The transition from high school to university is difficult for a number of reasons, but particularly because of the extra responsibilities you have. A major responsibility is remembering due dates for assignments. Your teachers at high school likely reminded you and even checked your progress in class. At university, you’re expected not only to remember but also to create a schedule that will allow you to work toward large assignments, as many will be too extensive to complete the night before they’re due.
If you forget about an assignment until it’s too late and there’s no chance you’ll finish on time, your initial reaction may be panic, especially if the paper is crucial for your grade. Instead, though, you should take a deep breath and think about what you can do to deal with the situation.
1. Communicate with Your Professor
Let your professor know as soon as possible that you’re unable to finish the assignment on time. If you mention that you had other things going on in your life that led you to forget the assignment, your professor may be lenient and grant you an extension. In any case, your professor will appreciate it if you don’t wait until the last minute — or, worse, after the assignment was due — to explain your situation.
Depending on how close you are to the deadline, you may be able to pay your professor a visit in person during office hours. This way, you’ll be able to have a proper conversation to discuss the next steps. You could even show your professor what you’ve done so far.
2. Send an Email
If there are no office hours before the due date, you may need to send an email. It’s critical to strike the right tone in your email — both to show respect to your professor and to increase your chances of a favourable outcome. Keep the email short and think carefully about what you write.
In your message, get straight to the point: explain that you’re unable to submit the assignment on time. Next, specify the reason why you’ll miss the deadline — be honest and take responsibility, rather than placing the blame on someone else. Finally, apologize and ask your professor if there’s a solution to prevent you from receiving a failing grade. You may like to suggest meeting in person to discuss a new due date.
3. Submit Whatever You Have
If your professor doesn’t give you an extension, you may need to submit an unfinished assignment. Spend as much time as possible between now and the due date working on the paper. If you’re unable to finish some sections, include a bullet list of what you would have written. Receiving partial credit could be enough for at least a passing grade.
4. Drop the Class
In some cases, a missed assignment may mean you fail the class or receive a grade that brings down your GPA. To avoid this, you may need to drop the class and retake it next semester. Talk to an academic advisor about whether this is a suitable option for you.
5. Commit to Doing Better Next Time
A forgotten assignment could be the wakeup call you need to motivate you to become better organized. Figure out what you can do to prevent similar mistakes in the future, such as by sticking rigidly to a study schedule, spending less time on social activities, or investing in a planner.
Where you live can make a big difference to your performance at university. When you’re constantly facing distractions, you may find it difficult to focus or just be tempted to do something other than schoolwork. If this is the case for you, it’s time to find a better room for rent. Ottawa, Ontario, has THEO. Our student housing has one-bedroom apartments, private rooms, and shared rooms available. Sign up now to secure the floor plan you want.