Dartmouth Debate Team 

January 29, 2023
By AdmissionSight

Dartmouth Debate Team

Dartmouth College, located in Hanover, New Hampshire, is known for its strong academic programs and competitive athletic teams. One group that often goes overlooked, however, is the Dartmouth Parliamentary Debate Team, the official Dartmouth debate team.

The team, which is open to all students at the college, competes in a unique debate format known as parliamentary debate.

In the lines that follow, we will offer you information about Dartmouth Parli, its membership process, and time commitment. In addition, we will discuss two bonus debate topics: matter loading; and how debate teams should sustain the practice matter loading.

Meet Dartmouth Parliamentary Debate Team

The Dartmouth Parli is a fully student-run and competes at the highest levels of international debate. They participate in competitions hosted by the American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA) as well as the worldwide British Parliamentary circuit.

The team is led by a dedicated group of coaches and student leaders who work tirelessly to help debaters improve their skills and achieve success at tournaments. They also organize several in-house tournaments throughout the year, providing opportunities for all members of the team to compete and gain valuable experience.

Group of students studying on a table.

They welcome members of all backgrounds of debating experience. In fact, the most competitive members have ranged in experience from international competitors to people who were once afraid of public speaking.

How can one be a part of the Parliamentary Debate Team at Dartmouth?

How does one go about becoming a member of the Parliamentary Debate Team at Dartmouth? At the beginning of each school year, they provide an information session in which they describe the method that is followed by the team (Dartmouth debate team dynamics, what APDA and BP are, the schedule for our competitions, etc.).

Attendance at the information session is required for everyone who has an interest in joining.

Is there a try-out or selection process?

Is there a screening or audition procedure that students need to go through? You are required to take part in the selection process in order to be considered for a spot on the team (which will be described in detail during the information session, as it changes each year).

Everyone is welcome to give debating a shot, regardless of whether or not they have experience in the discipline.

Group of students studying in a room.

You will not be evaluated on your knowledge of the procedural aspects of parliamentary debate; rather, you will be graded on your ability to construct and reply to arguments.

Before coming to Dartmouth debate team, the majority of the team’s members had never participated in a debate.

What does being on the team look like?

What does it look like to be a member of Dartmouth parli? They are a close-knit bunch of friends in addition to being a team that trains and competes together.

They compete in tournaments two to three weekends out of every term and also get together for social activities in addition to their three sessions each week.

Group of students walking while holding her books.

In addition to that, they organize other social events, such as ping pong competitions, the creation of ice sculptures during the Winter Carnival, and simple dinner gatherings.

What is the time commitment like for the Dartmouth debate team?

How much of your time is going to be required for the Dartmouth debate team? If you are selected to be a member of the team, the coaches hope to see you at least one tournament each semester and anticipate that you will attend at least two practices each week.

Having said that, different members of the team have different degrees of dedication, and regardless of whether you are the most active member or simply come up to practice a couple of times a week, they appreciate everyone on the team the same.

Does one need a regular debate partner?

Does one require a regular debate partner, at Dartmouth Parli, the official Dartmouth debate team? In parliamentary debate, teams typically consist of two debaters who are partners for the duration of a tournament.

These partners are responsible for preparing arguments and strategies together and for supporting each other during the round.

It is not a requirement to have a regular partner as a debate team; in most tournaments debaters are paired with a different partner each round.

Young woman smiling at the camera.

The tournament organizers will assign partners randomly, or they may allow debaters to select their own partners. Some people like to debate with the same partner at each tournament, while others prefer to switch partners at each event they participate in.

You are also permitted to cross-team, which refers to the practice of debating with a partner who attends a different school. The team has collaborated with debaters from other institutions such as Stanford, Yale, Harvard, Brown, Brandeis, and Amherst, among others.

Bonus topic: What is matter loading?

What exactly is matter loading? Matter loading refers to the process of researching and preparing arguments for a parliamentary debate round.

The process typically begins with the selection of the debate topic, which is usually done just minutes before the round begins.

Once the topic is announced, debaters have a limited amount of time to prepare their arguments. The specific timeframe for matter loading varies depending on the tournament or event, but it is typically around 10-15 minutes.

During this time, debaters will quickly gather information and evidence to support their arguments. This may involve using online resources such as news articles or scholarly journals, or consulting with team coaches or other debaters for expert knowledge on the topic.

After the matter loading period is over, debaters will begin the round by delivering their opening speeches.

In parliamentary debate, each debater will give a constructive speech, in which they present their arguments and evidence, and then a rebuttal speech, in which they respond to their opponents’ arguments.

During the round, debaters will use the information they gathered during matter loading to support their arguments and to challenge their opponents’ arguments. They will also use critical thinking and persuasive speaking skills to present their case in a clear and convincing manner.

After the round is over, debaters will receive feedback from the judges and have the opportunity to reflect on their performance and make improvements for future rounds.

It is important to note that matter loading is a continuous process, as debaters will need to keep up to date with current events and new research on various topics. They will also need to practice and improve their research and argumentation skills in order to be prepared for future rounds.

In summary, matter loading is the process of researching and preparing arguments for a parliamentary debate round.

It typically involves a limited timeframe of around 10-15 minutes, after which debaters will deliver their speeches and use the information gathered during matter loading to support their arguments. It’s important to keep in mind that this is a continuous process that requires constant update and practice.

Bonus topic: How should debate teams sustain the continuous process of matter loading?

In order to maintain the ongoing process of matter loading, how should debate teams, like Dartmouth debate team, conduct themselves?

In order to maintain the ongoing process of matter loading, how should debate teams conduct themselves? Debate teams can sustain the continuous process of matter loading in a number of ways:

Develop a research culture within the team: Encourage team members to regularly read news articles, journals, and other sources of information that are relevant to current events and potential debate topics.

Create a shared database

To store and organize research materials, which should be accessible to all team members, you can use a shared online platform such as Google Drive.

Hold regular research workshops

Workshops or training sessions should be organized for members of the team to attend in order for them to acquire skills and techniques for conducting research, as well as practice locating and assessing sources of information.

Assign research roles for various debate topics

Make some members of the team responsible for conducting research on specific areas or subjects, and then ask them to report their results to the other members of the team.

Debate topics can vary greatly depending on the tournament or debate format, but there are certain issues that are considered to be important and relevant to most debaters. Some examples of these topics have been debated by Dartmouth debate team:

Political issues: Debaters should be familiar with current political issues and be able to discuss them intelligently, such as the United States presidential elections, the war on terror, or healthcare reform.

Economic issues: Debaters should be familiar with economic issues such as the national debt, budget deficits, and income inequality.

Social issues: Debaters should be familiar with social issues such as race relations, gender equality, and LGBTQ+ rights.

Environmental issues: Debaters should be familiar with environmental issues such as climate change, pollution, and natural resource management.

International relations: Debaters should be familiar with international relations and be able to discuss issues such as war, peace, and diplomacy.

Science and technology issues: Debaters should be familiar with science and technology issues such as Artificial Intelligence, biotechnology, and the impact of the internet on society.

Education: Debaters should be familiar with education issues such as school funding, standardized testing, and tuition costs.

Human Rights: Debaters should be familiar with human rights issues such as freedom of speech, privacy, and due process.

Healthcare: Debaters should be familiar with healthcare issues such as access to care, affordability, and the role of government in healthcare.

Media and Communications: Debaters should be familiar with media and communications issues such as the impact of the internet on society, the role of social media in politics, and the role of the media in shaping public opinion.

It’s worth noting that these are just examples of the many topics that debaters may encounter, and the list is not exhaustive.

Additionally, the importance of some topics may vary by region, culture, and time. Speaking for Dartmouth debate team, it’s also important for debaters to research and be familiar with the specific rules, format and topic of the debate they are participating in.

Use technology

To assist members of your team in swiftly locating material that is pertinent to their work, make use of research tools such as database subscriptions, online library resources, and research applications.

Collaborate with experts

Make contact with knowledgeable individuals who work in disciplines that are pertinent to your research and ask them questions to obtain more information and perspectives.

Practice and rehearse

The use of research materials should be routinely practiced during team practices and in-house tournaments to assist debaters in becoming more comfortable and self-assured in their ability to use evidence when competing in real-world rounds.

Continuously update the research

Encourage other members of the team to keep their research up to date by following current events and new research on a variety of subjects.


By putting these tactics into practice, debate teams have the ability to foster an environment of ongoing research and guarantee that they are well-prepared for every round of argument.

It also aids in the development of a sense of cooperation and collaboration among the members, both of which are crucial to the achievement of the team’s goals.

Experience top-notch debate with Dartmouth Debate

Overall, the Dartmouth Parliamentary Debate Team is a unique and valuable group on campus. They offer students the opportunity to develop their public speaking, critical thinking, and argumentation skills in a fun and competitive environment.

Their commitment to community service and outreach also makes them an important part of the Dartmouth College community.

If getting into Dartmouth is one of your goals, you should seek the guidance of professionals who work in the subject of college admissions, such as those who work at AdmissionSight, in order to increase your chances of being accepted there.

AdmissionSight has become the most trusted name in the field of college admissions advice as a result of its more than a decade of expertise assisting students just like you in gaining admission to the colleges of their first and second preferences.

Please get in touch with us as soon as you can so that we can schedule an initial consultation that will be provided free of charge.

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