Q. Is sign language accepted by colleges for a foreign language for Virginia homeschoolers?

A. American Sign Language (ASL) is accepted by ALL public Virginia colleges. As of October 1, 2016, ASL legislation passed making ASL accepted for the foreign language admission’s requirement at public colleges in Virginia (§ 23.1-905).

Acceptance of ASL at private colleges varies; check online or contact the Office of Admissions in order to know their policy. For example, according to the admissions summary page for the University of Richmond (a private Virginia university) the university clearly states that it requires “two units of the same language, not including American Sign Language, which will not satisfy the requirements for foreign language.”

There are several things to consider regarding sign language. Many colleges will require two years of a foreign language in order to complete certain undergraduate programs; i.e., the student may be required to take a completely different language in order to obtain a bachelor’s degree from the college or university. Some students can waive this requirement if they have taken three years of a traditional foreign language during high school.

Also, if a homeschooled student who has studied ASL in high school would like to continue his study in college, he may find the college does not offer ASL. Clear communication with the Office of Admissions prior to college selection is very important if a student plans to continue his study of ASL while in college.

Best regards,

Yvonne