Emailing your Professor About a Late Assignment: Here’s What You Need to Know

Academic assignments count toward the total marks needed to pass a course. That’s why, whether, in high school or university, you must submit the assignment before the deadline to get the grade. But what if you are late in submitting your assignment?

According to a survey report, 75% of students claimed they faced consequences for late assignment submission and accepted they were procrastinators. That also includes the missed paper deadline while doing research.

So, how do you communicate with your professor about a late submission in a way that will hopefully avoid academic penalties?

This article will help you write an email about your late assignment.

Why Should You Write a Late Assignment Submission Email to Your Professor?

You need to inform your professor about a late submission before the assignment deadline. That might help you avoid losing marks. Since the course assignment’s marks adds to the grand total, you can’t afford to lose that grade just because of a late submission.

So, here are the reasons why you should write a late assignment submission email to your professor.

To Tell the Professor About Your Late Assignment Submission

Your professor won’t know that your assignment is going to be late if you don’t inform them. This lack of knowledge will certainly affect your grade. So, writing an email for late assignments must be a priority.

Some professors are generous and might accept your apology letter. But again, you must first tell them by writing an email correctly. Even the kindest professor will probably never give you some leeway if you don’t inform them about the situation first.

On the other hand, some professors are not as gracious and might penalize you even if you tell them you will be submitting your work late. So, the situation also depends on your luck and the faculty you are studying in.

To Explain Why You Will Be Submitting a Late Assignment

Another reason you should email your professor about turning in the assignment late is to give a reasonable excuse. Those reasons could be:

  • You were admitted to a hospital.
  • You had an emergency.
  • There was a power outage, and you lost your internet connection.

However, it’s better if you attach proof with the excuse. Why?

A report indicates that 70% of American students make fraudulent claims when submitting late assignments. So, be an honest student and never make a false statement for marks.

To Request a Deadline Extension

Some assignments require extensive research, and you might not complete them within the given time frame. That’s when you need to write an email to request an extension of the assignment deadline.

You must remember that professors will only accept deadline extension requests that are sound. They also know the scope of an assignment and might decline your request if the assignment doesn’t require that much research.

So, add assignment extension excuses in your email if they are relevant. For example:

  • Computer crashed
  • Family emergency
  • Job interview

That way, your professor might extend the assignment submission deadline.

To Apologize for The Late Submission of Assignments

Most students submit their assignments on time and get the deserved reward. However, some students submit their assignments late and don’t inform the professor about the late assignment.

Students also don’t tell the class representative (CR) about the late submission and lose marks at the end. Therefore, the best way is to sincerely apologize to your professor and accept responsibility for your mistake.

That will help you stay positive while your professor goes through your email. However, an apology letter is not enough. You must know how to write an email for late assignments appropriately.

How Do You Send an Email Regarding Your Late Assignment?

You couldn’t complete your assignment on time, and now it’s the last moment. Have you left it too late?

When you complete an assignment, you must check that you have done the following:

  • Proofread the text for errors
  • Formatted it properly
  • Included relevant attachments
  • Referenced it properly

Your professor has laid out the requirements for submitting an assignment. But now, you are afraid of facing the consequences of a late assignment submission. What can you do?

Firstly, you must keep your nerve. Since the due date is today, you can’t really do anything except write an email to your professor and throw yourself on his or her mercy.

But if you are feeling stressed and facing writer’s block, you might be unsure of how to structure your mail. What should be included?

Correct Email Address

Writing the correct email is the first and most basic element. Most teachers use their academic email addresses to communicate with the class. Therefore, you must write the correct teacher’s email in the “To” section.

Remember that finding the teacher’s email is not simple, especially if your institute has no student portal. In that case, consult your CR or academic department and get the correct email address.

Subject Line

The subject line of an email is important. Unfortunately, many people write something vague or confusing, resulting in either a delayed or non-response.

The recipient of your email, your teacher, expects to receive emails from students correctly. That’s why the email’s subject is the beginning of your email and must be written with clear focus.

But what to write on in the subject line?

Typically, the subject contains the purpose of the email. That should give you a fair idea of what to include.

Since we are talking about late assignments, you should probably write a title like this:

Application for Late Assignment Submission

This subject line will prepare your teacher for the fact that you are going to submit your assignment late and will explain why. Sometimes students face unavoidable delays such as:

  • Emergency with a family member
  • No internet service
  • Illness

So, you must write this subject in the email and prepare your teacher for what is about to come.

Request for Deadline Extension

You need to back up a deadline extension request with a solid reason. For example, students require deadline extensions when they can’t complete the assignment on time. You can request your professor to extend the deadline in such a situation.

Some assignments need a lot of research, but they have tight deadlines. So, you can also email your professor and ask for an extension if you can’t complete the assignment by the due date.

Remember to write to your professor requesting a deadline extension several days before the due date. That’s a good policy and might convince your teacher that you deserve an extension.

Apology for Submitting the Assignment Late

This subject part means you submitted the assignment late, and now you are apologizing for that. Remember that a sincere apology often works, depending of course on the kind of professor who is supervising your work.  

So, apologize for the late submission, as it shows you are willing to take responsibility for the situation. Once you send the email, remain calm and hope for the best.


Some students face writer’s block and can’t start writing an email. That’s why we recommend you follow this structure:

  1. Begin with a proper salutation like “Dear Sir/Madam.”
  2. Start with your name, student ID, class, and section information.
  3. Inform the professor about your situation and explain why your assignment is going to be late.
  4. Provide a solid excuse.
  5. Attach proofs, for example, a doctor’s note or a job application if you went for an interview.
  6. Apologizing properly will at least get you partial credit.

The body of the email must include all the relevant factors that caused the late assignment submission. You must also write a sincere apology so your teacher understands that you accept responsibility for the situation.


Include the dates you will be able to submit your assignment. That will help you prepare for the next assignment. After that, give your best regards when closing the email.

Your learning institution also encourages you to apologize to your teacher for presenting a late assignment. Once you are done writing the email, send warm regards and check the email again before sending it.

Things to Consider While Writing a Late Assignment Email

To recap, here are four things to remember when writing an email about a late assignment:

Write to the Correct Email Address

Many students fail to inform their professors about their late assignments despite sending an email. Why?

Their email either gets delivered to the wrong recipient or is never delivered. That happens when you use an incorrect email address. Therefore, always make sure to use your teacher’s correct email address.

Write the Subject Title Correctly

The subject line matters a lot, especially if you are requesting a favor from someone. So, carefully analyze the situation and write a clear subject heading. A good email subject line might lighten your teacher’s mood, and they might favor you.

Keep it Short

Your teacher doesn’t have all day to read your email. So, ensure you write a brief email with a maximum of 3-4 sentences and avoid irrelevant details. Your teacher might want to call you and communicate in person so that you can explain yourself.

If things are quite serious and you can’t attend the meeting, explain why you didn’t meet the deadline in the email.

Be Polite and Regretful

Your writing style must be polite and regretful because you have made a mistake. You must also end on a polite note so that your teacher will remember your request.

Things to Avoid When Writing a Late Assignment Email

You should avoid the following four things when writing an email for a late assignment.

Familiar Tone

The recipient of this email is your teacher, not your buddy. Therefore, avoid using a familiar tone as it can worsen the situation. You must also provide a valid reason in a professional manner.

Many students who don’t take the teacher-student relationship seriously write informal emails to their professors. They might not know their professor’s reaction. However, their professor might take note of the student’s ID and might penalize them later in some way.

These kinds of emails might also give spurious reasons for late submission like:

  • My dog ate my assignment.
  • My siblings burned the assignment.
  • I forgot that I had to submit the assignment.

This sort of approach and writing style might create unforeseen problems for you in your academic career in the future.

Long Email

Most teachers are busy during the week and don’t have time to read a long letter or email. So, if you send a long email explaining why you submitted the assignment after the due date, your teacher might simply not read your email.

Students who struggle with writing emails usually write long stories when explaining why they couldn’t submit their assignments on the due date. That’s why they don’t get a new deadline or credit for the late assignment.

Blame Game

Blaming others for your mistake is a sign of immaturity. Even if you are sincerely apologetic but blame someone else for the late paper submission, your teacher might penalize you.

When you blame others, your teacher starts keeping an eye on you. That makes your future academic career more difficult, so accept your mistake and take responsibility. That will help you be more mature in the future.


How Do You Ask a Professor If You Can Submit a Late Assignment?

You must write an email to your professor and inform them that your assignment will be late. Remember to give a genuine reason and submit quality work once your request is approved.

How Do I Apologize to My Professor for the Late Work?

Write an apologetic email to your professor and give a valid reason why you submitted your work late.

Final Words

Always write a professional email to your professor about your late submission or when requesting an extension to your deadline. This email will give your professor a positive impression of you as a student. As a result, you might be eligible to get credit for your late assignment.

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