Hear from Students

“The DDI is a step above the rest when it comes to making good debaters great. It offers an unmatched level of individual skills instruction within a cooperative team research environment. DDI’s unique “conversation model” promotes the deepest possible understanding of the most advanced issues on the topic. There is simply no better way to prepare for success at the elite level of high school debate.”

– Alex Lamballe, Montgomery Bell Academy (TN) & Wake Forest Univ. (NC) – National Debate Tournament Champion

“My favorite part about the DDI was the availability of lab leaders. Every single night, at least one person was willing to listen to speech re-dos and give plenty of helpful feedback. In addition to learning a tremendous amount about debate, the DDI was extremely fun. Lab never was overwhelming and everyone seemed equally interested in having a good time as improving as a debater.”

– Andrew Spomer, Greenhill (TX)

“The Dartmouth Debate Institute was hands down the best debate camp I attended. The small lab size allowed for me to get more attention from my lab leaders than my friends who attended other camps. By having lots of practice debates against some of the best debaters in the country and doing vast amounts of research, I could truly master the topic for the coming year. Electives were a helpful way to improve in areas of my choosing and let me get insight from instructors of all sorts of debate backgrounds. The lessons I learned from my 8 weeks at Dartmouth gave me the foundation for a successful senior year. I would highly recommend the DDI for any debater who wants to work with some of the best debate minds in the country and have a competitive edge in the year to come.”

-Will Caplan, Chattahoochee High School (GA) and the University of Georgia

“DDI was a great learning experience that greatly helped me develop my basic and necessary skills for my senior year of debate and beyond. The thing I liked the most about DDI was that, unlike other most other programs, the drive to learn and the incentive to become better gets placed on the debater. You’re not going to be thrown in a huge lab full of the “best debaters” and just expect to get better by being around others who are good. You’re not going to be thrown in a library for 7 hours in a row and just expect to learn how to cut cards. You will have the benefit of developing one-on-one relationships with EVERY lab leader, not just the ones that are leading your specific lab. DDI has designated time during meals, off-time, and in the evening where all of the different lab leaders are open to questions to whoever wants to stop by – totally on your schedule, with your own questions. This best allows debaters to learn different sets of skills from different lab leaders based on their expertise, maximizing your debate potential.”

-Robert Galerstein, Dunwoody High School (GA) and the University of Georgia

“The Dartmouth Debate Institute didn’t just teach me how to debate, it taught me how to think about debate. With a focus on intellectual innovation and rigorous standards of evidence production, the DDI represents the very best summer experience a debater can have. Instead of working in a large group with relatively few lab leaders, the DDI allows for one-on-one engagement with instructors who care deeply about helping you succeed.”

-Michael Suo, Lexington High School (MA) and Harvard University

“The DDI was one of the most influential experiences contributing to my growth as a debater. The decision to attend the DDI this summer was definitely the best decision I have made given the level of hands-on skill development and practice that is unparalleled to that of any other debate camp one can attend. Not only were all of the lab leaders incredible, but the level of competition and intellectual discussion drastically increased my knowledge and performance as a debater.”

-Andrew Barron, Hendrickson High School (TX)

“Choosing to attend the Dartmouth Debate Institute was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Participating in strategy-sessions in lab, taking elective classes taught by some of the best instructors in the country, and doing nightly one-on-one rebuttal re-dos all helped me to grow as a debater. Not only did I get to work with fantastic instructors and coaches, but I also got to fully take advantage of Dartmouth’s many resources when researching in the library. Throughout the camp, I always felt as though every single instructor was committed to helping me improve and reach my maximum potential. I met some of my closest friends at Dartmouth and I learned more in 4 weeks than I ever thought possible. The DDI is truly the entire package.

-Nakisa Sadeghi, National Cathedral School (D.C.)

“DDI was without a doubt the most influential summer experience of my debate career, and I would recommend it to anyone serious about excelling in debate. I received hands-on instruction from my lab leaders who acted as coaches for our lab throughout the summer and at the in-camp tournament. I had plentiful opportunities to improve my speeches in drills, practice rounds and rebuttal re-dos getting helpful feedback at every step along the way. The variety of elective lectures and the broad range of instructors (with different backgrounds) broadened my perspectives on debate and the arguments I really understood and was comfortable running throughout the year. I know that the DDI was central to my debate success in high school, and ultimately it was my experience over the summer with Ken Strange and in Hanover that immediately made Dartmouth my top choice for college (the ultimate endorsement).”

-Brian Smith Dartmouth ’06, Pace Academy ’02 – TOC Champion 2002; NDT Runner-Up 2003; CEDA Runner-Up 2005 and 2006

“Without attending the Dartmouth Debate Institute I would have never been able to prosper as a debater. I feel as if the DDI really transformed my perception of debate and opened myself up to a community full of intellect. DDI is filled with instructors who want to teach you, people who love debate and a general environment of wanting to do well. The DDI taught me how to formulate good arguments into great ones and taught me great researching skills. ”

– Priyanka Krishnamurthy, Coppell High School (TX)

“With a collaborative working environment, and an individual skills centered approach, DDI provided me with the opportunity to grow exponentially for my last year of debate. My ability to spend commensurate time with a variety of instructors who actually cared about my personal success as a debater and person gave me multiple perspectives and indispensable insight. Moreover, in addition to sixteen guaranteed debates, DDI offers a unique, season style tournament with eight preliminary rounds. The tournament acts as an amazing launching point into the season by replicating the structure, competition, and atmosphere of prestigious national tournaments during the year. Even before the tournament and beneficial practice debates, I had the opportunity to do rebuttal redo’s every night as lab leaders were always stationed nearby. I would be blatantly lying if I said four weeks of thought provoking lab discussions, intensive research, and multiple competitive lab debates did not contribute to my win column this season. DDI not only helped me craft my own debating style, it helped me craft my lifestyle. ”

– Sullivan McCormick, Jesuit College Prep (TX)

“Dartmouth is amazing – I’ve never been to a camp that allowed me to work so closely with my lab leaders, and gave me an opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with each and every instructor. It sounds cheesy, but I think having such a personal relationship with the staff created the best and most open learning environment possible. The confluence of perspectives on debate that meets at the DDI taught me flexibility, without ideological baggage. I wouldn’t trade my summer there for anywhere else.”

– Vinay Pai, College Prep School (CA)

“The Dartmouth Debate Institute is an amazing debate experience. Instead of focusing on pure evidence production, it provides electives and lab discussions that focus on the aspects of debate that the students are interested in. So, you learn how to find evidence and, most importantly, you also learn how to use that evidence. Every single person at the camp is very smart, very friendly, and very willing to help a student with any request. Learning a lot and having fun is inevitable for any debater at any level or of any type. After going to 3 other institutes, there is no doubt that Dartmouth is the best.”

– Jorge Toledo, Gulliver Prep (FL)

“In the process of reorganizing, we just pulled out last year’s camp and lab evaluations. We’ll be posting some of the good quotes here. One to start: “One of the best things I’ve learned at the DDI is how to independent and responsible. I will always be thankful for everything at the DDI…I have learned so much and have made so many friends and memories, I’m not sure how I will be able to handle the flight back home”

-Anonymous Evaluation