While it is nice to have a background from high school, college forensics have enough differences to make it a bit of a challenge to make the transition.
I am in the midst of that transition and I wanted to share some of what I have learned so far.
With all forensics rules and polices may vary from school to school, this is just my advice and what I have learned so far.
- VISUAL AIDS: One thing that I did not know is that you can use visual aids for your platform speeches. Most of the time it is just a poster, but you can even hand out flyers/ advertise for your cause. Also, most platform speeches are 8-10 minutes instead of 6-8.
2.INTERP BOOKS: ALL interp events use a book. In high school, at least in the state I competed in, you only used a book for Poetry and Prose. In college, Duet Acting and DI (Dramatic Interpretation) require books. Not to mention the event POI (Program Oral Interpretation). This is a completely new event to me. So if you are an “interp-er” and you don’t know about POI it might be worth looking into.
3. I DO HOW MANY EVENTS?: There is no such thing as a “interp-er” or a “platform-er”. In college you may do up to 6 different events at a time. In high school the limit is usually 3 and even then you only compete with 2 at a tournament. You have to be able to compete in all 3 categories (Interp, Public Address, and Limited Prep). This also includes doing debate. So it may not be a bad idea to learn something about debate before coming into college forensics.
4. TOURNAMENT STRUCTURE/ SCHEDULE: College forensics tournaments aren’t just on Saturdays. Some tournaments are “swings”, meaning that there is tournament on Saturday AND ON SUNDAY! Additionally, debate is usually on Friday. So, you could be competing from early Friday until late Sunday. Tournaments also start much earlier and last longer. In high school most tournaments don’t start until mid November. In college tournaments start early October. That month difference is really daunting. I recommend coming up with many ideas for speeches/ interp pieces and be prepared to pitch them to your coaches. The sooner you get your topic approved, the more ready you’ll be come October.
5. TOPOI: TOPOI is a list of things you know for an impromptu speech. Start working on it. You can not use the same example twice in one season (and maybe even your collegiate career). The sooner you start working on it and get a long list going the more prepared you will be for impromptu. (Most people do impromptu, so get started)
This is just my personal experience and thoughts. I will learn more when I get to a tournament. I am willing to answer questions you have too.