(917) 740-2636

Speak Up for College Scholarships: Skilled debaters have opportunities to secure money to pay for tuition.

by The New York City Urban Debate League | Aug 3, 2017 4:47:33 PM |

college, scholarships

alg-erika-marte-jpg 2.jpg


"Ever had your parents tell you that you could talk you way into – and out of – anything? They might not have appreciated that skill at the time. But you might be able to turn your way with words into winning college scholarships.

Of course, there’s more to it than just talking. Public speaking and debating skills hinge not on the number of words or how loudly you speak them but rather on the ideas behind your words. How you formulate and express your argument or thoughts determines how effective you are as a speaker. You can use your strong debate and speaking skills to win money to pay for college. Here are several organizations that award these talents....."  Click here to read the rest of the article from US News and World Report, by Arthur Murray, Contributor, Aug. 3, 2017.



Debate, Speak Up for College Scholarships

Skilled debaters have opportunities to secure money to pay for tuition.

By Arthur Murray, Contributor | Aug. 3, 2017, at 10:00 a.m.



"The International Public Policy Forum contest, administered by the Brewer Foundation and New York University, is both grueling and lucrative. The contest gives high school students around the world a chance to debate public policy issues in written essays and spoken debate. Interested students should form a team with at least three other students and register by Oct. 13. Then by Oct. 17, teams must submit one essay up to 2,800 words that argues for or against the provided topic.

 Judges narrow the entries to the top 64 teams, who then continue in written debates. Teams are trimmed then to 32, 16 and then eight teams. The final eight teams receive all-expenses-paid trips to New York City for the oral debate finals in late April 2018. The winning team takes home $10,000, half of which is for individual scholarships and the other half for the sponsoring school's debate program. Runners-up win between $750 at the quarter-final level and $3,500 for second place.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars' Voice of Democracy audio-essay program isn't strictly a debate, but it does hinge on a student's ability to speak well. Entrants must record a three- to five-minute essay on a patriotic topic, with a national winner receiving a $30,000 college scholarship and runners-up receiving between $1,000 to $16,000. First-place state-level winners receive at least $1,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. Applicants in grades nine-12 who attend a U.S. high school, including home-schoolers, are eligible. This year's theme is "American History: Our Hope for the Future." The application deadline is Oct. 31. 


The Optimist International Foundations annually host the Optimist International Oratorical Contest, where students under age 18 as of Oct. 1 compete at the club level. Winners may then compete at zone levels before the world championships.

Applicants must submit a speech on the provided topic that is given within four to five minutes. Other rules apply to the speech. Scholarships are awarded to winners at the district and regional levels, ranging in value from $1,000 to $5,000. First-, second- and third-place winners at the world competition receive $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000 scholarships, respectively, to St. Louis University in Missouri. Districts must submit winners by May 15, 2018. Contact a local Optimist Club for additional information or to apply.


The National Speakers Association awards six $5,000 NSA Student Scholarships annually. Applicants must be full-time undergraduates entering their junior or senior year or full-time graduate students. Some undergraduate sophomores, transfer students or students in accelerated learning programs may be eligible if they are entering the second half of their studies by Sept. 15. The application includes a 500-word essay, a letter of recommendation from a faculty member and transcripts. Check the site for the 2018 application deadline.


The Sons of the American Revolution awards a $5,000 scholarship annually to the winner of its Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Oration Contest, which is held annually in June. Second- and third-place winners receive $3,000 and $2,000, respectively. The contest is open to all high school students, who must compose a five- to six-minute speech related to the Revolutionary War. As with similar competitions, applicants compete at the local level. Contact a local chapter for deadlines.


In addition to these national competitions , many colleges and universities offer debate scholarships. The National Speech and Debate Association curates a scholarship list, but if you have an interest in speech and debate, contact universities you're interested in to learn about scholarship opportunities. They say talk is cheap – but if you land one of these scholarships, you’ll be able to show that this isn’t always the case. Your gift of gab could help you get money for college."


Share our blog with your social network
Click here to Donate to the NYC Urban Debate League!
Click here to volunteer at a debate tournament!
Click here to join the NYC Urban Debate League!


The NYC Debate Blog

New York City's #1 Blog on scholastic debate! 

Blog Subscription

Share our blog with your social network
Like us on Facebook

Recent Posts