No matter how dedicated and hard-working a student is, everyone can encounter circumstances that prevent them from completing assignments on time. This is of course a highly stressful situation, but it can be handled in a way that minimizes the possibility of low marks or failure. The first course of action in these situations is to seek an extension to the deadline.
Extensions in UK Universities
First, it is important to be aware that coursework extensions are seriously frowned-upon within UK universities. Students are expected to develop a range of practical life-skills alongside subject-specific knowledge, and the ability to meet deadlines and work under pressure is a key part of this.
Late submission of coursework is harshly penalised. Typically, students will receive a deduction of 10 points for work handed in a few days late. Work handed in within one week of the deadline might be awarded a maximum mark of 40 (a minimum passing grade). Failure to submit an assignment within one week usually results in a failing mark. These lowered grades mean that missed deadlines can have a serious impact on your overall grade average. That being said, most universities have provisions to allow for extensions.
Typical Procedures for Assignment Extensions
In order for a formal extension to be granted, students are normally required to apply in advance. This means completing a form and submitting it to your Course Tutor for them to approve and sign. The form will typically ask for the detailed circumstances that prevent you from meeting the deadline. If the Tutor agrees to your request, he or she will assign you a new deadline based on your circumstances (usually 1-2 weeks later). Both of you must sign the form, which will then be passed on to University Administrators.
Note! If you require a last-minute extension and cannot meet with your Tutor before the deadline, most universities will allow you to complete the extension form and submit it to your Course Administrator. Provided that your Tutor subsequently approves the request, this will count as making the extension request in good time.
Avoiding the Need for Extensions
Many of the situations listed above are not always considered serious enough to warrant an Assignment Extension. It is therefore best to avoid the need for an extension in the first place, by planning ahead and allowing yourself enough time to deal with unforeseen circumstances!