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I'm planning to continue policy debate in college (this is assuming they'll even let me to go to tournaments...), but I'm wondering whether anyone has any experiences/advice to share.

 

I'll probably be studying bio (not exactly the most friendly major for debate), but I'm hoping I'll have enough time for both. 

Also, if anyone knows anything about policy at either Cornell or Dartmouth, that'd be nice. It won't affect which one I choose, but I know almost nothing about debate at either school - the information I've found so far isn't too helpful.
 

Edited by raynman
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I'm planning to continue policy debate in college (this is assuming they'll even let me to go to tournaments...), but I'm wondering whether anyone has any experiences/advice to share.

 

I'll probably be studying bio (not exactly the most friendly major for debate), but I'm hoping I'll have enough time for both. 

Also, if anyone knows anything about policy at either Cornell or Dartmouth, that'd be nice. It won't affect which one I choose, but I know almost nothing about debate at either school - the information I've found so far isn't too helpful.

 

Two guys I know who used to go to my school now debate at Dartmouth. From what I've been told, it's in a period of decline.

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Debating in college is fun, and definitely worth the effort. There are people of all skills and experience, and depending on which school or area you debate in, there's a good amount of tournament travel. School is still a priority regardless of program, but it's usually easy to balance school and debate tournaments to an effective level. I have known people who managed to balance a bio/med school schedule with debate relatively well so it is possible.

 

As for the schools I named, both are in D8- which for college is the northeast (New York, New Jersey, Maine, Connecticut, Delaware, etc.), Cornell's one of the more policy schools in D8 but they also do their share of K debate, but are mostly policy, have all levels of debate, decently successful regionally and they do travel a little bit nationally. Dartmouth does more national travel, but their team is smaller and they go to fewer tournaments than Cornell, mostly varsity debate, mostly policy but some K stuff exists, is small.

 

D8 as a whole is generally friendly, very novice/JV supporting, and very K, though a lot of schools from the south (GMU, JMU, Liberty, Vanderbilt, etc.) will travel there for tournaments kinda frequently. 

Edited by Firewater
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Both Cornell and Dartmouth seem to be fairly small in terms of the policy programs compared to the well known schools, but I don't debate for either so the internal politics may be quite different than my perceptions. Dartmouth specifically tends to focus on national circuits which are few and far between in comparison (and also tend to limit the amount of teams they bring to top varsity members) to regional tournaments (less competitive, but unless your NDT bound and you want to debate then regional tournaments give you the most opportunities.) Cornell seems to go to more tournaments than Dartmouth from what I can figure, and they show up at a fair amount of the tournaments D7 and D8 cross over at. 

Cornell seems to be a mix of both policy and critical teams and I'd say Dartmouth is more critical. 

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You could stop being pretentious and go to a school on the west coast instead of your old money fascist-"schools". :^) 

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You could stop being pretentious and go to a school on the west coast instead of your old money fascist-"schools". :^) 

Alternatively, you could go to a real school instead of some bullshit commie re-education camp "school" :^)

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Debating in college is really difficult - way more difficult than high school debate is - and it can be almost insurmountably hard to balance doing well in school with doing well in debate. It's a huge time commitment and will undoubtedly cut into your time with friends, your time exploring your new city, and your time spent with other clubs and organizations. I'm a person that places really high standards on my schoolwork and also I'm interested in and involved with a bunch of organizations aside from debate, so the pressure and stress mount up; you'll have to make sacrifices. But it's fun and it's worthwhile. You just need to decide if you're willing to put in enough to become really good, so that it seems worth it to you, or if you've already gotten a lot out of the activity from high school debate and perhaps the opportunity cost is outweighed by your other interests.

Edited by dancon25
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Debating in college is really difficult - way more difficult than high school debate is - and it can be almost insurmountably hard to balance doing well in school with doing well in debate. It's a huge time commitment and will undoubtedly cut into your time with friends, your time exploring your new city, and your time spent with other clubs and organizations. I'm a person that places really high standards on my schoolwork and also I'm interested in and involved with a bunch of organizations aside from debate, so the pressure and stress mount up; you'll have to make sacrifices. But it's fun and it's worthwhile. You just need to decide if you're willing to put in enough to become really good, so that it seems worth it to you, or if you've already gotten a lot out of the activity from high school debate and perhaps the opportunity cost is outweighed by your other interests.

Is this less true for other forms of debate that aren't policy (like Parli)

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Is this less true for other forms of debate that aren't policy (like Parli)

 

Honestly, I'm not sure. Maybe Allen or some of the other policy-gone-parli debaters here can help you out. I should probably also mention that I'm just not that hot at debate. People that were better trained, staffed, coached, or were just better in high school will probably have a less-difficult transition into college debate than I did. No matter what, you're going to have to juggle your different commitments. It's simply hard to start a non-profit, join a Greek organization, frequent a handful of clubs, find time for friends, get a job or internship, coach high school debaters, and also do well in college debate; you'll have to figure out exactly what you want to do and make it work. College is cool because you finally get to be a real adult person, but that entails a lot of hard work and you'll have to cut out some stuff.

 

One thing, though, is that you'll need to prioritize debate if you get a scholarship for it. My debate scholarship goes a long way towards me being able to go to Trinity, and I love Trinity a lot, so I'm never going to really cut debate out of the picture. But it affects all of my other interests and commitments and, occasionally, friendships aside from the squad. It's a matter of your priorities and what you're able to shoulder without collapsing under the weight of it all.

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One thing, though, is that you'll need to prioritize debate if you get a scholarship for it. My debate scholarship goes a long way towards me being able to go to Trinity, and I love Trinity a lot, so I'm never going to really cut debate out of the picture. But it affects all of my other interests and commitments and, occasionally, friendships aside from the squad. It's a matter of your priorities and what you're able to shoulder without collapsing under the weight of it all.

You don't need friends outside of squad...you don't need to leave the squad room...never leave.

 

Anyways, as far as the transition goes, it also depends on what division you get tossed into (determined by the number of rounds you did in HS). Because I only debated two years I went into JV and moved up to open second semester which made things a lot easier (and meant I had some bling before trying to wade into the deep end). 

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Is this less true for other forms of debate that aren't policy (like Parli)

 

Parli is basically Policy Lite. In NPDA (I won't speak for the poor souls who have to do IPDA or that Individual Event that calls itself British Parli). The only real difference between Policy and NPDA Parli are as follows 

 

1. Slightly different speaking times (no 2AR/2NR either... which changes a lot of ways time-skew theory args are deployed) 

2. Only 20 min of prep time before a res... allowed to use any pre-written files as reference while you write your case, but you cannot print it out or write it before hand. This means that if you're a K team that always reads 1 K, all you do is rewrite the flow for the arg and then you're golden every round. 

3. A few years behind Policy in regards to innovations in arguments (Condo bad args are still quite generic and haven't advanced quite as much as CX, for example) 

4. The 20 min prep means 1 Off args are far more common, and Condo is much more rare.

5. The west coast schools are very good at Parli, and gives us a fantastic judging and coaching pool. U of O  had a team take 3rd place at NPTE and top 8 at NPDA (Our A team) this year, and Lewis and Clark (The other Oregon school that does Parli) Won the NPTE last year. 

6. The NPTE is basically the NDT of Parli, only top 60 teams go based on a point system.

7. Far more argument diversity: I don't need to spend time finding cards for stuff so I can just say what I want. 

8. Community norms about disclosure are in flux right now (Caused by U of O reading it as theory args against K affs that don't disclose their methodology before the round... I believe that the unhappy coaches have isolated me and my partner specifically on net-benefits in regards to this. 

9. Spreading is still a thing but somewhat slower due to lack of cards. 

10. NPDA is a really west-coast thing. I don't know of any schools in the east that do it. 

Edited by RainSilves
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Oh yeah except for Harvard because they don't go to ndt quals or any regional tournaments

Edited by tommy949

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