Colleges and universities are equipped to handle every sort of learning challenge today’s students face and this certainly includes students who are hard of hearing or deaf. These students often grow up learning great skills to use in the classroom, but all the same, being at a college where you feel supported is super helpful. Let’s talk about some college options for hard of hearing and deaf students!
Deaf and hard of hearing students can attend a college specifically for hard of hearing students, or a college with good support services for this group. When students are very high functioning they may feel that they do not require any support service at all. For the purposes of this blog, let’s address the first two groups.
If you would like to attend a college where the vast majority of students are deaf or hard of hearing, then Gallaudet University in DC is for you. The Gallaudet student population consists of nearly 100% deaf and hard of hearing students. Gallaudet is the expert and clear leader in the US in this field, and they have a range of support services to meet the need of every student. You could also look at Doncaster College for the Deaf in Great Britain and the Southwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf in Texas.
Many students with cochlear implants have learned to succeed well in regular classroom settings, and they do not often gravitate toward a college that is specifically designed for deaf students, like Gallaudet University. However, these students can often still identify personally with the deaf population and they will often choose to attend colleges with significant deaf populations. In this way, they can participate in activities with other deaf and hard of hearing students, which is great for support during college. These students can also benefit from services offered on campuses that have significant hard of hearing populations, which can really be an asset.
When visiting college campuses it is important to ask what support services are available and what the procedure is for registering.Ask about services such as real-time, note-taking, oral interpreting, and type well captioning. It is also a good idea to look at whether the college offers ASL as a major; if so, there will likely be a significant percentage of hearing students on campus who also sign, which can be a real asset in classes and study groups, and just for making friends!
Here are a few great school ideas for students interested in colleges with significant hard of hearing populations:
Rochester Institute of Technology
– Home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf
– Deaf and hard of hearing student population = 1,300 of 14,000
California State-Northridge (CSUN)
– Has the National Center on Deafness
– Deaf student population = 220 of 31,000
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
– Nearly 1,000 students on campus use ASL
– Deaf student population = approx. 50 of 24,000
So whatever your preferred setting, there is a college for you. Talk openly with your parents about what services you need and which ones you might like, and then visit campuses to see how the “fit” feels. Ask good questions when you’re there and make sure to get all of your questions answered. Armed with this information, you’ll be sure to find the right college for you! Yay, college!