How to Ask for Paper Extension: Procrastinators Anonymous

How to Ask for Paper Extension: Procrastinators Anonymous

High school or college female student sitting by the desk at math class. Blackboard with advanced mathematical formals is visible in background

Sometimes you simply can’t complete your paper before the deadline. Maybe, you have a broken heart. Or, there is a party you can’t miss because your crush is there.

Or, your goldfish is ill…

There are many situations when you may need to ask for paper extension. Yet, there is only one way to convince your professor that you deserve a second chance. And here we show you how to do it.

Go Through the Formalities

When asking for paper extension, you have several options:

Direct communication stressful and often unproductive
Phone call too personal, for emergency cases only
E-mail any time

E-mail is the safest and most convenient form of contact. You can choose the right words, and the professor can choose the right time for reading them.
There are some unspoken rules to be observed in paper extension emails:

  1. Your e-mail. Avoid shocking professors with your nickname. If you have no college mail, simply use something decent. And, even if you use an e-mail with your full name, always finish message with “Sincerely, Your Name”.
  2. Subject line. There is no sense hiding what you are asking for. Use the subject ‘paper extension’ to be sure that the professor at least opens it.
  3. Direct address. Dear sir/ madam doesn’t work good in this case. Use the professor’s full official title instead.
  4. Apology. Take responsibility for the delay. Show that you feel sorry (even if you actually don’t.)
  5. Thank professors for taking their time. However, avoid writing ‘thank you in advance.’ Paper extension definitely isn’t something to be taken for granted.

Reach Professor’s Hearts

So, all the formalities are responsible for about 50% of your success. The rest of your chances depend on how you explain the reasons why you need more time.

Though it’s always better to be honest, some of your personal reasons just won’t convince your professors to grant you a paper extension. Yet, it’s all about the formulations you choose:

  1. Have you been playing on Facebook instead of writing? Let’s call it ‘serious technical problems.’
  2. Was your heart broken several hours before the deadline? In language for professors, we can call it ‘family emergency.’
  3. Problems with finding information you need? It would sound better if you call it ‘perfectionism.’

Sure, your case is unique and only you know what will work best for your situation and your professor. However, all the above will surely increase your chances to get the extension you need.

And one last but not least hint is to be specific and realistic about the minimum time you need for completing the paper. As a rule, a day or two are the best options.

Any more ideas on how to ask for a paper extension? Please share both your good and bad experiences with us.

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