New Signers Program - Online

Interested in learning American Sign Language? Now it couldn't be easier!


The New Signers Program is an intensive, fast-paced, summer pre-college experience designed for newly admitted deaf and hard-of-hearing students who have little or no prior skill in American Sign Language. Through a variety of learning experiences such as lectures, small group activities, evening gatherings where students interact with other deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, and completing self-reflection journals, students will learn how to use ASL to communicate in real-world conversations and situations that are likely to occur on the college campus. Interactive evening activities provide opportunities for students to be immersed in deaf culture.

Virtual: July 19-August 6, 2021
Application Deadline: July 5, 2021

Application Form

Program FAQs

No, the program is optional, but if you are interested in learning how to sign, we encourage you to participate in this virtual program. You not only will have the opportunity to learn basic sign language skills, immerse in Deaf culture, and meet and develop relationships with other non-signing students, but this program also will help ease your transition as you prepare for your first year at RIT/NTID.

NSP will be offered online and is free. All programming and the tuition for the three-credit course is at no charge.

The online application must be completed by July 5, 2021. You are not accepted into the program until we receive and review your application, and we send you an official acceptance letter. This is when you know you're officially an NSP participant. Please apply early to ensure a spot in the program.

Details will be shared with you once you have been accepted to NSP. Classes will run Monday-Friday from Noon-4:30 p.m. with one half-hour break. Evening activities will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-8 p.m.

All times are in EDT.

This will be a three-week long program that will satisfy the Beginning ASL I course requirement. For the first week, your instructor will guide you with learning ASL. During the second and third week of classes, we will follow a “flipped instruction” method and you will be required to review videos before meeting with the instructor to maximize your application skills in classes.

  • Instructor and students meet online and learn at the same time.
  • Classes meet on a specific day and time.
  • Instruction happens in real time through Zoom video conferencing, live chat, and live videos, and outside of class work follows an assigned timeline schedule.

Yes, this is a credit-bearing program and participants are required to stay the entire program to earn the credit.

Deaf and hard-of-hearing students who have identified themselves as non-signers on the NTID Language/Communication Background Questionnaire (L/CBQ). Program seats are limited, and are filled on a first come, first served basis.

Yes, all deaf and hard-of-hearing students who have little or no prior skills in American Sign Language, and who are accepted into a bachelor's degree program in one of the other colleges at RIT can apply for NSP.

Yes. All incoming freshmen, including international students, are invited to participate. All classes will follow Eastern Daytime Time (EDT). Please keep this in consideration when applying for the program. If you live in a different time zone, you will have to convert to your time zone. Here is a link to help you convert to your time zone:

No, you cannot participate in both programs. You have to choose one.

No, you cannot participate in both programs. You have to choose one.

No, you cannot participate in both programs. You have to choose one.

A computer or laptop with a webcam and an internet connection is required for our classes and evening activities. Please ensure your Zoom software is fully updated! You can use a computer or an iPad/tablet with a webcam for our activities.

For specific requirements see myCourses, Zoom, and GoReact.

Once you are accepted, you will be required to sign Expectations and Guidelines form for NSP, which follows RIT’s Student Code of Conduct for Computer and RIT’s Student Academic Integrity Policy before starting the program, and you will be requested to sign a media release form.

At the end of NSP, you will meet these outcomes:

  1. Establish a basic foundation of American Sign Language as a visual-gestural language and the modality of ASL
  2. Generate the ability to converse in American Sign Language about familiar topics using a variety of basic phrases, simple sentences, and questions, including creating their own biographical profile
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of typical college experiences and of the RIT/NTID campus
  4. Discuss similarities and differences in behaviors and values between the hearing culture and the Deaf co-culture in the United States
  5. Prepare for interaction with members of the Deaf community at a Novice-Mid level in some very familiar everyday contexts
  6. Compare identity development based on their own lived experiences with Deaf people’s lived experiences in United States

On the myCourses platform you will find information about your ASL classes and evening activities, including a syllabus, a course schedule, and any other information you need for the ASL classes and evening activities. The point system will be posted in myCourses. Also, there will be a program book that includes contact information for people that you might want to reach.

Yes. RIT/NTID is a welcoming and supportive environment for all learners. Students with low vision or who are blind will work with the Disability Service Office and their instructor to determine the best ways in which to support their needs.

NSP will involve daily group activities in class. You also will interact with them during our evening activities. You can also connect with students in your class from the class list in myCourses.

For the NSP only, students can withdraw from their course up to the last official day of classes, which occurs on August 6.

A point system will be used to track your daily participation and assignments. During NSP, you will receive a weekly progress report to see your standing on participation and assignments. Near the end of program, you will have an opportunity to meet with the instructor to discuss your ASL development and skills. You will receive a letter grade at the end of the program.

Successful students will receive three college credits that will count toward their degree requirements.

Contact Us

Have any questions or concerns? Fill out the form below and we'll get right back to you! You can also contact us directly by email at about the NSP program.