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The Transition Into College Cx

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Next year I will be (hopefully) debating at UW. I have a few questions:

1. What's the biggest things I should be ready for in the transition from high school to collegiate policy debate?
 

2. What can I start doing now to prepare for next year?

 

3. Best way to manage time? (Between college courses & tournaments, etc.) 

 

Thanks in advance for any advice!

 

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First, you'll wanna know the topic which has to do with restricting presidential war powers. 

 

You'll find the topic paper on this page: http://www.cedadebate.org/forum/index.php?topic=4800.0

 

I don't know anything about the transition since I'll be doing the same thing. 

 

Yup! I've already been checking it out. Not trying to get too much into it though, because I still have NFLs.

 

What college will you be debating at?

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Read the war powers topic paper.

 

Read the possible resolution list.  (this will probably give you a reasonable list to narrow your search a bit)

 

My guess is go deep on a number of K generics for the war powers topic.

 

This is one of the more bizarre topics to date.  It allows the aff to curtail government action and/or abuse.

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Next year I will be (hopefully) debating at UW. I have a few questions:

 

1. What's the biggest things I should be ready for in the transition from high school to collegiate policy debate?

It's a bigger time commitment, due in large part to the amount of specificity needed. In high school you could sometimes get away with just running generics all the time, whereas in college the preference tends to go to specificity. That doesn't mean generics aren't important, it just means you won't be getting very far with your cap K if all you have are topic links.

 

I'm not sure what your local circuit was like, but you can anticipate everybody to go fast- oftentimes faster than you were used to in high school. It's not a huge deal as you will adapt just be ready for it.

 

Also, Ks and K affs are a lot more common (even traditional "policy" schools like Northwestern and Georgetown bust out Ks from time to time), particularly in D2 (where UW is) and D3.

 

2. What can I start doing now to prepare for next year?

Speaking drills. You should also be looking into generics and general things about the topic until we know what the resolutions might be.

 

3. Best way to manage time? (Between college courses & tournaments, etc.) 

 

Thanks in advance for any advice!

This is individual, but blocking out times where I work on debate, study, go to class etc. helps me a lot. It's also helpful (at least for me) if you try and get most of your classes on Tuesday/Thursday. You will miss a lot of Fridays and Mondays because of tournaments, and having your classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays cuts back on the amount of class you will miss. I know it sounds super lame to have all your classes on 2 days (especially since your class periods tend to be longer to compensate), but if you space them out a little bit it's isn't a huge deal. It's also nice to always have Wednesdays off, that way you have more time to work on whatever you need.

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Next year I will be (hopefully) debating at UW. I have a few questions:

1. What's the biggest things I should be ready for in the transition from high school to collegiate policy debate?

 

2. What can I start doing now to prepare for next year?

 

3. Best way to manage time? (Between college courses & tournaments, etc.) 

 

Thanks in advance for any advice!

 

I debated four years in college and am now a second-year graduate student/coach.

 

3. Managing time - 

 

the thing I tell most high school debaters is that if you were able to successfully manage your time in high school, you already have the experience and skills needed to balance college. a few general things to keep in mind 

 

schedule - this may sound silly, but you would be surprised how critical it will be to your academic and competitive success - it is important that you realize when you are missing quizzes/exams so you can notify your professors as soon as possible and schedule make-up exams. this will also help you plan your assignments/research hours - nobody wants to have an assignment due that they have been putting off that is the same day as an exam. 

 

school > debate - I will be the first to admit that debate was my primary concern in college, but you really can't underestimate the importance of keeping up with your studies and having good grades. debate is fun, but for most of us it is just a small part of our lives. it is a game and is less important than getting a degree and having a solid gpa. and the disad turns the case - if you fail or your gpa is too low, you will be academically ineligible to compete. I would implore you to make sure you have your academic house in order above anything else your freshmen/sophmore year

 

all work and no play - it is perfectly reasonable to be spending a few hours a day on debate research, but don't forget to do non-debate extracurricular activites - all part of not getting burnt out - and I think it actually makes you alot more productive if you spread out your debate research throughout the day - take some time to watch a tv show, go for a jog, troll skyrim, etc etc. there are so many great opportunities in college outside of debate, don't let them pass you by 

 

1. College debate is much more competitive. The comparison I always like to give is imagining your toughest high school debate - now imagine that being the new base-level for every prelim debate at a college tournament. If you are debating in varsity, most people have atleast 3-4 years of debate experience. People's arguments are much more nuanced and well-researched. This is not to say you will not have any success early on in your college debate career. Rather, you should view it as a long-term process - yes, you might lose some debates your freshmen year - but having lots of good debates (win OR lose) is exactly what will help you improve. It is not about how well you do your first year of college debate but about setting realistic short-term goals you can accomplish and then working towards the bigger ones like clearing at the NDT, etc.

 

listen to your coaches. seriously. ask them questions. I don't care how dumb they might seem. most college coaches are not going to push you any harder than you are willing to push yourself. you need to show your are invested in both the team and your own personal success. 

 

don't bit off more than you can chew - most debate programs don't really have rigorous card cutting requirements - you should only take an assignment if you are willing and capable of doing it - the worst thing that can happen is you take an assignment only to have it not be done for an important debate relevant to one of your team members.  

 

 

2. Yes, reading the topic is helpful and important. 

 

You said you plan on debating at wyoming? I would not be too concerned about jumping right in to research although maybe a few cursory searches related to arguments you are interested in couldn't hurt. The reason I say this is that most college programs, such as wyoming and UTD, have excellent coaching staffs that do a really good job of helping you plan and develop strategies/divide up and coordinate research. If you were to spend several days early in the summer cutting cards, some of those might end up being not as relevant to your assignments/team strategies. Instead, I would keep in touch with your coaches and wait till you recieve a regular assignment. 

 

Lastly, it is the summer after your last year of high school. It is awesome you are excited and eager to work, but feel free to take a break and relax for a few weeks. The worst thing that can happen is you get burnt out early in the summer. You will have plenty of time to get on top of research and really focus on improving your skills once summer work sessions and school roll around. 

 

Regular speed drills never hurt anyone 

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The time management tips are potentially quite helpful.

 

Specificity is certainly important....Understanding and being ready to respond to arguments without prep (aka frontlines) is key.

 

Three key advantages of being in college:

1. Easy access to large paid databases

2. Easy access to large libraries

3. Easy access to professors (this isn't 100% true, but true enough.  Easier is probably truer than not true).

 

Although, admittedly most every school on the circuit also has these advantages.

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You will miss a lot of Fridays and Mondays because of tournaments, and having your classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays cuts back on the amount of class you will miss. I know it sounds super lame to have all your classes on 2 days (especially since your class periods tend to be longer to compensate), but if you space them out a little bit it's isn't a huge deal. It's also nice to always have Wednesdays off, that way you have more time to work on whatever you need.

 

I didn't even think about this! That's a really good idea, and I forgot that I'll get to choose my classes next year.

 

Thank you all for the great advice, I'm really excited for next year, maybe I'll compete against some of ya'll! Hahaha

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You said you plan on debating at wyoming?

Oh sorry! By UW I meant the University of Washington in Seattle! They're starting a team next year. 

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Figure out how to get camp files.  Thats kind of a no-brainer, but in college you actually have to make connections to get them versus

getting them posted to the Open Evidence Project.  Given you are a new program....you should just be able to ask directly for this.

 

New Programs.  Given you are a new program, you may be able to get "deals" on tournaments based on your budget size.  Please

be open and honest about this to tournament directors.

 

Only spend limited time in junior varsity.  You probably aren't going to learn much in JV.  Get some cred and take the step up to the next level.  Take the training wheels off. (although this is probably much harder with a small, new team--so I understand spending a bit of time in JV)

 

Unlearning.  One of the hardest problems can be unlearning bad high school habits.  Learning how to do this is key to making the jump.

Unless the other team just drops a cheap shot or doesn't have offense...you don't have a chance.  Make real arguments.

 

Small topics and new affirmatives or "new arguments."  Your new affirmative will only be new for 1 tournament......if that.  So you have to have front lines & good arguments.  This pretty much works on the negative too.  Depth versus breadth.  Realize the way topics work, college topics are smaller, which allows debaters to go deeper (theoretically).

 

Execution speed is key.  You'll have cites when you return to school on Sunday night at midnight....and you leave for

a tournament in 4 days.   Copying, cutting, and frontlining/strategizing should be a natural process.  Its not

smart to loligag, procrastinate or delay.  Optimize your downtime for 1) research/learning/debate 2) school work 3) "fun" (although you should probably switch school work and research).

 

Judging is generally better in college debate.

 

Focus & determination is key.

 

Expect a full court press, especially the 2nd tournament (counterplan + K + DA + T + Case....).  

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