Is It Ok to Miss or Skip One Assignment? What to Do and Avoid

Last Updated on August 17, 2021 by David Shaw

lazy student

My friend was consulting me on the idea of skipping an assignment he had difficulty working on the other day for one of his classes. Having myself involved in a similar situation before, I was skeptical of the outcome despite my experience, I wasn’t sure of my answer so I researched a little and wanted to write a blog on this topic.

So is it acceptable to miss or skip one assignment in class?

As a general rule, it is acceptable for students to miss an assignment but only lose credit without getting into trouble. Some professors might still offer partial credits for late assignments while some do not. For upper-division classes, you should not expect to miss any assignments as they can easily impact your grade.

It could be certain circumstances and excuses for you to miss or skip an assignment. Although missing one assignment or two won’t get you into trouble with college faculties, there could be other lingering worries and questions among students, let’s discuss further below in the article.

Will Professors Fail Students For Missing Assignments?

It is almost never the case where professors would fail students due to missing assignments. Firstly, missing assignments do not imply a student is doing badly in class, students might encounter difficulty doing the assignment, or they were busy with other class materials or personal schedules.

Unlike high school, missing assignments in college can only directly impact a student’s progress and transcript and have nothing to do with the professor’s responsibility. Certain professors teaching over hundreds or thousands of students per semester simply won’t even have time to bother with your missing assignment. Their job is to conduct lectures well, provide helpful office hours, grade accordingly to submitted work by students, and not babysit you in college.

If you’re lucky enough, your professors might inquire about the missing assignment if the class is small, while still possibly offering partial credit for late submissions.

So if you’re paranoid and wondering if you will fail the class for or skipping an assignment, you’re just losing points and will not involve any school faculty in this matter. In short, the outcome of your grades is solely your responsibility in college. Don’t expect professors to inform your parents if you’re doing bad or not catching up with a missing assignment.

Can You Still Get Partial-Credit For Missing Assignment?

So what’s the likelihood your professors will offer partial credit? Often the case, professors will always consider partial credit for late or missing assignments near the end of the semester. There is practically no room for lame excuses given the convenience and power of technology today, perhaps inform your professor in advance if you think you won’t be able to hand in assignments on time.

A well-mannered and professional use of language and attitude towards people opens the door to many opportunities.

Instead of waiting for partial credit opportunities, you can easily increase the chances by reach out to your professor to discuss a resolution. Be sincere, respectful, and professional in your reasoning and request, especially in your submissions attempt to favor the odds. Partial credits are not a class rule, but rather an exception from professors. So appreciate and make use of this opportunity, submit a satisfactory or good attempt of the missing assignment if you were granted one in the first place.

By being sincere and honest about your work and reasoning, you not only provide valid reasons to benefit from your professor’s trust but also leave a good impression for them. Lastly, don’t forget to express your gratitude if your professor offers partial credits for your late or missing assignments!

Will It Leave Bad Records In Your Transcript?

Academic conduct like missing assignments will not impact the reputation or record of your transcripts at all. Unlike cheating, missing assignments will only directly impact your score rather than receiving an F grade for cheating.

For this particular case, the only thing you should be worrying about on your transcript is your GPA. Missing assignments will receive low or 0 scores which might significantly impact your grade, which is a bad thing for students. To maintain good standing in your academic transcript, you should at minimum maintain a 2.8 GPA and above, although a GPA of 3.2 and above would be the optimal required GPA to compete with the higher percentile range of students.

With one less problem to worry about, let’s understand further how professors might calculate grades differently for assignments with low scores.

How Much Will Missing Assignment Impact Grades

It is equally disadvantageous for professors to assign a low grade compared to students receiving them. A particular class grade distribution by a professor is often monitored and regulated by upper-division school faculty to evaluate the overall performance of both students and professors.

It will not be hard to tell if an instructor is doing a bad job or are students underperforming for a class from this grade distribution data. Making students at a disadvantage for lower grades is often the last thing professors want to do, hence they might implement the weighted grade or curved grades model.

Depending on your professor’s preference, they might apply weighted grades to provide you with a little numerical advantage to your final overall score. Weighted grades often benefit students who did badly on few assignments but are overall very well on other assignments and modules. Depending on the ‘weight’ of certain assignments, a final score of 59% could help boost a student’s scores with an additional 2-5% after implementing the weighted grade system.

To further learn and read more about the weighted grade system, here’s an article that we wrote on what weighted grades are and how to calculate them.


Is it usually acceptable to miss one or two assignments that will not affect your grades or get you into trouble. Other than just losing the quality points listed in the course syllabus, it will not impact your academic transcript significantly or your grades if you’re doing well in a class.

If you found out you’re in critical need of those missing points to pass the class, it is crucial that you communicate properly with your professor and not your classmates or the dean to request partial credits. What I personally recommend is to never skip any assignments as they supplement you with the materials and knowledge you might need for the exams and finals.

David Shaw

I enjoy blogging about the college experience, teaching people how to navigate and hack their way through college. I also enjoy promoting financial literacy among young individuals.

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