(Image by jstrak)
I’ve always hated when professors have midnight due dates for assignments. This is because there doesn’t seem to be a grand understanding of what a midnight due date actually means. For instance, consider that I’m taking two courses, and that each of them has an assignment due at midnight on April 1. For Professor X, midnight on April 1 actually corresponds to 00:00:01 on April 1, i.e. the very first moment after midnight on April 1. For Professor Z, midnight on April 1 corresponds to 23:59:59 on April 1, i.e. the very last moment before midnight on April 2. This has bothered me so much that I’ve done a small amount of research, and have come to realize that Professor X is actually correct.
From the official Greenwich Mean Time website, “Every day starts precisely at midnight and A.M. starts immediately after that point in time e.g. 00:00:01 A.M.” This may seem to be obvious, but there’s a remarkable amount of confusion over the issue. Professors who understand this call for due dates of 11:59:59 PM on a particular day. The airline industry always rounds similarly so as to not confuse customers. So if you ever have an assignment due at midnight, it may be in your best interest to check with your professor about what she or he really means!
Here are a few links other than the official one above that will give you more information about noon and midnight: