Frequently Asked Questions1. How do I join?
Forensics team members of all experience levels are invited, as well as freshmen through seniors. Watch for our booth at the Cobber Expo each spring and fall to sign up. You can also visit with a coach by stopping by the communication studies and theatre art department on the third floor of Olin. Tryouts are not required.
2. What if my event from high school is not available?
The skills and talents you developed in high school will certainly help you to compete successfully in a similar college event or in something completely new. Most speech competitors in college do events that they had not done in high school, especially since we generally compete in more than one event. Those who wish to pursue debate will find we primarily offer policy debate. Former high school Lincoln-Douglas and Public Forum debaters may certainly find success in college policy debate, but also have the option of competing in parliamentary debate as well.
3. How much does it cost to participate?
Joining the team is free, but you may incur some costs for supplies and travel. Concordia covers the cost of tournament entry fees, hotel stays, some supplies and some copying costs, and provides a meal stipend.
4. How long is the competitive season?
Tournaments begin in September and wrap up with Nationals in April. To be ready for the season opener, we begin working on pieces for speech and the year’s resolution for debate in the summer or as soon as school is back in session. Typically, for the speech season opener, slots are very limited. The more events you are ready for, the better.
5. How much time do you spend practicing every week?
Like most activities, you get from forensics what you put into it. Coaches are available for individual coaching sessions each week. There are also peer-coaching opportunities. Individual practice habits range from a couple of hours per week to a couple of hours per day. For speech, we generally encourage an hour of coaching per event and about three hours practicing on your own. Debate usually holds two meetings and a practice round each week and may hold additional group practice as needed on the weekends when we are not traveling.
The entire forensics squad also meets together for general business on Tuesday nights. Officers and other meetings may be held during the week as well.
6. What experience do the coaches have?
Concordia Forensics has an award winning set of coaches who have led teams to elimination rounds in the National Debate Tournament and to top 15 finishes at the American Forensic Association’s National Individual Events Tournament.
7. How many events does one person compete in?
It really varies, depending on the person. Some speech members run six events and compete across the country. Others choose one or two and travel only to local or regional tournaments. Policy debaters typically commit to just policy, though competitors may travel to top national tournaments or simply compete on the regional circuit. This program is very flexible.
8. How many tournaments are there each semester?
There are usually between four and 10 tournaments each semester. As a single competitor, you likely won’t attend more than five or six. We’re also not allowed to travel four weekends in a row, as we need time for homework and fun too.
9. Where does the team travel?
The forensic team competes in the Fargo-Moorhead area, as well as across the country. It’s up to you how much or little you’d like to travel. Most competitors attend three to six tournaments each semester. Travel opportunities increase with experience.
10. Will I have time to get good grades?
Yes. You are at Concordia for your education first. Forensics does take a lot of time, but it is possible to be a successful student simultaneously. We have resources like time management tools and a homework-help board to help you figure this out.
11. Can I do other activities besides forensics?
Of course you can. We have successful competitors who are also involved in activities like music, student government, theatre and campus political organizations. Just realize that the more you are spread out, the harder it is to make each one a priority in your life.
12. I’ve heard Concordia forensics members talking about a squid. What’s that about?
The squid is the Cobber forensics analogy. Just as many members of the Concordia Forensics Program have totems (ask us about this and we’ll help you find one!), there is a totem for the squad as a whole. That totem is, indeed, the giant squid. As is usually true with totemic choices, there were a number of reasons leading to the choice of the squid.
- Phonetics: It’s just a cheap phonetic link between “squad” and “squid.”
- Diversity and Unity: There are a lot of differences within the Concordia forensics program – very serious competitors and dabblers; public address folk and debaters; big high school experience and no high school experience. They’re all like the many tentacles on the squid working together.
- The giant squid is able to withstand tremendous pressure.
- Former forensics team member Mike Wentworth used the squid introduction in impromptu and extemporary. The frequency of its use led to the development of squid fantasy, which is actualized upon the crossing of squid threshold – the ultimate expression of which is a final round of an event (esp. impromptu or extemporary) where all finalists are Cobbers and all ideally use the squid intro. For example: “Many human behaviors have their parallel in the animal kingdom. Take, for example, the lowly squid. When accosted, the squid will emit a cloudy, inky substance into the surrounding water in order to facilitate its escape. Now when we look to this issue/quotation, we can see there is more 'clouding of the waters’ than actual solutions.”
- We aren’t the only squid squad.