Robert Thomas, Associate Director California National Debate Institute Education Unlimited 1700 Shattuck Avenue #205 Berkeley, CA (510) 548-4800
QUICK TAKE: This program is really dedicated to the improvement and development of debating skills among young adults. If your kid has an interest in law or business, this is an excellent way to learn that skill. Two simultaneous programs run over the summer, one in California at Berkeley and another on the campus of the University of Maryland. Students who attend are serious about competing in debate and are there to prepare for various national competitions,
AGE REQUIREMENT: 14-18
sponsorship/ownership/accreditation: Public Speaking Institute dates: Two sessions per year, which last 14 to 18 days fees: Application fee, $85. University of Maryland program, $2,300; Berkeley program, $950/week. Financial aid is available.
background: The Public Speaking Institute began this academic program in 1995 to provide students with a greater understanding of the fundamentals of public speaking and communication skills. The Public Speaking Institute holds camps of this nature in several excellent colleges such as Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, where it is called the California National Debate Institute, and at the University of Maryland in College Park under the name of the National Debate Institute.
description: The program is for successful students (GPA above 3.0) with a desire to understand and improve their competitive debate skills. Students will live in college housing and experience the competitive atmosphere at this higher level of learning. The topics range from ecology and politics to philosophy and government.
our take: Although this is a great program for the child considering competitive debating or a career in law or business, every child will benefit from learning these skills. If a kid is committed to overcoming shyness, this program might be the answer, but note that these debate devotees take it very seriously. Most professionals require strong speaking skills and the ability to speak effectively in front of large groups. This program is an excellent way to hone the skills necessary to craft a debating position and develop more fluid speech.
our recommendation: The camp will definitely be a positive on college applications, but, more importantly, it will test children's thinking skills as well as their abilities as debaters. It can be a very positive experience for the prepared student.
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