At Gallaudet University, the primary languages used on campus are American Sign Language (ASL) and written English. To support the bilingual mission of the university , all students are expected to develop proficiency in both ASL and written English. However, not all student are fluent with ASL and JumpStart-ASL is an opportunity for deaf and hard-of-hearing undergraduates who are new to the Deaf community and Deaf culture to learn and develop their ASL skills in a community of peers with similar backgrounds.
JumpStart: ASL, is a four-week program held each summer prior to the start of the Fall semester. Designed as an immersion program for deaf and hard-of-hearing emerging signers. It provides incoming students with courses in Deaf Culture, American Sign Language (ASL), and Visual and Gestural Communication. The goal rather than expecting students to be fluent by the end of the program, is to provide a foundation of ASL language understanding to help students develop their confidence as new signers. This ensures that they will be able to communicate with peers, staff, and faculty as the Fall semester begins.