Why Study Debate Over the Summer?

Studying debate over the summer is an amazing way for students to improve academically and intellectually. Debate is a rigorous academic competition where students learn about philosophy and politics, and how to do academic research. Because of the advanced readings used to write debate cases, students will significantly improve their reading comprehension and composition skills by studying debate during the summer. And because they “switch sides” from one round to another, debaters practice developing well-reasoned arguments on multiple sides of an issue, not to mention acquiring the skills and confidence to be persuasive public speakers. 

Students tend to find the experience of studying debate to be engaging and empowering as they consider different points of views in the process of carefully developing their own well-reasoned conclusions. And those concisions become increasingly more sophisticated because, debate, being a competitive strategy game, requires learning to think logically and make strategic decisions in order to win the round. But, of course, no student will win every round—that’s just a basic fact about any difficult activity like debate. However, the inevitability of some failures makes studying debate an excellent opportunity for students to cultivate resilience and grit, which is key for learning and growing. In short, studying debate over the summer is an invaluable way for students to learn how to become independent and impassioned learners who are well equipped to set and pursue ambitious academic goals. 

These benefits are precisely what gives a student an edge going into high school academics, standardized testing, and ultimately college admissions. In fact, in our own experiences as high school coaches, our debaters have used the skills and knowledge gained through competitive debate to earn admission to elite colleges and universities, including Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Georgetown, University of Chicago, and the University of Texas at Austin. These same students have earned countless scholarships. 

Not to mention that debate is also a lot of fun. When students get into it, debate rounds become quite an exhilarating rush. And debate camp is a fantastic chance for middle schoolers to make friends with other ambitious and intellectually curious kids their own age, building a more positive, healthy friend group. 

Another plus to attending summer camp is that if it turns out they really like debate, then the camp will set them up for success in debate next year and when they’re a high schooler. In fact, when it comes to preparing students to excel at competitive debate, NSD Middle School Institute is the premier camp for middle school debaters. You can see why an NSD Middle School debate education is unparalleled in this regard by reading the biographies of our staff (click on “Instructors”) or about our unique educational approach (click on “Curriculum”), which is founded in the recognition that an excellent middle school debate camp is one that builds strong foundations for high school and beyond.