Pathways Pre-College Programs

Students looking at an aquarium.

The Pathways program helps high school students on the autism spectrum who have a long-term interest in seeking a college degree to take their first steps toward the college experience.

One of the key components of the Pathways program is getting students familiar with new environments and experiences gradually over time. The journey begins when students are in high school, with summer camps and continuing enrichment programs that provide a preview of college life. Students have opportunities for continued exposure to campus life and for conversations with Pathways staff. Should students choose to pursue college life, they will feel less stress, and the transition will be more comfortable, thanks to these early experiences.

Pathways Summer Camps

The Pathways Summer Camp is designed for high school rising juniors and seniors and recent high school graduates under the age of 21 on the autism spectrum who have a long-term interest in a degree-seeking college experience. The goal of the summer camps is to build a bridge for autistic students as they transition from high school to college.

Students will discover what it’s like to take a college course by participating in interactive classroom experiences. They will also take part in social and recreational activities and outings, and they will learn to develop the executive functioning skills needed to succeed in college. Students will live in an AU residence hall and practice college-living skills.

The 2023 camp will take place from July 9-16, 2023, and is a residential camp only. Applications for Camp Spartan 2023 have closed. Please check back next year for information about our 2024 camp.

As a student on the autism spectrum, I needed to find a college that would help me adjust to an independent lifestyle. The Pathways Summer Camp introduced me to AU, and I knew I found a place where I could be supported on my path to becoming a curator. Pathways Student, Class of 2026

Pathways College Connections

The Pathways College Connections program is designed as a way for high school, transfer students, and their families to build connections with the Aurora University community and to get familiar with college life. Monthly informational sessions with various departments from AU's campus are provided. On-campus activities for students are provided 1-2 times per semester and allow students the opportunity to get to know Aurora University's campus as well as Pathways staff. 

The program runs from September through April. Applications are accepted year-round, and students can start the program at any time. If interested in applying, please email