Debate and Speech

The Illinois College Debate and Speech program will connect you with the resources needed to compete at the highest level of intellectual sport, as you gain countless proven benefits for your future.


  • IC’s debate program will prepare you with the rigorous training needed to compete against the country's best college speakers, debaters, and performers at major national tournaments.
  • You will develop new skills in a comprehensive competitive program, featuring both individual speaking events and policy debate.
  • Team members have access to expert coaches who are committed to student success both in and out of competitive rounds. You'll receive individualized coaching specific to your needs.
  • You will learn to communicate in intercultural contexts and grow your social networks by meeting future colleagues from across the globe. If you are an ESL student, you will have opportunities to develop high-level proficiency in English while traveling across the United States. 
  • All national competitions are funded by the Debate and Speech Team and you will be eligible to receive course credit for competing. 
  • Illinois College is committed to recruiting the best high school and community college students in the nation, while the opportunity to compete is open to the entire student body regardless of experience or current skill level.
  • The Debate and Speech program at IC is a member of the National Forensic Association and Pi Kappa Delta as well as a proud sponsor of the annual Lincoln Douglas debate at the NSDA national tournament
  • Debate and speech education has a long tradition as being a celebrated part of the student experience at Illinois College, dating back to Abraham Lincoln, an honorary member of two literary societies on campus. The tradition has continued throughout the years, with the team’s recent high rankings.


The proven benefits of debate and speech include developing communication skills, research abilities, critical thinking capabilities, and intercultural competencies — all qualities that will help you stand out to a future employer or graduate school. 

Many students go on to use their debate experiences to pursue law careers, earning degrees at schools like St. Louis University, Baylor University, Loyola University of Chicago, and University of Chicago Law School. Debate alumni also have reported being better prepared for success in various professional environments - making them more effective educators, presenters, managers, and team players with the ability to work effectively in diverse groups.