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How to Ask for an Extension on an Assignment


Sometimes life gets pretty stressful with assignments on top of other priorities, especially with the last few weeks of the semester creeping up on us. Pulling an all-nighter isn’t healthy, so instead of trying to get things done all at once, maybe it’s best to ask for an extension on an assignment. An extension on an assignment can be beneficial and at times necessary for collegiettes to perform their absolute best. Here are a few tips for when you’re looking to ask for an extension.

When You Should Ask for an Extension

Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to ask for an extension on an assignment. Maybe you’re trying to spice up your project so it’s the best it can be! Shawn Kildea, an assistant professor of communication at Rider University, says that students can ask for an extension if they want to add a few elements to their project to improve it as a whole.

“If a student is working on a project and makes it clear that by having more time they can dramatically improve the piece by adding an element they can't capture in the deadline time frame, I will usually offer an extension,” he says.

It’s also worth asking for an extension on an assignment if you are struggling with unclear directions, or if you do not have the sufficient resources to complete the assignment. This could be affecting the entire class, so expressing your concerns to your professor may be the best way to go.

“I will extend a deadline if I believe that my directions were unclear or if the deadline proves too unrealistic, or if a majority of the class appears to be struggling,” said Jason Method, a journalism instructor at Rider University.

Being studious and hardworking may prove to be an advantage if you need a deadline extension.

“If a student has been doing their homework and doing well on tests or quizzes, then if they ask for an extension and offer a decent reason, I'm inclined to listen,” Method says.

How to Ask for an Extension

One of the biggest things to keep in mind when you’re planning on asking for an extension is that you shouldn’t wait until the very last minute to do so! It will look as if you’ve procrastinated, which won’t leave a good impression on your professors (or one day, on your employers).

“I always tell my students that I almost never grant a last-minute extension request,” says Barry Janes, a communications professor at Rider University.  “If they ask earlier, it shows that the assignment is on their minds, and whatever concerns or problems they are having seem more legitimate.”

If you ask early and provide a good reason, you are halfway to your extension.

Generally, you can start your request off with an email to your professor asking for the extension and giving your reason why you need one. Still not sure what to say? Give this a try:

Dear Professor ________,

I’ve been having a little bit of a hard time finding sources for my term paper, and in order for it to be the best it can be, I could really use a little extra time to research and write it. Would it be possible to have an extension for a few days?

Please let me know if you would like for me to meet with you during your office hours to discuss this further.


[Your name] 

It’s no fun to burn out and exhaust yourself mentally as you try to get all of your work done at the end of the semester. Asking for an extension may seem scary, but it’s a whole lot better than failing the assignment or the class altogether!

Sometimes asking your professor if he or she can extend a deadline is the best thing to do. The worst that your professor can say is that you can’t have an extension, but it’s worth a try!

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