Saturday night was a groundbreaking moment not only for television, but for college admissions. Elon Musk hosted Saturday Night Live and in his monologue declared that he is the first person with Asperger's to host the show.
He matter-of-factly mentioned some of the behavioral differences he and those on the autism spectrum share. These very differences have kept those on the spectrum from being admitted to top colleges for decades. It was in that moment that I could feel things shift. By identifying who he is and what he has, Musk paved the way for others to celebrate their differences instead of hiding them from those who judge.
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Admissions officers are unsure how to navigate judgment when it comes to students who are open about being on the spectrum. They are not trained on how to communicate with these students and how to evaluate their applications. Admissions officers will recognize that these students do not fit the typical mold of who they are trained to revere. Students on the spectrum do not fill an "institutional priority" like athletes or traditional leaders do. As a result, these students end up on the proverbial "waitlist" or simply get denied because no one is fighting for them.