What does the process of applying for a Squad look like?
You can apply for Squads by completing the application. After your application is received, you will receive an emailed invoice for the $500 deposit. Once the deposit payment is made, we will process your application. If you're applying for financial aid, then your application will be considered complete once you've filled out the form.
Squads applications are evaluated on a rolling basis and we anticipate to fill up very fast. As a result, we strongly suggest applying sooner rather than later if you’d like to join Squads.
If accepted, you will receive an invoice for the remainder of tuition and will have one week to complete payment. If your application is not accepted, the deposit payment will be fully refunded. We will also contact you if any openings become available in the future.
What criteria are used to evaluate student applications?
We will use a variety of criteria to evaluate applicants; we will not simply accept only the “best” or most experienced students. We would like each squad to be like any other team. So, we will be aiming for a healthy mix of skill/experience levels, debate interests, and other factors. Students who demonstrate enthusiasm and the traits of a good teammate will receive priority.
Can I join if I am part of a school's debate team?
Yes, you may join Squads even if you are currently part of a school's debate team. However, students who are part of a school's debate team must provide us with the express written consent of the their team's coach or administrator.
Can you keep my participation in Squads confidential?
No. You are required to receive the express written consent of your school's coach or team administrator in order to participate in Squads.
Can I hire another private coach in addtion to joining squads?
We strongly prefer that Squad members do not hire additional private coaches. However, exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis pending a conversation with the coach in question.
Can I share materials with people outside of my squad?
You are encouraged to share any materials you create with your school teammates. But you may not share materials created by other Squad members (or coaches) with anyone outside your Squad. Nor are you permitted to share materials created by your school teammates with your Squad, without permission of your school's coach and teammates.
Shouldn't debate teams be based in schools, rather than private coaching services?
Ideally, yes. We firmly believe that debate programs should be based in schools. But the reality is that few schools have the resources (including staff) to be competitive in debate. For many students, private coaching is the only realistic option. Without programs like Squads, many parents and students are forced to arrange private coaches for themselves knowing little about the instructors, their backgrounds, standard rates, and what services they should expect.
There is clearly a need for private coaching. The trick is to provide it in a way that promotes school-based debate teams. Squads does that by providing free resources to the community, by requiring coach approval, by maintaining regular and open communication with coaches and parents, by encouraging sharing with school teams, and by focusing explicitly on teamwork and leadership skills that are transferable to school teams.
But won't private coaching services remove any incentive for school districts to increase school funding for LD?
Probably not. Incentives to fund and grow LD programs are low now—at least, compared to other debate formats, in many areas. The best way to get a school to build a debate program and hire a full-time coach is to provide tools for, and evidence of, success. Squads can help debaters do that. Victory Briefs is committed to doing what we can to support school debate programs. Our Classroom project aims to provide a comprehensive novice curriculum to schools free of charge.
Can I join squads for only part of the season?
No. You are expected to remain active members of your Squad for the entire debate season.
Are scholarships available?
Victory Briefs seeks to make debate coaching available to all students regardless of their background and financial situation, where possible and as our funds allow. Scholarships are awarded based on demonstrated financial need, dedication to debate, and a student's contribution to a diverse and welcoming educational environment. Scholarship awards will be distributed on a first-come-first-served basis until available funds are exhausted. Click here to apply for a Squads Scholarship.
Who are your current members and what is your conflict policy?
Are there payment plans available?
We generally require that all of the tuition be paid at the beginning of the season, but are willing to grant exceptions in certain cases. Please fill out the Squads Scholarship form with your application if you're interested in setting up a payment plan.