The National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational honor society founded in 1925. It is the oldest, largest, and most recognized speech and debate association in the U.S., and their national tournaments are the largest in the world. By 2023, it has 3,403 school members, 134,615 student members; 3,932 coach members; and 2 million alumi.
NSDA alumi are known for their prominence and influence in the U.S. A few names from the 2 million alumi are: Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Samuel Alito; media visionaries Oprah Winfrey and Ted Turner; actors Brad Pitt and Renee Zellweger; TV personalities Stephen Colbert and Tom Lennon; and Senators Richard Lugar, Russ Feingold, and William Frist.
The National Speech & Debate Tournament has been held continuously since 1931 (except during World War II). NSDA encourages improvement of students by awarding NSDA points and granting degrees for participating in contests. NSDA points are highly respected and recognized by the U.S. universities, and the statistics show that NSDA students are the top 5% of their classes, perform better in all standardized exams such as SAT, and have 22 – 30% higher chance of being accepted to the top notch universities in the U.S. Contests are held in the following areas:
- public forum debate
- policy debate
- value debate
- legislative debate
- U.S. topic extemporaneous speaking
- foreign topic extemporaneous speaking
- original oratory
- interpretation of dramatic literature
- interpretation of humorous literature
- duo interpretation
- impromptu speaking
- prose reading
- poetry reading
- expository speaking
Colleges care about “which” tournament you participated in. The reason why NSDA is such a big name in the U.S. has all to do with their amazingly long history of over 90 years and distinguished alumni.
NSDA (the U.S. National Speech & Debate Association) is a huge name recognition for U.S. college applications.
Here is a video link to help you understand about NSDA:
Your School Doesn’t Have to Win Nationals
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Forensics and College Admissions
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An Investigation into the Relationship Between Participation in Competitive Forensics and Standardized Test Scores
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Forensics Participation as Gifted and Talented Education
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Assigned Advocacy, Argumentation, and Debate in High School Classrooms
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A Better Investment Not Found on Wall Street
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Your Community Doesn’t Have to Win Nationals
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You Don’t Have to Win Nationals
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Powerful Preparation in the NJFL
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The benefits of debate for school administrators and board members
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Forensics Can Change Lives
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Scholastic Benefits of Speech and Debate Activities
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Advocating Debate and Speech (Forensic) Education
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Forensics: Enhancing Civic Literacy and Democracy
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Making the Case for Forensics
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Find Your Voice
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Giving Youth a Voice: The National Forensic League
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In Defense of Competitive Speech
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