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Theparanoiacmachine

Question for you College debaters

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What is the level of difficulty of college debate? Most of the debaters that graduate from High School, in my league, and go onto debate in college usually go 1-7 their first two tournaments and then quit debate. There are some that don't even join debate in college. They all say because it's too hard (with teams like Harvard BS, Northwestern MV, Michigan AP, Cal Berkeley MS; I don't think they're wrong), but is it seriously so hard that it drives certain people to quit debate all-together? Is there really no hope for a debater that did not debate on the national circuit in High School to join college debate in college and then have some form of success? Didn't Rashid Campbell originate from the Bay Area Urban Debate League? I'm sure we can all agree that he had massive success - but is this an isolated incident? Is it a question of commitment, basically?

Edited by Theparanoiacmachine

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I didn't do HS CX and was reasonably successful at a ridiculously underdeveloped program (no HS debaters, no coach, funding competed with speech).

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It depends on what division you debate in and what district, in addition to the quality of the programs offered. While some debaters who have the rounds necessary to be forced into open usually do go 1-7 for a few tournaments, that doesn't last long if they put in the effort to get better. Think about it this way, almost all the top debaters in college now probably had to go through the same thing. It's a question of those who dropped out versus those who stuck with it and kept improving. 

 

Your district can make a difference in what teams you hit. If one team is going to say the Kentucky RR while another is going to some regional tournament in Cali or something, then going open in Kentucky is likely to leave you with a worse record if you're new to open.

 

Finally, the quality of the program can make a big difference. There are definitely teams who started as novices in college with no prior experience, but ended up going to the NDT multiple times, it's a matter of commitment and coaching focus. Something that many HS debaters don't realize is that the more well known schools will put most of their coaching effort into their top few teams and the rest get what's left over, while other schools evenly divide attention and so you see people with no experience in debate before that year taking first in novice nats at the same time that multiple teams get qualified to the NDT. You should check out the distribution of resources before committing to a program, if you have the luxury of choice.

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It depends on what division you debate in and what district, in addition to the quality of the programs offered. While some debaters who have the rounds necessary to be forced into open usually do go 1-7 for a few tournaments, that doesn't last long if they put in the effort to get better. Think about it this way, almost all the top debaters in college now probably had to go through the same thing. It's a question of those who dropped out versus those who stuck with it and kept improving. 

 

Your district can make a difference in what teams you hit. If one team is going to say the Kentucky RR while another is going to some regional tournament in Cali or something, then going open in Kentucky is likely to leave you with a worse record if you're new to open.

 

Finally, the quality of the program can make a big difference. There are definitely teams who started as novices in college with no prior experience, but ended up going to the NDT multiple times, it's a matter of commitment and coaching focus. Something that many HS debaters don't realize is that the more well known schools will put most of their coaching effort into their top few teams and the rest get what's left over, while other schools evenly divide attention and so you see people with no experience in debate before that year taking first in novice nats at the same time that multiple teams get qualified to the NDT. You should check out the distribution of resources before committing to a program, if you have the luxury of choice.

Thanks for the information; as a High School senior this is valuable information!

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It depends on the level of work you put in and the schedule you put in. Snarf pretty much hit it on the head, But personally I started as a novice in college and did a lot of work, and by the end was decently successful.

 

Honestly though, to get a better question though- what schools are you looking into for next year?

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College debate is a lot of work. You are basically competing in an all star event on weekends.

 

The tournaments start on Saturday and end late night on Sunday. If you break it's a double octo round late night Sunday. Monday elim rounds take forever. The final round sometimes starts at midnight on Monday.

 

You also miss a ton of class, I don't see how college debaters can focus on a class schedule.

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First college debate in a nutshell. 

massively not cool Allen

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It depends on the level of work you put in and the schedule you put in. Snarf pretty much hit it on the head, But personally I started as a novice in college and did a lot of work, and by the end was decently successful.

 

Honestly though, to get a better question though- what schools are you looking into for next year?

 

I'm not disagreeing with this post, but I'm adding a caveat based on my personal experiences. I also started as a novice in college (in my first year of college), and while I was decently successful as a novice and junior varsity debater, I haven't had that much luck in varsity. This is due to a number of different reasons, but in my opinion, the major one is that I've had fourteen different partners in my debate career. The number is fairly high because I include some individuals who were never going to be my permanent partner, but that just further proves my point here. Debate is a team activity, and even if you have a person who is EXTREMELY dedicated to debate (I would say I'm pretty dedicated myself), you will have a rough time if that individual doesn't have a partner who is likewise committed.

 

Also, apply to Vanderbilt! #shamelessplug

 

College debate is a lot of work. You are basically competing in an all star event on weekends.

 

The tournaments start on Saturday and end late night on Sunday. If you break it's a double octo round late night Sunday. Monday elim rounds take forever. The final round sometimes starts at midnight on Monday.

 

You also miss a ton of class, I don't see how college debaters can focus on a class schedule.

 

I do agree that you usually miss classes, but depending on how you organize your schedule, it may not be a lot or even any at all. At my university, at the least, classes are mostly arranged as Monday-Wednesday-Friday or Tuesday-Thursday. For the purposes of not missing classes, the debate program encourages that students take Tuesday-Thursday classes whenever possible.

 

Also, as another note, not all tournaments are in that schedule (though there are a lot). Some tournaments (depending on where you are, of course) have a Friday, Saturday, Sunday schedule. You would probably have to leave some time on Thursday to be there on time for these tournaments.

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What about UMich's Program?

 

Edit: Myself interjecting in response to Firewater's question about what schools... Though anyone who has knowledge that they are willing to share would be appreciated :)

Edited by RememberTheNAs

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I'm not disagreeing with this post, but I'm adding a caveat based on my personal experiences. I also started as a novice in college (in my first year of college), and while I was decently successful as a novice and junior varsity debater, I haven't had that much luck in varsity. This is due to a number of different reasons, but in my opinion, the major one is that I've had fourteen different partners in my debate career. The number is fairly high because I include some individuals who were never going to be my permanent partner, but that just further proves my point here. Debate is a team activity, and even if you have a person who is EXTREMELY dedicated to debate (I would say I'm pretty dedicated myself), you will have a rough time if that individual doesn't have a partner who is likewise committed.

 

Also, apply to Vanderbilt! #shamelessplug

 

 

I do agree that you usually miss classes, but depending on how you organize your schedule, it may not be a lot or even any at all. At my university, at the least, classes are mostly arranged as Monday-Wednesday-Friday or Tuesday-Thursday. For the purposes of not missing classes, the debate program encourages that students take Tuesday-Thursday classes whenever possible.

 

Also, as another note, not all tournaments are in that schedule (though there are a lot). Some tournaments (depending on where you are, of course) have a Friday, Saturday, Sunday schedule. You would probably have to leave some time on Thursday to be there on time for these tournaments.

Also, think I may have debated you at some point last year, or the year before maybe. Also depending on the school/your schedule you are able to usually arrange your classes and even then your coaches are very, very flexible on travel if you've got a ton of schoolwork.

 

Also Tuesday/Thursdays are awesome, though if you go to mostly regionals (which are Friday-Sunday) some Monday/Wednesdays are ok, especially if you start in JV or a squad that has a larger regional focus.

 

 

What about UMich's Program?

 

Edit: Myself interjecting in response to Firewater's question about what schools... Though anyone who has knowledge that they are willing to share would be appreciated  :)

To be honest, I don't have much info on them other than they pretty much only have varsity teams, and mostly travel nationally, though i've seen them at a few regional tournaments. They have a team in the running for the copeland, mostly policy though they have some K teams, other than that I don't really have much info. Would say that to also plug a school, you may want to check out George Mason's team if you're still looking for schools.

Edited by Firewater
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Also, apply to Vanderbilt! #shamelessplug

 

 

My G.P.A. is too low for these schools

 

 

I've had 14 different partners in my 3 years of High School debating; I feel you...

Edited by Theparanoiacmachine
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It depends on the level of work you put in and the schedule you put in. Snarf pretty much hit it on the head, But personally I started as a novice in college and did a lot of work, and by the end was decently successful.

 

Honestly though, to get a better question though- what schools are you looking into for next year?

I'm looking into CSUFs debate program

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Before y'all bombard me with "go here statements" which I really do appreciate, I'd definitely apply if it weren't a waste of time; but y'all should know that my G.P.A. is in the 2.6 range, the only thing that makes me stand out is my high test scores and my debate success in my local area

Edited by Theparanoiacmachine
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Before y'all bombard me with "go here statements" which I really do appreciate, I'd definitely apply if it weren't a waste of time; but y'all should know that my G.P.A. is in the 2.6 range, the only thing that makes me stand out is my high test scores and my debate success in my local area

 

dude quit debate and work on those academics. that's so much more important

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dude quit debate and work on those academics. that's so much more important

I'm taking easy classes this year/making up old classes so I'm pretty much fine 

 

Quitting debate is heresy for debaters

Edited by Theparanoiacmachine
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Before y'all bombard me with "go here statements" which I really do appreciate, I'd definitely apply if it weren't a waste of time; but y'all should know that my G.P.A. is in the 2.6 range, the only thing that makes me stand out is my high test scores and my debate success in my local area

How about Weber? They have a pretty good program and you don't have to have the best GPA to get in. They also hand out a lot of scholarship money.

Edited by theCoolCat

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How about Weber? They have a pretty good program and you don't have to have the best GPA to get in. They also hand out a lot of scholarship money.

I want to stay in the California region, I don't want to leave my local circuit behind. You see, my local circuit, and the people within it, shaped my character. If there was a single event that I could label as being "life-changing", it'd have to be my joining of debate. 

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This is unthinkable for most debaters

turn - h.s. GPA key to getting into a good college with a good debate program - outweighs remaining benefits of debate in HS.

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turn - h.s. GPA key to getting into a good college with a good debate program - outweighs remaining benefits of debate in HS.

Low GPA Inevitable - No risk of "12th grade solves the GPA"; colleges only look at 10th and 11th grade, which is where the problem originates 

 

AND - The program doesn't shape the debater, commitment it was produces a good debater

 

Oklahoma Proves - They have had two of the best teams on the college circuit, one was a performance team, and the other was a high theory critical team

Edited by Theparanoiacmachine
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Low GPA Inevitable - No risk of "12th grade solves the GPA"; colleges only look at 10th and 11th grade, which is where the problem originates 

 

AND - The program doesn't shape the debater, commitment it was produces a good debater

 

Oklahoma Proves - They have had two of the best teams on the college circuit, one was a performance team, and the other was a high theory critical team

That's not true in 99% of cases. 

Edit: you need commitment, but a good program for most is the difference between being a good debater and being a top tier debater.

Edited by SnarkosaurusRex
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