I’ve been visiting this site as a non-member for quite a while now, and have read countless posts, but took the unexpected step of officially joining CC in order to respond to you in particular! I couldn’t help it
As soon as I read that you are here to gather evidence to persuade your parents, I couldn’t help but chuckle. I thought, “We have a champion debater on our hands!” As I continued reading, I was delighted to learn that the debate team was, in fact, one of your main reasons for choosing the college. As a Bates alumna and former BQDC (Brooks Quimby Debate Council) President, later hired on as Assistant Coach of the team, I feel confident in assuring you and your parents that you have found the right school.
Back in my day, Bates wasn’t well known on the west coast (it is now) and I remember that my AP Physics teacher was concerned. He tried to convince me to accept an offer to attend a more prestigious liberal arts school a few states south, and felt that Bates would be a mistake. He was surprised and disappointed when I chose Bates. But I had visited and fallen in love with the rhetoric department and the debate team. (Incidentally, look into rhetoric for preparation for law school. It’s a fantastic major.) I also loved that the college had its own radio station, and became a WRBC DJ and talk show host. Fun times!
As a dedicated member of the debate team, I was invited to represent the college (all expenses paid) at major competitions and public debates in North America, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Our team hosted the North American Parliamentary Debate Championship. On many occasions, we welcomed visiting teams from around the country and the world for public debates on campus. If debate is what you want, Bates was and is the place to find it. You will learn to think differently. The experience will challenge, inspire, and enlighten you. You’ll see yourself, and your role in the world around you, in new ways, and you will be permanently changed. This thought-upheaval happens to students throughout the campus – not just those on the debate team – and it’s a real benefit of a high-quality liberal arts education. It’s my personal belief that the combination of parliamentary debate training and a liberal arts institution is unparalleled, and is the “magic” that makes Bates so successful on the national and international debate circuits.
The way that you’ve written your posts tell me that you’ll fit right in on the team, where, if your experience is anything like mine, you’ll find lifelong friends and decades of funny, engaging, well-rounded, intellectually-satisfying conversations. It’s hard work, and you’ll often miss weekend events on campus as you travel to tournaments, but it also will often bring you south or west during the cold Maine winters
My fellow team members and I went on to law school (Yale, Vanderbilt), architecture school (Cambridge), graduate school (Stanford, Rutgers, Boston U, UC Berkeley), business school (U Chicago, Harvard), and more. One earned a Fulbright Scholarship. I agree with the comment, above, that Bates is especially good for students planning to study beyond the undergraduate level. Obviously, we all worked very hard in our courses (and I agree with the Bates mom, above, that there is significant grade deflation, which can be frustrating) but there is no doubt that the Bates name is well-known – and very prestigious – in law, medical, business, and graduate school admissions offices.
I hope this all provides insight for your parents. Like I wrote earlier, I couldn’t help but find a way to log in and assist an up-and-coming fellow BQDC member! My own formal involvement with the team ended decades ago, but we alums follow the team on social media and sometimes make it back to campus for events. You and I will probably meet in real life someday, in fact, at some invitational debate event on campus – when we’re both alumni! In the meantime, congratulations on your admission. Enjoy Bates, its delicious food, Winter Carnival, the debate team, and everything else the college has to offer.