Students walking on quad in spring

Pathways and Connections Program

The Pathways and Connections Program (PAC) is an innovative, comprehensive, fee-based program designed to assist university-ready, neurodivergent students. 

The program, designed around student development theory, provides students with emotional and practical supports vital to success. Students work to develop skills in executive functioning, self-advocacy, problem-solving, independent living, social skills, and career development. 

The PAC Coordinator provides ongoing, individual support as well as educational workshops and support groups designed to help students identify their own strengths and needs, as well as helping them learn to communicate effectively with others. 

Schedule an Interview Request Information

Welcome to PAC

PAC Coordinator Claudia Goicochea with Valiant mascot
PAC Coordinator, Student Health and Counseling

Claudia is a Manhattanville Graduate who has joined SHAC as the coordinator of PAC. She earned her MA from Pace University and has spent her career working with people with different abilities. While at Manhattanville she was part of the International Students Organization, Orientation Advising Team, and Duchesne Center.  

Claudia specializes in positive and behavioral support and has worked in different clinical settings with individuals from all age groups. She has helped individuals gain insight into areas that need advancement which might include cognitive abilities, managing stress, anger management, coping, and social skills. 

Claudia strives to create a warm, inclusive, non-judgmental environment for students and wants to become a support and advocate for them.   

About the Pathways and Connections Program

Students gathered around advisor

The PAC Program Provides Students

Coaching and Support

  • Individual, Customized Meetings with PAC Coordinator
  • Weekly Group Sessions
  • Peer Mentoring
  • Social Events: On and Off-Campus


Program Cost

  • $3,000 per semester
  • Combined with VLSP: $5,550 per semester ($100 fee for first semester of VLSP)
  • Rates subject to change


Male students playing lawn games

Please Note

There is a separate application to be considered for both the Pathways and Connections Program and the Valiant Learning Support Program. Please see the link to the accommodation application process in order to learn more. Students must be enrolled and deposited at Manhattanville University before they are eligible to apply. While applicants enroll as degree-seeking students and are eligible for financial aid, the Pathways and Connections Program requires a separate fee that is not supported through financial aid packages.




How to Apply for PAC

  1. Log in to the Health and Accommodations Portal ( using your Manhattanville University username and password.
  2. Hover over the Accommodations tab in the top-bar and then select Application from the drop down menu.
    Proceed to complete the application as listed on Page 1.
  3. Upload any supporting documentation that you have on Page 2 (please - note you can submit the application without uploading
    documentation, but it will be incomplete until you either upload it at a later time, or deliver it to a Center for Student Accessibility staff member).
  4. Fill out the Pathways and Connections Program Application and/or Valiant Learning Support Program on Page 3.
  5. Submit your application.
  6. Schedule an intake interview with a staff member at CSA by calling 914-323-7127 or emailing Please note that your application is incomplete until this intake interview is completed.



Learning Objectives for PAC Group Members 


Assessment of Cognitive Abilities

To provide strategic and individualized support and guidance in preparation for the transitional period of their first year in university. Students will work with the Coordinator to build an understanding of areas of strength and areas of need in order to help set them up with appropriate services and supports both on and off campus.

Transition to university

Students will receive assistance while adjusting to university life and establishing a consistent routine. Students will receive assistance with adjusting to changes socially, emotionally, academically, etc. by attending group sessions, establishing a cohort of peers in the PAC group, building trust and rapport with PAC peers and PAC Coordinator, and possibly working with a PAC mentor.

Building Interdependence

Introduction to the resources on campus; learning how to seek resources, ask for help, and accept support. Establish a sense of trust with the PAC Coordinator through 1:1 and group meetings.


Students will be assisted and provided with tools to advocate for themselves and communicate with professors, staff, or other relevant parties. The PAC program will assist students in navigating the challenges they might face and asserting their independence.

Skill Building

Students will learn to manage academic responsibilities. Assistance in developing study skills and organizational techniques to manage academic demands of university. Emphasis provided on executive functioning, time management, goal setting, problem-solving, organizational, and independent skills.

Social Skill Building

Students will learn to develop social connections and strategies for navigating social situations through general social skills - introductions, establishing friendships, sharing, turn-taking, problem-solving through attending groups and 1:1 sessions that provide opportunities to learn and practice such skills. Students will learn to build relationships with academic staff

Emotion Management

Students will increase awareness of emotions, acting on emotions, feedback on emotions, and exercising internal control of actions/integrating emotions through participation in group sessions and 1:1 sessions. The program will assist students in maintaining self-care practices to support academic success and overall wellness.


Students will develop insight about their own cognitive, intellectual, and emotional limitations. They will work to increase their understanding of the ways they think, process, perceive, respond, and feel. Assistance will be provided in identifying their needs and communicating their needs to others.

Introduction to Career Development and Areas of Interest.

Exposure to job opportunities and career paths in 1:1 and group sessions that focus on areas of interest, resume writing, and ways to set themselves up for success. Presentation of volunteer and networking options during 1:1 sessions and group sessions. Introduction to clubs and organizations on campus. Encouragement to become involved with extracurricular activities in order to develop friendships with individuals who have shared interests.


Building Interdependence Continued

Students will continue to develop the building blocks for emotional independence (accept responsibility for themselves and lessen need for emotional approval from others, independence with regard to personal needs (laundry, food, etc) while seeking support and accepting help when needed.

Building Connections

Further integration in Clubs and Organizations, and the possible pursuit of leadership positions will be encouraged. Students will be encouraged to participate in academic groups and to continue to develop relationship within their field of interest and maintain friendships with individuals who have shared interests.

Social Skill Building

Developing understanding of more nuanced social interactions and maintaining friendships by attending 1:1 sessions and group sessions and exploring successes and difficulties within social interactions.


Continued exposure to job opportunities and career paths in 1:1 and group sessions that focus on areas of interest, resume writing, and ways to set themselves up for success.


Higher Level Social Skills

Learning about more intimate, longer-term friendships - why do they last/why do they end? Learning about romantic relationships and the associated risks of being vulnerable and getting hurt.


Learning to problem solve more effectively and independently, and advocating for oneself and own needs. Working to build more independence, while seeking feedback during 1:1 and group sessions.

Establishing Identity

Learning about "who am I?" and coming to love who I am by participating in group and 1:1 sessions that will allow students to express themselves, get to know themselves, and receive positive feedback from their peers.

Career Development

Finding and experiencing internship or job-related opportunities to help them to get prepared for, and excited about, the future. Developing professional relationships for networking and recommendations.

Developing Purpose

Students will work to establish career/vocational plans. The PAC Coordinator will work with them to explore possible internship opportunities or vocational opportunities to help set them up for success. The student will receive support with exploring "what is out there" and will be connected with Career Development staff who can further assist with navigating the job application process.

Developing Integrity

Through 1:1 sessions, group sessions, and the student's guided work with the PAC Coordinator, the student will work on connecting their own morals and values to their life experiences and aspirations. Student will work on learning about social justice, community service, and the value of "giving back."

Celebrating Success

Students will receive a "graduation" from PAC that focuses on their journey from a first year student to a university graduate. Their many successes will be highlighted by the PAC Coordinator and their PAC peers so that they are able to celebrate their accomplishments and receive praise and recognition for their amazing achievement. Increase likelihood of continued success after graduation by helping students prepare for life after graduation. Assistance will be provided as they readjust their identity as an alumni.


PAC Frequently Asked Questions

What are the transition support programs for first year students?

Manhattanville provides orientation days over the summer for incoming freshmen to get better acquainted with university life. The PAC Coordinator (PACC) assists and supports PAC enrolled students with navigating the transition from high school to university by providing frequent check-ins, assistance with problem solving, and help with connecting to various on-campus resources.


The PAC office is located in Spellman Hall, the first year residence hall, on the ground floor, G-26. PAC students are welcome to reach out, talk, or hang out in the PAC sensory lounge (Spellman, G-25) whenever they want or need.


Is it hard to make friends?

It can be difficult for incoming students to make new friends, but the PACC works hard to expose the PAC students to opportunities to meet other students who may share similar interests. Additionally, PAC group sessions offer the opportunity for PAC students to focus on social skill development and the other PAC members provide a “built-in” social support network. The PAC program helps students to acclimate to Manhattanville at their own pace.

PAC employs student mentors who are assigned to new PAC students; the mentors work to assist PAC students with connecting to student organizations and other campus groups.

The sensory lounge provides a space where PAC students can hang out, play games and socialize with their peers.


What services or supports are available for my sensitive/shy student?

The PAC Sensory Lounge is available (during regular business hours) for any PAC students who may be experiencing sensory overload, or who might need some emotional support. If the student is experiencing social anxiety and in need of or interested in counseling support, the PACC will assist the student to getting connected with SHAC. If the student already has an established support network off campus, with the student’s permission, the PACC can work to collaborate with and coordinate care with off-campus providers.


Who can assist my student with managing life away from home?

Living with a stranger in close quarters for the first time in one’s life can be a difficult experience. Some students cope better than others. Given that the residence hall environment is commonly very different from what the student is used to, the PACC can help the PAC students tackle all the different aspects of living on campus including helping the student to get to know their community coordinator and resident advisor, as well as assistance with managing the nuances of sharing a room and bathroom.


What kind of services does the school’s student health and counseling department provide? Are those services free?

The Office of Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) is a free and confidential resource for all full-time students. The PAC program is part of the Wellness hub and the PAC Coordinator is able to connect PAC students with the counseling or health services when needed or desired.

Counseling services provides brief, solution focused individual sessions as well several group counseling sessions and workshops focused on different issues typical to university students. Health services works like an urgent care; students who are not feeling well can schedule an appointment to see one of the Nurse Practitioners and receive medical care.


How available are the PAC resources for my student?

The PAC office is located in Spellman Hall, the first year residence hall. Students are welcome to hang out in the PAC sensory lounge whenever they want to relax, interact with their peers, or need to wait to speak with the PAC Coordinator (during regular business hours). PAC students will arrange a weekly individual session with the PAC Coordinator, but are also welcome to schedule additional time if needed and available. In order to contact the PAC Coordinator, students can send an email, teams message, or call (914) 323 5229.


Who can I speak to about academic or residential accommodations for my student?

The Center for Student Accessibility (CSA) is the office that manages student accommodations. The PACC works closely with the Center of Student Accessibility (CSA). CSA is the office where students go to set up their accommodations. PAC students are encouraged to share information about their academic and residential accommodations with the PACC in order to receive the most comprehensive, collaborative care. The PACC acts as a liaison between many offices and programs and will assist the PAC student with putting supports in place when needed or requested.


How does the PAC program help students to be successful academically?

The PAC coordinator works closely with the Center for Student Accessibility (CSA), the Learning Specialists who are part of the Valiant Learning Support Program (VLSP), and the Academic Advisors from the Office of Academic Advising in hopes of increasing the opportunity for the PAC students to experience success in university. With permission, the PAC can assist, advocate and communicate with the staff in these offices to assure the PAC students are receiving support throughout the semester. Students are encouraged to directly contact any of these offices whenever they have concerns or experience difficulties.



Does PAC provide assistance with Academics?

The PAC program focuses mainly on social aspects of university life. However, as it is difficult to separate the academic component from the overall university experience, the PACC does collaborate with and interact with some academic areas including (but not limited to) the VLSP program staff (if the student is enrolled in VLSP) and with the academic advising department. Additionally, the PACC will individually tailor individual sessions, and will focus some group sessions on time management, executive functioning skills, self- advocacy, etc.

The PAC program aims to help students to become independent and self-sufficient, and also understands that some students may need assistance with contacting professors, advisors, or administrators. The PAC Coordinator will assist students in this area until they are comfortable working on this on their own.


How accessible are professors outside of the classroom, especially those who teach large courses?

All professors offer office hours and the opportunity for students to schedule a meeting. Students are encouraged to contact their professors with any issues or concerns. The PACC can assist the student with sending an email to a professor if/when needed or desired.


Are any aspects of the PAC (1-on-1 sessions, weekly groups, social outings) program mandatory?

Although none of the supports provided to PAC students are mandatory, we strongly recommend that PAC students participate in as many of the individual sessions, groups, and social outings as possible. Individual sessions offer the student an individualized approach to the development of skills needed for reaching personal goals, the group sessions provide an opportunity to practice the new skills, and the social outings provide social experiences we hope the PAC students will enjoy! We genuinely believe that the more the PAC student engages with the program, the more they will get out of it.


What is a manageable schedule for the first-semester PAC student?

The PACC recommends that all PAC students work closely with their academic advisor to set up a manageable schedule based on the student’s unique strengths and areas of difficulty.


How does a PAC student manage all of the different appointments, meetings, and obligations placed upon them?

Although a full-time student status (12 to 15 credits) might seem very busy, classes don’t meet every day, so, students will learn to identify pockets of time for scheduling various activities. The PACC can help your student to adjust to the new schedule and stick to it. An ongoing goal of the PACC is to help PAC students to become responsible adults who are committed to attending classes, appointments, and other commitments.


Would I be able to get access to my student’s information?

Because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), student confidentiality is very strictly maintained at Manhattanville University. Your student will have to provide written consent in order for Manhattanville staff and faculty to be able to provide you with information about their experience. Parents of PAC students are always welcome to contact the PAC coordinator to provide information regarding your student, as well as general suggestions or feedback that would help provide appropriate supports and interventions. We strongly encourage parents to communicate all significant life events to the PAC coordinator to be able to provide necessary emotional support, and/or connect the student to other resources.



It is important to keep in mind that every student is different, and the specific objectives for each PAC student will vary based on their individual needs and preferences. The PAC program is a voluntary program and individual outcomes are based largely upon the level of collaboration and participation offered by the PAC member.


Contact Us

  • Pathways and Connections Program

    Claudia Goicochea
    PAC Coordinator
    Student Health and Counseling
    Spellman Hall G-17

    Joseph Gaines
    Center for Student Accessibility
    Library 134