The majority of professors now-a-days have their students electronically turn their papers and essays in. So, instead of the turning in 5 pages of actual paper, college students never actually print their essays, but instead just turn them in through email. The reason teachers do this is because it is much easier to check for plagiarism when they have a digital file. (If your teacher makes you upload the paper through blackboard then the paper will automatically be plagiarism checked.) Also, I imagine papers are easier to organize and keep track off when turned in digitally.

However, even though this online system of turning in papers seem efficient and flawless, it is not. At least not for your professor. That is because it is easy for students to turn papers in late this way. I am strongly against procrastinating and do not think that turning your paper in late is good for you (as you will get behind in work) or for the professor (because you are giving them extra work.) However, sometimes there are third factors that may stop you from being able to finish your paper on time and this can be a very useful trick.

I figured out this “hack” on accident last term when I turned my paper in on time and finished, but it was in a format that for whatever reason my teacher’s computer could not open. He emailed me four days after I had turned it in asking me to save it as a different file type. I realized that my original essay could have just said “poop” and he would have thought it was a full essay and then I would have had another four days to do the actual assignment.

The problem though, is that you could not do this to all teachers because you have no idea which files they can and cannot open. I found a solution when a friend of mine shared this little gem on Facebook. This basically shows you a way to make the file you send to your teacher have a message saying “There was a problem with this file’s contents.” The way you do this is by making a word document, opening it in notepad, deleting some of the coding, and then save the word file. This will make the word document unreadable, so when you send it to your teacher it will show that message making it appear to be a weird computer mistake. Your teacher will then ask you to send it again, you apologize for the inconvenience, and “try to resend it,” but actually give him your now finished essay.

If you do not have Microsoft word you could do something similar by perhaps “accidentally” sending in an essay for a different class or a file of your rough draft only containing your thesis and quotes or something.

If your paper is physically due in class, I have also seen students claim that their printer was being faulty, and ask if they can just email their paper right after class. That could also be a way to turn an essay in late, but would only work with a cool teacher who accepts excuses.

Again, you should only do this in emergencies because it creates a burden for your teacher, and may get you in bad procrastinating habits.