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.