Struggling to Submit Assignments on Time?
Picture this: after a long week, you’re sitting on the couch with a snack rewatching your favorite show. It’s around ten at night, the blanket’s warm, and you’re comfier than you’ve ever felt before. Right before you fall asleep, you get a nagging feeling you forgot something. You shoot up as that cold pit of dread hits – you have an essay due at midnight. And you haven’t even started writing. Worse, you don’t even know what to write about. If you’ve had this experience or a similar one, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Every semester, thousands of students struggle to submit assignments on time.
And that feeling, that cold pit of dread, still haunts some of us years after graduation. Notably, graduates report having nightmares of missing that important assignment.
Many don’t start working until the last second for a variety of reasons. Indeed, while the stereotype for a procrastinator is the lazy, uncaring college student, many have other responsibilities that take up a lot of time. And with the college mental health crisis being a hot topic in higher education, there’s a lot more to consider than simple laziness.
However, there are methods you can use to turn in work on time. From detailed planning to consistent schedules, students can build basic time management skills as they adjust to college life.
Why it Matters
While these skills are very important later in life, students may not realize how vital it is to turn in homework on time. They don’t see why it matters if they submit their essay at 11:59 pm or 2:30 am. As long as it’s in. But most college professors set some sort of penalty for late work and some can be devastating.
Indeed, the best student can turn in the highest quality essay and still receive a failing grade if it’s submitted late. And the strictest instructors don’t care if you have a valid reason. However, late policies vary from professor to professor. Some will give full points as long as you either submitted high-quality work or reached out to them ahead of time. Others won’t accept an essay if you turn it in even a minute after the deadline. In the middle, you’ll find instructors who deduct points based on how many days late you are.
Regardless, unless you find one of those kind professors, your grade will suffer. And you may find yourself repeating the class if your grade takes too many hits. Truly, it’s important to submit assignments on time.
4 Tips to Submit Assignments on Time
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to just start submitting work on time. No one can wake up one day and have it all together. If it were that simple, we wouldn’t have so many students procrastinating their way through a degree. To succeed, you have to retrain your brain and build time management skills.
Below we will go over some of the ways you learn how to submit assignments on time.
1. Create a Calendar
Once you start a semester or recognize your struggle to stay on schedule, you should create a calendar of all of the assignments and due dates. Your professor will either provide a schedule or you can find one in the syllabus. Using these resources, plot all of your courses’ assignments in either a planning notebook or on your phone for the entire semester. You’ll likely need to update them as you go and due dates change. Whether you go traditional or digital should depend on what tool you’ll actually want to use.
Either way, you’ll have a tool that can help you submit assignments on time.
Indeed, some people love to buy notebooks and planners, but then never touch them. They tuck them away one day and never pick them back up. Or they don’t update them when due dates change. Indeed, there is no button to quickly change what you’ve written.
But, notably, we tend to remember things better once we’ve written them down. Thus, they can help improve your memory overall. And some students don’t like notifications or will casually snooze them as soon as they go off. For them, a planner works best to help them submit assignments on time.
Today, our phones come with calendars built-in, apps that allow you to create events and set reminders weeks in advance. Thus, even the basic ones are perfect for students. You should set up a handful of notifications to go off days and weeks before your due dates. And for those big assignments, you may want to set up reminders two to three weeks beforehand.
If the basic calendar apps aren’t your cup of tea, there are many specialty options designed for students. They’ll allow you to create custom schedules for each of your classes, color code assignments, and more.
In the end, calendars are helpful as they help you remember assignments. Digital ones send you regular customizable reminders. And planners allow you to visualize the work ahead. Whatever your preference, we recommend creating a calendar to help you submit assignments on time. You may even consider using both to ensure that your work gets done.
2. Create (and Stick to) a Schedule
Creating a schedule is one of the best ways to stay on track in your courses. We’ve all gotten caught up with friends, our favorite show, or just a really good nap before and pushed our homework to the side. Indeed, most of us when left to our own devices will choose fun and relaxing options before doing schoolwork. And that’s okay – you deserve to rest, too. Naps and friends still should be a part of your weekly schedule, but you need to make sure you have time for everything.
Thus, we recommend setting a specific time to read, study, and write essays each week. If possible, it should be at the same time week after week. This scheduling will help you build a routine, which can help you submit assignments on time. Notably, building a routine makes it easier to sit down as you’ll feel that it’s time to work. Instead of thinking “I’ll do it later,” and then finding that you’re too exhausted later, you’ll get your work done
And it may actually help you see your friends more, as procrastination often costs us more free time than it saves. For example, you tell people you can’t come out as you have to do your essay, but, instead, you deep clean the oven. Your essay still needs to be written and you miss another possible night out tomorrow.
3. Ask for Help
A common reason students put assignments off is that they’re confused or frustrated by something. Maybe the rubric wasn’t clear or they don’t understand some of the content. Instead of asking for help, they’ll think “I’ll do it later.”
For some, later ends up being the night before it’s due. Students stay frustrated at the thought of the essay or worksheet and don’t want to touch it. And because the assignment needs extra work to get around the confusion, they end up spending hours on something that could have been finished in one. These students don’t submit assignments on time because they need help and don’t know how to ask for it.
Truly, people of all ages struggle with asking for help. They feel like a burden or want to do it all themselves. However, knowing when you need help is a sign of wisdom, not weakness. We can’t know or do everything ourselves.
If you’re falling behind because you’re confused, email your professor, use online resources, ask a classmate, or try your college’s tutoring center.
4. Be Kind to Yourself
Finally, one way to help yourself submit assignments on time is to let yourself off the hook. Basically, don’t be hard on yourself when or if you fall behind.
Negative thinking often becomes circular thinking. We fall into a pit of bad thoughts and anger pointed at ourselves. And when we reach that point, it becomes harder and harder to get back on track. We think we should have been able to do this whole college thing with ease and we’re lesser for struggling. But it’s simply not true. Many of us will miss a deadline in our lives, whether at school or work or with another responsibility. It happens. As we said at the beginning of this article, there are a hundred different reasons students fall behind.
Many of us have jobs, some of us have families, and the student mental health crisis is real. Don’t be too hard on yourself for missing a deadline or two. Continue to reward yourself for your hard work and aim to do better.
Lakewood University is an accredited online school that offers a variety of degree and certificate programs. We have rolling enrollments and asynchronous courses. In other words, you don’t have to worry about missing a lecture or running late to class. If you plan on enrolling in college while working, Lakewood University offers the flexibility you need to earn your degree.
Don’t hesitate – reach out to our admissions department today to learn more!