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Coaching Tips:
How to talk to professors about your class absences

We recommend students talk to professors to help bridge the gap between a personal/family situation, illness or injury, or any other matters that may be impacting ability to temporarily attend classes, focus on classwork, and/or meet academic deadlines.

To assist with communications, we recommend the following tips to students:

  • Email professor to convey initial situation.
  • Discrete language you can use: medical reasons, unexpected personal situation, on-going health needs, family situation, etc.
  • Utilize professor's office hours or ask to schedule an appointment to follow-up about missed coursework.
  • Share documentation that can verify dates and situations.
  • Plan ahead to discuss missed work: quizzes, assignments, exams, class participation.
  • Try to create an action plan with the professor after meeting/talking.
  • Continue to follow-up with professors for additional missed classes.

Example letter to professors:

Dear Professor Smith,

I am writing to share with you that I have not been able to attend your class (Course name/Unique #) on the following dates (Insert dates here) due to (insert situation here; i.e. illness/flu) situation. I am sorry that I have not been able to attend class; the situation was unexpected but I have been trying to catch-up on course work as best as possible. I can provide documentation to verify the situation, if needed.

Can we set up a time to meet and discuss missed work and possible next steps?

Thank you in advance for your time. I look forward to talking to you soon, when you are next available.


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