How to ask for more time on an assignment

Wondering how to get an assignment deadline extended

Your heart’s pounding so hard it feels like it’s going to burst through your chest. It’s just days before one of your biggest university assignments is due and you’ve just realised there’s absolutely no way you’re going to complete it on time. Even though you've done everything to finish your assignment with the deadline closing in. You need an extension desperately.

Here’s what to do:

Tell it like it is: 

In certain situations, the best thing to do is be honest and upfront. Most lecturers are willing to offer a little leeway if they can understand your perspective.

Ask in person: 

Whatever your dilemma, you’re far more likely to get the answer you need if you ask for an extension in person. It’s far easier to reject someone over an email, or phone call, than it is face-to-face

Don’t wait: 

If you are going to ask for an extension, do so as early as you possibly can. Last minute panic calls rarely work because they smack of procrastination or a lack of organisational skills

Don’t push it: 

Don’t blow your chances by asking for the moon. In most situations a day or two extra should be enough to get the job done.

Work of art: 

If you have been working hard on your assignment, but just need a little extra time to change it from passable to a masterpiece, don’t be afraid to pipe up. If you can show your lecturer what you’ve done and what you hope to achieve, most will be happy to help.

Own your mistakes: 

If you have left things until the last minute, or perhaps in the rush of other assignments and exams you completely forgot this one was due, it’s still best to be honest about your mistakes. If it’s a once-off, they may just let this one slide. 

You’re overwhelmed: 

Swamped by multiple assignments which are all due at the same time? Or perhaps work has piled on extra shifts at the worst possible time? It’s not unreasonable to ask for a little breathing space – if you don’t wait until the last minute to ask.

The directions are unclear: 

If you don’t understand exactly what you’re meant to be doing, consult your educator immediately. You may not be the only one suffering from a lack of understanding.


Don’t go overboard with your extension requests. No one likes to be taken advantage of and everyone knows the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Tips on asking for and getting an assignment deadline extension:

  • Ask in person where possible
  • Don’t leave it until the last minute
  • You shouldn’t always need extensions
  • Be honest and upfront


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