New Signers Program

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


The New Signers Program (NSP) 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.

The first part of NSP will be offered online, and the last week of the program will be offered in-person on the RIT campus prior to the start of your orientation.

Hybrid Program: July 24-August 16, 2023
Online Sessions: July 24-August 4, 2022  (Mondays-Fridays)
NSP Move-In Day: August 8, 2023
On-campus Sessions: August 9-16, 2023

Application Deadline: June 20, 2023

Application Form

Program Schedule

Program FAQs

No, the program is optional, but if you are interested in learning how to sign, we encourage you to participate in this hybrid 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.

The first part of NSP will be offered online, and the last week of the program will be offered in-person on the RIT campus prior to the start of your orientation. The entire program is free. All programming, room and board, off-campus excursions and recreation activities, and the tuition for the four-credit course is at no charge.

The online application must be completed by June 20, 2023. You are not accepted into the program until we receive and review your application, and we send you an official acceptance letter. A certain number of accepted applicants must be reached before an acceptance letter can be sent. This is when you know you're officially an NSP participant. Please apply early to ensure a spot in the program.

Since NSP is a four-credit course, a certain amount of lecture and lab hours to acquire appropriate credits must be met. We understand that most students cannot commit to a three-week in-person program, and we wanted to provide flexibility for our accepted students while gaining the opportunity to learn ASL wherever they might be for the first two weeks. We also wanted to give our accepted students an opportunity to meet other students in person and get comfortable with the RIT/NTID campus while still learning ASL.

Details will be shared with you once you have been accepted to NSP. We will begin with our online sessions from July 24-August 4, 2023. Travel time is given between August 5-August 8, 2023 in order to move in on the RIT campus on August 8, 2022. We will start our in-person sessions on August 9 and end on August 16, 2023. Online classes will run Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. with a one-hour break. In-person classes will run from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. with ample breaks along with evening activities. We will have day-long activities on Saturday and Sunday during our in-person session.

All times are in EDT.

If you are accepted to the NSP program, it is our goal to have you move your belongings into your permanent dorm room on August 8 between Noon-3 p.m. This is in advance of all other freshman students.

Upon arrival for NSP in-person session, it is our goal to have you to move into your permanent assigned housing for the school year that you had applied through RIT housing using your myLife portal.

It is because the program has to happen before Summer Vestibule Program (SVP) which starts on August 17 to accommodate those students who are enrolled in SVP.

This will be a three-week long program that will satisfy the Beginning ASL I course requirement. For the first two weeks in our online classes, your instructor will guide you with learning ASL along with videos available for out of class practice. There will be times during online classes to work on your application skills. During the last week, you will be attending our in-person classes and activities and interacting with your instructor and classmates to apply your learned ASL skills with each other.

  • 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, you can enroll in NSP. All students accepted into associate, associate+bachelor’s and pre-baccalaureate programs, or in career exploration studies will transition to SVP after NSP ends.

Only NSP students are moving in on Tuesday, August 8, 2023. Other students who are participating in SVP only and not NSP will arrive on Thursday, August 17, 2023.

NSP students enrolled in associate, associate+bachelor’s and pre-baccalaureate programs, or in career exploration studies need to check-out of NSP on the morning of Thursday, August 17 and then check-in for SVP on the same day.

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.

Since SVP is not required for bachelor’s degree accepted students and New Student Orientation does not start until August 20, there will be a gap of three days between August 17-20. There are two options for you to choose from:

  • You can remain at RIT in your permanent room and pay an additional fee for housing plus meal costs This will give you an opportunity to remain on campus until all students move-in. During those three days, you will have the opportunity to meet other students that did not take part in NSP and possibly participate in some SVP activities.
  • You may choose to return home after NSP concludes and return on New Student Orientation Move-in Day on August 20. If you choose this option, please bring only your belongings needed during the NSP program while you are in your NSP room. You will not move in your permanent belongings to your permanent room until August 20.

Yes. All incoming freshmen, including international students, are invited to participate. Since a part of this program will be held in-person, you will need to have appropriate student visa to participate. The first two weeks of online 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: There will be a limited time for travel between August 5 and August 7 before moving in on August 8. It is critical for you to be here in person on August 9 to appropriately finish the course in-person.

No, you cannot participate in both programs since classes may overlap in days/times. 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! It is preferred that you use a computer or laptop instead of iPad/tablet because of the limitations of being able to interact with other students.

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 phra/ses, simple sentences, and questions, including creating an autobiographical 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 United States majority 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 online and in-person classes and in-person evening and weekend activities, including a syllabus, a course schedule, and any other information you need for the ASL classes and evening and weekend activities. The point system will be posted in myCourses. Also, there will be a link 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 online classes. You also can connect with students in your class from the class list in myCourses. One of the reasons that the last week of the program is held in-person is to give you an opportunity to maximize your interaction time with other students in the program while learning ASL.

For the NSP only, students can withdraw from their course up to the last official day of classes, which occurs on August 10.

A point system will be used to track your daily participation and assignments. You can get access to the point system at any time during NSP by using the Grades tool on myCourses to see your progress. 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 four 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.