Coolidge Cup Online Application

Thank you for your interest in the Coolidge Cup. If you were not able to make it to one of the Qualifying Tournaments this year, or if you did but were not one of the top finishers that received a bid from one of those tournaments, you can still compete for an invitation to the Coolidge Cup via this online application.

To compete for an invitation to the Coolidge Cup, fill out the application that will be posted here on February 1, 2019. The application will ask you to list your debating accomplishments and provide a five-minute video of yourself delivering either an opening affirmative or negative statement on a particular resolution.

Application Open and Close Dates

  • The application OPENS on Friday, February 1, 2019. The application form and the resolution for the video component will be posted here.
  • The application CLOSES on Sunday, May 5, 2019 (11:59pm ET). Applicants will be notified as to whether they have received an invitation to the Coolidge Cup by Friday, May 24, 2019.


This application is open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia who are high school students and who have received permission in writing from a parent or legal guardian. All students are required to upload a signed Media Release along with their entry.

Video Requirements

  • DO keep your video to under 5 minutes
  • DO title your video on YouTube with your name and your position (i.e., affirmative or negative)
  • DO NOT use any props, or edit your video to enhance it with music, photos, graphics, etc.
  • DO NOT use language that would make your video unsuitable for a general audience
  • DO NOT wear or display awards or medals from other competitions

Application Judging Criteria

Each application will be scored on three areas: 1) debate accomplishments listed in the application, 2) speaking content from the video submission, and 3) speaking style from the video submission. Each of those three areas is worth up to 10 points for a total of 30 possible points. The scoring is done internally and confidentially by the Coolidge Foundation. We do not share final scores, and unfortunately due to the volume of applications we receive, we cannot give individual feedback. We will, however, let you know whether you have won one of the available Coolidge Cup invitations by the notification date named above.

With regard to video content, we are looking for a clearly articulated opinion in response to the resolution; a compelling argument that an educated citizen would understand; and use of good-quality evidence. You should also structure your speech appropriately, with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion.

With regard to style, we are looking for students to speak at an appropriate volume, with good articulation, and at a reasonable rate of speed (i.e., rapid talking or “spreading” is not recommended). Other elements of style include good eye contact, appropriate gesturing, and good posture.