College Debate is in many ways, like other college sports. The competition is intense, the rivals are merciless, the preparation for big tournaments is blistering. Many colleges offer scholarships for various forms of debate! This list is not comprehensive, and really just touches the surface. There are a LOT of leagues and even more styles of competition. Here is just an idea of what is out there:
National Model UN
A format where schools are assigned a country, prep a TON, and then meet at a conference center, and break out into committees and assemblies. Over the course of a week, you create proposals, work with other delegates from other schools and countries to try to create policies that help solve key problems. It can be hectic, long hours, and involves working with a team of other like-minded people.
A format of 4 on 4 Parli debate with 2 teams on each side. This form of debate is heavy on analysis and wit. There is less formality, and a wider variety of arguments used. The emphasis is on original arguments, unique impacts, and a which team can correctly explain how reality works (in a given motion/round). This form of debate is a great synthesis between persuasive oratory and attractive argumentation. It is an international format of debate and highly populated worldwide
There is a litany of AP leagues which you can compete in ( IPDA, APDA, NPDA). Most of them have a similar focus on organization, highly structured speeches, and in some cases, speed. The argumentation here is a lot more technical A lot of really good NPDA teams debate both AP, and BP during the year because the leagues are similar at times. Keep in mind, regional norms dictate how each tournament goes. For BP, the competitive scene is generally on the East Coast, for NPDA, it’s on the west coast.
This type of forensic is best for prospective lawyers. It’s a grueling 10 minutes of intense cross-examination from lawyers and judges, while you try to give a pre-written speech on very technical judicial issues. The rapid-fire exchanges can really be fun as well as intimidating. I highly recommend this form of debate. It’s a simulation of an oral argument before a circuit or superior court.
Another great forensic for prospective lawyers. While most forms of debate have a lot of in-bred impromptu exchanges, a good mock trial round does not. You know your case-law, you know your evidence, and you know how the other team will object. It is a simulation of civil or criminal litigation that takes places between two “teams” of legal counsel.
As Jadon pointed out in the previous blog post – Team Policy is generally pretty fast-paced, and extremely technical. The arguments are highly structured, and much of the round has been prepped out in advance. While other forms of debate rely highly on notes, collegiate TP is computer-only pretty much. It teaches fast analytical skills, and really speeds up the cognition of the user.
Lincoln Douglas Value
Lincoln-Douglas participation is on the decline in many regions, but it still remains the same. In many ways, it has moved closer to TP, with more case-like structure and evidence cards, but it still relies on the same principals that high-school LD does. The one-to-one style debate, with a bit more philosophy than TP.
Other less popular forms of collegiate debate include Worlds Schools, Karl Popper, LD-policy, Team Value, and much much more.
At the end of the day – don’t make your college decision solely based on the debate program. College debate is not the most important thing about college, but it is a tool that helps you grow in your communication ability.
As always, feel free email us with questions! We have a ton of talented coaches who have and currently are competing in collegiate debate.