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Discus: College Admissions: March 2004 Archive: DEBATE FORENSICS!!!!!!!!!!
By Shanbangs (Shanbangs) on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 10:09 pm: Edit

why is debate and Forensics valued so much more than Model UN, Junior Statesmen of America, and Mock Trial by colleges? I recently joined my school's debate team, but i'm also VP of my MUN team and active participant in my JSA chapter. I just think it's unfair that i devote so much time to my other activities and schools will be brush me aside for a good debater just because i wasn't able to join in freshmen year. ANY REASONS?

By Sovereign (Sovereign) on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 10:29 pm: Edit

Because debate requires actual thinking, whereas fake-me-out forensic events like "model un" and "mock trial" require little to no actual research and it just requires people to talk pretty for a few minutes.

I'm a debater btw, (top 5 asian male in California, lol)

By Shanbangs (Shanbangs) on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 10:32 pm: Edit

well what about Junior Statesmen of America? It requires active research on the issues, the same format as LD Debate, and actually requires leadership and executive roles. I am not demeaning debate, i'm just saying it shouldn't reign supreme over "phony" debate activities. Plus, i'm also in debate, as hinted above.

By Dfl30 (Dfl30) on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 11:58 pm: Edit

Hey Sovereign, what school do u debate for?

By Qwerasdf (Qwerasdf) on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 01:12 am: Edit

Monta Vista HS

Forensics > other ghetto fake stuff

By Sovereign (Sovereign) on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 02:20 am: Edit

Do you understand what is required for LD research? I read 3-4 books per topic, and I switch topics every 2-3 months. I read countless articles as well. I go to at least 2 tournaments a month, and almost 1 tournament a week during the on season. Junior Statesmen of America probably doesn't require you to do that. Furthermore, the competition in LD and Policy blows Junior Statesmen of America competition out of the water. I mean, if congress is made fun of as a lame event, what chance does an event outside of the NFL construct have to be considered legit?

By Jane1018 (Jane1018) on Friday, March 05, 2004 - 05:43 pm: Edit

Excuse me, Mock Trial requires thinking. To be a competetive mock trialer you have to know all the rules of evidence off the top of your head down to the page number and subsection. You also have to be very skilled at thinking on your feet both for responding to objections, and cross examination. Don't try to act like you know what you're talking about if you don't.

By Txtaximom (Txtaximom) on Friday, March 05, 2004 - 05:56 pm: Edit

Shanbangs--please elaborate on being "brushed aside" because you chose to participate in one EC rather than another. Has a school indicated that Mock Trial or Model UN is not as valued? I would think that a college would be most interested in how you participated and what you contributed more than the actual activity itself.

My sons debate (LD) and therefore have looked for that in the activities listed at potential colleges. It seems that some colleges don't even have debate (or only have policy teams), but they do have Mock Trial or Model UN. Washington and Lee comes to mind.

I am curious to why this is not seen as "legit" as they say in the Forensic circles. I see any research/speaking extra curricular as a valuable experience. But maybe I am naive?

By Shanbangs (Shanbangs) on Friday, March 05, 2004 - 07:32 pm: Edit

nope you're not. I'm in debate, i just can't stand it when arrogant debaters like sovereign try to demean all other political and speech related activities. Do you know how much research a highly esteemed MUNner has to do? Or how much leadership adn organizational skills as well debating and research that a JSA state executive must do? No, you don't. It bothers me that you misrepresent LD Debate with your ignorance and contempt for others.

By Netmet (Netmet) on Friday, March 05, 2004 - 07:32 pm: Edit

Look, no one is saying that Model UN and Mock Trial is illegit. Just when weighing LD versus the two, LD often comes out on top. First, I do both Mock Trial and LD and I could tell you for a fact that LD takes a lot more work and knowledge than Mock Trial. While I don't know how Mock trial works in all other states, in my state, you get a case and affidavits and basically everything put out on a platter. You can not use evidence or cite court cases that are not in the packet of the trial. Therefore, the research aspect of Mock Trial is very limited and as a result, leadership or success in Mock Trial isn't looked at as highly as LD. Sovereign describes very well the work needed for LD and the dedication needed to be successful. There is a very good article by Minh Luong, Yale Professor, on the influence of LD in college admissions. And yes, like Txtaximom says, LD isn't in most colleges. Rather, most colleges have parliamentary debate, regarding debate. Yet, this has nothing to do with the issue at hand. Most colleges are not looking to recruit Model UN or Mock Trial stars for their respective teams. They realize that the work ethic required to be successful in LD can translate into success in other aforementioned college activities as well.

By Txtaximom (Txtaximom) on Friday, March 05, 2004 - 08:10 pm: Edit

Thank you for the reference Netmet. I will try to find the article on-line. And thank you also for explaining some of the differences between the types of speaking ECs that are available. Our school just started a Model UN, but the debate kids have conflicting practices.

I must say that something I have observed the past few years my sons have been doing debate is that to participate successfully you do tend to have good um.."self esteem." To some it comes across as arrogance. I will agree with that. And even among debaters, they argue about which style is better (CX v LD) and which circuit (NFL, TOC,etc..) and in our state UIL v TFA... I have seen some of the chat on the discussion boards! I think that comes with the territory. When you have a lot of creative minds and good writers/ can expect spirited discussions.

I am pleased that all of you feel passionately about your style of speaking event.

By Netmet (Netmet) on Saturday, March 06, 2004 - 09:38 pm: Edit

Yeah- Txtaximom, you've explained it very well. Debate, depending on how much you are involved it, is almost an academic culture. First, there is the local, as you point out with your state's UIL and TFA and then the national circuit, which does tend to have quite a few people with high "self esteem", put very nicely by you. And yes, although one may require more research than another or be more favored by one school, they all do have value and should be enjoyed regardless of their influence on college admissions.

By Meow (Meow) on Saturday, March 06, 2004 - 09:41 pm: Edit

Mock Trial doesn't hold a candle to Debate in terms of intellectual rigor. Anyone who thinks otherwise has either not done both activities or comes from a really pathetic debate circuit.

By Txtaximom (Txtaximom) on Saturday, March 06, 2004 - 10:26 pm: Edit sentiments exactly. You definitely display maturity in your posts. As a debater/speaker of any sort, you are supposed to see both sides of an issue and base your arguments in research. I think you've done a wonderful job doing just that on this thread. Thank you for the link--I've printed it out and shared it on another CC board with other debate parents.

I may not know a lot about the various speaking ECs and their rigor or reputation, but I do know that a person is more convincing when they are not being condescending or mean spirited. (I find the pathetic argument "abusive"--good thing I'm not judging this round, eh? I'd vote you up Netmet.)

Thank you again for educating me on this issue, and Shanbangs I do wish you luck in your college admissions process.

By Congresssenator (Congresssenator) on Saturday, March 06, 2004 - 10:50 pm: Edit


I do the same sort of preparation for Congress.

By Mehere (Mehere) on Sunday, March 07, 2004 - 02:20 pm: Edit

I read this article by an YALE prof, its dated august of 2000, but still good enough. it says if anyone has won state or national honours in debating, it inc their chance by over 40% and EVEN IF they are just part of debating club for a few years, its helps for around 4 - 5% - same as being the cap of sports teams... wut do u guys think of the validity of this article?

By Netmet (Netmet) on Sunday, March 07, 2004 - 04:47 pm: Edit

Thank you for very much for the nice words Txtaximom....And Mehere, that is the article I was referring to written by Minh Luong. First, I do think the article is very informative and I'm sure the statistics about acceptances are not fabricated. But you also have to look at it objectively and realize who is writng the article. It is written by a Yale professor who over the summer runs a debate program (Yale Ivy Scholars), has influence the Debate TOC (tournament of champions), and also is just generally very involved on the circuit- I know he runs the debate tab room at Harvard. So, maybe he has a bias towards debate and maybe Yale as a whole because of his involvement tends to favor LD a little. But as a whole, I think the article does reveal that there is a definite influence of LD in College admissions, but honestly, it all has to be put into context with the rest of your attributes and the school as a whole. For example, I know UPenn also has been rumored to have a bias towards LDers while Towson even gives debate scholarships. So, consider the statistics, but don't forget the rest of the context.

By Txtaximom (Txtaximom) on Monday, March 08, 2004 - 02:21 pm: Edit

At the risk of finding myself unwelcome (us parents have been yelled at over on the "why the hell are parents on here" thread!)can I ask you debater kids which school: would attend if you wanted to continue debate/congress/speaking events. Dream big! Pretend you could get on any squad. Make sure you tell me which type of event. would attend if you wanted to pursue something Forensics related...communications or something along those lines.

3. you would attend if you wanted to dabble in Forensics...a school with a club team that might have more room for novices.

And might want to check out if you are looking for a good forum

By Doublemajor (Doublemajor) on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 08:49 pm: Edit

i've done three of the activities you've described...i'm still on the policy debate and mock trial team, and i quit the MUN team after two years because it was too disorganized. i was also accepted to the JSA summer school at yale...but i ended up going to the YSP instead. to be honest...i think debate offers its participants a lot of invaluable skills. aside from public speaking (since all of the other activities hone your public speaking skills as well), debate allows for spontaneity whereas the other activities don't. in addition, debate is focused more on what's going on in the real world. a new piece of legislation in congress can easily be turned into a disadvantage argument.

MUN- i understand that MUN requires a lot of research as well, but i think the format of MUN seriously skews the benefits the participants reap. whereas policy debate round consists of 4 debaters and a judge in the room, a MUN competition can have over 60 people in a room all vying eagerly for attention. the participation level in a debate round is significantly greater and more intense than that of MUN.

Mock Trial- i love this activity...but to be honest...everything is so rehearsed. from objections to closing's more about acting than spontaneity. granted...every single round is different and not everything is pre-rehearsed, the format (once again) allows little room for creativity. it's basically just knowing the rules and having them memorized. and the thing that makes debate so great (or at least policy debate) is that THERE ARE NO RULES. teams can perform, critique, and do random things. everything is predicated on what happens in the round.

JSA- aside from being accepted into the program and not attending...i don't know much about it so i'll reserve all judgements on this issue.

Txtaximom- yale would be my answer to all your questions

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