Your final personal essay is due (or, for the four people who are working on Letters About Literature, that first draft is due.) Minimum length: 2 1/2 pages handwritten or 1 1/2 pages typed.
A good personal essay is just what you think—personal. It should include details of your own life in way that is very specific to you, not any of the other billions of people on earth. We should feel your experiences.
But the best personal essays are also universal. You take those personal experiences and make them about something BIGGER—you connect them to something that everyone might understand. You combine the specific with the universal.
SPECIFIC + UNIVERSAL= A WINNING ESSAY