Registration for VBI 2015 is Now Open!

VBI 2015 image

Click HERE to register for VBI 2015

Enrollment at VBI 2015 will be strictly capped to ensure the best possible experience, so sign-up ASAP! More information can be found at 

VBI Swarthmore: June 28–July 11 at Swarthmore College, PA

VBI Los Angeles: July 12–25, with third week July 26–August 1, at Occidental College, CA

VBI Chicago: August 2–15, with topic prep week August 15–22, at the University of Chicago, IL


Why VBI 2015?

VBI has a proven record of success. Over 5000 students have attended VBI since 2001, and our alumni have won more major tournaments than students from any other camp . At the 2014 TOC, all eight quarterfinalists were VBI alumni. No other camp comes close. VBI Alumni have won:

  • 10 Tournament of Champions 
  • 9 NFL/NDSA Nationals
  •  3 National Debate Coaches Association Championships
  •  9 National Catholic Forensics League Finals

But we are always striving to improve. This summer will be the best VBI ever, and here are three (of the many) reasons why:

  • 4:1 student-teacher ratio, better than any camp in the country. This means more individualized instruction, including a personal mentor for every student. It means more practice rounds for you to implement new skills and strategies. It also means that we have to cap enrollment, which is first-come, first-served, so apply now!
  •  New repeaters program. Any student who has previously attended a (two-week or longer) session of VBI counts as a repeater. So, if you attend VBI Swarthmore, you’d count as a repeater at Los Angeles or Chicago. Stay tuned for details about the repeaters program.
  • More seminars, fewer lectures. The evidence strongly suggests that lectures are an inefficient means of learning new material. Our students at Chicago have loved the seminar format for our philosophy curriculum; we are expanding it to all locations.

As always, we will have the best staff in the country. We will post staff announcements as they are confirmed. Unlike other camps, we will not advertise instructors until they have actually committed to teaching with us. For last year’s staff, click HERE.

Those are benefits you’ll enjoy at any session of VBI. We are offering eight weeks of camp this summer. How should you choose which sessions to attend?


Dates & Locations

The two most straightforward considerations for choosing a VBI session are dates and location. Is the best time for you to attend camp late June/early July (Swarthmore), mid/late July (Los Angeles), or August (Chicago)? Would you prefer to go to camp in the Northeast, in Southern California, or in the Midwest?

VBI offers sessions a three amazing locations across the country, from the idyllic small town of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, to the hustle and bustle of Chicago, to the beaches and palm trees of Los Angeles.   Our 2015 sessions will be hosted by some of the best universities in the nation, Swarthmore College, Occidental College, and the University of Chicago. The quality of life at our 2015 locations are better than any other camp. 

But there are many other considerations to keep in mind.

Summer camp is an excellent way to check out colleges. If you might apply to Swarthmore College (“Swat”), Occidental College (“Oxy”), or the University of Chicago (“UChicago”), many college advisors that it can help your application to demonstrate interest in a school by visiting it. You’ll be living in the same dorms, eating in the same dining halls, and learning in the same classrooms as you would as an undergraduate. This can help you figure out where you really want to go. You can also use the days before or after VBI to visit colleges in the area.

  • Just 10 miles from Philadelphia, and about two hours from New York and Washington, D.C., Swarthmore is the perfect site for VBI in the Northeast. Swat is the #3 ranked liberal arts college in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report. It has been named #1 in the country six times, and many call it one of the “Little Ivies.” Swat has a reputation for sending students to elite graduate programs in law, medicine, business, and academia, and its Debate Society is highly competitive. From Swarthmore, students can easily make college visits to UPenn or even Princeton.
  • Occidental (Oxy) is a small liberal arts college in Los Angeles. It has graduated 10 Rhodes Scholars since 1908, has “top quality” professors according to the Princeton Review, and the 8th best college food in America according to Daily Meal. Barack Obama and Ben Affleck both attended (but did not graduate from) Oxy, and you might recognize its scenery from many movies and TV shows. Previous sessions of VBI Los Angeles have been at UCLA and Loyola Marymount University. From the Eagle Rock neighborhood (Oxy’s home), you can easily visit UCLA, USC, Pomona, Claremont McKenna, and CalTech. Previous sessions of VBI Los Angeles have been at UCLA and Loyola Marymount University. This year, we chose Oxy for a smaller campus and a more tight-knit experience, but still in the heart of Los Angeles.
  • Located in Chicago’s historic Hyde Park neighborhood, the longtime home of President Barack Obama, UChicago is the #4 ranked university in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report and offers top 15 dorm facilities according to the Princeton Review. Notable alumni include Carl Sagan, Justice John Paul Stevens, Paul Wolfowitz,Kurt Vonnegut, David Brooks, Milton Friedman, Samuel Huntington, and many more. The first nuclear reactor was built under the University’s football stadium as part of the Manhattan project in 1942. . More VBI alumni go on to study at UChicago than any other school, so it is a perfect fit for us.From UChicago, you can easily visit Northwestern University, which has one of the most successful debate programs in the country.

It’s also worth considering the unique curricular options at each camp. Students who attend VBI Los Angeles can stay for a smaller third week program. Typically, the third week is where things “click” for many of our students. In previous years, the curriculum for third week has included an intense drill-based workshop, a focus track during which students can concentrate on one major aspect of debate, and a university-style course system. On the last day of VBI Chicago, the September/October debate topic will be released. Many of our students and instructors will stay for a topic prep week to get an edge on the resolution with the best debaters and coaches in the country.