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Join Stanford Debate!

Thanks for your interest in joining the Stanford Debate Society's traveling team!  We are Stanford's intercollegiate debate team, and we travel the country and world to compete in American Parliamentary (APDA) and British Parliamentary (BP) debate.

We hold tryouts to join the competitive traveling team once annually at the beginning of each academic year.  The traveling team tryouts for the 2017-18 academic year have already concluded (see below for more info).
FAQs about tryouts
  • What do I have to do at the tryouts?

It's a painless 20-minute process, and you don't need to prepare anything in advance.  It involves two activities.  First, you'll get a list of topics you could debate about, pick one you like, and write arguments for and against it.  Then, we'll give you a little outline you can imagine summarizes an opponent's speech, and you'll have 5 minutes to prepare a 5-minute speech in response, which you'll then give in front of two of our APDA coaches and our parliamentary captain.

  • How do I sign up for a tryout?

We hold tryouts once annually at the beginning of each academic year.  Instructions for the 2018-19 tryouts will be posted ahead of the 2018 fall activity fair.

  • What if I haven't debated before?

That's totally ok!  People start debate in college all the time, and we accept people with no experience every year.  We'll teach you the ropes!

  • Do I have to try out now?  What about a few months into the year?

The start of fall quarter, immediately after the activities fair, is the only time each year that we hold tryouts for the travel team.  For the 2018-19 academic year, tryouts will take place on the weekend after the first week of fall quarter.  We have limited resources to spend on travel so we can't allow everyone to attend competitions, and we also run a series of training sessions organized by our coaching early in the year to prepare you for the upcoming season.  Every year we get emails for a week or two after the end of tryouts asking about how to "try out late," a request which we are unable to accommodate--don't miss your opportunity to try out for this year!

  • How much does it cost to attend debate tournaments?

Nothing!  We send debaters to the east coast almost every weekend and in the last few years we have been to England, India, Germany, the Philippines, Botswana, etc.  There is zero out of pocket cost for SDS members to attend competitions--even food!