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.