Is it a good practise to involve a child in a statement of purpose to say how my point of view has changed since the birth?

  • 9
    Relevance issues aside, lots of people have kids, and anyone can say that having kids changed them for the better. It doesn't set you apart.
    – user37208
    Apr 9, 2016 at 19:37
  • Still, if others do not include it in their statements of purpose, yours may stand out as different.
    – adipro
    Apr 10, 2016 at 6:32
  • 2
    Is it relevant to your research? For example, perhaps you are interested in researching a medical issue you or your child personally experienced, like a birth complication or something like that?
    – NMJD
    Dec 22, 2017 at 2:04

3 Answers 3


No, the statement is about your motivation in doing research and about your research goals, not about your private life goals.

Having a child is undoubtedly a joyful event which can definitely change your perspective on work-life balance, but now that it's changed, simply state what your current research goals and motivations are.

  • 1
    Don't you think that it somehow shows the commitee that you are able to pursuit your academical goals and also life goals, manage your time and some social qualities?
    – sitilge
    Apr 9, 2016 at 12:12
  • 3
    @sitilge There might be differences among cultures (you haven't mentioned where you're applying), but I think that one of the most important qualities in academic writing is to show what you are asked to show, in a clear and concise way, without adding unnecessary information: all the qualities that you mention in the remark are certainly good, but show them indirectly. See also this question and this answer . Apr 9, 2016 at 12:22
  • The U.S. What would be the way to "show it indirectly" ?
    – sitilge
    Apr 9, 2016 at 12:31
  • 2
    @sitilge By writing a clear, balanced, well-argumented SOP, avoiding overemphatic tones: this shows that you value your time and other's people time, because you're giving them what they want to read and you don't indulge in unneeded digressions. Apr 9, 2016 at 19:13
  • 1
    It is the digressions which sometimes make the statements less boring.
    – adipro
    Apr 10, 2016 at 6:33

In the US, doing so may imperil your candidacy in at least two ways:

  • Some academics will assume right away that since your children are so important to you that they appear in your statement of purpose, they will automatically take precedence over your degree-related responsibilities. (This is not a hazard specific to academe, but neither is academe free of it.) Academe is a greedy pursuit; it does not typically favor those with competing priorities.
  • Some academics, especially those conditioned to industry, will be made uncomfortable by including children a statement of purpose, possibly considering it unprofessional. Children are typically don't-ask-don't-tell in the US; asking is sometimes legally dubious (as it may open a workplace to charges of unequal-opportunity hiring), so telling is unwelcome.

I would strongly recommend against this. Record the epiphany if you like; bypass its source.

  • 2
    "Academe is a greedy pursuit; it does not typically favor those with competing priorities" This is as sad as it is accurate. The OP should come to terms with the fact that, down the line, any other big commitment is not going to be interpreted as a net positive behind closed doors.
    – xLeitix
    Apr 22, 2016 at 11:15

The other two answers (as I write this) are useful and (so far as I know, in U.S.) are accurate about facts.

Further, I'd argue against including your epiphany, in part because it is possible to argue that it ought not to have been such a great epiphany, since, after all, many people do work + have families (without playing any gender-biased or other-biased games about whose responsibility the kids are...) That is, even if you don't mean it that way, there is also a large possibility of interpreting remarks about this as though you'd surprised yourself that you were able to do work and have kids, etc, ... Indeed, most of us probably are! But it is a common state...

So, as with other life-epiphanies, I think it does not need to be aired publicly. Even if it doesn't harm your applications, I'd think that it'd make you appear naive about adult responsibilities...

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