I will be applying to Ph.D. programs in molecular biology, and I am beginning a rough draft of my statement of purpose. I have looked at sample SOPs online and I would like to make mine somewhat original. Any past/present applicants have any advice for writing the SOP? Also, I have heard some people mention including specific faculty whose research I am interested in- is this a good idea?
The grad SOP is a very different animal from the ones you write for undergrad. Colleges want to see well-rounded and interesting kids; grad schools don't care about your ECs or tangential interests & adventures. They generally want to see your intended research, competencies & relevant experience, and the reasons for working in their particular dept.
I suggest you go to the grad cafe web site, find the appropriate subforum, and post your question there. The people who frequent that site are extremely knowledgeable and helpful, and they offer excellent advice.