Pathways Collegiate Program

Aerial campus view of AU.

Discover Your Pathway to a College Degree and Beyond

The Pathways Collegiate Program is designed to help autistic students garner the support and guidance needed to adjust to campus life, earn their university degree, and make a successful transition to the workplace.

This innovative program is designed with a broad array of services to help students on the autism spectrum succeed while they are attending Aurora University — both in their academic studies and social life.

AU provides an immersive support system for our students in the Pathways Collegiate Program to meet their current needs as well as encourage success and growth. In this individualized program, students will have support as they get accustomed to college life and take part in a two-year career exploration experience.

To qualify for the Pathways Collegiate Program, applicants should:

  • Be degree-seeking in one of Aurora University's existing majors and have cognitive skills in the average range or above.
  • Be able to take general education academic courses with limited assistance.
  • Have no aggressive incidents or threats/acts of self-harm in recent years.
  • Meet the minimum ACT score of 19 or SAT score of 1010 to be considered for the program.
  • Be under the age of 23 when starting the program.

We are accepting Pathways Collegiate Program applications for the 2024-2025 academic year. Please be sure to review all requirements before beginning your application. Applications will only be reviewed when all requirements have been submitted.

As a Pathways student, you receive a wide range of support services:

  • You will be required to live on campus during your first year in the program.
  • You will be paired with a peer mentor.
  • You will participate in a weekly seminar on the skills necessary to succeed in college.
  • You will be required to attend a minimum number of study table hours each week.
  • You will be encouraged to attend social and recreational events each month. 
  • You may continue to live on campus if you choose, or you may look for alternate housing.
  • You will take part in a two-year Career Exploration Experience.
  • You will take part in a bi-weekly seminar focusing on career skills, seeking employment, and transitioning to post-college life.
  • You will be required to attend a minimum number of study table hours each week.
  • You will be encouraged to attend social and recreational events each month. 
The Pathways program has helped me transition to living on my own and attending in-person classes by providing a safe space to be myself around faculty and peers. Pathways Student, Class of 2025

Getting started

In order to become eligible to take part in the Pathways Collegiate Program, autistic students must first meet the AU admission requirements on their own merit. To get the application process started, please fill out the Pathways Collegiate Program inquiry form, and a Pathways staff member will contact you. Please note that acceptance into Aurora University does not guarantee acceptance into the Pathways Program.

Students and families are also encouraged to reach out to AU Pathways staff with any questions about the Pathways Collegiate Program before beginning the application process. Please email for more information.

Who should apply?

Application requirements are as follows:

  • Official acceptance letter from Aurora University (if you have not yet applied to AU, please visit
  • Minimum ACT score of 19 or SAT score of 1010. 
  • Be under the age of 23 when starting the program.
  • Ability to perform the following pre-college life skills:
    • Check and send emails.
    • Order and take medication independently.
    • Get up independently and attend class.
    • Independently manage cash and/or a debit card.
    • Independently manage personal devices and email communications.
    • Manage independent time away from family.
    • Adhere to basic residence hall room cleanliness.
    • Independently perform hygiene routines.
    • Independently wash clothes on a regular basis.
    • Independently manage sleep schedule.
    • Follow through with scheduled meetings and appointments. 


$3,000 per semester

Explore more Pathways programs

Applicants are encouraged to explore the Pathways Summer Camp and Pathways College Connections programs as high school students or transfer students to become more familiar with college life and the AU campus.