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Messages - fmanjili

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I like your personal statement! You have an interesting topic. is this your final draft?

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Personal Statement / Re: Please advise....
« on: January 31, 2012, 02:10:47 PM »
here's my advice: don't dwell on weaknesses and failures, and especially don't start your personal statement with them. The first paragraph sets the mood and by the time I got to the more interesting details, I had already made a negative assumption about your academic abilities. You need to be positive and convince whatever school you're applying to that they need you. I would cut out all the info about you're high school experience. Start off with something like, how you had such positive expectations when you first moved to the US (no more that 2 sentences). then follow up with the incident with you mother being harassed. I feel like this was the major turning point in you decision to study law. You need to show them that you would be a dedicated student because you have a goal/purpose in life. Ty making these additions and post another copy. I'd be glad to review it.

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The first paragraph is unnecessary since the admissions officers will be able to get all of that from your application and transcript. It would just bore them with repetitive information. If I were you I would delete the first paragraph and expand on the other information in your personal statement.

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Personal Statement / Re: Personal Statement Advice
« on: January 31, 2012, 01:43:50 PM »
well, i can tell you about how i came up with my topic. I've always had an interest in human rights advocacy, so I talked about what sparked my interest in human rights and social justice and then went on to write about how I went about pursuing my interest: through research proposals and internships. You need to figure out why you want to go to law school, and then what experiences you've had that would make you a great candidate for law school. Hope this helped

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I want to get an honest opinion about my application to DePaul University. I have a 3.95 GPA and 156 LSAT score. I've attached my personal statement along with a recommendation letter (not the one sent to law school, but for a teaching position in Chile) from one of my recommenders, Dr. Espinoza. He also wrote me a recommendation letter for law school and I assumed it would be similar to the one attached.

Personal Statement:
Growing up in a politically active family in Iran was crucial in laying the foundation for my strong interest in human rights and social justice. I spent much of my preadolescent years surrounded by political dissidents and self-proclaimed revolutionaries, ranging from conservative advocates of theocracy to liberal proponents of democracy, and everything in between. Despite my parents’ incessant commitment to remaining politically independent and maintaining their ideologically vague perspectives, they were equally committed to fostering a more just society in Iran. I cherished their weekly gatherings, where they discussed the political and social issues of the day while reflecting on The Revolution of 1979 with regretful nostalgia.
I became immersed in their stories of civil disobedience, political activism, and surviving torture while in Iran’s infamous Evin prison. I was not only inspired by their bravery, but their narratives came to define me. I began contemplating my own responsibilities as an Iranian citizen and came to see myself as somewhat of an heir to their struggle. Taking my self-appointed role seriously, I chose to engage in my own minor acts of civil disobedience: taking off my hijab when my teachers were not looking and smuggling snacks to school for my non-Muslim friends during the month of Ramadan (mandatory fasting for Ramadan was strictly enforced at our elementary school). Although my efforts were less than productive, bringing no substantial institutional change whatsoever, my secret protests against school rules that I saw as unjust gave me a sense of purpose.
However, those feelings of elation and sense of purpose that I felt while in Iran were replaced by feelings of displacement in the US.  Removed from my niche among those political activists and revolutionaries, I was determined to find a new mechanism by which to nurture my interest in politics. I decided to fully dedicate myself to academia, writing proposals and conducting research on issues pertaining to human rights and social justice. While enrolled in a history course on Latin America, I became familiar with the 2006 teachers’ strike in Oaxaca, Mexico through one of my peers.
Starting out as a movement for workers’ rights, the teachers’ strike had led to the establishment of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), the self-proclaimed de facto governing body of the state. Intrigued by the APPO’s struggle for social justice and workers’ rights in Oaxaca, I spent well over a year conducting research and applying for grants, determined to learn more about the grassroots movement taking place there. My hard work would eventually pay off as I was accepted to present my research at the 4th Annual Wilder School Student Research Conference in 2010. While I was preoccupied with my research on the grassroots movement in Oaxaca, the beginnings of a social revolution were taking place in Iran.
A wave of protests had erupted in Iran in response to the alleged fraud in the 2009 election.  American news agencies and several Iranian activists flooded the airwaves with reports of human rights abuses committed against protestors by the Iranian regime. Among those detained would be my dearest friend Hamid. Members of the paramilitary force, known as the Basij, had arrested my friend when he had tried to stop them from raiding his university. His action was deemed as treason for which he faced time in prison and a public flogging of up to eighty lashes. Fortunately, thanks to Hamid’s lawyer, Mr. Youssef Shariffi, he would be acquitted of all charges and released a few months later. Impressed by Mr. Shariffi’s successful defense, I decided to contact him in hopes of learning more about the involvement of lawyers in the movement.
Luckily, I managed to gain an internship position at Mr. Shariffi’s law firm the following summer. As an intern, I became familiar with the application of Sharia Law in Iran and the role of lawyers in protecting human rights activists. Among the various clients that came through Mr. Shariffi’s office were the family members of detained protestors. While most were fighting for the release of their loved ones from prison, others were simply trying to obtain visitation rights. Despite my lack of direct involvement in these cases, my internship gave me a greater sense of influence and involvement in human rights advocacy than any of my previous works in research. Whereas my research on the APPO in Oaxaca simply provided me with an abstract conception of social justice, my internship gave me something more tangible: a chance to experience first hand the feel of being an advocate of social justice and human rights; a path that is immensely rewarding by virtue of its challenges and reliance on self-sacrifice.
Similar to my parents’ activist friends and my childhood idols, the lawyers I came to know as an intern inspired me with their stories. Hearing them recall cases of assassination and arrest carried out against human rights lawyers reignited in me that same sense of duty that I once had as a kid. Having witnessed the work of human rights lawyers in Iran, and their ability to make a noticeable difference in spite of government threats, I was motivated to pursue my longstanding interest in human rights as a lawyer. With my goal in sight, I am confident that DePaul University, with its certificate program in International and Comparative Law, would provide me with a solid foundation for a successful career in international and human rights law.

Recommendation for Chile:

1. For how long and in what capacity have you known the applicant?
I know Ms. Manjili since the spring of 2010. She took the courses titled “Survey of Latin American History 2” and “Latin America and the US from a Historical Perspective” with me during the spring 2010 and spring 2011 respectively. Ms. Manjili received well-deserved “A” grades in both classes.

I also advised her on her research on the Oaxaca Popular Assembly, a grassroots political organization in southern Mexico. The outcome of this endeavor was a presentation that Ms. Manjili delivered at the 4th Annual L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs Student Research Conference.


2.   What, in your opinion, are the applicant’s major strengths and weaknesses?

As a student, Ms. Manjili impressed me as a talented, motivated, and dedicated student. In her attendance, assignments and participation in class, Ms. Manjili demonstrated punctuality, attentiveness, meticulousness, and creativity.

As a researcher, Ms. Manjili displayed keen intellectual curiosity, superior capacity for critical reading, great dexterity in constructing arguments, and excellent ability to express her ideas in a coherent manner.

I cannot think of any weaknesses that would hinder Ms. Manjili’s learning achievements or performance as a participant in the English Open Doors Program.

 2.   Please provide a general evaluation of the applicant’s abilities and personality. In your opinion, is the candidate suited to the difficult task of living and teaching in a developing nation? Will they be both content and effective in such a situation?

I think Ms. Manjili is very well suited to living and teaching in a developing nation, and she will be very content and effective doing so. Ms. Manjili is a personable individual with an open and sensitive attitude toward other peoples and cultures. She has demonstrated a strong vocation for community-engagement and positive activism by establishing the VCU branch of Circle of Women, and by volunteering at organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Richmond and Refugee and Immigration Services. As a Farsi instructor for the Central Virginia Iranian American Society and a tutor for VCU’s Campus Learning Center, Ms. Manjili has achieved valuable familiarity with teaching. As a volunteer assistant to Professor Farzaneh Milani (University of Virginia) and an intern at Mobin Law Firm, Ms. Manjili has acquired unique research experience.

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This site might be helpful: http://academic.udayton.edu/thewhitestlawschools/2005twls/Chapter7/IsolationIndian.htm

If I were you I would seriously consider Indiana University, Bloomington. They have zero enrolled Native American students, they are in the top 20 and their admitted LSAT range is 156-164 and GPA range is 3.4-3.8

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