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College can be an exciting and challenging experience for young adults. Students often live independently for their first time, tackle academic challenges, and engage with peers in new activities and social events. For a student with autism, these experiences can be especially challenging. They have to change their routine, meet deadlines, and take on new responsibilities. Over the next decade, there will be approximately 550,000 children with autism in the United States transitioning into adulthood. Obtaining a degree is a significant predictor of positive adult outcomes for people with ASD. It increases their chances of getting a job, becoming financially stable, and being able to live by themselves. Planning for college doesn’t just start with applications or touring campuses senior year. It begins with early intervention, continuous progress throughout childhood, as well as abiding by an Individualized Education Program. Since every child with autism is unique, the programs, plans, and colleges that work for them will be too. Online schooling might even be optimal for those students unable to go out on their own. High school is an excellent time to start training your child to practice being more independent with their schoolwork and socializing with friends. Building social and communication skills will help with group projects and class participation in college. Aside from your awesome and dedicated parenting, there are many services, programs, and tools to help prepare your child for college. Today we are going to discuss pre-college programs, colleges with autism-support programs, and scholarships.


There are multiple several-week programs and camps where young adults with autism can practice socializing, teamwork, and get a taste of the college environment. These camps are often offered the Summer before the student’s freshman year and teach skills that improve independence and self-advocacy. We have provided a couple examples below:

Beyond Akeela

Beyond Akeela blends elements of a traditional summer camp with components of a teen tour. Participants are part of a tight-knit community, in which they practice post-secondary life skills, experience adventure, and thrive socially.

Location: Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania & Appleton, Wisconsin 

Summer @ CIP

CIP is one of the most comprehensive programs in the world for assisting young adults with learning differences to succeed in college, employment, and independent living.

Young Adults with Asperger’s, ADHD and Learning Differences learn valuable skills to make a successful transition to college and beyond during CIP’s Summer Programs.

Locations: Berkshire County MA, Brevard FL, Bloomington IN, Berkeley CA, & Long Beach CA


Autism support programs can offer a range of services tailored to a student’s needs including  peer mentoring, ABA therapy, academic tutoring, routine check-ins, and organizing events for students to socialize. There are colleges with these integrated programs all over the United States. Here are several examples of the most acknowledged college autism support programs:

University of Alabama: ASD College Transition and Support (ACTS) Program

The UA-ACTS program provides individualized services to help students develop appropriate skills for self-advocacy, daily living, and social interactions that will contribute to their success as an independent adult.

Marshall University: The College Program for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Students participating in the program have met acceptance criteria for Marshall University and have been admitted to The College Program through a separate application process. The program uses a positive behavior support approach to assist participating students. Social, communication, academic, leisure and personal living skills are assessed through person-centered planning.

University of West Florida: Argos for Autism

The Argos for Autism Program (AAP) is a Beyond Access service offered by the Student Accessibility Resources that provides academic, social, life skills, and career planning support to students with autism who attend the University of West Florida. The goal of the AAP is to enhance their college experience by providing assistance with navigating the college experience.


It never hurts to have financial assistance when sending a child to college. Aside from governmental general funding, there are many scholarships available to students on the spectrum. There are nationwide scholarships offered by The Autism Society of America, the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation, and Eden Autism Services. There are also local scholarships offered in major cities and schools throughout the United States. The Autism Society of New Hampshire and Lower Delaware Autism Foundation are examples of locally offered scholarships. Below is a list of scholarships offered throughout the U.S. for students with autism pursuing postsecondary education.

  • The Autism Society of Iowa:

  • Connie Pitt Memorial Scholarship:



  1. “How Can Students with Autism Be Supported through College?” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 31 Jan. 2018,
  2. “5 Scholarships For Students With Autism / Aspergers.” College Raptor Blog, 18 May 2018,
  3. “5 Scholarships For Students With Autism / Aspergers.” College Raptor Blog, 18 May 2018,

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