Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are there other students like me at Gallaudet? You bet! Gallaudet is a university that embraces the diversity found in the campus community. We think everyone is unique, and there is always common ground to be found. This is true of students' communication styles as well - we admit students each year with a variety of educational and language backgrounds.

2. How many students in the JumpStart: ASL Program do not know sign language? The program usually has between 40 - 60 students with many not knowing any signs and others knowing fingerspelling or a few conversational signs. All students who enroll in the program receive the same support and services in order to transition into a visual environment.

3. Can I listen to my music at Gallaudet? What about using my cell phone? Of course! Earbud wires and headphones are a common sight on campus. Quite a few Gallaudet students - of varying hearing abilities - like to get their groove on. Cell phone etiquette is the same her as any other academic environment: when using your phone be respectful of those around you.

4. Are there hard of hearing students at Gallaudet? Absolutely. There are also students with cochlear implants, students who use Cued Speech, students who are hearing and students who lost their hearing recently.

5. What support services are provided for students who do not know how to sign? The JumpStart: ASL Program recognizes the learning curve involved in transitioning to a visual environment. We will work with you, via instruction and mentorship, to get you more comfortable with ASL throughout the program and your first year. In the meantime, we will also work with you to arrange service that supports your access, like voice interpreters, mobile captioning, and CART providers.

6. I keep hearing people at Gallaudet say I am "mainstreamed." What does that mean? Saying you were "mainstreamed" or come from a "mainstream" program means you attended a school with hearing peers, rather than a school serving only deaf or hard of hearing students. Mainstream programs vary widely, from smaller classrooms containing deaf or hard of hearing peers found within public or private schools to a single deaf or hard of hearing student attending his or her local high school - either with or without interpreters and other support services.

7. How quickly will I learn to sign? That depends. Some students pick it up quickly, and other finds it necessary to spend more time studying and practicing with friends. Like any other language, there are other factors involved in the speed of acquisition. For example, your level of immersion, peers' language choice, comfort level and motivation will all likely play a part in how smoothly your transition progresses.

8. When will I meet my peer mentor? First year students are to be paired with a peer mentor in GSR 101: First Year Seminar course. Students who participate in JumpStart programs are automatically enrolled in the Peer Mentorship program.