Across the country, urban debaters are more likely than their non-debating peers to attend college. In Houston 74% of urban debaters in the class of 2016 enrolled in college, as compared to 57% of their peers from Houston public schools. In Los Angeles, 73% of urban debaters in the class of 2016 enrolled in college, as compared to 61% of graduating seniors from the same schools. In Denver 76% of urban debaters in the class of 2016 enrolled in college, while only 52% of the graduating seniors from the same schools attended college. Why are urban debaters more likely than their non-debating peers to go to college?
1. Urban debate prepares students for college. Urban debaters earn higher grades than their peers and are more likely than their peers to test as college ready in English, Reading, Science and Math.
2. Urban debate inspires students to aim for college. Sophomore and junior urban debaters watch as graduating seniors from the league head off to college. As college students, these former debaters become role models who inspire others to set their sights on college.
3. Urban debate coaches help their debaters navigate the college admissions process. Most urban public schools have few, if any, college admissions counselors. But, urban debate coaches – who are passionate about the potential of their debaters -- help them choose colleges, prepare paperwork, and find scholarships.
Christine Harris (pictured) graduated from Skyline High School in the Bay Area Urban Debate League in 2017. She is a three time qualifier to the Urban Debate National Championship and won the tournament in 2017. She is currently a freshman debater for The University of California, Berkeley.