Summer Institute FAQs

Question: Why should I attend the UT Dallas Comet Debate Institute camp?
Answer: The Comet Debate Institute (CDI) offers an outstanding educational experience with experienced staff on a state-of-the-art campus at a reasonable price.

Question: I have never done any type of debate. Can I attend CDI?
Answer: Yes. High school students may attend, no matter what previous experience in debate they might (or might not) have. Students are grouped by experience level; those with no prior debate experience will learn with those of a similar background.

Question: What is the CDI schedule? What will students be doing during the day?

Answer: Camp hours run from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and are divided between lectures and discussions on issues ranging from strategy to topic background and labs, where students work closely with staff to hone their skills and apply what they've learned. We understand the importance of time to have fun, and we work hard to ensure students get ample opportunity to commune with new friends, take advantage of the campus recreation facilities and have fun activities to break up the day. Last year's CDI schedule can be downloaded here (CDI 2011 – Schedule) and should help give students and parents an idea of a typical day at camp.

Question: What is the minimum age to attend the camp?
Answer: In order to attend the camp, a camper must be at least 13 years old by July 5, 2014. This applies to commuter students as well as students who select the residential option. No exceptions to this rule can be made. Most campers will be high school students, and debate can be a mentally strenuous activity. It is recommended that students and parents give serious consideration to waiting until the student has reached 14 years old before sending him or her to CDI.

Question: When are tuition and deposits due?
Answer: Tuition and the $150 per student deposit is due on July 5, 2014.

Question: May I pay with a credit card?
Answer: Yes, an option is under construction that will allow for camp deposits and camp payments to be made by credit card. Please return back to this page on February 15th for an update.

Question: Is this an academic camp?
Answer: Yes, the campers will spend the majority of each day reading materials, giving practice speeches, listening to lectures on the annual topic and engaging in other elements of CX debate. Each student will spend the bulk of his or her time in a classroom environment. There will be time for occasional social activities and exercise.

Question: The drive from my house to the UT Dallas campus takes one hour each way. Should I register for the commuter option or the residential option?
Answer: The residential option is probably the best choice for you. Each camper’s situation is different. But a long commute every morning and every evening can be exhausting. And the drive itself is costly. In our experience, the atmosphere and social interaction provided by the residential option also increases the enjoyment of the student and the overall educational experience.

Question: Do you have option for commuters at a lower price that does not include a meal plan?
Answer: All packages now include a meal plan, guaranteeing CDI participants healthy food options and the opportunity for further interaction with fellow campers.

Question: If I attend the camp but later need to withdraw, can I get a refund?
Answer: No refunds are possible once the first day of the camp begins. The camp administrators reserve space in the dormitory and hire staff members based on the number of enrolled campers. If a request for a refund of a deposit is received prior to July 1, then a refund of the deposit may be possible.

Question: Are any discounts available for CDI?
Answers: Because the CDI fee structure is designed to offer a best value among debate summer camps, the camp offers a very limited number of modest discounts. Children of UT Dallas employees are eligible for a discount. Siblings of current UT Dallas students also may receive a discount. A group of five or more campers from the same high school can receive a discount. A select number of other discounts are available. E-mail us for more details.

Unfortunately, no need-based assistance is available for the summer 2014 CDI.

For other questions or concerns related to CDI, e-mail the Comet Debate Institute at