deadline extension. Thank your professor for their understanding and the opportunity to complete the assignment to the best of your ability.

By following these tips, you can increase the likelihood of a successful request for an extension and ensure that you approach the situation responsibly and respectfully.

Samples on how to ask for an extension

Asking for an extension on an assignment can be tricky and stressful, especially if you’re unsure how to approach the request. You don’t want to sound like you’re making excuses or being irresponsible. You also don’t want to jeopardize your grade or reputation by missing the deadline without any explanation.

So how do you ask for an extension professionally and respectfully? Here are some tips and samples that can help you craft your request.

Sample 1: Illness

“Dear Professor Smith,

I want to request an extension for the final paper for ENGL 101. The paper is due on April 20th, but I have been unwell with the flu for the past week and have been unable to work on it.

I have visited the campus health center and attached a doctor’s note to prove my illness. I have also informed my group members about my situation, and they have agreed to cover for me in the presentation.

I am feeling better now and confident I can complete the paper by April 27th. I have already done some research and outlined my main arguments. I need some more time to write and edit the essay.

Sorry for any inconvenience this delay may cause you and the rest of the class. I appreciate your understanding and flexibility in this matter. Please let me know if you can grant me this extension.

Thank you for your consideration.


[Your name]”

Sample 2: Technical Problems

“Dear Professor Lee,

I want to request an extension for the online quiz for MATH 201. The quiz is due on June 10th, but I have encountered some technical problems that have prevented me from completing it.

Yesterday, when I tried to access the quiz on Canvas, I received an error message that said, “Quiz unavailable.” I contacted IT support, who told me a system outage affected some students’ accounts. They said they were working on fixing the issue as soon as possible.

Today, when I tried re-accessing the quiz, I received another error message: “Quiz expired.” I contacted IT support again, and they told me that the quiz had a deadline of June 10th at 11:59 pm, which had already passed. They said they could only reopen the quiz for me if you authorized them.

I have attached screenshots of both error messages as evidence of my technical problems. I have also completed all the other assignments and readings for this course and have maintained a good grade.

I am requesting an extension of one day, until June 11th, to take the quiz. I have already studied for it and am ready to take it as soon as possible.

I apologize for the inconvenience this may cause you and the rest of the class. I appreciate your understanding and cooperation in this matter. Please let me know if you can grant me this extension and if any requirements or penalties are involved.

Thank you for your attention.


[Your name].”

Sample 3: Conflicting Deadlines

“Dear Professor Maxwell,

I am writing to inform you that I cannot submit my final report for the project by the deadline of April 30th. I apologize for any inconvenience.

This delay is because my supervisor assigned another urgent task requiring me to travel to Dallas for a week. This task was not anticipated when I agreed to work on the project with you, and I have no control over it.

I have already completed most of the work for the project, and I only need to finalize some details and proofread the report. After returning from my trip, I will need another two days to finish it. Therefore, I request that you grant me an extension until May 5th to submit my report.

I hope you understand my issue and accept my request. I appreciate your cooperation and flexibility. Kindly let me know if you have any questions or concerns.


[Your name]”

Sample 4: Unexpected Workload

Dear Professor Williams,

I am writing to request an extension for the research proposal for PSYC 301. The proposal is due on July 31st, but I have faced an unexpected workload at my part-time job that has interfered with my progress.

I work as a cashier at XYZ Super, a grocery store experiencing a surge in demand due to the pandemic. Due to staff shortages and safety measures, I have been asked to work extra shifts and longer hours than usual. I need more time and energy to focus on my academic work.

I have completed most of the literature review and the research design sections of the proposal, but I still need to finalize the data analysis plan and the ethical considerations. I need another week to finish the proposal and proofread it carefully.

I understand this is a critical assignment, and extensions are not granted lightly. However, I hope that you will consider my situation and give me some leniency. I am very interested in social media and mental health topics, and I want to submit a high-quality proposal that reflects my best efforts.

I appreciate your understanding and support in this matter. Please let me know if you can grant me an extension and the new deadline.


[Your name].”


What if they do not grant your request for an extension?

If your instructor denies your request for an extension on an assignment, other options are available. Here are some possible options to consider:

Prioritize your assignment

If you have other tasks or projects that are less urgent or important, consider putting them aside and focusing on the one due soon. You can also break down your assignment into smaller parts and work on them individually. This can help you manage your time and avoid procrastination.

Seek help from others.

Seek help from individuals who can offer guidance or feedback if you struggle with your assignment’s content or format. For example, ask your classmates, friends, tutors, or librarians for assistance. Or use online resources such as blogs, videos, podcasts, or forums to help complete your assignment.

Negotiate a partial submission

If none of the above options works for you, consider negotiating a partial submission with your instructor. This means you submit what you have done and explain why you could not finish the assignment. You may also request feedback or a grade based on your partial submission. However, this option may only be available for some projects or instructors, so check with them first.

Hire a reliable writing service

Consider hiring a reliable writing service if you are running out of time and need professional help with your assignment. A writing service can help you deliver high-quality work within your deadline. These experts can help you with various aspects of your project, such as research, writing, editing, proofreading, formatting, and referencing. Ensure you check their reputation, reviews, samples, guarantees, and policies to get the best fit.


Requesting a deadline extension on your assignment doesn’t mean you are lazy or irresponsible. Many students make it a reasonable request at some point in their academic journey. All you have to do is ask for an extension on your assignment correctly by being honest and responsible. Do not panic or give up if your request is not granted. There are still ways to cope and complete your assignment successfully.

By following the tips provided and using the sample scripts, you can increase your chances of getting an extension and completing your assignment to the best of your ability. It would be even better to hire a professional writing service. These experts can help you complete your task on time, with high quality, and without the stress of requesting an extension.

Don’t hesitate to seek assistance if you need it. Always prioritize your mental and emotional well-being, and seek help when necessary. Good luck with your assignments!

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