I have submitted my PhD application. I like it very much but I want to update my motivation letter with more details.

Should I do it?

I don't know if this kind of behaviour is too pushy or impolite.

The position is in the Netherlands.

  • Have you had any direct communication with the professor?
    – Buffy
    Commented Nov 20, 2022 at 21:59
  • Hi, no. I only know his email on his official website. I don't know whether It will be helpful if I send him an email with a updated motivation letter with mode details.
    – andy
    Commented Nov 20, 2022 at 22:01

2 Answers 2


If I was the person who got the application, I'd reply with a polite "Thank you" and then ignore the email. My life, like that of many of my colleagues, consists of too many 2-minute processes that end up taking so many hours of my life, and replacing one document by another one in some system (or just in my own files) is one more of those.

The way I'd be thinking about this is that if an applicant can't be bothered with getting the final version of their documents together before they send them off, then that's on them and they will just have to deal with being evaluated based on the documents they submitted.

  • 1
    And that's very generous with your time already! I can see how many professors would go one step further and ignore the mail without replying. Commented Nov 22, 2022 at 22:39

There is a high chance that the professor couldn't update it anyway. When you submitted the application did you send the files directly to the professor or to a central University system? If it was a university system, then the professor probably doesn't have write access to the system. You might then have a chance if you email the contact person for the applications, especially if the deadline for applications hasn't passed. If its now after the deadline then I expect even if they could they wouldn't update the files (to be fair to all applicants).

  • Hi, I sent the professor an email with a title named additional documents before the deadline. And I didn't receive any reply. Should I send an email to follow up it?
    – andy
    Commented Nov 22, 2022 at 14:31
  • e.g. could I send an email like "Sorry for disturbing you again. Hope my previous email found you well. Could I ask whether my additional documents would be considered ?"
    – andy
    Commented Nov 22, 2022 at 20:49
  • @andy Do you mean you already did the thing you're asking about? Commented Nov 22, 2022 at 21:08
  • @AzorAhai-him- Hi, Azor, no, I didn't send the follow up email. But I truly sent an email with additional documents. But I find I could re-submit my application in the uni system again with the new documents. I guess I might send the email telling the professor that sorry for bothering you. I submit my application again in the system with more details of my experience and motivation. Do you think is this kind of email okay?
    – andy
    Commented Nov 23, 2022 at 7:14
  • @andy Just stop bombarding them with e-mails and wasting their time. Sorry. You are understandably worried about your application and do not want to come across as inconsiderate, but taking more time out of their day just to say sorry is the most inconsiderate thing you can do. So don't. Wait for them to write you back. Maybe say sorry during a live interview where it can be short and not disrupt anything.
    – Lodinn
    Commented Nov 24, 2022 at 8:06

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