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 2021 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 VIRTUALLY on Saturday, March 20th and 21st, 2021, 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 fulfillment 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

(This information is currently being updated.  Check back for more information and 2021 deadlines)

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 dates on March 20th and 21st, 2021.   The process is as follows (will be updated shortly):

  1. Please turn in the following materials no later than Friday, March 12th at 5:00pm via email, fax, or U.S. Postal
    • Scholarship-Application-Form-2021
    • 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 march 12th deadline in order to be considered for invitation to tryouts. However, we must still receive a letter in order to offer you a scholarship by March 20th – March 21st.)
  2. No later than Wednesday, March 17th at 5:00pm you can expect an email from Director of Forensics Craig Hennigan regarding the status of your application.  If you have not heard from him, please follow up at chennigan
  3. On Saturday, March 20th and 21st, 2021 we will hold our tryouts for all students invited to do so in the February 19th email.

All application materials can be sent to Craig Hennigan at the following address: or faxed to 660-785-7101 or by snail mail at:

Craig Hennigan, Director of Forensics
Truman State University
Barnett Hall 1212F
100 E. Normal Ave.
Kirksville, MO 63501


Truman Forensics at the Missouri Mule in Warrensburg, MO

How to Prepare/Plan

The scholarship tryouts will be a one-day process on Friday, March 20 or Saturday, March 21, 2021 with speech and debate each having separate day. 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.

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

Debate – Saturday, March 20th

Speech/Individual Events – Sunday, March 21st

Saturday – March 20th

9am-10am – Introductions to team members and to potential recruits. Admissions informational session

10am-11am – Panel discussion about debating and living at Truman State

Short break until noon –

Noon-1:30pm (depending on number of recruits)

John S. Knight style of ‘tournament’ presenting affirmatives and neg responses.

Students after this break can wait until their designated interview times –

1 on 1 interviews take place from 1:30-End. Expect about a 15-20 minute interview.

Sunday March 21st

9am-10am – Introductions to team members and to potential recruits. Admissions informational session

10am-11am – Panel discussion about debating and living at Truman State

Short break until noon –

Noon-1:30pm (depending on number of recruits)

            Presentation of individual events to try out with. All may be present for this portion.

After this, students may break until their designated interview times.

1 on 1 interviews take place from 1:30-End. Expect about a 15-20 minute interview.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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 Craig Hennigan, Director of Forensics. He can be reached via email at or phone at 660-785-4390.