Education Scholarships Consider Varied Skills

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Are you a person who’s hard to argue with? While that kind of tenacity may not get you many friends, it could go a long way towards getting a college scholarship. They are always on the look out for good debaters, and not just to help the institution win local tourneys.

It must be understood that debate is a lot more than two brawlers trying to intimidate each other before coming to blows. Debate is actually a formalized form of argument that utilizes logic, evidence gathering, presentation and a number of other analytical skills to convince a panel of judges, an audience or some other governing force to take their side over their opponent.

Finally, a good debater must be ready to take whatever side he’s handed, whether he believes it or not. Like a good lawyer representing a client, a good debater is there for the position and not his own opinion. By this it means being equally able to take on the pro and the con, in spite of personal beliefs.

In real life, probably the most striking example of debate is in a court room. Top notch trial lawyers are also good debaters. They can present, eliminate or arrange evidence in such a manner that, sometimes sadly, the innocent get convicted or the guilty go free. Most importantly, they then use their verbal skills to convince a judge or jury to take their side in the debate. The same can be said of Congress, both the House and the Senate.

Debating skills are also quite valuable outside of the world of law and politics. In the world of business, one must be ready to defend a proposal or business plan at the drop of a hat. Good debating skills can be quite handy when it comes to winning a sales presentation. The same can come in handy when it comes to just about any other professional white collar occupation.

To top it off, it’s highly possible to get scholarship money from one’s skills. There are a number of organizations out there that will award as much as $150,000 over a four-year academic career. The largest organizer of these competitions is the National Forensic League, who often grants $10,000 scholarships on a regional basis. There are many other similar leagues out there.

The primary qualifications are that the applicant usually is a high school or college student. They must be familiar with the style of debate, e.g., Parliamentary, Public Debate, Policy, and Classical, that they will be debating in. From there, they must get involved in debates that offer their share of scholarships and/or grants. If your school has a debating society, that’s even better, as the person in charge of that society more than likely knows a number of these groups.…

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Education - A Bright Spot in a Dreary Economy

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In this downward spiraling economy that we’re all stuck in, one of the few things that is going up (aside from anger, frustration and debt) is college enrollment. Evidently a significant number of people think that this is a good time to get some more education under their belts to ensure they’ll be better able to compete in the job market when it does finally improve. This is smart thinking. Rather than spend days and weeks and months being depressed and despondent about lack of work and opportunity, it’s a wise move to take advantage of the “down time” by doing something that will be profitable in the long run.

President Obama shares this view and has enthusiastically called for American’s to step up and become pro-active and better educated. In an address to Congress given earlier this year he made the case that three quarters of the fastest growing occupations in the country require more than a high school diploma and yet only about half of our citizenry have even graduated from high school.

In Utah, where I live, the state community colleges are being inundated with more applications than they can handle. Enrollment for the past year is up more than 12 percent. While those numbers are encouraging, the downside is that the funding for these colleges has dwindled to the point that many of these schools are needing to reduce classes and expenditures making it impossible to meet the demands of a growing enrollment. It’s a catch 22.

Another development in this picture is that due to the shrinking amount of money that we’re all dealing with, many who would normally choose to attend a four year college simply don’t have that luxury anymore and have come to the realization that for further education they’ll need to look to community colleges and technical schools. That is not a bad thing. Attending a community college does not have to mean you’ll get less of an education. There are hundreds of fine, accredited community colleges boasting highly qualified and capable teachers for a multitude of pertinent subjects. A lot of what learns in school, ANY school, has as much to do with the commitment and desire only brings to the experience as to the qualification of the teacher. Another plus for these community schools is that often the class sizes are much smaller which is a definite plus for the students.

The government has vowed to make needed changes and improvements in our educational system and this is something that needs to happen. Just today at a cabinet meeting, President Obama promised to create and assure funds for 135,000 education jobs, including teachers. That is good news for those seeking to take advantage of these difficult times and make the most of the opportunities that are presently available.…

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