Truman Forensics Scholarship Tryouts

Truman Forensics at NFA 2019 in Santa Ana, CA

This site has been updated to reflect tryout information for Spring 2020. For questions about our 2020 tryouts, please feel free to contact us. ~Truman Forensics Staff

The Truman Forensic Union is thrilled to offer a scholarship tryout weekend for incoming freshman who wish to compete in speech and/or debate. This scholarship day will be held on Saturday, March 21st, 2020, hosted by the team.

During this event, you will have an opportunity to meet with current team members and coaching staff, learn some of the ins and outs of college forensics, perform for our coaches and alumni as a part of your scholarship application process, and find out more about the experience you could have with Truman State University.

Scholarship Descriptions

The Truman Forensic Union offers 5-6 Talent/Service Scholarships every year to incoming freshmen students who have demonstrated a combination of aptitude in forensics and a passion for continuing to grow and build communication skills through forensic activities. These scholarships range between $500-3000 dollars per year and are renewable for up to 4 years with the fulfilment of the scholarship requirements (see below).

The Robert Newman Freshman Scholarship in Debate is a single, separate award made available only to students planning on competing in debate. Its current value fluctuates between $700-1000 based on stock market conditions.

Additional scholarships are available to students after their freshman year, including the Aileen Corbin Scholarship, the Amy Ayers Rosebury Scholarship, and the Craig Evans Scholarship. These may be appended to already received Talent/Service Scholarships. These awards are not impacted by the tryout process.

These scholarships are designed to supplement other awards and financial aid granted by Truman State University. If you have already been offered a full ride, you are not eligible for additional scholarships offered by Truman Forensics.

Scholarship Renewal

Renewal of Talent/Service Scholarships earned as a result of our tryout process is based upon several requirements. These will include:

  • Enrollment in COMM 272: Speech Communication Activities during your first semester at Truman.
  • Travel to a minimum of 2 tournaments per semester.
  • Weekly attendance at our mandatory team meeting (Tuesdays 6:00-9:00pm).
  • Attending additional coaching appointments to prepare and improve competitive events.
  • Maintain a minimum of 3.25 cumulative GPA.
  • Abidance by all rules specific to Truman State University and the Truman Forensic Union described in our team handbook (these rules apply to both scholarship and non-scholarship members).

As long as these requirements are met and the student remains an active member of the team, the scholarship will be automatically renewed. Failure to meet these criteria will result in discontinuation of the scholarship.

How to Register

Students who wish to be considered for scholarships will need to submit application materials. Based on the application materials, we will invite interested students to our tryout date on March 21st, 2020.   The process is as follows:

  1. Please turn in the following materials no later than Monday, February 17th at 5:00pm via email, fax, or U.S. Postal
    • Scholarship Application Form 2020
    • Letter of Interest-A letter explaining why you wish to continue your forensic career with Truman Forensics
    • Competitive Resume-A resume of awards/honors won in speech, debate, theatre, mock trial, model UN, or similar speaking and performance related activities
    • Letter of Recommendation-A letter from your high school forensic coach/adviser speaking to your background, work ethic, successes, and other relevant qualities/information related to forensics. If you are not currently competing in a forensic program, a letter from a language arts or social studies instructor should be submitted. (Note: This LOR does not need to arrive by the February 17th deadline in order to be considered for invitation to tryouts. However, we must still receive a letter in order to offer you a scholarship after March 21st.)
  2. No later than Wednesday, February 19th at 5:00pm you can expect an email from Director of Forensics Chris Outzen regarding the status of your application.
  3. On Saturday, March 21st, 2020 we will hold our tryouts for all students invited to do so in the February 19th email.

All application materials can be sent to Christopher Outzen at the following address:

Christopher Outzen, Director of Forensics
Truman State University
Barnett Hall 1212D
100 E. Normal Ave.
Kirksville, MO 63501

Applications sent to or faxed to 660-785-7101 will also be acceptable.

Truman Forensics at the Missouri Mule in Warrensburg, MO

How to Prepare/Plan

The scholarship tryouts will be a one-day process on Saturday, March 21st, 2020. The exact weekend schedule will be forthcoming. However, there are a few things that you can start doing to get yourself ready for the weekend.


Because this is a one-day event, you should be able to make this a day trip. In the event you would personally prefer to stay the night before or after, Kirksville has several hotel options, including the Hampton, Holiday Inn Express, Quality Inn, and Days Inn (just outside of town).

Tryout Event

You will be required to give a Tryout Performance for our scholarship opportunities. Although our team fully supports student participation in both Speech and Debate, for the purposes of the weekend you will be asked to select a primary association. You will then be asked to prepare for one of the following tryout performances:

  • Speech-If your primary association is speech, you will be asked to perform your strongest speech piece from this past year. Please indicate which event you intend to perform in your Letter of Interest so we can make any necessary preparations, such writing Extemporaneous Speaking questions.
  • Debate-If your primary association is debate, you will be asked to construct a 1AC based upon a collection of articles/prompts provided from our debate staff. You should be prepared to read the 1AC. You should also be prepared to offer a rebuttal speech to another applicant’s 1AC.

Tryout Criteria

Awards will be assigned by the Truman Forensic Union coaching staff, in consultation with faculty advisers from the Communication Department who may participate in the screening process. Criteria that will be considered in determining award eligibility and amounts may include, but are not limited to:

  • Does the student possess a strong potential for success in intercollegiate speech and debate?
  • Does the student provide evidence of work ethic that would support a successful college forensics career?
  • Does the student demonstrate personal interest and enthusiasm for college forensics?
  • Does the student view forensics passionately enough to exceed the minimum requirements and obligations necessary to maintain the scholarship?
  • Will the student contribute positively to the team collaborative dynamic?
  • Does the student possess a strong recommendation from a high school coach or teacher?

Weekend Schedule

The weekend schedule will be announced around mid-February.

Note: If you are unable to attend the scholarship weekend, you are not precluded from trying out. If you are unable to attend you will be asked, in addition to the registration materials requested above, to send a video of your tryout performance to one of the addresses mentioned above. You may also be asked to schedule a Skype interview with the directors of Truman Forensics at another time. However, we strongly encourage you to plan to attend this weekend. If you have questions regarding this absentee process, please email or call 660-785-4065.

Truman Forensics at the Fall Fiesta tournament in Bowling Green, KY

Frequently Asked Questions

Is financial support available to attend tryouts?

No financial aid is available to attend tryouts. Truman Forensics will provide lunch the day of the event and, schedule depending, breakfast items. However, we cannot provide transportation or housing assistance.

Can parents attend tryouts?

Parents are not required to attend tryouts and are discouraged from attending tryout sessions. However, you will be provided information with various sights to see in Kirksville during the visit. Parents will also have sessions for them during the showcase events

Are full-ride scholarships available?

Truman Forensics does not offer any full ride scholarships but forensic awards combined with other university awards may well cover most of your student expenses.

Do tryouts determine whether I’m on the team?

Absolutely not! Truman Forensics is a program which prides itself in its openness to all students. The only criterion is a willingness to learn and be an active member of the team. The scholarship tryouts are primarily used only to determine the recipients of our Talent/Service Scholarships or the Robert Newman Freshman Scholarship in Debate.


Any questions regarding the Scholarship Tryout Weekend can be addressed to Christopher Outzen, Director of Forensics. He can be reached via email at or phone at 660-785-4065.