Starting college is not without its obstacles for any student. Add deafness or a hearing impairment into the mix and you might just be forgiven for thinking those obstacles just got a little higher. It is natural for affected students to feel overwhelmed by the change. After all, they are leaving an educational system where the onus is on the school (and parents) to ensure students have access to the appropriate services. At college, that onus flips and it is up to the student to seek out the required support. That does not mean that deaf or hard of hearing students should give up hope of attending college. Quite the opposite. It is just a matter of properly researching schools that cater to their specific needs, and furthermore of understanding how to access the tools and services that will help to make college a productive experience.
Top Three Schools for Deaf/Hard of Hearing Students
There are many colleges and universities in the U.S. that cater to deaf and hard of hearing students. Gallaudet University, the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, and California State University Northridge (CSUN) often rank among the top three choices.
Gallaudet University, Washington D.C.
Gallaudet University boasts an international reputation as being the only education establishment in the world to cater predominantly to deaf and hard of hearing students (just 5% of the annual student intake have full hearing abilities). The available college majors, although typical of many colleges, include American Sign Language and Deaf Studies. All courses are
National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester Institute of Technology
Recognized by both U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, The National Technical Institute for the Deaf in New York welcomes over 14,000 undergraduate students each year, including approximately 1,300 who are deaf or hard of hearing. The establishment boasts unparalleled support services that lead to outstanding rates of graduation and job placement.
California State University, Northridge (CSUN)
The National Center on Deafness (NCOD)supports deaf and hard of hearing students from the point of application throughout the duration of their studies. In doing so, the center helps such students to achieve not only excellence in education, but also to access the full range of facilities at CSUN. Direct communication in a variety of classes is made possible by the collaboration of NCOD with academic departments to offer professors who possess fluent sign language skills.
Choosing the Right College
The process of choosing the right college is a process that should start early; at least two to three years before graduation from high school. Depending on their personal preferences, students should seek to understand whether colleges already have a deaf program and the associated support services (interpreters, tutors, note takers, and assistive devices). The number of deaf students enrolled in a college may also be of interest, notwithstanding the fact that some students may choose to attend a mainstream college and arrange their own support if necessary. Once potential schools have been identified, personal visits are a must to ensure that the environment offered will be positive for the student concerned.
Linda Forshaw is a Business Information Systems graduate from Lancaster University in the UK. A main contributor to DegreeJungle, she is a full time writer and blogger specializing in education, social media, and entrepreneurship. Contact her on Twitter @seelindaplay
*Correction by a follower. Thank you!