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How and When You Should Ask for an Extension

A senior at UC Berkeley put it best. When I debated on whether or not I should ask for an extension, he asked me what my reason was. I wanted a piece of mind because having a paper due in three days on a book that I haven’t even finished reading yet is daunting. He quickly replied, “Extensions are for emergencies, not for a peace of mind.” This is really true. If you were irresponsible and was binge watching episodes of Teresa, a telenovela, on Netflix, like I was, then you probably don’t deserve an extension.

 

I remember what started me on the cycle of extensions. During my freshman year, I lied about encountering several ridiculous situations that prevented me from finishing my essays. One of my professors even called me out on the improbability of my excuse and emphasized that he was unwilling to grant me an extension. At that point, my stomach did somersaults and I was hoping he wouldn’t give me an “F” on the spot because we know that freshman college students aim for the moon after slaying so hard in high school. That was pure sarcasm because I knew that my study habits, time management, and work ethic would not have fared well in college. I think the professor was too busy to care so simply told me that if the TA/Reader/GSI was willing to accept it, then it’s okay. 

Here are the 7 rules I now live by.

 

1) Be honest! We all know the cliche, “Honesty is the best policy.” While I do not agree that it is ALWAYS the best option, I do believe that it’s something we should all aim for! Instructors simply want their students to do the best they can do so granting a few extra days before they can even start grading the mound of papers is usually very feasible for them. Of course, there’s the exception of professors who have strict policies and want the rules to apply to everyone as fairly as possible. Don’t pull the “my dog ate my homework” or “my printer ran out of ink” excuse.

 

2) Ask early! DO NOT wait until the night before to ask for an extension, which I practically did in my experience above. Professors would most likely be annoyed and will probably not be as merciful.

 

3) Ask yourself: Do I really need this extension? Will this extension really make my paper better? Do I deserve this extension? There was one time where I got an extension for my extension’s extension. That may have been all, but there might have been an extra extension in there. I’m not quite sure, BUT do you see my point? I literally procrastinated just the same as I would’ve before I had asked for an extension.

 

4) Accept whatever your professor says because their answer is the ONLY answer, usually.

 

5) Learn the art of negotiation. Anything is possible as long as you know how to negotiate.

 

6) Be prepared to face extra scrutiny. Don’t be surprised if your GSI or professor grades you harder; this can even happen naturally. You did have more time that most of the other students, but of course, if you have a documented illness or disability, it is much more understandable.

 

7) Consider the possible consequences. Is this a professor you have just been acquainted with? Do you want to risk getting on their “bad side?” You don’t want them to associate you with “the student that asked for an extension days before it was due.” It’ll definitely be harder for you to ask for another extension on another assignment later down the road when you’re further in the semester and again in the stressful midst of exams and papers.

 

 

Happy negotiating, procrastinating, writing, emailing and stressing. We’re all here for each other, especially at Her Campus! Go Bears! 

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Jessica Hou

UC Berkeley

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