What do you do when you have overdue homework?

Deadlines approach quickly. If you are running out of time, you can always ask your professor for an extension. Your request could be based on real or fictitious reasons. You could also submit a corrupted file (one that your professor cannot open) and make the extension appear to be an unintentional, happy accident. Here are some strategies for dealing with overdue homework.

Image for late homework
Late homework

Requesting an Extension from Your Teacher

In person, speak with your instructor.

Instead of sending a quick email, take the time to speak with your teacher in person. This will show that your request is genuine and necessary.

Visit your professor’s office hours if you’re in college or graduate school.

If you’re in high school or middle school, ask to speak with your teacher after class or arrange a meeting.
If you fabricate an excuse, your professor may be able to see right through it. It might be better to skip the face-to-face meeting and instead email them.

Describe the situation

When speaking with your teacher, be as specific as possible about why you require an extension. Vague explanations sound phony; detailed explanations have more credibility. For example, if you are suffering from depression or anxiety, do not simply state, “I am overwhelmed.”

Instead, explain how your mental health is interfering with your ability to finish the assignment. “Since midterms, I’ve been dealing with depression. I’ve discovered that when I’m depressed, it’s difficult for me to focus on my work. It has been extremely difficult for me to sit down and finish the paper.”

Request an extension.

Request a brief extension for the assignment after explaining your situation to the teacher. A request for an extension that is too long may indicate that you have neglected the assignment throughout the semester.
“Can I finish the assignment over the weekend?”
“May I have three days to complete my paper?”

Accept the instructor’s answer.

Ideally, your teacher will grant you an extension without imposing any penalties. However, keep in mind that your teacher has the authority to say “no” to your request or to penalize you for submitting a late assignment.
If they say “yes,” express your gratitude and work to complete my assignment within the new deadline.
If they say no, thank them for their time and get started on the assignment as soon as possible.
Accept the grade penalty, thank them for the extension, and work hard to meet your new deadline if your teacher says “yes” but attaches a grade penalty.

Finding an Excuse

Technology is to blame

While technical difficulties are aggravating, issues with computers, USB drives, and printers can provide very valid reasons for extensions. Explain the situation to your teacher (real or fictitious) and hope for an extension.
If you need to print your paper, “printer problems” may allow you to work on the assignment for a few extra hours.
If you usually keep all of your work on a USB drive, notify your teacher if the drive has been stolen or misplaced. They might give you a few days to find the missing drive.

There are no sources cited.

In their research papers and projects, high school teachers and college professors frequently require students to analyze a variety of primary and secondary sources. You may have to request books, articles, and documents from other institutions if you attend a small school.

You can try to get an extension by explaining to your instructor that these sources did not arrive or arrived late. A few extra days to wait for and/or analyze the material is a perfectly reasonable request.

Make up an emergency situation

Life is unpredictably unpredictable. If you’re desperate for an excuse, take advantage of the unpredictability. Create a plausible emergency situation involving a friend, family member, or yourself.
Be prepared for your professor to request proof or investigate your situation.

Turning In a Corrupted File

Make a new word processing document.

Instead of requesting a hard copy, your professor may require you to submit the assignment online, giving you the opportunity to create your own “technical difficulty.”

corrupted word file
corrupted word file

Instead of sending a working word document, you can send a corrupted file to your professor. Open a new word document to begin this process.
This common ruse is known to professors and teachers. If you are caught, you may receive a zero on your assignment and/or be reported to the school’s administration.

Before you consider this method, exhaust all other possibilities and check your school’s policies on the subject.

Insert some filler text.

Because your professor will be unable to read the document, what you type is meaningless. However, the document must contain text in order to be corrupted; it cannot be blank.
You can use text from the internet, your rough draft, or even an old piece of paper to copy and paste.