Debate affords interested students an opportunity to learn the rudiments of persuasive speech while acquiring an in-depth knowledge of national affairs. ND debaters participate in tournaments on weekends, competing against schools from throughout the United States. Debaters combine after-school practices on speaking and argumentative strategy with individual research, all of which bolster a sense of personal achievement and team camaraderie.
Students can get involved in many different levels of debate. All students start as novices and move to varsity in their second year of debate.
To start on the debate team, one should enroll in the Introduction to Debate course. This course teaches students the basics of policy and public debate. Students get hands-on opportunities to practice their public speaking and critical thinking skills. This practice is then put to the test at competitions. For more information, see the course catalog here.
For more information, read the FAQ on this page and/or email Mrs. Christina Tallungan Phillips, Head Debate Coach, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes – there is often a misconception that as soon as you join the debate team you have to give up all other activities. It does require good time management skills, but there are several students that balance debate and 1 sport, sometimes 2.
You are required to attend 2 tournaments a semester, which means approximately 2 weekends a semester. You are also required to help at any Notre Dame Debate Tournaments held at the Notre Dame campus. These dates change from year to year.
The school does help fund travel and transportation for the team; however, there is usually a fee for tournaments that can range from $25-$500 depending on the travel required for the tournament. Additionally, students do have to cover their own food expenses at any debate tournament. There are some fundraising events throughout the year that can help you defray the costs of paying for the tournaments.
Not necessarily - the answer to this question depends on the individual student. There are many students at Notre Dame that balance very rigorous academic schedules, including AP courses, with debate. It is easy to balance your schedule with the Introduction to Debate course, but it requires learning to balance and discipline yourself.
Additionally, ALL students who have been in debate even for one year have said the course greatly improved their confidence and skill level in public speaking, critical thinking, and research. They felt that after taking Introduction to Debate and going to a couple tournaments they were more prepared than many of their peers to complete research papers and make presentations in class.