3 Items Instructors Review before Approving Late Assignments

Instructors may review student attendance and grades before granting assignment extensions. (Photo courtesy of AhavatHaEmet on flickr.com)

Instructors may review student attendance and grades before granting assignment extensions. (Photo courtesy of AhavatHaEmet on flickr.com)

College is quite demanding and, at times, life can conflict with one’s academics. Whether a homework assignment could be submitted late or a test was forgotten before the deadline, be sure you understand that instructors will review a student’s course history before determining if an extension is justified.

Attendance History

Attendance is an important car in the success train; in fact, it’s probably the engine, making you the captain. If you are regularly attending class and, because of an emergency or illness, you missed a class, your instructor may be more willing to allow an extension for an assignment. Based on your history as a hardworking and attentive student, your instructor will determine whether or not you will be awarded an extension, given the circumstances. Students who exhibit poor attendance and/or tardiness may not be granted an extension based on their academic attentiveness.

Helpful hint: Always have a backup plan for attending class. For example, if your car were to break down, how would you get to class? Or if your computer crashed, where would you go to log into your online classroom?

Assignment History

Like attendance, a student’s history of on-time submissions and diligently completing coursework may affect their chances of obtaining extensions on assignments. For students who run into unforeseen emergency situations, instructors may review their academic history in class in order to determine if a student should be granted leeway on a project deadline. When students habitually submit work late, or not at all, instructors are less likely to provide them with un-penalized extensions due to their history that lacks academic focus.

Helpful hint: Before beginning class each term, purchase a daily or weekly planner to document assignment due dates, exam schedules, and other important college events.

Communication prior to the Deadline

Communication, in any aspect of life, is crucial in order to complete a task at hand. Anytime you believe you will be late for or absent from class the instructor needs to be notified before class begins; contacting him/her after class has started shows a lack of responsibility regarding your academics.

If/When assignments are to be submitted late, email notification is usually the best form of communication. If you can speak with the instructor in person or on the phone, both are acceptable methods of contact, but in most cases email will be the go-to tool given its ease, convenience, and time-stamp for future reference. Be sure when constructing your email to the instructor you include your name, the class name, the day your will be absent/tardy or assignment in question, and a reason. A good email would look like this:

Good morning Ms. Adams,

My name is Sharon Myers and I am currently enrolled in your Composition I course. My aunt is scheduled to have surgery Tuesday evening and will need assistance getting to and from the hospital. Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend class but would like to stay current on the assignments. Could you please notify me if anything changes from the course syllabus?

Thank you,

Sharon Myers

Helpful hint: Your class syllabus will always include contact information for your instructor and any teaching assistants that may be assigned to the class; input the contact information into your planner or cell phone for easy access throughout the term, if need be.

Ashley Benson is a distance education professional with five years of experience in the for-profit sector. She has worked coast-to-coast within the United States as an academic advisor, an adjunct teaching assistant and, most recently, a campus Registrar. Through formal education and industry experience, Ashley practices staying informed on the current events and changes within higher education and the students involved.

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