I am going to apply for a Ph.D. position in Europe and I am asked to write a 1200 words statement of purpose (SoP). I was wondering whether I should be cold and objective about past experiences and future ambitions or let them know my feelings and how much I care about the program. The point is that I really want to join the program and I feel like it could change my life, therefore I would be willing to work hard as hell and give them everything I can, however, I guess that other applicants might likely be in my same position and faculty could be annoyed by these kinds of motivations.

  • 4
    I would aim for a more mature tone, and focus on research interests and why you're applying to that department/university specifically. Dec 23, 2020 at 9:49
  • 6
    Why are "cold" and "needy" the two only options? Why not "enthusiasticly looking forward to getting science done"?
    – mlk
    Dec 23, 2020 at 10:39
  • Do you really believe that "sounding needy" is ever appropriate? Isn't being needy inharently a bad connotated word?
    – user111388
    Dec 23, 2020 at 20:54
  • @user111388 To be fair, if I was hiring for a job that doesn't require many special skills and where hiring isn't a big investment, I would probably be fine with a worker that just really needs the job. Dec 24, 2020 at 7:06

1 Answer 1


Short answer: No.

Long answer: This is from the perspective of a hiring PI. These days I am flooded with applications of candidates that seem very motivated, but give me little confidence that they are the right person for the job. This is mostly for two reasons: 1. lack of relevant background for the position; 2. poor self-presentation (for example, not reading the job description thoroughly). To address this, you need to have the right background (if necessary, you might take some additional courses), and make a convincing statement why you are the right person for the job.

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