HOW TO BEAT THE ODDS: College-Bound Teen with Autism Urges Other Challenged Students to Apply to Colleges


I am Matthew DiDomenico, a future student at Hofstra’s Laurence Hebert school for Communications, and I’m also in the small minority of kids with ADHD and PDD-NOS who will attend college next fall.

There’s a lot of effort that goes into applying to college, whether it’s maintaining the best grades you can, writing the infamous college essay, or scoring the best you can on your ACT or SAT, for anyone it’s quite a trying task. Then comes the school visits and tours which can become repetitive and exhausting. For kids like us, we have the additional burden of exploring housing options, food allergies, prescription renewals and of course curriculum support.

However, if you stick to it, and don’t let all of these things intimidate you, it’ll go a lot better than you ever expected. Being someone with ADHD and PDD-NOS, I originally thought that I wasn’t “college material”, and that I would be doomed to a mediocre college. I thought that my grades just weren’t good enough, and that my autism would just hold me back from reaching success. But in the very end, when I ended up receiving all of those acceptance letters, especially from the colleges I had my eye on, it was all worth it.

I learned that the only thing that could hold me back, would be myself. While I did put quite a lot of work into my applications and such, I couldn’t have done it without the support of my parents. If it wasn’t for them pushing me beyond my limit, and making me believe that I could achieve what I did, none of this would have been possible. I believe that kids could do so much more if they either push themselves, or were pushed by others to do so. If this happened, then that small minority would probably be a lot bigger.


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