Special talent speech and debate

Speech and Debate Special Talent Applicants

Submitting a special talent for review at Binghamton University is an opportunity for your talents to be actively considered in your admissions process. It is a chance to showcase your talents; it does not affect your intended major; however, only students applying to the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences may submit a portfolio. All required materials must be received by January 15. If your portfolio is not received by the deadline, your application will be review without consideration for the special talent program. 

Note: Special talent supplements will be considered during the Regular Decision application review (Jan. 15). Students who apply Early Action and submit a special talent supplement will have this component reviewed if they are deferred to Regular Decision.


Step 1: Apply to Binghamton

Step 2: Submit the special talent form (deadline is Jan. 15). Note: You'll need your username and password to log in. Your username is emailed to you after your application is received.

Step 3: Upload the requirements below to your online status checker.

Note: Special Talent cannot be considered for Early Action admission

About speech and debate

Binghamton University participates in two-person policy debate as sanctioned by the Cross-Examination Debate Association and the National Debate Tournament. Team members are expected to put in 10 hours of meeting time per week with coaches in addition to outside preparation. Team members are also expected to travel to roughly five weekend-long tournaments a semester. They are also expected to show up to campus two weeks before the start of the first day of classes unless given permission otherwise. Housing will be provided. Team members are eligible for four credits and a grade each semester they compete on the team. However, it is substantially more work than any individual course. Prior policy debate experience is not required to be considered for special talent review in debate.


  • If available, submit your win-loss record, major awards, seeding and placements to prove your competitive success in any style of debate or speech events you participated.
  • If proof of success is not available, complete the questionnaire below and all optional assignments as requested. This is not an available option for people wishing to be considered for a special talent review in speech.
  • A letter of recommendation pertaining to your speaking or argumentative ability by a coach, high school teacher or the advisor of an extra-curricular activity you participate in.

Questionnaire and assignments

If you're interested in a special talent review in debate only, answer the following questions and upload them to the status checker as a document. Optional for those with proof of competitive success. Mandatory for those who don't. Do not use more than 200 words per question. 

  1. Why do you want to be involved in debate in college?
  2. What qualities do you have that make you think you would be successful in debate?
  3. Construct an argument for why economic decline in the United States would result in war. Feel free to cite sources or analytically explain why this may be the case.
  4. Construct an argument for why #2 is incorrect. Feel free to cite sources or analytically explain why this may be the case
  5. What philosophers are you familiar with?
  6. Construct an argument for why morality should come before utilitarian concerns? Feel free to cite sources or analytically explain why this may be the case.
  7. What is your familiarity with any or all of the follow: Lexis-Nexis, Project Muse, Google Scholar?
  8. What kinds of debate have you watched and/or what do you expect debate to look like in college?
  9. How much time would you plan on devoting to debate weekly outside of required team meetings?
  10. Do you think strategy in debate is more important than style? Explain why or why not.