May 23, 2024

Is Debate Club Right For My Child?

The benefits of participating in debate club are endless… higher GPA and test scores, increased college admission chances, improved confidence and public speaking skills, and so much more. But, as parents, how do we know if debate club is right for our child? After all, just because something sounds good in theory it doesn’t mean my student will enjoy it.

There are a lot of ways to evaluate whether debate is a good fit. We’ve put together a list of the top five factors to consider when thinking about joining a debate team.

1. Is your child lacking fundamental skills?

Debate helps students learn new skills that are not often taught in the classroom – public speaking, critical thinking, team work, problem solving, confidence, and so much more. Learning how to speak eloquently and confidently at a young age will help students beyond school, into college and their professional careers. 

Now, more than ever, research shows that students are having a harder time with skills like confidence, socialization, team work, and so on. It’s no surprise that the #1 ranked fear amongst Americans is public speaking. 

The reality is that these types of skills often overlooked in traditional educational settings are becoming the most important skills to secure our children’s future. Debate club is more than just a platform for arguing points. It builds life skills. If your child currently lacks the ability to think through ideas critically or speak in a public setting, debate may be a great way to help their development.

2. Is Your Child Competitively Driven?

Not too long ago, being competitive as a child was synonymous with sports. As such, students who liked the thrill of winning and receiving awards were often encouraged to sign up for soccer or track.

Thankfully, this perception has changed drastically, and more students are realizing that there are plenty of academic activities that are great outlets for competition – debate included! 

Competitive activities teach students resilience, tenacity, teamwork, and so much more. It’s important that students who are driven and motivated are encouraged to explore their interests to develop these skills through an outlet that suits their interests. Not all students enjoy math or athletic activities, but still like to win, and that’s okay! Debate is a great way to win awards, while building self esteem and confidence.

3. Is Your Child Academically Inclined?

Each child has their own aptitudes. Some are naturally gifted at math, others are quick readers. While debate is great at helping develop important life skills, it’s also a great activity for students who already thrive in these environments.

In fact, debate club is a great activity for students who are intellectually curious and like to learn new ideas, social and enjoy making new friends (afterall, debate is a team activity!), and independent thinkers.

    If your child is already a quick thinker or likes to tackle new topics, debate club will provide a stimulating and enriching environment.

    4. Does Your Child Have A Well-Rounded College Application?

    Colleges look for well-rounded applicants who have engaged in meaningful extracurricular activities. While students don’t need to join every possible club or sport, having diverse interests shows colleges that your child is dedicated, curious, and can handle multiple commitments – all of which are appealing for admissions officers. The recommended number of activities for students is around 5 to 6.

    If your student isn’t meeting college extracurricular expectations, debate club can fill in this gap. Participation in debate demonstrates: 1. Commitment to a rigorous and time-intensive activity, 2. Engagement in an intellectually challenging environment, and 3. Development of leadership and teamwork skills.

      Given this, it’s not surprising that Professor Minh A. Luong at Yale University found in their article “Forensics & College Admissions” that even without winning major awards, debaters stood a 4% better chance of being admitted to college than similar non-debaters. Winning a state or other major award in debate improves an applicant’s chances by at least 22%. This is a higher improvement in college admission chances than any other extra-curricular activity. 

      Overall, encouraging your child to join debate club could be one of the best decisions you make for their development. It not only prepares them for academic success but also equips them with skills that will benefit them throughout their lives. Consider whether your child would benefit from the enrichment and growth that debate fosters.

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