Let’s admit it: We’ve all had to bunk college class a couple of times, for whatever reason. But to be marked absent by your teachers and professors will have its consequences. For instance, most colleges will refuse to let you take any examination if your overall attendance in the semester/year was below its limit. So, you need to know how to convince your tutors to forgive you for your absence. We will tell you how to write an Excuse Letter After Being Absent from class.
By the end of this essay, you will know how to structure and write out an excuse letter for being absent from a college class. There will be sample letters provided at the end, too, to give you an example of how a well-thought-out, convincing, and reasonable excuse can be given. Remember: it is not the kind of excuse that you use, rather how you deliver it that matters.
How to Write an Excuse Letter After Being Absent from Class?
Step 1: Plan your excuse:
You might already have a genuine and honest reason as to why you could not attend your class. But if you bunked for an unnecessary errand, you cannot explain yourself without embarrassing yourself and disappointing your teacher. In fact, they will not let it slide at all, and you will be marked absent immediately. So, if you do not already have a good excuse, you need to plan one.
A good excuse is something that is not too imaginative but not too realistic either. You do not want to look like you are telling tall tales, nor that your matter was so serious that your teachers would want to know more details or ask more questions and then catch you for lying if you are not prepared for that. Brainstorm and write down roughly all the kinds of excuses you can think of, keeping in mind what your limits are. Using the method of elimination, i.e., one by one crossing out each weaker excuse till you are finally left with the best, you can quickly find the most believable excuse. Remember to ask yourself these questions when practicing the elimination method:
- Have I ever known somebody who actually had this excuse?
If it is an excuse commonly used by students, ask yourself do the teachers usually believe or accept that excuse? If yes, then go for it. Otherwise, it is overused and teachers no longer have any faith in it.
- Was this matter more important to attend to, than the class?
Logically ponder over this question. Attending somebody’s birthday party is not that important. But a funeral is certainly something more important to many people than attending a college class.
- Was it a life-threatening situation? If so, can I actually “prove” it, or is it just my word that the teacher will have to trust?
Faking evidence can be a little tricky, but usually, teachers will believe your friends’ and family’s testimony if they are willing to vouch for you at all. If it was a doctor’s visit, you could take a ticket from the clinic for an appointment with an optometrist or a dentist (even if you never actually attended it). Also, making up stories about dental or eye problems is easier as many people, maybe even yourself, have been through such experiences. Talk about your wisdom tooth needing an extraction! Make sure the struggle is relatable so your teachers can understand where you are coming from.
- Am I prepared for any kind of question that could be asked about this?
Again, if the story is relatable your teachers will not feel inclined to know any more details. On the other hand, if you say you survived a car accident, your teachers will be curious to know more about the situation, and you might fumble over your words or find it difficult to prove you are telling the truth. So, stick to something that is not very dramatic.
- If I were a teacher, would I forgive a student for being absent if they used this excuse?
This is the most important question. Try putting yourself in your teachers’ shoes and imagine a student has written a letter to you, using that excuse to explain their absence. When you flip the perspective, it becomes much clearer what merit the story holds.
Step 2: Know your recipient.
A few things are crucial to know about your teacher, principal, admin, or whoever you are writing this letter to. If you do not know one or more of these facts, your letter will more likely be rejected.
- Your recipient’s preferences. Some officials do not accept letters sent to their email, let alone a printed letter handed to them. Sometimes they would rather you approach them at their respective office and explain the matter face-to-face. It all depends, so from the very beginning, you must be sure if they will accept an excuse letter at all or if they are looking for something else.
- Your recipient’s email address. If this letter is sent via email, you will have to know the correct email address to use. Sometimes people have multiple emails, each for a different purpose. Do not send this type of letter to an email address clearly meant for business inquiries only. You could politely ask your recipient for their email address, explaining that you need to discuss a matter related to the class. Or, ask a friend or classmate. However, be careful! Some people do not like having their email addresses distributed without their prior consent, so ensure that your recipient is comfortable with that knowledge being shared. Otherwise, they will feel too offended even to bother opening your mail, let alone reading your letter.
- Their relationship with students. If they can be amicable with students, your letter can be written with some informal, casual words. You can throw in a few jokes or compliments (appropriate ones) too — anything you know that could uplift their mood. But if your recipient keeps a rigorous and limited relationship with students, keep your writing strictly formal and avoid stretching the story. Get straight to the point, do not waste their time, or make any inappropriate comments. If they take attendance seriously, use a solid and valid excuse.
- What kind of excuses works for them? Ask your friends, classmates, or seniors what excuse helped them have their absent markings replaced with a “P.” You will be surprised to find out what your recipient personally believes is a reasonable excuse and what is not. And here’s a bonus: You will gather ideas for a better excuse to use or how you can tailor your letter to appeal to that specific recipient. But be aware! Only confine with people you can really trust, or try not to give yourself away. You never know who will directly report you for trying to lie!
Step 3: Structure of a letter.
Follow this exact order for the letter. You can change your body’s order, explaining your points in an emphatic order, which is writing in order of least important to the most important.
(Your contact information)
(Contact information of the person you are writing to (in 3-4 lines))
(Leave a space here)
(Body of letter)
The greeting should be formal, and one line only. Use phrases like, “Dear Ms/Mrs/Mr/Dr” or, “Respected Madam/Sir/Officer.”
The body of the letter consists of three or more paragraphs. Each should be kept short and concise. Each new paragraph should present a different point, and all the paragraphs must be related.
Introduction. Give 2-3 sentences on why you are writing this letter. For example, “I would like to explain the reason behind my lack of attendance in the last month.”
The next few paragraphs should be about your excuse. Bear in mind, don’t just write about what happened to you, but how it affected you and why it prevented you from attending the class. Explain how despite the classes you missed, the course or the subject still matters deeply to you. Apologize for the inconvenience you might have caused, and offer some services to make up for what you missed. For example, “If you deem it appropriate, I could do an extra assignment to make up for the time I have lost.” Even if it is not your intention to put it any more work, this gesture will win you a lot of respect from your teacher, and they will have a reason to believe that you are taking your course seriously.
The conclusion should wrap up all your points, and emphasize your strongest argument to ensure that the recipient is left with something to consider.
Finally, the last line should be one sentence of giving thanks, best wishes, etc.
After writing your letter, check for spelling and grammar errors. There are many tools online that can quickly check for these mistakes. Ask a trusted friend to read your letter for you, and consider their comments. What should be added? What needs to be redacted? How can something be worded better? Take your time to write multiple drafts, and choose the best one in the end.
The following letters are examples written out, using the advice previously stated, for you to get a better idea of what an excellent letter should look like.
Joe C. Brian, 731-595-9570, [email protected]
May 4th, 2021
Andrew McQueen, Professor of International Relations
Department of SSC, TN University, Tennessee 38301
Dear Mr. McQueen,
I am writing to inform you of the reason for my lack of attendance in the online classes that initiated last week, on April 23rd.
First and foremost, International Relations is a subject I have always felt enthusiasm for since the start of the semester. This is a course that, under no circumstances can I control, would I refuse to give my time to. Unfortunately, I have indeed been through circumstances I could not avoid, and those were the reasons I was unable to attend your classes. I completely understand your frustrations; you have every reason to believe I have been irresponsible and inattentive. However, I did everything in my power to be a part of your lectures. It was simply impossible.
For your information, the last three months have been overwhelming. I had been experiencing intense migraines, which at first, I assumed was only due to the fact I had been sitting before a bright computer screen for longer time periods. Then, the migraines gradually got worse to the point where I could not focus during simple tasks. After seeing a doctor, it was apparent that one of my wisdom teeth was jammed. After a few more appointments with a dentist, it was clear that I needed it surgically removed as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the local dentist booked the surgery for April 27th last week. They could not do it any later; they informed me that they were fully booked for the next 6 months. Since the successful extraction, I have been unable to chew certain foods and continue to experience headaches. Still, my doctor ensured that it was only temporary, and soon I would be able to feel level-headed again.
I understand if you cannot arrange extra classes, though I would be willing to attend any. I am also willing to take on any extra assignments you might have in store for me. My only hope is that you find my excuse to be reasonable and reconsider marking my attendance. Lastly, attached to this file is a pharmaceutical note for OTC painkillers, with May 1st. I am confident that my recovery will be quick, and by next week you shall see me in the class Zoom call.
Thank you, and best wishes,
Sample # 2
Lesley J. Wells, [email protected]
Dr. Leo E Keenan
Rahway Business Institute, New Jersey 07065
Respected Dr. Keenan,
This letter is addressed to you to inform you that in the next two weeks, I will be unable to attend your evening group project sessions.
Firstly, I would like to offer you my condolences for your mother’s untimely passing. She was a bright star of this institute, and she will be sorely missed. I sent flowers to her memorial. Congratulations on your promotion, as well. You earned it, and we all cannot wait to see the exciting projects you will reveal soon.
Unfortunately, I could not offer these words in-person, and neither will I see you for the next two weeks. A relative of mine is seriously ill, and they live alone two states away. My family took it upon themselves to pay them an emergency visit, and I will be heading there with them. My aunt is very near and dear to my heart. In many ways, she feels like a second mother. I would not wish to part with her, let alone abandon her to battle this sickness alone. The doctors have hope that she will make it, but the stakes are high as she is dependent on a ventilator and susceptible to any sudden onset of fever. Attached to this letter is a note signed by my parents and aunt herself, giving more information on this matter.
I cannot wait to join your classes again soon. If you like, I can make up for these missed opportunities with extra assignments. Until then, I apologize for the trouble my absence may cause you. Please reconsider your decision to leave me marked “A” on your database.