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9 Excuses for Late Assignments: Turning Online Homework Late

  • by Michael Smart
  • January 5, 2024


It is a common scenario to fail to submit the assignment within the timeframe during your academic years. With many reasons for late assignment submission, there are a number of excuses you can give and they soften the stance of your professor.

Any student should strive to stay updated when it comes to matters of studies and assignments. However, some may face some uncertainties which can derail their concentration and affect how they are working, leading to delays.

In that case, here is a comprehensive list and explanation of the excuses you can give for late submissions.

9 Excuses for Late Submission of Assignments

A student may develop stress of keeping with the environment and hinder them from keeping assignment deadlines.

Although we may not deny the chances of a student being careless, genuine cases can prompt a student to fail to finish the work on time.

If found in such a scenario, then look for any possibility of asking for an extension. Here, you must have a compelling reason that can bargain your request.

1. Blaming Illness for late Homework

Illness and sickness are natural happenings that are unavoidable in someone’s life. Such situations may make one lack the physical and emotional strength to work on the assignment or homework.

While giving such an excuse, ensure that it is valid by backing it up with the note from your doctor. Some sickness can still occur on your immediate family member, thereby affecting how you work.

For example, your parent or a sister may be highly sick, prompting you to leave what you are doing and take care of him or her. Such is a strong reason that can compel one to ask for a late submission.

good excuse for late assignment

2. Domestic Violence for Undone Assignment

Domestic flights are typical cases in any marriage setup. Such can be a sensitive excuse which a teacher must consider and probably bring it up to your parents.

Also, a teacher can report such cases to the guiding and counseling office, who can talk to your parents concerning such ordeals. They should understand the impacts of such actions on your academic life.

3. Writers Block

A student can read many books until he/she develops writer’s block. Such situations are overwhelming, thereby affecting the productivity of a student. One can diagnose such an experience by taking a short break and come back while fresh.

A teacher should listen to your story and grant you leave of some days before you recollect and work on your assignment before submitting it as agreed.

Tips for Late Homework excuse

4. Other Paper Due

When you have another paper to work on ahead, you may need time to prepare. About that, you can request your professor to give you more time so that you can prepare for another paper that you are about to handle.

That can be a valid reason that could justify your late submission. The best practice is to put such information in the application and let the teacher acknowledge your request.

5. Job Interview

One can receive a request for a job interview which can be unavoidable. A teacher should listen and accept such an apology by granting ample student time to prepare and attend that interview in the subject area. It is a valid reason that can lead to the late submission of assignments.

6. Learning Disability

One should inform the university in advance in case you have a learning disability. The most common issue is dyslexia which is an abnormal condition that makes a student struggle in making speedy and accurate spelling and reading.

Nearly all universities have plans that support students who experience learning disabilities. Such conditions are harsh, and that is why a college should accommodate such cases.

7. Lost a Family Member

Death is unavoidable in the life of someone. When you lose an immediate family member, it can be distractive, leading to divided attention

 If found in such circumstances, you can ask your professor to extend the submission date to assist you in overcoming such a situation.

8. You are a Caretaker

A student may be caring for a disabled person like a sick partner or a disabled parent. You have to let your teacher know in advance about that situation for you to enjoy the window of late submissions.

9. Blaming a Lazy Group Member

Group assignments are not new in the academic world. You might get assigned to someone who is lazy and drag your group leading to late submission.

If you are sensing that, it is critical to inform your instructor of late submissions. You can join this by saying that he forgot to submit the assignment early, especially his or her part.

As a group, you can join forces and assist that student who might be the cause of the delay and finish the assignment within the agreed timeframe as agreed by your teacher. You can choose to cover up the ills of a lazy student for success.

Reasons and Excuses for Turning in Late Online Homework

Online assignments present a little bit different excuses on top of the ones discussed above. However, ensure that you back your excuse with sound reasoning.

Such creates a better impression with your instructor as it indicates sincerity towards the pending task. This works better if you send a good late assignment email to your professor to explain more about the situation.

In this section, we can examine some of the good excuses you can provide to justify your late submission of the online assignment.

1. Computer Issues

When your laptop fails to work, it can lead to the destruction of your schedule. Such an excuse co only be valid if you provide evidence for your argument.

You can provide a receipt from your technician indicating the service quotation. Alternatively, you can take it to the university’s ICT department to see if they can assist in data recovery.

2. Wi-Fi Failed to Work

Wi-Fi is a technological issue that the school can address objectively. Schools should provide such a service to allow the students to work effectively.

However, when the students go out and encounter an internet challenge, it could cause a delay in the submission of assignments.

This is also one of the excuses for student lateness in class and can be used as a common reason. You can present the same evidence for missing classes and assignments.

Late Online Homework excuses

3. Never Understood the Assignment

Every student learns uniquely. We have quick learners who need simple directions to learn. Some may be slow hence requiring more lessons to grasp the subject.

If you are in the category of slow learners, it may take you a while before completing the same assignment leading to late submission.

4. Sickness

One can fail to submit the assignment at school due to sickness. It would help if you wrote to your instructor to explain why it was challenging to work in such conditions.

You can back up your points with a medical report from your doctor to ascertain your honesty.

5. Had an Exam

The student could be doing a different course elsewhere. When the programs clash, the student must find a way of balancing them. If you are examining another cause, then it is reasonable to seek leave for a late submission. 

Consequences of Being Late with Assignment

Different schools and colleges deal with such situations uniquely.  For example, some universities and colleges would take off some points from the total mark.

In most universities, a late assignment submission penalty is taking 5% off the total allocated marks for that assignment. Such would be deducted for the first seven days, after which the professor will not accept the assignment again. While the late submission penalty varies, most universities follow a similar plan to deter lateness.

Another consequence of being late with your assignment is that it could lead to your studies’ postponement.

If you fail to submit it within the semester’s schedules, it will be difficult for the faculty to compile your marks and decide your course overall within the program leading to deferments.

Late Assignment Penalties

On the other hand, some extreme cases could lead to suspension or expulsion. Before your join, any academic institution, ensure you understand the policies that govern your studies. Also, it is good to apply tips to beat homework due dates so as to avoid these consequences.

It is essential to adhere to the laid down procedures so that you are on the safe side. However, lecturers sometimes decide on the pros and cons of accepting late student assignments before applying the penalties. Here are the common penalties.

good excuse for late assignment

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Student Tips

Late assignment submission excuses that don’t fail.


June 27, 2023 • 10 min read

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Academic success depends on completing assignments on time, but occasionally unexpected obstacles arise in life. Although it's always best to plan ahead and manage your time well, late submission excuses have become a common part of student life. In these situations, we need to be resourceful. In this article, we examine a few original and creative justifications for late assignment submissions. 

But before you do anything, take a deep breath and think about your options. There are some good excuses for turning in an assignment late, and there are some that are just plain bad.

Good Excuses for Late Assignment Submission:

Although it is typically not advisable to give justifications for late assignment submissions because it is crucial to prioritize responsibility and time management, there might be occasions when unavoidable circumstances arise. Here are a few valid justifications for submitting an assignment after the deadline:

  • Personal Illness or Injury: If you had a sudden illness or injury that made it difficult for you to finish the assignment on time, that is a good reason to ask for a deadline extension. To prove your claim, offer the necessary proof, such as a medical certificate.
  • Family Emergency: It might be necessary to ask for an extension for your assignment if there is a serious family emergency, such as the hospitalization of a close relative or the occurrence of a natural disaster.
  • Technical Problems: There may occasionally be technical issues that are beyond your control, such as a computer crash, an internet outage, or a software malfunction. These problems may make it difficult for you to finish and turn in the assignment on time. Inform your professor right away, and if you can, include proof like screenshots or error messages.
  • Unforeseen Events: Unexpected situations, like a last-minute work commitment, transportation problems, or a personal crisis, may make it difficult for you to finish an assignment on time. If such circumstances occur, be open and honest with your professor about them.
  • Academic Overload: It can occasionally be difficult to meet all the deadlines if you find yourself overwhelmed with numerous assignments and coursework. In these circumstances, proactive communication with your professor is preferable.

Bad Excuses for Late Assignment Submission:

While it's critical to be open and truthful about legitimate justifications for late assignment submissions, it's equally crucial to identify and refrain from offering lame justifications that lack veracity or show a lack of accountability. Examples of justifications that are typically viewed as inappropriate or unconvincing include the following:

  • Procrastination: Blaming procrastination or poor time management for the delay will have a negative impact on your ability to prioritize your obligations. Taking responsibility for your actions is always preferable to using procrastination as a justification.
  • Social Events or Partying: Saying that you were unable to finish the assignment because you were out having fun or attending social events, parties, or other entertainment-related activities suggests that you value your leisure time more than your academic responsibilities.
  • Internet or Power Outage: Although technical difficulties can occasionally happen, using an internet or power outage as a justification without supporting evidence or documentation may be considered a weak defense. It is a good idea to have backup plans, like local power or alternative internet sources.
  • Forgetting the Due Date: Forgetting the due date for an assignment is not a good justification because it shows a lack of planning and focus. It's critical to remember due dates and use calendars, reminders, and other organizational tools to stay on top of things.
  • Personal Relationship Problems: It may come across as unprofessional and unconvincing to blame a late submission on relationship issues or disagreements with friends, family, or romantic partners. It is best to keep personal matters separate from academic obligations and seek assistance or support if needed.
  • Lack of Resources: It may not be acceptable to claim that you were unable to complete the assignment because you lacked the necessary books or materials. Planning ahead and making prompt use of the resources at hand are crucial.

How to Write an Excuse for a Late Assignment:

If you do have a legitimate reason for turning in an assignment late, it's important to write a clear and concise excuse. Here are some tips:

  • Be honest. Don't try to lie or make up excuses. Your professor will be able to tell if you're not being truthful.
  • Be specific. Explain exactly what happened and why it prevented you from turning in your assignment on time.
  • Be apologetic. Express your sincere apologies for turning in your assignment late.
  • Be respectful. Address your professor by their title and last name.

How to ask a professor to accept a late assignment by mail:  

You can use the following example of an email to ask your professor to accept a late assignment:

Dear Professor [Name of the Professor],

I'm writing to ask for a delay in the due date for my [course name and number] assignment, [name of assignment]. The assignment was supposed to be turned in on [original due date], but I need it by [new due date].

I apologize for the submission's tardiness. I am aware that this is not an excuse, but a few unforeseen events kept me from finishing the assignment on time.

I had a family emergency that needed to be attended to first. I had to travel to be with my [relationship to family member] because they were in the hospital. This consumed a substantial amount of time.

Second, my computer was having some technical issues. My files were completely lost when my hard drive crashed. I lost a few days as a result of having to start the assignment from scratch.

Even though I am aware that the circumstances are not ideal, I am determined to do my very best to complete the task. The finished assignment is attached to this email.

I would appreciate it if you would give my request for a delay some thought. I am sure I can finish the assignment by the new due date.

I appreciate your consideration and time.

Sincerely, [Your Name]

Final Thoughts:

While excuses for late assignment submissions can be amusing and humorous, it's important to keep in mind that accountability and time management should always come first. These ingenious justifications ought to be used sparingly and shouldn't serve to reinforce dishonesty or procrastination as bad habits. It's best to be open with your professors, ask for extra time when you need it, and make an effort to turn in assignments on time. Always keep in mind that education is a journey towards growth and development on both a personal and academic level. If you follow these tips, you will increase your chances of having your request granted.

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15 Best Excuses for Late Assignments

After a tough day at school, having a good number of assignments to complete is not a pleasant experience. However, if you ignore it, you risk getting into problems if you don’t have valid justifications. It would be best if you thought of good explanations to persuade your instructor to award you a pass rather than settle for a zero.

Frequently, failure to complete assignments on time is the consequence of being negligent. However, there are true instances where students cannot complete their work before the deadline. Nevertheless, whether the reason you want to give is legitimate or not, there is a need for the excuse to sound and feel convincing.

This article has prepared the 15 best excuses for late assignments. Read on and learn the tricks to keep you out of trouble with your teachers and help you have a smooth stay at school.

The Occurrence of an Illness

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One of the oldest but still among the best excuses for skipping assignments is being ill. One may make up a 24-hour illness, food poisoning, or show up to class appearing sickly with a fever from the previous night. Most educators are fairly considerate, particularly when the excuse seems sincere. As a result, you may not only be spared from submitting your homework, but you might also win some compassion.

Death of a Family Member

It’s absurd to pretend that a relative has died. Unless you need to keep your grades, that is. Even the brightest individuals would then give it some thought. Ultimately, the teacher won’t ever know if you were lying. This is unless they are friends with your mother and plan to attend the burial.

Also see: What happens when I submit my assignment late? 

Some learners are experts at coming up with this defence. They frequently mention the passing of a grandparent, distant uncle, or aunt. Nevertheless, please be mindful not to abuse this excuse if you choose to use it.

Faking Periods

This is the ideal justification for female students. It works remarkably well with male tutors. They will be so uneasy and sad for you, and they might be forced to extend the deadline for your assignment submission.

Remember, do not even attempt to use this excuse if you are a male student. You will have more issues than not doing the schoolwork as a result.

Hindrance from a Technological Failure

The simplest and most plausible defence is to blame technology. You can cite any issues, such as a broken printer, a crashed laptop, or a disrupted internet connection. The majority of people, including your teacher, have encountered difficulties as a result of technology flaws.

This is a wonderful explanation if you have a document that needed to be typed and printed. Similarly, if you had to complete your assignment online, it might also be effective.

Forgetting the Assignment Notebook

You will receive a lecture about the risks of being irresponsible for using this argument, but you may get away with not turning in your work. It works best if this is your first instance of missing the deadline for submitting your homework.

Ensure, though, that this doesn’t end up being the excuse you typically employ. If not, the instructor can disregard your explanation and award you a dismal zero.

Failure to Understand the Assignment

In contrast to essays, this rationale is more effective for assignments that consist of questions, arithmetic, or science. However, if the assignment requires you to write extensively, you can still get away with it. This is if you only explain that you struggled to understand what the professor expected you to write about.

A Sibling Messing with the Assignment

The excuse of a younger sibling messing with your notebook is a good one, though not so convincing. They may have chosen your notebook to play with without realizing how essential it might be. This means that even if your teacher may correct you for being irresponsible, you will ultimately avoid being punished for your unfinished assignment.

Absenteeism on the Assignment Issuance Date

You could not complete the assignment if you weren’t aware of it. This excuse is a good one when the teacher delegated the task, but you were not made aware of it because you were away.

Yet again, you would need the support of your peers. If that doesn’t work, solicit your parents to write a note outlining why you were missing that day.

Obstruction from the Death of a Pet

This justification is rarely utilized since some teachers could not understand the value of pets. But it works, particularly if your instructor owns a dog or a cat. The only teacher who wouldn’t give you any leeway for mourning your best friend is a ruthless one.

Babysitting a Younger Sibling

You may have duties at home if you are an elder brother or sister. One of them might be looking after a younger sibling, particularly if your parents are working. This is a reasonable rationale because babysitting a younger sibling makes concentrating difficult.

Too Much Homework from Another Class

It’s a fact that sometimes you’ll have a lot of homework from various teachers. When you get home, you won’t know which to focus on and which to ignore.

Select a lecturer who has a reputation for being understanding if this is the reality. Suppose you can demonstrate that you actually began working on your assignment but could not complete it. In that case, there is a decent possibility they will consider your request and grant you an extension.

Hindrance from Volunteering or Co-Curricular Activities

Claiming you couldn’t complete an assignment because you were serving others would be a solid bet if you wanted to enhance your humanitarian, moral responsibility image. An excellent justification might include helping at the neighborhood clinic, cleaning the streets, or performing other noble deeds. Another acceptable justification is participation in extracurricular activities like school debates, sports, choir practice, or other school-related endeavors.

Interference from Family-Related Conflicts

It can be pretty stressful to have parents who fight often. Focusing on your assignments can be difficult while arguments or physical fights are going on, and sometimes it is preferable to ignore them or get some rest by going to sleep.

Teachers are aware that not every student has ideal circumstances at home. If you are telling the truth, you won’t likely suffer any repercussions for using this explanation.

Forgetting About the Homework

This excuse might not be the best because your teacher may label you as not serious. Nevertheless, it is worth trying, especially when it is really the case. Here, it would be ideal if everyone in the class, or at least most of your peers, cite the same reason.

Telling the Truth

As fantastic as it is to make up an excuse for missing schoolwork and get away with it, there are occasions when being honest is preferable. Some instructors will allow you more time to complete your assignment in addition to applauding and understanding your sincerity.

As promised, this article has covered the 15 best excuses for late assignments. Above all other considerations, it’s crucial to put out your best effort and complete your assignment by the due date. It is preferable to submit the work on time rather than wasting time, effort, and strain trying to find the ideal explanation.

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How to Make Up a Good Excuse for Your Homework Not Being Finished

Last Updated: March 2, 2024 Fact Checked

Choosing an Excuse

Delivering the excuse, potential consequences, moving forward, expert q&a.

This article was co-authored by wikiHow Staff . Our trained team of editors and researchers validate articles for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 372,786 times. Learn more...

If you did not finish your homework, you may want to find an excuse to avoid being penalized. There are a variety of excuses, from blaming technology to your busy schedule, that sounds like a plausible reason for failing to complete an assignment. When you settle on an excuse, work on delivering the excuse in a believable fashion. However, try to be careful moving forward. You do not want to lie habitually, as this reflects poorly on you as a student. In the future, try to make sure your assignments are done on time.

Step 1 Blame technology.

  • This is a great excuse if you had a paper you needed to type and print. It may also work if you have homework you had to do online. You could say you did the whole assignment, but then your internet cut out and you couldn't save anything.
  • It might be a bad idea to claim your printer stopped working. Your teacher may request you e-mail him/her the assignment instead, which you won't be able to do if you never did it. Teachers may also suggest you should have printed an assignment at a local library or FedEx instead of coming in with nothing.

Step 2 Consider your family's situation.

  • If your parents are divorced, for example, you can claim you were at your mom's last night but left your textbook with your dad this weekend. Many teachers are sympathetic to children from divorced homes. Your teacher may take pity on you if you use an excuse like this. [2] X Research source
  • Do you have any younger siblings? You could claim you had to babysit your little sister and she got sick, resulting in your being distracted from your homework. [3] X Research source

Step 3 Blame an illness.

  • You can try running around in the playground or hallways before class. This can help you look flushed and warm. If you look sick, your teacher will be more likely to believe you.
  • However, keep in mind some teachers may require a note from your parents in the event of illness. If your teacher typically demands proof of sickness, you may want to avoid using this excuse.

Step 4 Claim the work was too difficult.

  • Avoid saying you left your homework at home. Your teacher may request you call your mom or dad to have it delivered to the school. This will reveal you are lying.
  • Try not to use this excuse more than once or twice a term; otherwise, your teacher may see you as disorganized and be less sympathetic towards you if you need to make other excuses in the future.

Step 6 Blame your schedule.

  • Be careful using this excuse if you're not busy. If you're usually late for classes and do not engage in many extracurricular activities, your teacher may catch onto the fact you're lying.

Step 7 Avoid playing dumb.

  • Never lie you were absent on the day the homework was set. One glance of the register is all it takes for your teacher to see right through this excuse.

Step 1 Consider the teacher's personality.

  • If your teacher is particularly strict, be prepared to answer a lot of questions. A stricter teacher is likely to grill you, poking holes in your excuse. For example, say you claim you couldn't turn in your online math homework because your internet cut out. A strict teacher might respond with something like, "Then why didn't you go do your homework at a coffee shop?" Have a response ready. Try something like, "My mom was working and there was no one to drive me." [7] X Research source
  • Do you know anything about your teacher's personal interests? This can help you gauge what excuse may work for this person. For example, you know your chemistry teacher is the oldest of 7 children. He may be more sympathetic to a story about how watching your younger siblings kept you from getting your work done. [8] X Research source

Step 2 Keep things short and to the point.

  • Stick to only the important details. For example, say you're planning on claiming your piano recital got out late, and this is why you didn't finish your math homework. Do not go overboard with the details. Simply say, "A few students played their solos too long, so we didn't get done until 9:30 and it was a 45-minute drive home." Do not say, "Chester Mifflin spent 25 minutes on his routine when we were only given 10, and then Lisa Gregory was a little late getting up on stage..." The longer your lie, the more unbelievable it sounds. Most people would not remember this much detail.
  • If your teacher presses you for specifics, you can improvise as needed but avoid excessive detail. For example, your teacher might ask, "How long did the recital run over?" Do not say, "It was supposed to run until 8:30 but it was 9:23 when we got out." Instead, say something somewhat vague, like, "I'd say about 45 minutes."

Step 3 Go for a plausible story.

  • Take a few deep breaths before going into the room to help yourself stay calm.
  • Make eye contact with your teacher most of the time.
  • Be conscious of what you're doing with your body. Try to avoid fidgeting excessively.

Step 1 Think of what will happen if you get caught.

  • Refer to the syllabus for that class. There may be a section about honesty that goes over the consequences of lying to a teacher.
  • You should also look at your school's handbook if you have a copy. See if there are any sections about what happens if you breach academic honesty policies.
  • Consequences can vary from teacher-to-teacher. In some cases, you may only get a strict talking to. However, some teachers may be required to report these kinds of behaviors to the principal and your parents. This could land you in more serious trouble both at home and at school.

Step 2 Look at the consequences of simply being honest.

  • It may depend on the assignment. Late work may not be accepted, but if the assignment is only worth 10 points, is this really a big deal? However, if the assignment is worth 15% of your grade, it may be worth it to ask for an extension.
  • Talk to other students who've had this teacher in the past. How has this teacher reacted to late or missing work? Some teachers may accept late work for lower points. Some teachers may allow you to turn in work late if it's your first time. If this is the case, it may be a good idea to simply admit you didn't do the assignment.

Step 3 Compare consequences.

  • You can make a pro and con list for each scenario. Write down the possible benefits and possible drawbacks of each option. For example, you can write on the top of a piece of paper "Lying To My Teacher" and then have two columns, one for "pro" and one for "con." Under "pro," you may write something like, "Assignment is worth a lot of points - an extension could help my overall grade." Under "con," you could write, "If Ms. Davies finds out I'm lying, she will report it to the principal and I'll get detention for a week."
  • Weigh the pros and cons. If the pros outweigh the cons heavily for one option, this may be the right choice for you.

Step 1 Prioritize your homework.

  • Do your homework every day after school. Do not do anything else, like playing video games or playing outside, before finishing your work.
  • Write down all the assignments you have to do. Make sure to write down an assignment after a teacher mentions it. This way, you won't forget.

Step 2 Seek outside help.

  • If you habitually struggle to get your homework done and have an overall inability to concentrate, this can be a symptom of Attention Deficit Disorder. Talk to your parents about getting tested for ADD.

Step 3 Avoid lying habitually.

Ashley Pritchard, MA

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Earn the Respect of Your Peers at School

  • ↑ https://helpfulprofessor.com/homework-excuses/
  • ↑ https://www.brighthubeducation.com/study-and-learning-tips/51072-10-best-homework-excuses/
  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/extreme-fear/201005/top-ten-secrets-effective-liars

About This Article

wikiHow Staff

While lying too often could reflect badly on you as a student, if you need a good excuse for your homework not being finished, say you lost it. Just don’t use this excuse often, since your teacher will think you’re unorganized. If the homework was on the computer, try blaming technology. Say your computer crashed or your internet was down. Alternatively, claim you were ill last night and had to rest. Only do this if you don’t think your teacher will call your parents to check or ask for a sick note. If you have a sibling that doesn’t go to your school, you can say they were ill and you had to look after them. Or, if you do a lot of things outside of school and have lots of homework to do, pretend you were too busy and ran out of time. For more tips, including how to make your excuse more convincing, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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10+ Best Excuses for Late Assignments

by William Christie · January 9, 2023

Not being able to submit the assignment is a common issue. Although some student who faces the problem may have real issues like family problems, or health issues facing any unwanted incident some students are careless. They intentionally don’t submit the assignment and then make excuses for not being able to submit it. If you have exceeded the time limit for your assignment submission, you must know the excuses a student can give for late submitting the assignment.

Quick Takeaways The most common excuse you can give for late assignment submission is – 1. Health issue 2. Family issue 3. Other paper 4. Job interview 5. Not able to understand or learning issues 6. Losing  a family member 7. Taking care of a member of the family

However, you must read till the end so that you get a better understanding of the excuses that you make for late assignment submissions.

10+ Best Excuses for Late Assignments

Table of Contents

What are the common Excuses for late assignments?

The common and leading excuses for submitting late assignments are as follows:

1. Health issue:

This reason is a natural thing that happens and the student is not able to avoid this situation . Suffering from an illness will make the student weak physically and mentally too resulting in not being able to complete the assignment on time. While giving this reason mostly the teacher asks for the details of the prescription. If the professor finds it valid he/she may give the concession in marks deduction or give you more time to complete and submit the assignment.

2. Family issue:

Many families are suffering from domestic fights and due to this, the student is not able to do the assignment as they suffer from mental issues . This reason is understood by the teacher also and they also help and guide the student in solving the issue. If you are a kindergarten teacher you may have to take care of such situations more.

3. Other paper:

If the student has another paper also at the same time as completing the assignment so the student can request the professor to give the solution and will help out the student. The student can also ask for help by mailing the professor.

10+ Best Excuses for Late Assignments

4. Job interview:

The student can request the professor by mailing as the student will not be able to shift the interview but if they apply to the professor for giving them time to complete the assignment. The professor will always help the student for not being able to complete the assignment and not submitting it.

5. Not able to understand or learning issues:

Not all students are the same according to their mental condition, Some students are not able to learn quickly and they need extra time with extra guidance from the professor so this makes the student not complete the assignment on time. If the professor helps the student they can understand the topic and write the assignment quickly and on time.

6. Losing  a family member:

If the student loses any family member in the house, it may cause a distraction to the student in studying and completing the assignment. as the professor needs to listen to the student and help them out and take this reason seriously. The professor will help and guide the student to complete the assignment on time.

7. Taking care of a member of the family:

If the student is taking care of a person in the family who is ill or has a baby in an unwanted situation the whole day. In this case, you need to request the professor earlier and let the professor give the solution. This is a strong reason for late submitting the assignment.

What are the common Excuses for late online assignments?

Following are the excuses for late online assignments-

10+ Best Excuses for Late Assignments

1. The problem with computers:

The student can fail the submission of an assignment when there is a technical issue in the computer and is not able to work properly but for this reason, the student needs to show the receipt to the computer technician.

2. Wifi or network issue:

While for the online submission of the assignment the student needs to have good internet or wifi . But there are many places where there is a network issue due to which the student may not be able to submit the assignment and it causes a lot of difficulties.

3. Different levels of understanding:

In an institution, there are different levels of the student, some are quick learners and some are slow learners. Hence the slow learner needs more time to understand the assignment and complete it on time. So the student should start the assignment early as soon as possible and get concerned from the professor if there is any confusion in the assignment.

4. Health issue:

The student can fail to submit the assignment or give the assignment late as per any health issue the student. So, the student needs to show the prescription suggested by the doctor to the professor so that the in-charge teacher does not think the student has not done the assignment intentionally.

5. Paper issue:

As if the timing of other courses clashes with the submission making it difficult for the Student to complete the assignment on time. The student should request the professor early only so that the teacher finds the issue genuine and give them some time to the student for completing it.

Usually, you will have to mail your professor about the reason for not being able to submit it on time. But you may not get a reply from the professors and thus you must try to get in contact with them during the class.

What should a student do when submitting a late paper?

10+ Best Excuses for Late Assignments

The student should always try to complete the assignment even if it is late for submission. They should try not to miss their assignments . Getting some penalty is rather good than zero marks and creates a bad image of themselves before a professor.

  • The student should tell the in-charged teacher that he/she would not be able to submit the assignment on time. If the professor finds the request genuine and doesn’t think the student is lazy. the teacher will find it good that the student has come up with the problem.
  • If it is not possible to tell the teacher by meeting with them the student will explain nicely what was the issue for not being able to submit the assignment on time.
  • The student who can’t tell the teacher by meeting them can send an email for applying for the late submission of the assignment with a valid reason why the student was not able to submit it. You must also thank the professor at the end of the email.
  • If you were really having a serious issue then your teacher must accept your late homework submission.


The student should always try to complete the assignment on time. In case there is a genuine problem they should talk to the teacher before and make them understand and the teacher will let them out. You may give them reasons like health and family issues only if they are actually true.

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The Ten Best Excuses for Late Homework from a Teacher Who's Heard Hundreds of Them

  • Trent Lorcher
  • Categories : Study & learning tips for parents & students
  • Tags : Homework help & study guides

The Ten Best Excuses for Late Homework from a Teacher Who's Heard Hundreds of Them

Best Excuses for Late Homework

Top ten excuses for late homework

1. Know how gullible your teacher is. Some teachers will believe anything, especially new teachers. More experienced teachers are much more difficult to fool and more likely to be bitter and jaded. Experienced teachers have also heard most of the lame excuses you have planned. 2. Know how strict your teacher is . I’ll let you in on a teaching secret: most teachers want you to succeed. They want to believe you stayed up all night nursing your sick hamster. Use this to your advantage. 3. Find out if your teacher likes you. I’ll let you in on another secret: teachers play favorites. Are you a favorite? If you are, use any excuse you like. 4. Find out your teacher’s interests . Here’s another secret: teachers love being the center of attention. Why else would they subject themselves to the torment that comes with instructing teenagers? They love talking about themselves. Listen when they do.

  • The 10 Best Homework Excuses

1. I got my backpack stolen: use rampant crime among high school students to your advantage. No teacher in his right mind would expect you to turn in that big assignment if it got stolen the very day it was due. Although most teachers won’t follow through, filing a missing backpack report might not be a bad idea. 2. My mom and dad got in a huge fight last night and the cops came and I couldn’t concentrate on the assignment: Domestic violence isn’t something to lie about…unless it’s done to save your grade. This excuse works on so many levels: (1) Your teacher will never bring this up to your parents; and (2) you will garner sympathy for the rest of the year. The only way this could go wrong is if your teacher reports this to your guidance counselor and your counselor contacts your parents. That’s probably not going to happen. 3. I stayed at my dad’s this weekend and left it there and my mom refuses to let me go back and get it: Teachers are suckers for dysfunctional family stories. This is an all time classic. 4. I left my binder in my mom’s car and she’s at work across town: This is a twist on the easy to see through “I left it at home” excuse. A teacher can reasonably expect someone from home to bring your homework, but not even the meanest teacher would expect your mom to leave work. 5. I was really sick yesterday and unable to do anything. The only reason I came is because I didn’t want to miss any more work: Teachers will admire your perseverance and give you the extra day. 6. It’s that “time of the month”: If you’re a boy, don’t try this. This only works for females on male teachers. 7. Grandma died: Even if the teacher doubts the veracity of your grandma’s death, he’s not gonna call you out on it just in case it’s true. There are obvious problems with this excuse, including the guilt you’ll feel if your grandma does die that week. 8. My dog died and I was too upset to do my homework: This is rarely used, but effective, especially if your teacher has a dog. Only a heartless task master would not cut you a break over losing your best friend. 9. I had to take care of my baby sister who was up last night throwing up: Another underused classic. Be careful your teacher isn’t an e-mailer or he just might e-mail your parents for an update on your baby sister who doesn’t exist. 10. Tell the truth: This is a revolutionary excuse. Often if you just go to your teacher in the morning and tell him or her the truth, you’ll get some additional time. What’s your favorite homework excuse? Image by  Jan Vašek  from  Pixabay

This post is part of the series: Homework Excuses

Find the best, the worst, the most popular, and the funniest homework excuses with just a few clicks of the mouse.

  • The 10 Most Common “I Forgot my Homework” Excuses
  • Funny Homework Excuses

A Few Ideas for Dealing with Late Work

August 4, 2019

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Most of my 9-week grading periods ended the same way: Me and one or two students, sitting in my quiet, empty classroom together, with me sitting at the computer, the students nearby in desks, methodically working through piles of make-up assignments. They would be focused, more focused than I’d seen them in months, and the speed with which they got through the piles was stunning. 

As they finished each assignment I took it, checked it for accuracy, then entered their scores—taking 50 percent off for being late—into my grading program. With every entry, I’d watch as their class grade went up and up: from a 37 percent to a 41, then to 45, then to 51, and eventually to something in the 60s or even low 70s, a number that constituted passing, at which point the process would end and we’d part ways, full of resolve that next marking period would be different.

And the whole time I thought to myself, This is pointless . They aren’t learning anything at all. But I wasn’t sure what else to do.

For as long as teachers have assigned tasks in exchange for grades, late work has been a problem. What do we do when a student turns in work late? Do we give some kind of consequence or accept assignments at any time with no penalty? Do we set up some kind of system that keeps students motivated while still holding them accountable? Is there a way to manage all of this without driving ourselves crazy?

To find answers, I went to Twitter and asked teachers to share what works for them. What follows is a summary of their responses. I wish I could give individual credit to each person who offered ideas, but that would take way too long, and I really want you to get these suggestions now! If you’ve been unsatisfied with your own approach to late work, you should find some fresh ideas here.

First, a Few Questions About Your Grades

Before we get into the ways teachers manage late work, let’s back up a bit and consider whether your overall program of assignments and grading is in a healthy place. Here are some questions to think about:  

  • What do your grades represent? How much of your grades are truly based on academic growth, and how much are based mostly on compliance? If they lean more toward compliance, then what you’re doing when you try to manage late work is basically a lot of administrative paper pushing, rather than teaching your content. Although it’s important for kids to learn how to manage deadlines, do you really want an A in your course to primarily reflect the ability to follow instructions? If your grades are too compliance-based, consider how you might shift things so they more accurately represent learning. (For a deeper discussion of this issue, read How Accurate Are Your Grades? )
  • Are you grading too many things? If you spend a lot of time chasing down missing assignments in order to get more scores in your gradebook, it could be that you’re grading too much. Some teachers only enter grades for major, summative tasks, like projects, major writing assignments, or exams. Everything else is considered formative and is either ungraded or given a very low point value for completion, not graded for accuracy; it’s practice . For teachers who are used to collecting lots of grades over a marking period, this will be a big shift, and if you work in a school where you’re expected to enter grades into your system frequently, that shift will be even more difficult. Convincing your students that ungraded practice is worthwhile because it will help their performance on the big things will be another hurdle. With all of that said, reducing the number of scored items will make your grades more meaningful and cut way down on the time you spend grading and managing late work.
  • What assumptions do you make when students don’t turn in work? I’m embarrassed to admit that when I first started teaching, I assumed most students with missing work were just unmotivated. Although this might be true for a small portion of students, I no longer see this as the most likely reason. Students may have issues with executive function and could use some help developing systems for managing their time and responsibilities. They may struggle with anxiety. Or they may not have the resources—like time, space, and technology—to consistently complete work at home. More attention has been paid lately to the fact that homework is an equity issue , and our policies around homework should reflect an understanding that all students don’t have access to the same resources once they leave school for the day. Punitive policies that are meant to “motivate” students don’t take any of these other issues into consideration, so if your late work penalties don’t seem to be working, it’s likely that the root cause is something other than a lack of motivation.
  • What kind of grading system is realistic for you ? Any system you put in place requires YOU to stay on top of grading. It would be much harder to assign penalties, send home reminders, or track lateness if you are behind on marking papers by a week, two weeks, even a month. So whatever you do, create a plan that you can actually keep up with.

Possible Solutions

1. penalties.

Many teachers give some sort of penalty to students for late work. The thinking behind this is that without some sort of negative consequence, too many students would wait until the end of the marking period to turn work in, or in some cases, not turn it in at all. When work is turned in weeks or even months late, it can lose its value as a learning opportunity because it is no longer aligned with what’s happening in class. On top of that, teachers can end up with massive piles of assignments to grade in the last few days of a marking period. This not only places a heavy burden on teachers, it is far from an ideal condition for giving students the good quality feedback they should be getting on these assignments.

Several types of penalties are most common:

Point Deductions In many cases, teachers simply reduce the grade as a result of the lateness. Some teachers will take off a certain number of points per day until they reach a cutoff date after which the work will no longer be accepted. One teacher who responded said he takes off 10 percent for up to three days late, then 30 percent for work submitted up to a week late; he says most students turn their work in before the first three days are over. Others have a standard amount that comes off for any late work (like 10 percent), regardless of when it is turned in. This policy still rewards students for on-time work without completely de-motivating those who are late, builds in some accountability for lateness, and prevents the teacher from having to do a lot of mathematical juggling with a more complex system. 

Parent Contact Some teachers keep track of late work and contact parents if it is not turned in. This treats the late work as more of a conduct issue; the parent contact may be in addition to or instead of taking points away. 

No Feedback, No Re-Dos The real value of homework and other smaller assignments should be the opportunity for feedback: Students do an assignment, they get timely teacher feedback, and they use that feedback to improve. In many cases, teachers allow students to re-do and resubmit assignments based on that feedback. So a logical consequence of late work could be the loss of that opportunity: Several teachers mentioned that their policy is to accept late work for full credit, but only students who submit work on time will receive feedback or the chance to re-do it for a higher grade. Those who hand in late work must accept whatever score they get the first time around. 

2. A Separate Work Habits Grade

In a lot of schools, especially those that use standards-based grading, a student’s grade on an assignment is a pure representation of their academic mastery; it does not reflect compliance in any way. So in these classrooms, if a student turns in good work, it’s going to get a good grade even if it’s handed in a month late. 

But students still need to learn how to manage their time. For that reason, many schools assign a separate grade for work habits. This might measure factors like adherence to deadlines, neatness, and following non-academic guidelines like font sizes or using the correct heading on a paper. 

  • Although most teachers whose schools use this type of system will admit that students and parents don’t take the work habits grade as seriously as the academic grade, they report being satisfied that student grades only reflect mastery of the content.
  • One school calls their work habits grade a “behavior” grade, and although it doesn’t impact GPA, students who don’t have a certain behavior grade can’t make honor roll, despite their actual GPA.
  • Several teachers mentioned looking for patterns and using the separate grade as a basis for conferences with parents, counselors, or other stakeholders. For most students, there’s probably a strong correlation between work habits and academic achievement, so separating the two could help students see that connection.
  • Some learning management systems will flag assignments as late without necessarily taking points off. Although this does not automatically translate to a work habits grade, it indicates the lateness to students and parents without misrepresenting the academic achievement.

3. Homework Passes

Because things happen in real life that can throw anyone off course every now and then, some teachers offer passes students can use to replace a missed assignment.

  • Most teachers only offer these passes to replace low-point assignments, not major ones, and they generally only offer 1 to 3 passes per marking period. Homework passes can usually only recover 5 to 10 percent of a student’s overall course grade. 
  • Other teachers have a policy of allowing students to drop one or two of their lowest scores in the gradebook. Again, this is typically done for smaller assignments and has the same net effect as a homework pass by allowing everyone to have a bad day or two.
  • One teacher gives “Next Class Passes” which allow students one extra day to turn in work. At the end of every marking period she gives extra credit points to students who still have unused passes. She says that since she started doing this, she has had the lowest rate ever of late work. 

4. Extension Requests

Quite a few teachers require students to submit a written request for a deadline extension rather than taking points off. With a system like this, every student turns something in on the due date, whether it’s the assignment itself or an extension request.

  • Most extension requests ask students to explain why they were unable to complete the assignment on time. This not only gives the students a chance to reflect on their habits, it also invites the teacher to help students solve larger problems that might be getting in the way of their academic success. 
  • Having students submit their requests via Google Forms reduces the need for paper and routes all requests to a single spreadsheet, which makes it easier for teachers to keep track of work that is late or needs to be regraded.  
  • Other teachers use a similar system for times when students want to resubmit work for a new grade. 

5. Floating Deadlines

Rather than choosing a single deadline for an assignment, some teachers assign a range of dates for students to submit work. This flexibility allows students to plan their work around other life activities and responsibilities.

  • Some teachers offer an incentive to turn in work in the early part of the time frame, such as extra credit or faster feedback, and this helps to spread out the submissions more evenly. 
  • Another variation on this approach is to assign a batch of work for a whole week and ask students to get it in by Friday. This way, students get to manage when they get it done. 
  • Other names mentioned for this strategy were flexible deadlines , soft deadlines , and due windows .

6. Let Students Submit Work in Progress

Some digital platforms, like Google Classroom, allow students to “submit” assignments while they are still working on them. This allows teachers to see how far the student has gotten and address any problems that might be coming up. If your classroom is mostly paper-based, it’s certainly possible to do this kind of thing with paper as well, letting students turn in partially completed work to demonstrate that an effort has been made and show you where they might be stuck.

7. Give Late Work Full Credit

Some teachers accept all late work with no penalty. Most of them agree that if the work is important, and if we want students to do it, we should let them hand it in whenever they get it done. 

  • Some teachers fear this approach will cause more students to stop doing the work or delay submission until the end of a marking period, but teachers who like this approach say they were surprised by how little things changed when they stopped giving penalties: Most students continued to turn work in more or less on time, and the same ones who were late under the old system were still late under the new one. The big difference was that the teacher no longer had to spend time calculating deductions or determining whether students had valid excuses; the work was simply graded for mastery.
  • To give students an incentive to actually turn the work in before the marking period is over, some teachers will put a temporary zero in the gradebook as a placeholder until the assignment is turned in, at which point the zero is replaced with a grade.
  • Here’s a twist on the “no penalty” option: Some teachers don’t take points off for late work, but they limit the time frame when students can turn it in. Some will not accept late work after they have graded and returned an assignment; at that point it would be too easy for students to copy off of the returned papers. Others will only accept late work up until the assessment for the unit, because the work leading up to that is meant to prepare for that assessment. 

8. Other Preventative Measures

These strategies aren’t necessarily a way to manage late work as much as they are meant to prevent it in the first place.

  • Include students in setting deadlines. When it comes to major assignments, have students help you determine due dates. They may have a better idea than you do about other big events that are happening and assignments that have been given in other classes.
  • Stop assigning homework. Some teachers have stopped assigning homework entirely, recognizing that disparities at home make it an unfair measurement of academic mastery. Instead, all meaningful work is done in class, where the teacher can monitor progress and give feedback as needed. Long-term projects are done in class as well, so the teacher is aware of which students need more time and why. 
  • Make homework optional or self-selected. Not all students need the same amount of practice. You may be able to get your students to assess their own need for additional practice and assign that practice to themselves. Although this may sound far-fetched, in some classes, like this self-paced classroom , it actually works, because students know they will be graded on a final assessment, they get good at determining when they need extra practice.

With so many different approaches to late work, what’s clear is that there are a lot of different schools of thought on grading and assessment, so it’s not a surprise that we don’t always land on the best solution on the first try. Experiment with different systems, talk to your colleagues, and be willing to try something new until you find something that works for you. 

Further Reading

Cover of E-Book: 20 Ways to Cut Your Grading Time in Half, by Jennifer Gonzalez

20 Ways to Cut Your Grading Time in Half This free e-book is full of ideas that can help with grading in general.

good excuse for late assignment

On Your Mark: Challenging the Conventions of Grading and Reporting Thomas R. Guskey This book came highly recommended by a number of teachers.

good excuse for late assignment

Hacking Assessment: 10 Ways to Go Gradeless in a Traditional Grades School Starr Sackstein

Come back for more. Join our mailing list and get weekly tips, tools, and inspiration that will make your teaching more effective and fun. You’ll get access to our members-only library of free downloads, including 20 Ways to Cut Your Grading Time in Half , the e-booklet that has helped thousands of teachers save time on grading. Over 50,000 teachers have already joined—come on in.

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good excuse for late assignment

Categories: Classroom Management , Instruction , Podcast

Tags: assessment , organization


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I teach high school science (mine is a course that does not have an “end of course” test so the stakes are not as high) and I teach mostly juniors and seniors. Last year I decided not to accept any late work whatsoever unless a student is absent the day it is assigned or due (or if they have an accomodation in a 504 or IEP – and I may have had one or two students with real/documented emergencies that I let turn in late.) This makes it so much easier on me because I don’t have to keep up with how many days/points to deduct – that’s a nightmare. It also forces them to be more responsible. They usually have had time to do it in class so there’s no reason for it to be late. Also, I was very frustrated with homework not being completed and I hated having to grade it and keep up with absent work. So I don’t “require” homework (and rarely assign it any more) but if students do ALL (no partial credit) of it they get a 100% (small point value grade), if they are absent or they don’t do it they are exempt. So it ends up being a sort of extra credit grade but it does not really penalize students who don’t do it. When students ask me for extra credit (which I don’t usually give), the first thing I ask is if they’ve done all the homework assigned. That usually shuts down any further discussion. I’ve decided I’m not going to spend tons of time chasing and calculating grades on small point values that do not make a big difference in an overall grade. 🙂

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Do I understand correctly….

Homework is not required. If a student fully completes the HW, they will earn full points. If the student is absent or doesn’t do it, they are excused. Students who do complete the HW will benefit a little bit in their overall grade, but students who don’t compete the work will not be penalized. Did I understand it correctly?

Do you stipulate that a student must earn a certain % on the assignment to get the full points? What about a student who completed an assignment but completes the entire thing incorrectly? Still full credit? Or an opportunity to re-do?

Thank you in advance.

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From reading this blog post I was thinking the same thing. When not penalizing students for homework do you have students who do turn it in getting extra points in class?

From what I have seen, if there is a benefit for turning in homework and students see this benefit more will try to accomplish what the homework is asking. So avoid penalization is okay, but make sure the ones turning it in are getting rewarded in some way.

The other question regarding what to do with students who may not be completing the assignments correctly, you could use this almost as a formative assessment. You could still give them the credit but use this as a time for you to focus on that student a little more and see where he/she isn’t understanding the content.

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Our school has a system called Catch Up Cafe. Students with missing work report to a specific teacher during the first 15 minutes of lunch to work on missing work. Students upgrade to a Wednesday after school time if they have accumulated 4 or more missing assignments on any Monday. They do not have to serve if they can clear ALL missing work by the end of the day Wednesday. Since work is not dragging out for a long period of time, most teachers do not take off points.

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How do you manage the logistics of who has missing and how many assignments are needed to be completed-to make sure they are attending the Catch up Cafe or Wednesday after school? How do you manage the communication with parents?

When a student has missing work it can be very difficult to see what he/she is missing. I always keep a running record of all of their assignments that quarter and if they miss that assigement I keep it blank to remind myself there was never a submission. Once I know that this student is missing this assignment I give them their own copy and write at the top late. So once they do turn it in I know that it’s late and makes grading it easier.

There are a lot of different programs that schools use but I’ve always kept a paper copy so I have a back-up.

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I find that the worst part of tracking make-up work is keeping tabs on who was absent for a school activity, illness or other excused absence, and who just didn’t turn in the assignment. I obviously have to accept work turned in “late” due to an excused absence, but I can handle the truly late work however I wish. Any advice on simplifying tracking for this?

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I tell my students to simply write “Absent (day/s)” at the top of the paper. I remind them of this fairly regularly. That way, if they were absent, it’s their responsibility to notify me, and it’s all together. If you create your own worksheets, etc., you could add a line to the top as an additional reminder.

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It might be worth checking out Evernote .

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In order to keep track of what type of missing assignments, I put a 0 in as a grade so students and parents know an assignment was never submitted. If a student was here on the due date and day assignment was given then it is a 0 in the grade book. If a student was absent the day the assignment was given or when it was due, I put a 00 in the grade book. This way I know if it was because of an absence or actual no work completed.

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This is exactly what I do. Homework can only count 10% in our district. Claims that kids fail due to zeros for homework are specious.

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This is SUCH a difficult issue and I have tried a few of the suggested ways in years past. My questions is… how do we properly prepare kids for college while still being mindful of the inequities at home? We need to be sure that we are giving kids opportunity, resources, and support, but at the same time if we don’t introduce them to some of the challenges they will be faced with in college (hours of studying and research and writing regardless of the hours you might have to spend working to pay that tuition), are we truly preparing them? I get the idea of mastery of content without penalty for late work and honestly that is typically what I go with, but I constantly struggle with this and now that I will be moving from middle to high school, I worry even more about the right way to handle late work and homework. I don’t want to hold students back in my class by being too much of a stickler about seemingly little things, but I don’t want to send them to college unprepared to experience a slap in the face, either. I don’t want to provide extra hurdles, but how do I best help them learn how to push through the hurdles and rigor if they aren’t held accountable? I always provide extra time after school, at lunch, etc., and have also experienced that end of term box checking of assignments in place of a true learning experience, but how do we teach them the importance of using resources, asking for help, allowing for mistakes while holding them to standards and learning work habits that will be helpful to them when they will be on their own? I just don’t know where the line is between helping students learn the value of good work habits and keeping them from experiencing certain challenges they need to understand in order to truly get ahead.

Thanks for sharing – I can tell how much you care for your students, wanting them to be confident independent learners. What I think I’m hearing is perhaps the struggle between that fine line of enabling and supporting. When supporting kids, whether academically or behaviorally, we’re doing something that assists or facilitates their growth. So, for example, a student that has anxiety or who doesn’t have the resources at home to complete an assignment, we can assist by giving that student extra time or an alternative place to complete the assignment. This doesn’t lower expectations, it just offers support to help them succeed.

Enabling on the other hand, puts systems in place that don’t involve consequences, which in turn allow the behaviors to continue. It involves excuses and solving problems for others. It may be about lowering expectations and letting people get by with patterns of behavior.

Late work is tricky. The article does mention the importance of time management, which is why separating academic grades from work habits is something a lot of schools are doing. Sometimes real life happens and kids need a “pass.” If whatever you’re doing seems to be helping to support a student rather than enabling patterns, then that might help you distinguish between that fine line. Hope this helps!

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Thank you again for such a great post. Always high-quality, relevant, and helpful. I so appreciate you and the work you do!

So glad to hear you enjoyed the post, Liz! I’ll make sure Jenn sees this.

I thought that these points brought up about receiving late work were extremely helpful and I hope that every classroom understands how beneficial these strategies could be.

When reading the penalties section under point deductions it brought up the idea of taking points off slowly as time goes by. Currently in my classroom the only point deduction I take off is 30% of the total grade after it is received late. No matter how much time has gone by in that grading period it will have 30% off the total.

I’m curious if changing this technique to something that would increase the percentage off as time goes by will make students turn in their work on time.

My question to everyone is which grading technique would be more beneficial for the students? Do you believe that just taking off 30% for late work would help students more when turning in their work or do you think that as time goes by penalizing their final score will have students turn in their work more?

If anyone has any answers it would be extremely beneficial.

Thank you, Kirby

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When I was in school my school did 1/3 of a grade each day it was like. So 1 day late A >A-. Two days late: A->>B+ so on and so forth. This worked really well for me because I knew that I could still receive a good grade if I worked hard on an assignment, even if it was a day or two late.

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I dread it when I have missing work or unsubmitted work. I would try to get a last-minute effort to chase those needed pieces of work which could be done from those students housed in dorms on campus. It is better than not failing them for lacking to turn in graded submissions or taking scheduled quizzes. I dread this not for the students, sadly, but for likely call to explain why I did not keep physical evidence of students’ supposed learning. In my part of the globe, we have a yearly “quality assurance” audit by the country’s educational authorities or their representatives.

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I am a pre-service teacher and I am in the process of developing my personal philosophies in education, including the topic of late work. I will be certified as a secondary social studies teacher and would like to teach in a high school. Your post brought my attention to some important insights about the subject. For example, before this post I had not thought to use feedback as a way to incentivize homework submission on time. This action coupled with the ability to re-do assignments is a great way to emphasize the importance of turning work in on time. I do have a follow-up question, how do you adequately manage grading re-do’s and feedback on all assignments? What kinds of organizational and time-management strategies do you use as a teacher? Further, how much homework do you assign when providing this as an option?

Additionally, have you administered or seen the no penalty and homework acceptance time limit in practice (for example, all homework must be turned in by the unit test)? I was curious if providing a deadline to accept all homework until the unit test may result in an access of papers I need to grade. From your experience, what practice(s) have you seen work well in the classroom?

My goal is to prepare students for life beyond high school and to support their intellectual, social, and emotional development during their high school learning experience. Similar to a previous commenter (Kate), I am also trying to define a balance between holding students accountable in order to best prepare them for their future lives and providing opportunities to raise their grade if they are willing to do the work.

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Hey Jessica, you have some great questions. I’d recommend checking out the following blog posts from Jenn that will help you learn more about keeping track of assessments, differentiation, and other aspects of grading: Kiddom: Standards-based Grading Made Wonderful , Could You Teach Without Grades , Boost Your Assessment Power with GradeCam , and Four Research-Based Strategies Every Teacher Should be Using . I hope this helps you find answers to your questions!

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Overall I found this article extremely helpful and it actually reinforced many ideas I already had about homework and deadlines. One of my favorite teachers I had in high school was always asking for our input on when we felt assignments should be due based on what extra curricular activities were taking place in a given time period. We were all extremely grateful for his consideration and worked that much harder on the given assignments.

While it is important to think about our own well-being when grading papers, I think it is just as important (if not more) to be conscious of how much work students might have in other classes or what students schedules are like outside of school. If we really want students to do their best work, we need to give them enough time to do the work. This will in turn, help them care more about the subject matter and help them dive deeper. Obviously there still needs to be deadlines, but it does not hurt to give students some autonomy and say in the classroom.

Thanks for your comment Zach. I appreciate your point about considering students’ involvement in extracurricular activities and other responsibilities they may have outside the school day. It’s definitely an important consideration. The only homework my son seemed to have in 8th grade was for his history class. I agree that there’s a need for teachers to maintain more of a balance across classes when it comes to the amount of homework they give to students.

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Thank you for an important, thought-provoking post! As a veteran teacher of 20+ years, I have some strong opinions about this topic. I have always questioned the model of ‘taking points off’ for late work. I do not see how this presents an accurate picture of what the student knows or can do. Shouldn’t he be able to prove his knowledge regardless of WHEN? Why does WHEN he shows you what he knows determine WHAT he knows?

Putting kids up against a common calendar with due dates and timelines, regardless of their ability to learn the material at the same rate is perhaps not fair. There are so many different situations facing our students – some students have challenges and difficulty with deadlines for a plethora of potential reasons, and some have nothing but support, structure, and time. When it comes to deadlines – Some students need more time. Other students may need less time. Shouldn’t all students have a chance to learn at a pace that is right for them? Shouldn’t we measure student success by demonstrations of learning instead of how much time it takes to turn in work? Shouldn’t students feel comfortable when it is time to show me what they’ve learned, and when they can demonstrate they’ve learned it, I want their grade to reflect that.

Of course we want to teach students how to manage their time. I am not advocating for a lax wishy-washy system that allows for students to ‘get to it when they get to it’. I do believe in promoting work-study habits, and using a separate system to assign a grade for responsibility, respect, management, etc is a potential solution. I understand that when introducing this type of system, it may be tough to get buy-in from parents and older students who have traditionally only looked at an academic grade because it is the only piece of the puzzle that impacts GPA. Adopting a separate work-study grading system would involve encouraging the entire school community – starting at the youngest level – to see its value. It would be crucial for the school to promote the importance of high level work-study habits right along side academic grades.

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I teach a specials course to inner city middle schoolers at a charter school. All students have to take my class since it is one of the core pillars of the school’s culture and mission. Therefore it is a double edge sword. Some students and parents think it is irrelevant like an art or music class but will get upset to find out it isn’t just an easy A class. Other students and parents love it because they come to our charter school just to be in this class that isn’t offered anywhere else in the state, except at the college level.

As you may have already guessed, I see a lot of students who don’t do the work. So much that I no longer assign homework, which the majority would not be able to do independently anyways or may develop the wrong way of learning the material, due to the nature of the subject. So everything is done in the classroom together as a class. And then we grade together to reinforce the learning. This is why I absolutely do not accept missing work and there is no reason for late work. Absent students make up the work by staying after school upon their return or they can print it off of Google classroom at home and turn in by the end of the day of their return. Late and missing work is a big issue at our school. I’ve had whole classrooms not do the work even as I implemented the new routine. Students will sit there and mark their papers as we do it in the classroom but by the end they are not handing it in because they claim not to have anything to hand in. Or when they do it appears they were doing very little. I’d have to micromanage all 32 students every 5 minutes to make sure they were actually doing the work, which I believe core teachers do. But that sets a very bad precedent because I noticed our students expect to be handheld every minute or they claim they can’t do the work. I know this to be the case since before this class I was teaching a computer class and the students expected me to sit right next to them and give them step-by-step instructions of where to click on the screen. They simply could not follow along as I demonstrated on the Aquos board. So I do think part of the problem is the administrators’ encouraging poor work ethics. They’re too focused on meeting proficient standard to the point they want teachers to handhold students. They also want teachers to accept late and missing work all the way until the end of each quarter. Well that’s easy if you only have a few students but when you have classrooms full of them, that means trying to grade 300+ students multiplied by “x” amount of late/missing work the week before report card rolls out – to which we still have to write comments for C- or below students. Some of us teach all the grade levels 6-8th. And that has actually had negative effects because students no longer hold themselves accountable.

To be honest, I really do think this is why there is such a high turnover rate and teachers who started giving busy work only. In the inner city, administrators only care about putting out the illusion of proficiency while students and parents don’t want any accountability for their performance. As soon as a student fails because they have to actually try to learn (which is a risk for failing), the parent comes in screaming.

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Yea, being an Art teacher you lost me at “ irrelevant like an art or music .”

I teach middle school in the inner city where missing and late work is a chronic issue so the suggestions and ideas above do not work. Students and parents have become complacent with failing grades so penalizing work isn’t going to motivate them to do better the next time. The secret to teaching in the inner city is to give them a way out without it becoming massive work for you. Because trust me, if you give them an inch they will always want a mile at your expense. Depending on which subject you teach, it might be easier to just do everything in class. That way it becomes an all or nothing grade. They either did or didn’t do the work. No excuses, no chasing down half the school through number of calls to disconnected phone numbers and out of date emails, no explaining to parents why Johnny has to stay after school to finish assignments when mom needs him home to babysit or because she works second shift and can’t pick him up, etc. Students have no reason for late work or for missing work when they were supposed to do it right there in class. Absent students can catch up with work when they return.

Milton, I agree with all of what you are saying and have experienced. Not to say that that is for all students I have had, but it is a slow progression as to what is happening with students and parents as years go by. I understand that there are areas outside of the classroom we cannot control and some students do not have certain necessities needed to help them but they need to start learning what can they do to help themselves. I make sure the students know they can come and talk to me if needing help or extra time, tutor after school and even a phone number to contact along with email if needing to ask questions or get help. But parents and students do not use these opportunities given until the week before school ends and are now wanting their student to pass and what can be done. It is frustrating and sad. I let students and parents know my expectation up front and if they do not take the opportunity to talk to me then the grade they earned is the result.

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I am a special education resource teacher and late work/missing work happens quite a lot. After reading this article, I want to try a few different things to help minimize this issue. However, I am not the one making the grades or putting the grades in. I am just giving the work to the students in small group settings and giving them more access to the resources they need to help them be successful on these assignments based on their current IEP. I use a make-up folder, and usually I will pull these students to work on their work during a different time than when I regularly pull them. That way they do not miss the delivery of instruction they get from me and it does not punish my other students either if there is make-up work that needs to be completed. I try to give my students ample time to complete their work, so there is no excuse for them not to complete it. If they are absent, then I pull them at a time that they can make it up.

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I too agree with that there’s a need for teachers to maintain more of a balance across classes when it comes to the amount of homework they give to students.

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I had a few teachers who were willing to tolerate lateness in favor of getting it/understanding the material. Lastly, my favorite teacher was the one who gave me many chances to do rewrites of a ‘bad essay’ and gave me as much time as needed (of course still within like the semester or even month but I never took more than two weeks) because he wanted me to do well. I ended up with a 4 in AP exam though so that’s good.

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Late work has a whole new meaning with virtual learning. I am drowning in late work (via Google Classroom). I don’t want to penalize students for late work as every home situation is different. I grade and provide feedback timely (to those who submitted on time). However, I am being penalized every weekend and evening as I try to grade and provide feedback during this time. I would love some ideas.

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Hi Susan! I’m in the same place–I have students who (after numerous reminders) still haven’t submitted work due days…weeks ago, and I’m either taking time to remind them again or give feedback on “old” work over my nights and weekends. So, while it’s not specific to online learning, Jenn’s A Few Ideas for Dealing with Late Work is a post I’ve been trying to put into practice the last few days. I hope this helps!

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Graded assignment flexibility is essential to the process of learning in general but especially in our new world of digital divide

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It is difficult to determine who is doing the work at home. Follow up videos on seesaw help to see if the student has gained the knowledge or is being given the answers.

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This is some good information. This is a difficult subject.

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I love the idea of a catch-up cafe! I think I will try to implement this in my school. It’s in the same place every day, yes? And the teachers take turns monitoring? I’m just trying to get a handle on the logistics – I know those will be the first questions I get.

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I really enjoyed this post. I think it provides a lot of perspective on a topic that teachers get way too strict about. I just wonder: wouldn’t it be inevitable for students to become lazy and care less about their understanding if there wasn’t any homework (or even if it was optional)? I know students don’t like it, and it can get redundant if they understand the content, but it truly is good practice.

Hi Shannon,

Glad the post helped! Homework is one of those hot educational topics, but I can’t say I’ve personally come across a situation or found any research where kids become lazy or unmotivated if not assigned homework. In fact, research indicates that homework doesn’t really have much impact on learning until high school. I just think that if homework is going to be assigned, it needs to be intentional and purposeful. (If students have already mastered a skill, I’m not sure how homework would provide them much benefit.) Here’s an article that I think is worth checking out. See what you think.

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I like how you brought up how homework needs to be given with the understanding that not all kids have the same resources at home. Some kids don’t have computers or their parents won’t let them use it. There is no way of knowing this so teachers should give homework that requires barely any utensils or technology.

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I think having students help determine the due dates for major assignments is a great idea. This works well with online schools too. Remote jobs are the future so helping students learn how to set their own due dates and to get homework done from home will prepare them for the future.

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This year I am trying something new. After reading this article, I noticed that I have used a combination of some of these strategies to combat late work and encourage students to turn work in on time. I only record a letter grade in the grade book: A, B, C, D, F. If a student turns in an assignment late, I flag it as late, but it does not affect their “grade”.

If a student wants to redo an assignment, they must turn something in. If they miss the due date, they can still turn it in, but lose the opportunity to redo the assignment. Students will meet with me one last time before they turn it in to get final feedback.

At the end of the grading period, I conference with the student about their final grade, looking at how many times they have handed work in on-time or late. This will determine if the student has earned an A or an A+ .

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I really appreciate how your post incorporates a lot of suggestions for the way that teachers can think about and grade homework. Thank you for mentioning how different students have different resources available as well. As teachers, we need to be aware of the different resources our students have and tailor our approach to homework to match. I like the idea of grading homework based on completion and accepting late work for full credit at any time (substituting a zero in the grade book until it is turned in). This is definitely a strategy that I’ll be using!

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So glad the article was helpful for you! I will be sure to pass on your comments to Jenn.

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I also have been teaching for a long time and I have found that providing an END OF WEEK (Friday at 11:59) due date for assignments allows students to get the work completed by that time. It helps with athletes, and others involved in extra curricular activities. I feel this is fair. I give my tests/quizzes on the days assigned and the supplemental work on Fridays.

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I personally, as a special education teach, would allow my SPED students extra time to complete the work they have missed. This is in alignment with their IEP accommodations. I would work with each one independently and have remediation with the content that they are having difficulty. This setting would be in a small group and separate classroom.

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I really like the idea of a work habits grade. I struggle with students who turn things in late regularly earning the same grade as those who always turn things in on time. A work habits grade could really motivate some learners.

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I’ve been in education for 37 years and in all manner of positions. I share this only to also say that things have changed quite a bit. When I started teaching I only had one, maybe two students in a class of 34 elementary students that would not have homework or classwork finished. Now, I have two classes of about 15 each. One group is often half the class on a regular basis not having homework or not finishing classwork on a regular basis- so far. Additionally parents will pull students out to go to amusement parks, etc and expect all work to be made up and at full credit. I believe that the idea of homework is clearly twofold- to teach accountability and to reengage a learner. Classwork is critical to working with the content and, learning objective. We can all grade various ways; however, at some point, the learner has to step up. Learning is not passive, nor is it all on the teacher. I have been called “mean” because I make students do their work in class, refocusing them, etc. I find that is my duty. Late work should be simply dealt with consistently and with understanding to circumstance IMO. You were out or it was late because mom and dad were upset, ok versus we went to Disney for three days and I was too tired. hmm- used to be easy with excused/unexcused absences, now there is no difference. Late with no absence? That can be a problem and I reach out to home and handle it individually at my level.

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Hi Jennifer! I really like your sharing about this topic! Late work is a problem that every teacher encounters. Thank you for your consideration of this issue and the many wise ideas you have provided. Your ideas also remind me to reflect on whether my overall program of assignments and grading is in a healthy place. I was inspired by the preventative measures you listed in this post. I want to try to include my students in setting deadlines, especially for some big projects. Students will feel respected by teachers and will be more willing to complete the assignments before deadlines! As you mentioned, some teachers have made homework optional or self-selected, or even stopped assigning homework. I partially agree with that opinion. I indeed try to reduce the amount of students’ homework or even stop assigning homework sometime, but doing related practice in class instead. I believe that the purpose of homework is to aid pupils in mastering the knowledge; it is not a necessary thing.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Yang. Jenn will be glad to know that you found the post inspiring!

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Thanks so much for all your insights on giving assignments or homework. All are very helpful as I prepare to return to work after an extended medical leave. It is good to refresh! Anything we require of our students should be purposeful and meaningful to them, so they will give their best to meet whatever deadlines we set. I also like asking our students when is the best time they can turn work in; this is meeting them halfway. And if one strategy does not work, there are more to try; just read this post. Thanks a bunch!!

Jenn will be glad to know the post was helpful for you, Jo!

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How to apologize for late work in college (with email template)

good excuse for late assignment

Well, here you are after missing a deadline on an assignment in college and you want to tell your professor that you are sorry about turning it in late.

This is really thoughtful of you and an apology can go a really long way. If you write a good enough apology, maybe your professor won’t penalize you for turning it in late in the first place.

And even if they won’t do that for you, at least you can let them know you really care about their class.

I can help you because I was a professor for 15 years and I received A LOT of late assignments from students. And I also got a lot of emails from students regarding their late work that included lots of excuses.

I will tell you what strategies worked the best because all excuses aren’t equal. However, it isn’t just about the excuse but more about your sincerity.

And let’s face it, you might not even have a good reason why you missed the deadline anyway. But here you are. And now you want to politely tell your professor you are sorry.

You don’t want to make a bad impression.

In this article, I am going to go over ways to apologize for your late work. But don’t worry, I have another article that helps students understand when professors accept late work and how to ask.

READ MORE : How to ask you professor to accept late work

READ MORE : How to ask for a makeup assignment

How do you politely apologize for a late submission

When a college student has to turn in work late, it is considerate for them to tell their professor why they’re submitting it late and apologize. I think it’s best that students follow my email template on how to explain their situation and say they’re sorry for submitting it late in the first place.

I have an email template to help you apologize to your professor for your late assignment. But let me go over a few things first.

You might wonder if you even need to apologize in the first place. Yes, I think you should send a quick email to let your professor know you are sorry.

This is because your professor will think that you care about your education and their class. And as a former professor, I got a lot of late assignments and very few emails from students saying they’re sorry.

But when I did get an apology, I knew the student was serious about the class and their coursework, and it let me know just how much they appreciated my course.

You might wonder what’s in it for you. Well, your professor might choose to remove your late penalty. Or at the end of the semester, they might raise your grade just a bit.

At the very least, they will know you appreciated them accepting the assignment.

Alright, enough about that. Let’s get into telling them.

Email template saying you’re sorry for late work

Dear Professor Smith,

I wanted to send you an email explaining my late work. Recently, I had to submit a few assignments late. I know that this likely inconveniences you because of the late grading and I apologize. But I also wanted to let you know that this late work is not a reflection of me or my abilities. I had some personal issues that I had to deal with and this caused me to fall behind in all my classes. I am caught up and I am working to prevent the same issues in the future because I care about your course and my education. I just wanted to let you know that I do care about your class and my late work has nothing to do with my excitement for this course.

Sincerely, your student

Okay, this is an email template of how to ask your professor for forgiveness on your late assignment.

Your professor will think that you care a lot about your education, and they may even cut you some slack. What I like about this email is that you aren’t asking for anything from your professor.

Instead, you are letting them know how sorry you are and that you are really trying.

Now, what are you waiting for, go email them now!

READ MORE : How to ask for an extension or makeup assignment


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good excuse for late assignment

I taught college students for about 15 years. I have experience teaching online and in-person. I have a graduate degree. I have a passion for education. But I’ve also worked in the professional world (outside of education) too. And with my teaching and educational experience, I want to help students answer their most pressing questions. I want to give my wealth of knowledge to college students to help make their life easier.

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51 Best Homework Excuses (Serious, Funny, Strict Teachers)

Homework. No one wants to do it. But no one wants to get in trouble either. So, here are some of the best homework excuses that are serious, funny, and might even work for strict teachers!

As a teacher myself, I’ve heard most of these excuses. I laughed at a few and rolled my eyes at most.

At the end of the day, you’re only going to get away with not doing homework if you’ve got a solid excuse and a bunch of evidence to back it up. Good luck!

Read Also: 27 Pros and Cons of Homework

Cliché Homework Excuses

These are terrible homework excuses that, really, students should avoid. They might be fun to use, but most of them have been over-used. Your teacher won’t believe you unless you’ve brought some evidence along with you.

1. My Dog ate my Homework. Look, no one’s ever going to believe this one. Maybe avoid it unless you want to spend lunch time inside catching up.

2. My Computer Broke. This one’s more believable but it’s been over-used. Thanks to all the liars out there, this homework excuse is well and truly ruined.

3. My Mom Forgot It. Nothing like blaming your mother for your own failures. Most teachers would probably tell you to take a little personal responsibility and send you on your way.

4. The Internet was Out. As believable as any excuse, your teacher might tell you that you’d better buy yourself an old hardback encyclopedia.

5. My Grandma Died. Again. The oldest excuse in the book, I always ask for evidence of this. Some people seem to have 15 grandmas.

6. The Older Kids Took it off me and Tore it Up. Chances are, your teacher’s going to be very concerned by this. They might even escalate this to a disciplinary issue!

Related: A List of Extension Excuses for College Students

Funny Homework Excuses

These ones might get a laugh out of your teacher and your classmates. But, you’re not likely to get out of trouble in the long run.

7. My Mother wanted to Display it on the Fridge. You might get a few laughs from your friends out of this one. But, your teacher is going to tell you to go home, take it off the fridge, and bring it to class!

8. The Police Confiscated it as Evidence. This one might make your teacher pause and wonder. Why is it confiscated? Is it so poorly written that the police consider it an outrage? Maybe your joke will deflect them from punishing you, though.

9. I was Abducted by Aliens and They took It. If your teacher believes this one, let me know. I’ve got some air guitars to sell them.

10. I sent it to you in the Post. In this day and age, you might have to tell your teacher they should wait a few months to it arrive. The postal service isn’t what it used to be.

11. My Dad mistook it for a Letter and Posted it to China. Funny, but clearly not true. Your teacher is going to ask one simple question: why is your dad sending letters to China?

12. I had to burn it in the Fireplace to keep myself Warm. Like Pablo Escobar burning cash, you’ve thrown caution to the wind and thrown your homework book into the fire because, well, if you didn’t, you wouldn’t have survived the freezing cold night.

13. It flew out the Window of the Car. Just picture it. You’re frantically doing your homework on the drive to school. Your dad winds down the window and – woosh – the homework’s gone for good. And class is in just 15 minutes!

14. I thought I’d do it Tomorrow because I’ll be Older and Wiser Then. A clever joke, but you’re probably going to be known as the class clown from that moment onwa rd!

15. I did my Work. It’s all Up Here in my Head. Be prepared for your teacher to give you a snap quiz on the spot if you’re bold enough to say you’ve got it all in your head! But, if you pull it off, maybe you’ll get away without too much trouble.

16. I didn’t do it because I didn’t want to add to your Workload. Sure, it sounds nice, but your teacher will see right through this cheeky response. But hey, when you’ve got nothing to lose it’s worth a try.

17. My Hand fell Asleep and I didn’t want to Wake It. Imagine you were trying so hard to do your homework and write down those answers. But, your hand just wouldn’t obey your command!

18. My Cat ate it knowing that I’d Blame the Dog. This one’s a funny twist on “my dog ate my homework” that might just get a laugh out of your teacher (and a little bit of leniency).

Related: Excuses for Skipping Class in College

Excuses For Strict Teachers

Okay, here’s where things get serious. If you’ve got a teacher who you know is going to be mad, you need to come into this with a plan. Usually, that means providing evidence to support your excuse.

19. I was Sick. And I have a Sick Note. Being sick (genuinely!) is one of the few reasons for not doing your homework that might actually work. You’re going to want to be able to present a note from your parent and maybe even a doctor.

20. My Mother or Father went to Hospital. And here’s the Sick Note. If your mom or dad is in hospital, chances are you’re going to get a free pass. Bring evidence, even if it’s a photo of dad in the hospital bed with tubes coming out of his nose!

21. My Computer Screen Broke. And here’s a Picture. I’ve actually gotten this one from students a few times and it really took me back. I thought: “is this legit, or is this image from 3 years ago?” A receipt from the computer repair store with a date on it is usually a better piece of evidence. But then again, why didn’t you go to the library?

22. The computer broke, but here are my hand-written notes. I’m usually pretty impressed by this excuse. Your computer broke, but you still made the effort to give the homework a go anyway. Great resilience!

23. The wi-fi didn’t work, but here are my hand-written notes. This excuse is very similar to the previous one. If you turn up with nothing and say the wi-fi broke, the teacher probably won’t accept that excuse. But if you actually tried to write some notes anyway, well done!

24. I wasn’t here when the work was assigned. This is an excellent homework excuse for strict teachers. It’s really quite legitimate. How were you supposed to know you had homework!?

25. I tried, but I didn’t understand the Instructions. This puts the onus back on the teacher. Why didn’t they provide clearer instructions? It’s usually a good idea to show some evidence that you at least gave it a go, though.

26. I volunteer at the soup kitchen on Monday Nights. Everyone loves a good Samaritan. If it gets you out of homework, well, that’s just the universe giving you good karma.

27. I’m so sorry. I thought it was right here in my Bag! This one helps show that it at least is a genuine mistake.

28. I had way too much Homework for my other Class. Follow this one up with “You should talk to that teacher about how their overbearing homework requirements are impacting your students!”

29. The Library was Closed and I don’t have Internet at Home. This one might get you a little more sympathy. The fact you don’t have internet at home means you’re not as privileged as many other kids, so your teacher might let you off lightly.

Related: Fun Things to do when Bored in Class

Truthful Homework Excuses

30. I was too busy doing something more important. Your teacher is instantly going to say “what was more important than your education?” Don’t respond with “video games.”

31. My parents kept me really busy on the weekend. But I promise I’ll do it tonight. One thing I would say about this excuse is that you’re saying “Hey, take it up with my parents. I wanted to do some homework!” But, you’re also saying you’ve got a plan to get it done asap.

32. I was at football practice all night. Many teachers will still say “learning comes before sports” (which, as a teacher, I agree with). But, you’ve got a leg to stand on here. You don’t want to let your team down, which is fair.

33. I did my homework, but I left it at home. This excuse does show that you at least put the effort in. But, you failed at the finish line! Come to class tomorrow with the homework and you’ll win back some respect from your teacher.

34. I forgot I even had homework. Hey, it’s truthful. But you’re not going to get any sympathy for this one.

35. The computer didn’t break. It was the Printer this time! An excuse that’s almost as bad as “my computer broke”, the printer issues excuse at least needs some photographic evidence to back it up. And, why didn’t you email the homework to your teacher?

36. I had a Headache. Headaches are the worst. As a teacher myself, I’d probably have a little sympathy for this excuse if it’s a one-off. But, I’d expect my student to bring a note from the parent to corroborate the story.

37. The homework was far too Easy. This isn’t a good reason not to do homework. Your teacher is going to expect you to absolutely ace your next test.

38. My tutor accidentally took it home with them. Nothing like blaming your tutor for your own problems. As a teacher, I’d probably roll my eyes and tell you that you need to keep better track of your things.

39. I accidentally squished it in the bottom of my bag and now it’s got rotten apple juice all over it. This one’s funny to me because, well, as a kid this always used to happen to me. Rotten bananas were usually the culprit.

40. I spilled cereal all over it because I was doing it over breakfast. This sounds believable. I would tell my student the should at least show me the ruined homework as evidence. And, I’d also tell them that breakfast isn’t the best time to do your homework.

See a List of 11 Homework Statistics

Blame the Parents

41. My parents don’t believe in homework and won’t let me do it. There are some parents like this. If a student said this to me, I’d be on the phone to the parents. So, if you don’t want your teacher to call your parents, don’t use this excuse.

42. My mother said band practice was more important. It’s really hard for teachers to argue with parents via the student. But in my experience the teacher usually responds with: “you need to have better organization skills to get all of these things done in your own time!”

43. I help my father at work on a Tuesday afternoon. I just can’t get it done on Tuesdays. Once again, the teacher is likely going to tell you to have more organization skills. But, you might occasionally get an extension out of this. Especially if you let the teacher know in advance.

44. My father looked at it, said it was outrageous government indoctrination, and told me not to do it. While I think this is hilarious, it’s also something that happens a lot these days. Why is this world so divided? Science isn’t controversial, people!

45. My mother was looking over my homework and forgot to give it back to me. Okay, time for me to put my teacher voice on: “She didn’t forget to give it back to you. You forgot to ask for it back.”

46. My mother threw it in the trash. This must have been frustrating to you! A teacher with a quick wit will respond: “it shouldn’t have looked like trash then. You must have done a bad job!” Or, a more serious teacher might just tell you that you need to be more organized net time.

Blame the Teachers

47. You give too much Homework. There are plenty of people out there in this world who think teachers do give too much homework. They believe it’s not fair and it’s preventing children from leading a balanced and healthy life.

48. Your instructions are impossible to understand. This one really puts the pressure back on the teacher because you’re basically telling them that they’re bad at their job.

49. This was way too hard for me. You need to give me more guidance. Sometimes, it’s true, teachers do assign homework that’s way too hard. You do need to be resourceful and find ways to learn yourself. But at the same time, the teacher really should know better.

50. The homework is too easy. It’s a complete waste of my time. Assigning homework is like playing Goldilocks. It can’t be too hard, can’t be too easy.

51. Between you and all my other teachers, you’re assigning hours of homework every night. You all need to get together and resolve this. This one’s surely going to set a cat amongst the pigeons. The teachers are going to talk about this at their next staff meeting. But, they might coordinate and come back at you as a united front!

FAQ: How to Get Out of Doing Homework?

The best ways to get out of doing homework are to:

  • Let the teacher know in advance that you won’t be able to do it. Teachers respond better when you give them an excuse before time, not after.
  • Bring evidence of why you didn’t do it. If you want your teacher to truly believe your excuse, you need evidence. This can be notes, photos, receipts, or anything else proving your story is true.

Really, the best way to avoid any issues is to just do the homework in the first place. But if you’re reading this article, chances are the horses have left the stable. You’re at a stage where you’ve got to come up with an excuse because in 10 minutes your teacher is going to be asking you why you haven’t done anything!

Well, good luck with that! I hope you don’t get into too much trouble, but I also hope you learn that next time the best solution is to just get that homework done in advance.


Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 50 Durable Goods Examples
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Tips To Write An Excuse Letter For Late Submission Of Assignments

Tips to Write an Excuse Letter for Late Submission of Assignments

Late submissions are common for students since they have a lot to manage. It can get difficult to manage studies, jobs, exams, and assignments, due to which you may end up submitting them late. Hence, you need an extension for your submission in these cases. The majority of universities want their students to submit a letter so that they can get an extension on their assignments. This letter may be termed an “excuse letter,” which explains your reason for not submitting your assignment on time and requesting more time. However, you need to ensure that your letter is up to par so that it can get approved right away. You have to note that if your letter is not convincing, your request can be rejected and you will be given fewer marks. There is an upfront penalty for submitting late assignments.

Tips To Write An Excuse Letter For Late Submission Of Assignments

Here are some tips on how to write an outstanding excuse letter for your late submission.

Be Clear about your Reason.

The first tip is that you have to indicate your reason for making late submissions to the authorities. For this reason, you have to ensure that you focus on using simple and understandable language in your letter is reason, you have to ensure that you focus on using simple and understandable language in your letter. Your reason should be strong enough, like a medical issue or some other issue that can be considered by the university when granting you time. You have to note that universities don’t accept all reasons. So you should be selective about choosing the reason. Hence, you should be clear in your approach.

Be Polite and Respectful.

Since you are asking for more time to submit your assignment, you have to ensure that you are polite and respectful. You shouldn’t use rude language, which can make a bad impression in any way. Your overall tone should be apologetic so that your tutor can get a fair idea that you are sad about your late submission and that it was not intentional. Moreover, your tone should indicate that the circumstances were such that you had to take an extension for your assignment. You can hire a professional writer if you think you can’t write it properly.

Submit Directly to the Concerned Authority.

As you already have a short time, you must submit it directly to the concerned authority. You shouldn’t submit here and there, as it can waste your time and you may end up losing marks.

Know your Point of Contact.

Check your moodle or blackboard for information on your tutor and how to contact him in order to submit this letter.

Consider using Professional Writing Services.

If you think you don’t have the time or competency to write an excuse letter, you can get one from a professional writing service . Some professional writers can help you with writing the best letter for your assignment.

These are some tips that can help you write a good excuse letter and also submit it on time to get quick approval. Don’t compromise on the quality of your letter, as it is a crucial document for you.

  • ← A comprehensive guide to the education system in Australia
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A Conscious Rethink

30 Good Excuses To Get Out Of Something (That Are Believable)

Disclosure: this page may contain affiliate links to select partners. We receive a commission should you choose to make a purchase after clicking on them. Read our affiliate disclosure.

young woman texting a good excuse to get out of something

Do you need a good excuse to get out of something? You’re in the right place.

For the purpose of this article, we’ll assume that you want to reject someone close to you, like a friend asking you to go out or a loved one asking you to spend time with them.

However, if you carefully follow the steps below, you’ll be able to get out of anything. Plus, you can be honest, avoid hurting anyone, and feel guilt-free about it.

You can even use some of these excuses in your professional life and with acquaintances, not just friends and family. Keep reading to learn how to tailor them based on your specific circumstances.

But let’s start with the list of excuses you can use to get out of something you just don’t want to do.

30 Excuses To Get Out Of Going Somewhere Or Doing Something

  • “Sorry, I’m not feeling so well.”
  • “Sorry, I have a lot of work to do right now.”
  • “I wish I could, but my family came to visit unexpectedly.”
  • “I’m sorry, but I totally forgot that it’s my cousin’s birthday today.”
  • “I’m sorry, but I already made plans with my family that I totally forgot about!”
  • “My partner is having a crisis, and I really need to be there for them right now.”
  • “Sorry, but I’m running behind on work, and I might get fired if I don’t do all this on time.”
  • “To be honest, I’m exhausted these days, and I don’t think I can bring myself to go out.”
  • “Sorry, my friend just asked me for help with something, could we see each other some other time?”
  • “I wish I could, but I can’t find anyone to take care of my pet, so I’ll have to reschedule.”
  • “Sorry, my loved one is having an emergency and I really have to be there for them right now.”
  • “Oh god, I totally forgot about our plans, I’m so sorry! I hope we can reschedule.”
  • “I have an early day tomorrow, so I’ve got to get to bed. Maybe we can do this next week instead.”
  • “My house is a mess, and I really need to get my life in order before making any more plans. Sorry about that; I hope you understand.”
  • “I hurt my ankle while hiking, so I’ll be in bed for a few days. I’ll let you know when I’m back on my feet and we’ll get together then!”
  • “My car broke down, and so did I. I’m really not in the mood to go out right now, sorry.”
  • “I wish I could, but I’m currently broke. Please be patient while I get my life in order.”
  • “You wouldn’t believe the day I had; I can’t bring myself to see anyone right now. Let’s talk a few days from now.”
  • “Last night was crazy, and I don’t have the energy to get out of bed today, hope you understand. Sorry for the late response.”
  • “Something came up at work, and with the traffic, there’s no way I can make it, sorry about that, let’s reschedule.”
  • “I have to be honest with you, I really don’t feel like it today, hope you can understand, I’m going through some things and will get back to you as soon as I’m on my feet again.”
  • “I have a deadline, and it can’t wait. Let’s talk once I clear my schedule.”
  • “I have a lot of meetings today, and by the time they’re all done, I’ll be exhausted. So let’s do this another time.”
  • “I caught something, and I might be contagious, so let’s stay safe and see each other once I’m feeling well again.”
  • “I lost my wallet with my ID, so going anywhere is really hard for me right now, but let’s talk again when I sort this thing out.”
  • “My roommate/partner and I got into a huge fight, so give me some time to sort all this out, and we’ll talk later.”
  • “To be honest, I’d rather just stay home and get cozy, life hasn’t been easy on me lately.”
  • “I ran into my ex today and it floored me emotionally, so I really need some alone time right now, hope you understand.”
  • “I have to go to the doctor’s to get some test results, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”
  • “I’m waiting for the delivery guy, ordered something really important and can’t miss the chance to get it as soon as possible, let’s rain check please.”

How To Use These Excuses

1. be ready for follow-up questions..

Whichever excuse you use, be prepared for questions.

“I’m having a personal issue that I need to urgently tend to,” would probably be enough for a boss or a coworker not to ask you more about it. But if it’s a loved one, they may want to know the details. This is why some of the examples on the list include specifics to help you navigate follow-up questions.

You need to be prepared for follow-up questions, so decide how honest you want to be. For instance, saying, “I had a one-night stand, and I’m at the hospital waiting for the results because I might have an STD,” could be rephrased into, “I have to go to the doctor’s to get some test results, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”

However, if you say this, the person will probably have follow-up questions, so you could even say, “I’m down with a cold.”

When something is a health issue, you could make it general, and people likely won’t ask you more about it.

However, be careful with using health issues if they’re not real. If you’re feeling sick every Sunday night, the person is going to realize that the issue is not about your health at all.

“I’m going through something personal that I don’t want to talk about,” is a good excuse if it’s true. So consider staying in the “honest zone” when coming up with your excuses.

2. Choose a general excuse or a specific one.

Depending on how honest you want it to be, pick a general excuse or a specific one. “I don’t want to go out” can be rephrased into, “I just want to be by myself today, sorry for the late response, hope you have fun, and we’ll do it another time.”

A good excuse to not hang out might be: “I’ve just been under a lot of stress lately, and it’s getting to me, so I don’t feel like it. I’m sorry. Let me get back to you when I’m on my feet again.” The only question is, how honest do you want to be with this person?

A generic excuse, like the first one on the list above, will work a charm. However, they’re often like literally saying the words “generic excuse” to the person after they ask you to do something. So, if you frequently use generic excuses (especially if fake), the person is going to give up on asking you to do things. Therefore, consider being as honest as you can be and get specific with your loved ones, but rephrase if necessary.

3. Use details with loved ones.

“I don’t feel like getting out of bed and going out,” could be changed by saying, “To be honest, I’d rather just stay home and get cozy, life hasn’t been easy on me lately.” Or, “I just popped open a bag of chips, and there’s this show on Netflix… I know… Don’t hate me, but I just can’t, the bed is hugging me.”

So, consider using details and being honest with your loved ones. “I ran into my ex today and it tore me up emotionally, so I really need some alone time right now, hope you understand,” is a very good excuse if it’s a real one.

The problem with being specific without being honest about it is that you’d need to remember your lie and back it up later. There will also be follow-up questions, so it’s best to stay in the “honest zone.”

4. Stay in the “honest zone.”

You could be honest by being entirely vague by saying something like “You wouldn’t believe the day I had; I can’t bring myself to see anyone right now. Let’s talk a few days from now.”

Stay in the “honest zone” by making your problem general. Is it a personal issue, your professional life, your love life, family problems, or your social life that is standing in your way? “I’m not feeling well,” could be anything in the world if you’re having a health issue that you don’t want to talk about.

Similarly, “I’m busy with work,” is a valid excuse for wanting to rest after a hard day instead of going out with your friends.

However, don’t hesitate to share something about what’s going on with you with the person you’re talking to. You could rephrase what you need to say by carefully picking the words and actually saying the truth… Just put some thought into it if you have enough time. Pick an excuse that best fits your situation from the list, or come up with one that describes what you really want to say.

5. Make a long story short.

How much do you want to share with this person? If you use a general excuse too often, your family or friends are likely to give up on asking you to do things, so consider making a long story short.

Maybe you don’t want to tell them that you are practically destitute, but you could say, “I wish I could, but I’m currently broke, so please be patient until I get my life in order, and we’ll hang out later.”

Open up, but close the doors to further discussions by saying that you don’t want to talk about it. Turn a long story about how you got into gambling and now are in debt into a story about how you’re currently broke.

Why are you broke? “Bad luck.” You don’t have to share things that you don’t want to, just keep your excuse close to what it really is so that you can remember it, back it up, and stick to it if needed.

6. Rephrase what you need to say.

Think about your long story and how you can keep it short. Then think about how to rephrase it. Maybe you don’t want them to know that you’ll be spending the night with your ex, but you could tell them that your love life is still too much of a mess and you need to deal with that.

When they ask about the details, tell them that letting go is a process and that you need to be alone for a while. Even though you’ll be with your ex. Keep that last part to yourself, just don’t go too far away from the “honest zone,” even if it means sticking to something general instead.

7. Make it clear and end the discussion.

There are some things that people are just not going to talk about anymore when you bring them up. If you said, “I had a one-night stand, and I’m at the hospital waiting to see if I have an STD,” it would likely elicit very few follow-up questions.

Make it clear by being bold or by using a generic excuse from the list. Consider even just saying, “I’m sorry, I just really don’t want to do it right now. I’m overwhelmed with my own things; give me some time please.”

If you don’t want to be asked about it, end the discussion by making it clear that you don’t want to talk about it further. People can take a hint.

Just avoid being too honest in your professional life and with people other than your loved ones.

8. Simply be honest about it.

“I had a long day, and I really don’t feel like going anywhere,” is a good enough excuse already. Consider simply being honest about why you can’t hang out with them, and it might be enough to do the trick.

Hey, don’t forget that you just need to stay in the zone. You don’t have to be entirely honest about it. But if the person asking is your loved one, keep in mind that you most definitely can if you want to.

9. Consider a fake excuse.

On the other hand, you could simply choose a fake excuse from the list, and it will be effective as long as you stick to your story. However, it’s much better to come up with your own excuse based on the examples listed above. If you tailor it, you can be at least a bit honest about it, and that will help your loved one understand you better. As a result, they will continue to ask you to do things.

In other areas of your life, such as your job, using generic excuses is usually good enough as long as there’s truth to it and you don’t overdo it.

10. Make sure to express the wish to reschedule.

Whether you choose to be honest about it or not, if you do want to be asked again, make sure to reschedule. As soon as you use the excuse, emphasize that you do want to do something another time, it is just this specific date that doesn’t work for you. This will ensure that your friends and family ask you again.

How To Be Honest While Using Excuses

1. pick an excuse that best fits your situation..

Stay honest by picking an excuse from the list that best describes your real reasoning and tailoring it to your situation. Reveal something about the actual reason you don’t want to go instead of just using generic excuses.

2. Consider something general.

On the other hand, if you don’t want all the follow-ups and explaining, consider something general, like being sick. It’s okay to use these excuses as long as you don’t overdo it or downright lie about it entirely. Feeling blue is kind of like being sick, so don’t forget that you can just be in the “honest zone” when not wishing to share too much about what you’re going through.

3. Consider how honest and specific you want to be.

How honest and specific do you want to be? Is the person going to accept your response if you’re entirely honest with them? What if you rephrase it? While you can be as honest as you want to be, it’s not a guarantee that an honest excuse will be accepted as a good one.

So, consider what the person would accept as a valid excuse. Then you can phrase your excuse accordingly.

4. Reschedule only if you want to.

As already mentioned, if you don’t want them to give up on asking you to do things, make sure to point out that you want to reschedule. On the flip side, if you don’t want them asking you to do things, just use the generic excuse. This can even be considered being honest when it’s a repeated and obvious hint that you don’t want to hang out with that person anymore.

5. Stay honest while not getting into it.

You can be honest about the real reason you can’t make it, just make it a short story instead of a long one as we mentioned in one of the earlier steps. However, consider opening up to the person entirely if they are someone you trust and care for. It is not recommended to use fake or generic excuses with people close to you that should know the truth.

As for acquaintances and coworkers, generic excuses pretty much cover everything you would really need to say. Just be sure that you’re not making it up entirely in case you need to validate your story, and make sure that you can stick to it.

As already mentioned, “I’m going through something personal that I need to tend to immediately,” should be enough for most people. Just don’t overdo it.

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About The Author

good excuse for late assignment

Ana Vakos enjoys writing about love and all the problems that come with it. Everyone has experiences with love, and everyone needs dating advice, so giving these topics more attention and spreading the word means a lot to her.


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    When I was in school my school did 1/3 of a grade each day it was like. So 1 day late A >A-. Two days late: A->>B+ so on and so forth. This worked really well for me because I knew that I could still receive a good grade if I worked hard on an assignment, even if it was a day or two late.

  15. Apology Letter for Being Late in Submission

    Apology letter for late submission of assignment [May 7, 20xx] [Mr. James Jones] Dear Mr. Jones, I am writing to sincerely apologize for the late submission of my assignment. Unfortunately, I was unable to submit it on time due to a sudden illness. I experienced a high fever, which required my parents to take me to the hospital for medical ...

  16. what's the best excuse to turn in a late assignment?

    Most professors have already seen and heard every excuse in the book, but what they are not expecting is honesty. Inform him/her that you had other priorities/ procrastination, but would like to hand in the complete assignment late and assume all consequences. In the real world there are delays and missed deadlines everywhere.

  17. How to apologize for late work in college (with email template)

    Okay, this is an email template of how to ask your professor for forgiveness on your late assignment. Your professor will think that you care a lot about your education, and they may even cut you some slack. What I like about this email is that you aren't asking for anything from your professor. Instead, you are letting them know how sorry ...

  18. 51 Best Homework Excuses (Serious, Funny, Strict Teachers)

    Blame the Parents. 41. My parents don't believe in homework and won't let me do it. There are some parents like this. If a student said this to me, I'd be on the phone to the parents. So, if you don't want your teacher to call your parents, don't use this excuse. 42. My mother said band practice was more important.

  19. Convincing Excuses For Late Assignment

    Best Excuses For Late Assignments or Homework 1. Writer's block. Many students struggle with creativity and flow, so they suffer from writer's block. Writer's block refers to a writer's inability to form new content. Even if the essay is not within a creative genre, such as the narrative essay it is still important to flow in your writing ...

  20. Tips to Write an Excuse Letter for Late Submission of Assignments

    Be Polite and Respectful. Since you are asking for more time to submit your assignment, you have to ensure that you are polite and respectful. You shouldn't use rude language, which can make a bad impression in any way. Your overall tone should be apologetic so that your tutor can get a fair idea that you are sad about your late submission ...

  21. etiquette

    If you have no good reason, then couch your explanation in something like this: "Although I don't have a good excuse for turning my assignment in late, I do have a reason to explain my tardiness. . . ." And then briefly explain the cause of the lateness. In almost all cases, more, rather than less, communication with your teachers is a good idea.

  22. What's a good excuse for delivering an assignment a week late?

    More specifically, my approach in the past has been: -acknowledging that I'm turning in an assignment later than what was originally communicated. -affirm that I take the class seriously (which was very true), and that I apologize that my turning in assignments late may suggest otherwise. -affirm my plans to move forward in the class turning ...

  23. 30 Good Excuses To Get Out Of Something (That Are Believable)

    8. Simply be honest about it. "I had a long day, and I really don't feel like going anywhere," is a good enough excuse already. Consider simply being honest about why you can't hang out with them, and it might be enough to do the trick. Hey, don't forget that you just need to stay in the zone.