Need a good excuse to get out of class? You wake up with the hangover from hell, have nothing to wear, didn’t do the homework or just can’t muster up the energy to get out of bed. You pray that you’ve accrued enough good karma that you’ll get a last-minute email from your professor saying class has been canceled or better yet, a PSA that Mondays have been permanently revoked from life. When neither happens, you desperately need to think on your toes to come up with good excuses for missing class. Instead of fibbing about vague family emergencies or your dog feasting on your term paper, here are nine excuses to keep in your arsenal to ensure you won’t get caught in a lie.
Check out 9 good excuses for missing class.
1. Bad Apple
Tell your professor you got food poisoning. You puke all over your bathroom for 24 hours and you come in bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the next day, even though you just wrote an Adderall-induced essay in one sitting. You can really only use this one once, so don’t make it a habit.
2. Disorder in the Court
Let your professor know that you’re scheduled for jury duty. They can’t argue with the law. Tread lightly, however, if your prof is the type to ask for proof.
3. Take Care of Business
Simply tell your professor that you’ve been in the bathroom all morning. No one wants to hear the details on your diarrhea, so they likely won’t pry any further. This is a go-to excuse for those who don’t mind putting your BMs on blast.
4. Go Nuts
Claim that you accidentally ate some peanuts and you’re having an allergic reaction. No one’s going to make you come to class if you’re breaking out in hives. The best part—you don’t need a doctor’s note.
5. Accidents Happen
Whether it was a fender bender or a four-car pile up, accidents are a great excuse to get an extension.
6. Lie Through Your Teeth
You just got your wisdom teeth out, you look like Alvin the chipmunk and are on way too many painkillers to drive to school, so you have to spend the day chillin’ on the couch eating ice cream. Hey, only half of that is actually a lie.
7. The Key to Getting Out of Class
Tell your teacher that you locked your keys in your car and by the time Triple-A comes to the rescue, class will be over.
8. Grand Theft Auto
Tell your professor your car got stolen and you have no way of getting to school. Say that you have to file a police report, even though the only cars getting jacked are the pixelated ones on your TV.
9. Lice It Up
If you tell your teacher you contracted lice over the weekend, they’ll actually be thankful you didn’t come to class. The email is quick and easy: “That’s the last time I’m buying a beanie from a thrift store…”
Here are 9 terrible excuses for skipping class.
Written by Kimberly Hurd
Now that we no longer live with our parents, no one forces us to go to class. No supervision can lead to bad things. We have the freedom to make our own decisions, but sometimes we get too carried away. For those days when we really want to use up an absence, we must at least come up with a good reason. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.
If you must skip class today, here are some excuses that definitely won’t let you off the hook.
1.“My alarm never went off.”
Shockingly, very few students actually enjoy going to their 8 a.m. classes. Don’t think of yourself as the lucky one who can complain about sleeping through your alarm. No matter how late you party in Midtown, you still have class the next morning. “For missing an exam, the worst excuse has to be “I overslept.” The exam started at 4:05 p.m,” Interim Director of Communications at the University of Florida, Steve Orlando said. Even if you truly did sleep through an exam, nine out of 10 times, your professor refuses to give you credit.
2. “I drank too much last night.”
Never use this excuse on your professor. You may actually get points deducted for this one. Even if you think “oh yeah, they’ll understand,” they won’t. Although college students love partying, remember that in order to actually be a college student, you have to go to class.
3. “I’m not feeling well.”
Avoid playing the sick card until you actually need to. By calling out of class sick, what happens when you actually come down with a stomach virus? Sicknesses come up too often so don’t jinx it by faking one.
4. “I’m going home for the weekend.”
For those attending a school that requires you to live away from home, we all want to take impromptu trips to see our parents. According to professors, you can’t prioritize family over schoolwork.
5. “What day is it?”
We all lose track of time every now and then. This actually causes students to miss classes. “I think the worst excuse I ever heard for missing class was ‘I forgot what day it was,’ Orlando said. You may think you only have one class today until you remember you only have one class on Wednesdays and today is Tuesday. Make sure you keep a planner or a calendar so you don’t become guilty of this confusion.
6. “I’m taking a mental health day.”
Students should be allowed to take mental health days. The schoolwork, stress and social life catches up to us quickly. However, your professor likely won’t accept the fact that you have a lot to deal with. The “I need a day to myself” could be interpreted as “I don’t want to go to class.” Your professors went through years of college, so he or she will tell you to handle it and show up. If you really need the time to clear your head, try coming up with a better excuse.
7. “My dog died.”
For those who actually lost a pet while away at school, my condolences. Unfortunately, this excuse gets used far too often to seem believable. Even though as students we still deal with grief and loss, we may not be present for it. The sun comes up and the world still spins. Class still goes on and your assignments are still due.
8. “I can’t find my laptop.”
If you can’t find the laptop that costs you over $1,000, you have bigger problems than just missing class. In an electronic age, most of our assignments get submitted via Canvas or email. Luckily, even if you lost your computer you probably still keep your cell phone on you. Each assignment gets submitted by a tap on a screen. Even more typically, you never get away with the “I had no wifi excuse.” A professor’s response typically consists of telling you to start your work in advance. If worse comes to worst, your professor hopefully allows you to hand in a hard copy—don’t expect to get a pass with an incomplete.
9. “I got lost.”
For freshmen experiencing their first few weeks on campus, it gets very overwhelming. Google maps only helps so much when searching for exact classroom numbers. If you don’t leave your dorm room with plenty of time, you suffer the chance of easily getting lost. Walking in late to class embarrasses the hell out of you on your first day of school. Professors likely believe those that are old enough to attend college should be responsible enough to find their lecture hall.
Look cute while finding good excuses for missing class.
Your dog didn’t eat your homework. Keep reading for better excuses for missing an assignment.
Written by Amanda DeLuise, junior, journalism, New York University
It’s 4 a.m., your paper is due at 5 p.m. and a blank Word document illuminates the screen of your laptop. You’ve successfully done nothing but Facebook-stalk your ex and the 200 people you went to high school with but haven’t talked to in years. Most of us would be inclined to write an epic paper of B.S.—after all, procrastination is what college is all about. But some more creative, and less motivated, individuals start brainstorming excuses.
Here’s how that slacker sitting next to you got an A.
1. Cut the details and just sound sorry.
Katy Gronsbell, a junior film major at Temple University, e-mailed her professor on her way home from partying to say she wouldn’t be able to take the next day’s quiz (due to an imminent hangover). “The e-mail said something to the effect that I was really sorry and dutifully understood if she had to deduct points because I was missing it,” she said. The apology seemed so genuine the professor offered a make-up quiz at Gronsbell’s convenience. Pro tip: Acknowledge that you deserve punishment.
2. You’ve got “The Swine.”
Josh Cabrido, a New York University sophomore journalism major, apologetically e-mailed his editor that he had swine flu and was buried in school work. His editor thanked him for not sharing the wealth and scratched the assignment altogether.
3. Your crazy college life interfered with your academics.
Traffic court for running a red light, broken arm from a drunken fall, took your sick roomie to the hospital—all can get you out of homework. Stephanie Barletta, a freshman at the University of South Carolina, even got out of a quiz after setting a fire alarm off while cooking.
4. You always participate in class (even if you’re just spouting B.S.).
Katie Alesi, a St. Joseph’s University sophomore, forgot a research essay, but raised her hand to share her “answer” with the class anyway. “When I didn’t hand the hard copy in, [the professor] came up to me at the end of class and asked if I e-mailed it,” explained Alesi. “I said I did. He said he never got it, but clearly I had done it because of the answer I gave in class.” Pro tip: The follow-through is key on this one. E-mail a similar answer to your professor as soon as you get home.
5. The ever-elusive techno-glitch.
It almost always works: “I e-mailed you. Didn’t you get it?” Professors will think your assignment went to spam or disappeared into cyberspace. For a really risky move, send an e-mail without an attachment, with a bad file attached or with the words jumbled. Take the confusion time to do the assignment and get it in late.
Here are 9 out-of-the-box excuses for when you need to go big to go home.
1. You’ve been acquired by the CIA
If you grew up anywhere but under some rock, you’ve seen a special agent flick, and you know that when a new assignment presents itself, there’s no time to delay. Whether it’s the infiltration of the American election system, a guy with a twirly mustache plotting to explode the Earth’s core, or deposing a democratically elected Latin American leader *cough cough,* a CIA call to action must be obeyed. Now, you might think that leveraging a secret government operation to get out of a physics test is more far-fetched than the plot of Diamonds Are Forever (wait, there are multiple villains who all got plastic surgery to look identical?) However, according to NPR’s interview with a CIA recruiter, the CIA sometimes recruits high school kids, meaning it’s absolutely possible that you could be juggling college and espionage careers simultaneously. Is almost dozing off while listening to some professor drone on about some 19th-century treaty more important than averting a global catastrophe? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
2. You Might Be About to Die of Laughter, Literally
Breaking into maniacal laughter during a lecture is generally considered rude. But if your professor attempts to reprimand you for such behavior, inform them directly that you could actually be on the brink of a tragic death, and need to be excused from class immediately if your precious young life full of opportunity and promise is to be saved. In the 1950s, researchers discovered a disease common to the Fore people of the highlands of Papua New Guinea in which the afflicted would drop dead soon after breaking into sudden, uncontrollable laughter. If you have a reason to believe sitting through another dull lecture on cell formation and the like will be the literal cause of death, sit near the front of the class and start your compulsive deathly laughter. Go all out for this one–rolling on the ground, banging desks, holding your stomach are all great strategies. Then inform your professor of the severity of your diagnosis and walk out of class–problem solved.
3. Run Out of Class Like You’re Running Into Area 51
Sometimes, lectures are so tedious that any exit strategy is worth a try. Take a page out of Close Encounters and let your professor know the Third Kind is sadly preventing your continued presence in class. Carnegie Mellon senior Lisa Kailai Han lays it out, “You’ve been seeing a weird floating object hovering above your house for the last few days. No neighbors and no one else can see it except for you and your family. You just received a Snapchat from your very tech-savvy mom in which she screamed ‘HELP’ followed by sounds of a struggle, and then a weird orange tentacle waved and turned off the video.” I mean, how could anyone verify if this was true? The multiverse is infinite, and in some parallel universe, there are aliens who are only visible to students, and whose sole purpose in life is to torment them to the point of being forced to leave class. Not your fault at all!
4. The Four Walls of a Classroom Are Inherently Oppressive
We’ve all heard professors sing the praises of so-called hands-on learning, right? Let’s say a prof forces you to endure a stultifying lecture on light waves for a physics class. Calmly inform them of the plenty of photons outside just waiting for your enthusiastic independent study. After all, teachers love students who take initiative in their own education! Bonus points if you also hand them a copy of Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish and explain to them that you refuse to be the tool of an oppressive education system that seeks to limit your movements and contain you in this prison-like box under the pretense of learning. Granted, this excuse might be best suited to certain fields of study, particularly the social sciences, biology, psychology, but with a few tweaks, it can be tailored to work for almost anyone. “I’m doing a sociological historical senior thesis, and finding this information about the murder of a prominent cultural figure would be the perfect subject matter,” Columbia philosophy major Trevor Tatenda said. “It would put me on a fast track to investigative journalism and I have a lead that needs to be followed up on in a timely manner. As such, I am unable to attend this astronomy class.”
5. There’s a Phobia for That!
Here’s one to fit any situation under the sun… going to class might make you feel irrational terror, and there’s certainly nothing you can do about that. If your professor questions the validity of this excuse, kindly refer them to any number of official phobias classified in the DSM-5. Maybe you’re a humanities major trapped in a math class required to graduate, and it’s giving you paralyzing Arithmophobia. Maybe the opposite is true, and you’re suffering from Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (the fear of long words, and yes, it is the longest word in the dictionary. How’s that for irony?) If you’re called out for texting during class, explain that you are sadly afflicted with Nomophobia, the fear of being without your phone. Alternatively, bring a tub of peanut butter to class, eat it out straight out of the bottle, and then inform your professor that this experience is triggering your unfortunate Arachibutyrophobia, the fear of peanut butter sticking to the top of your mouth. The possibilities here are endless.
6. “Class” Is Not In the Cards Today
Feeling a little out of whack today? Not in the “actually doing work” mood? Have a bad feeling that leaving your room might turn out worse than expected? If being in the wrong chakral energy space or having a pesky planet in retrograde won’t cut it as an excuse, pull out the tarot deck for some added official validation. Once the cards are well-shuffled, lay out three side by side to signify past, present, and future. The important part here is the farthest right, the one that will determine your fated path, should you decide to make the trek to class. If it’s the Tower, Death, Wheel of Fortune reversed, or basically anything from the swords suit, it is imperative that you stay far away from anything even remotely productive. History is littered with frightening stories of people who suffered the worst for ignoring these obvious omens of foreboding. You wouldn’t want to tempt fate.
7. Someone in the World Has Died
Let’s say the unthinkable has happened and you have already used up the four deaths of your grandparents as excuses, as well as some aunts, some uncles, a second cousin, and a parakeet. Things may be looking dim, but don’t give up. Remember there are only six degrees of separation, give or take a few, between you and whatever poor soul just tragically passed today. If you really want to hammer this one in, purchase a DNA testing kit from 23andme and make a list of your actual distant relatives. How could your professor be so insensitive as to force your attendance in class when great aunt Petrushka twice removed living in Lithuania is in serious medical distress?
8. When In Doubt, Go Gross
Newsflash: Just saying “I’m sick” has been around since the Bubonic Plague, and nobody is buying it anymore. If you’re going to make this line stick, it will have to get some spicing up. When designing a believable sickness, err on the gory, nauseating side, and add in as much bodily fluid in your description as possible. The idea is if your professor doesn’t want to see what it looks like, you’ve got a free ticket to another two hours in bed. Juicy details include open scabs, oozing puss, bloody vomit, basically the cart of dead people in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. If you’re a philosophy major like Columbia senior Danny Cohen, you have a little more leeway with intangible ailments and soul sicknesses. “‘I have to tend to my ‘patently nonexistent wounds’ is pretty out,” he suggests.
9. Zoom Away Fast!
Considering the current state of emergency, classes have become Zoom-facilitated, staticky nightmares. While this means you won’t get your spotlight moment to march solemnly to the front of the class and present your excuse with all the dramatic flair it deserves, the circumstances may be just ripe for those artful class ditchers among us. We suggest putting time and effort into crafting a life-size cardboard cutout or handmade voodoo doll of yourself for repeated uses. If you’re confident in your artistic abilities, sketch the face like a self-portrait, and if not, make a trip to Kinko’s and make a few enlarged prints of your most recently posted selfie. Anytime you’re just not feeling the whole “Zoom class” thing, slide your life-size dummy into place where you were just sitting, and go back to watching Netflix. Just make sure your homemade doppelganger doesn’t sub in for you so often that the professor thinks they’re the one enrolled in class, and you’re a cardboard impostor.
*Updated October 30, 2014 by Amanda DeLuise to include “Your Dog Didn’t Eat Your Homework.”
**Updated on July 12, 2019 by Kimberly Hurd to include “9 Terrible Excuses for Skipping Class.”
***Updated on March 9, 2020 by Cybele Mayes-Osterman to include “9 Out-of-the-Box Excuses.”