Sometimes it seems like college professors forget we students have other classes besides theirs. Last semester, I had three tests, two papers, and a project all due the same week. It was incredibly stressful and I knew that I would not be able to finish all of my assignments on time and study for my tests. So what is the stressed-out, time-crunched, and sleep-deprived student to do? Ask for an extension.
Contrary to popular belief, professors actually are human beings, and if you present your request for an extension on a project in the correct way, they might grant it. Here are some of my tips for successfully asking for an extension.
Have a meeting set up. You shouldn’t just approach your professor after class to ask for an extension. Your professor is a very busy individual, and interrupting them while they are preoccupied with something else isn’t the best time to ask for a favor. Instead, ask to meet during his/her office hours. This will guarantee your professor’s full attention, which will make it easier to plead your case.
Have a valid reason. So, you procrastinated, partied all weekend, or overslept for your class, and as a result, you won’t be able to complete that project by Tuesday. Not going to work. Valid reasons to ask for an extension are serious, realistic and unavoidable problems that were out of your control. For example, a serious illness, a death in the family, or an impossible workload are all unforeseen circumstances that will most likely get you that extension. Whether it’s true or not is on you.
Have some evidence. Anyone can say they caught Swine Flu, but without a doctor’s note, how would the professor know who is telling the truth and who just took a week off from classes? Cover all of your bases, and make sure to have some proof to back up your reason. Syllabi from your other classes, a letter from your parents explaining a family emergency, or gas receipts from your emergency trip home are all good forms of evidence to explain why you might be behind schedule on your assignment. Photos from the toga party you went to last weekend are not.
Have a date in mind. If your professor thinks your reasons for needing an extension are valid, he or she will probably grant you an extension. However, extensions do not last forever, so have an alternative due date in mind. Try to keep it within a week of the original due date, if at all possible. The less time between the original due date and your new due date, the better your chances of being granted the extension.
If you do happen to receive an extension, keep these tips in mind:
Keep it under wraps. Don’t brag to your classmates about how you got extra time. Your professor won’t look kindly on you if they are all of a sudden flooded with extension requests.
Get ‘er done. Do everything in your power to finish the assignment by your new due date. Few things annoy professors more than repeat extension offenders and you are unlikely to have your request granted twice.
There are so many stressful things in college; asking for an extension does not have to be one of them. Follow these tips to make asking for an extension an easier and (hopefully) successful process.