The life of a university student is not all fun and games. Your days are swamped by exams, lectures, and assignments submissions. And chances are, you might miss out on a few deadlines. Blame it on your jam-packed schedule, a medical emergency, a part-time job, or plain procrastination- it is inevitable that you’ll turn in a paper a day or two past the submission date.
In most cases, the student can apply for a deadline extension by filling out the assignment deadline extension form. Most universities in the US have this provision wherein the student can request for an extension, provided they have a good enough reason to back it up.
And even after you have applied for an extension, it is always recommended that you turn in the late assignment with an excuse letter. This letter states the reason for late submission along with a polite but meaningful apology for the same. An excuse letter is a good gesture on the part of the student and may just earn you some brownie points with your professor!
Here is how you can write the perfect excuse letter and attach it to your delayed assignment paper.
Address it to the right person
The first thing you need to figure out is the recipient of this apology letter. In most cases, your course professor or teacher is the ideal person to address this to. However, some universities prefer that you send your apology letter and assignment to the HOD instead.
Begin your letter by respectfully addressing the teacher, course instructor or professor who’s supervising the assignment. Addressing them with their proper designation and name is important. Also, specify the department and university details before you begin the letter/email.
Get straight to the point
Nobody likes beating around the bush, more so when you’re apologising for turning a paper late. Instead, get straight to the point and start your letter by stating how sorry you are for submitting the paper late.
Take responsibility for your action, accept your fault, and then begin to explain the reasons behind the late submission. For, when you begin with an excuse, the apology doesn’t sound sincere enough. It just looks like something you’re obligated to do.
Open the apology letter by introducing yourself and then owning your mistake in turning in the paper late. It would be helpful if you send this letter immediately after missing the deadline.
Get the facts right
Next, you need to elaborate on the reasons why you had to submit the assignment late. There are a number of reasons for late submission. And most universities in the US accept your late submission or a deadline extension request if you have a genuine reason.
Some of the acceptable reasons that you can talk about in your apology letter are:
- Medical concerns
- Time management issues due to part-time jobs
- Family emergencies
- Death of a loved one
- Any other sudden contingency
It is important that you state the reason for the delay in clear terms. Again, don’t try to provide unnecessary justification, that won’t earn you any brownie points. instead, cut straight to the chase, discuss the issue you were facing and ask for an extension.
The trick is to be honest and transparent with your teacher. Although, ensure that the reason is valid and believable. Nobody is going to grant you an extension just because you procrastinated!
Attach the proper documents
Simply adding the reasons for the delay is not enough. You also need to substantiate it with ample proof for the professor to verify it if necessary. For instance, if you couldn’t submit the assignment due to a medical emergency or chronic condition then you need a doctor’s prescription attached with the letter.
Similarly, if work commitments held you back from working on your assignment then you need a letter from the employer. You can also add verification sources and people to certify the reason for your absence or delay.
Turning in work late is unprofessional and I would recommend students don’t do it unless it is inevitable. Punctuality is a valued virtue in the academic community. And a late submission can be a big taint on your career. An apology sure helps cool down things a bit.
Apology letter format
The apology letter, like any other document, follows a set structure. Remember, this is a formal letter that you’re writing to your professor. You must follow the proper structure and ensure that all the points are written in order.
Here is a breakdown of all the elements of a good apology letter.
The “to” part of the letter refers to the professor who reads the letter. You need to mention the designation and name of the professor or HOD first. This ensures that the letter reaches the right person.
A strong subject line
The subject line basically describes the intent and purpose of the letter. This works for the email as well. A strong subject line conveys the basic gist of the letter to the reader. In this case, your subject should clearly state the words- “delay” “late submissions” and “apology”
The opening para is when you introduce yourself and apologise for the delay in submission. State you name, department, course, batch details and the course. Then talk about the assignment that you’ll be submitting late. Clearly mention the assignment code, name, and title of your paper.
The opening paragraph should have the following aspects:
- A short introduction of the student
- An apology for the delay in assignment submission
- Listing the assignment details, coursework etc.
The body of the letter
The body of the letter is where you state the reason for the delay and how it was inevitable. Highlight the seriousness of the issue and how you were caught in an unavoidable scenario.
Keep the tone and language of the letter extremely polite and professional. Use words that imply your regret for turning in the paper late. Also, keep the letter short and compact.
In the body you can also expand upon the reason for the delay and attach the necessary documentation. The professor can verify your reason based on the document provided.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, universities are no longer holding regular classroom lectures. Instead, everything is now shifted online. In such a case, it is preferred that the student sends over an apology email than draft an excuse letter.
To sum it up, the body of the letter should have the following sections:
- State the reason for the delay in submission
- Imply regret for submitting the assignment late
- Attach the necessary documents to verify the reason for the delay.
Conclude your letter properly
Finally, the ending paragraph should reinstate your apology. Thank the professor for considering your request and accepting it even after the deadline. Also, ensure the professor that such a thing won’t be repeated in the future.
The concluding para therefore should have three parts:
- Where you apologise once again, for the delay
- Where you thank the professor for considering your request
- Where you promise the professor not to repeat the mistake
Towards the end of the letter/email, ensure that you add your name, department, class, and other relevant details. This helps the professor identify your request and assignment.
Reach out to professionals
In case you don’t have the time or resources to draft the letter, reach out to professionals. You can browse through sample apology letter templates or hire an academic writer to draft the letter on your behalf.
This is a quick and effective way of getting the work done without putting in a lot of time and effort. You can instead use this time to actually work on your assignment and submit it!
At Expert Assignment Help, we have a team of writers to write, review and proofread your apology letter draft. We also suggest necessary edits, have a bunch of samples and readymade templates to make the job easier for the student.
Quick links and references
As an educator and assignment expert, I often come across student requests for drafting apology letters and assignment deadline extensions. Here are a few quick links and resources that I found when drafting an apology letter. These resources come from government or university websites and are hence valid for all US universities. Students from other countries can look up their university website for better insights:
Sample apology letter: https://www.docformats.com/apology-letter-for-late-submission-of-documents/
Excuse letter for late submission template: https://ascholarship.com/apology-letter-writing-guidance-with-examples-and-templates/
Apology letter guidelines: https://www.gallaudet.edu/tutorial-and-instructional-programs/english-center/the-process-and-type-of-writing/letters/apologies
The bottom line
Writing an apology letter might seem like an easy task, but its not. You need to be professional yet respectful. The apology has to be sincere, heartfelt, and yet concise and crisp. Keep the apology letter/email short, to the point and devoid of any unnecessary details.
Also, it is better to first talk to the professor and explain the reason for the delay in person before you send the written apology. I hope that this short guide was helpful in giving you some insights on how to write an apology letter.