5 Great Colleges for Members of the Deaf Community

The college search can be extra challenging for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students. Here are five schools that are extra accommodating to the Deaf community.

For Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students, it can be difficult to find a college rooted in a community you feel at home in—especially one that uses American Sign Language (ASL) as its primary mode of communication. But even with an obstacle or two in the way, there are always quality solutions to be found if you’re willing to dig for them. With this in mind, here are five of the best colleges out there for members of the Deaf community in no particular order.

1. Gallaudet University

Located in the heart of Washington, DC, Gallaudet University was the first college for Deaf students to be established in the United States in 1864. To this day, it remains the most well-known and respected university in the Deaf community. Students at Gallaudet learn from quality professors and are encouraged to build long-lasting relationships with their fellow students, all while imploring classic customs of Deaf culture, including the use of ASL. The University is so popular, in fact, that a documentary series following a group of Deaf students at the school (entitled Deaf U) is currently available to stream on Netflix. 

Related: Top Tips to Help Students With Disabilities Find Supportive Colleges 

2. Ohlone College

Ohlone College is located in Fremont, California—a city known for its vibrant Deaf community. Since its founding in 1965, the College has maintained an honorable population of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students despite not being established originally as a school for the Deaf. Ohlone’s Center for Deaf Studies prides itself on its exceedingly capable Deaf instructors and its impressive Interpreter Training program, headed by Deaf activist and author Thomas Holcomb. Keep in mind that as a community college, Ohlone only offers associate degrees and vocational certificates.

3. National Technical Institute for the Deaf

A branch of the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, the National Technical Institute for the Deaf was the first ever Deaf technical college established in 1968, and it remains the leading school in its field. With over 90 majors to choose from, a community of 1,100 Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students, and a 95% employment rate, NTID is the perfect option for any members of the Deaf community looking for a more hands-on degree. Additionally, NTID has a fantastic ASL Interpreting program known for its small class sizes to make sure every student gets the quality training they need.

Connect me with RIT!

4. California State University, Northridge

Established in 1958, California State University, Northridge is a predominately hearing school, but it earned a spot on this list due to having the largest population of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students at a mainstream university in the nation. CSUN is the home of the National Center on Deafness, whose highest purpose is to bridge the gap between the hearing and Deaf communities. The University is also home to a Department of Deaf Studies, where hearing students have the opportunity to obtain degrees pertaining to the Deaf community while also having the unique privilege of interacting with Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing peers during the course of their education.

5. SouthWest College for the Deaf

A branch of Howard College in Big Spring, Texas, SouthWest College for the Deaf is the only community college centering wholly around Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students in the country. SWDC was founded in 1979 to provide the Deaf community with an education rooted in their own culture, which is heavily influenced by the use of ASL. Though the College doesn’t have a vast array of majors, the programs it does offer are taught directly in sign language and can lead to various exciting, anomalous careers such as welding. It’s an adept community college option for all members of the Deaf community. 

Related: Top 10 Reasons to Study at a Community College

Any one of these colleges is fully equipped with the capacity to become an adequate, welcoming home away from home for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students. If nothing else, I hope this list has opened your eyes to the possibilities of your educational journey going forward, something that has no business being rooted in anxiety and limitations. When it comes to your future, never be afraid to shoot for the moon! After all, the worst that can happen is landing amidst an equally breathtaking galaxy of stars. 

Start looking for schools with Deaf Studies programs and more with our College Search tool.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Priscilla Yeboah

Priscilla Yeboah

High School Student

I was afraid and timid throughout my search for colleges, but I finally found the college that was fit for me and luckily I got accepted. One of the most influential things that helped me was the articles and advice on CollegeXpress. They've helped me a lot and benefited me as a senior to make the right choices in life. Thank you!

Alexandra Adriano

Alexandra Adriano

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2016

I've used CollegeXpress quite a bit as a senior, particularly for colleges and scholarships, so it's been a very big asset in that respect! I would recommend it to anyone looking to pursue a college education, especially seniors! This scholarship will help me achieve my goals in ways I couldn't have before, and I know that there are opportunities like that for everyone on the website and in the magazines!

Anthony Vidal

Anthony Vidal

High School Class of 2023

CollegeXpress has helped me in a series of different ways when it comes to finding scholarships and learning information about different universities. I actually found my dream university through CollegeXpress and am working on getting there.

Lorena Bacallao

Lorena Bacallao

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress was the foundation of my college search process. Because of CollegeXpress, I was able to make a more informed and confident decision as to where it was best to pursue my higher education. I have recommended this website to fellow peers and for first-generation students like me. It’s a website I will continue to promote because of how simple it was to use and how many opportunities were offered to me at my fingertips!

Courtney Smith

Courtney Smith

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has been a huge help! The website is very organized with finding the right scholarship for anyone and anything. With CollegeXpress, I've been able to find many scholarship opportunities to apply for. Not only that, I'm also able to search for the colleges I have interest in and see what’s required and what scholarships they offer. I've learned a lot from CollegeXpress. They've helped me in many ways to achieve my goals!

College Matches
X

Colleges You May Be Interested In

University of Redlands

Redlands, CA

New York University

New York, NY