The Policy Arguments Bootcamp

Never again will you be intimidated by policy arguments in debate after this primer on plans, counterplans, disadvantages, and kritiks. The sessions focus on teaching students how to strategically apply and refute these arguments in debates.

Topics Covered:

  • Comparing advocacies: A framework for understanding policy-style arguments
  • Plans: Structure and strategy
  • Counterplans: Competition, net benefits, advanced strategies
  • Disadvantages: Structure and strategy with a focus on “uniqueness” 
  • Kritiks: Structure and strategy with a focus on “role of the ballot” 



  • July 10-14 at 7:30-9:30pm EST (4:30-6:30pm PST)
  • July 31-August 4 at 7:30-9:30pm EST (4:30-6:30pm PST)

Tuition: $395, includes class webinars, materials and assignments, written assignments feedback, and significant program and file discount opportunities. Or $545 with additional 3 x 40-minute one-on-one drill sessions (flexibly scheduled). Seats limited.

Policy Arguments Bootcamp Registration

For our most committed students, we’d also love to offer some significant discounts! All offers are combinable.

1. Bootcamper Discount: For those interested in multiple topics...

  • Sign up for 2 bootcamps and get 10% off everything
  • Sign up for 3 bootcamps and get 15% off everything
  • Sign up for 4 or more and get 20% off everything

2. Referral Discount: If you think our Academy is a great way to learn about debate, refer your friends and teammates! For each program one signs up for, we’ll kick another 10% off one of your bootcamps, up to 100%. All program discounts applied after checkout.

3. Master Toolbox Discount: When you sign up for any program, grab our popular Theory and Philosophy Master Toolbox files with up to 40% off! Just add it to your registration and files will be delivered shortly.

Questions about our programs? Please don't hesitate to get in touch with us! Please also review our cancellation policy. Date/time availability dependent on demand; will reach out in advance if needed.

Drill Package:
Theory Master Toolbox:
Philosophy Master Toolbox:
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Policy Arguments Bootcamp Overview

Comparing advocacies and an introduction to plans

How can we understand policy arguments in relation to Lincoln Douglas debate topics, which are often much broader than a specific policy? What does it mean to “compare advocacies”? What is a plan? When can a plan be run? What are the components of a plan? What are the strategic advantages and disadvantages of using a plan? How do you choose a plan? 

Counterplans I: Structure and strategy

What is a counterplan? When can a counterplan be run (both against a plan and against other kinds of affirmatives)? What are the components of a counterplan? How does counterplan “competition” work? Examples drawn from previous year’s Lincoln Douglas topics. 

Counterplans II: Advanced types and topics

What are some more advanced ways of thinking about counterplan “competition”? What is “conditionality” and why does it matter? What other kinds of counterplans are there and what strategic function to they serve (advantage, agent, topical, delay, consult, plan-inclusive, other process)? 

Disadvantages: Structure and strategy with a focus on “uniqueness” 

What is a disadvantage? When can a disadvantage be run? What is “uniqueness,” why is it so crucial, and how do you generate and control it? Why do we often combine disadvantages with counterplans? 

Kritiks: Structure and strategy with a focus on the “role of the ballot” 

What is a Kritik? When can a Kritik be run and how can it be answered? How, if at all, does it differ from a counterplan-disadvantage combination? How are kritiks sometimes used to preclude affirmative arguments? What are “role of the ballot” arguments? 

Need these skills? Reserve your spot today!

About Our Programs

Our programs are intensive, focused courses designed to help you master a specific and essential debate skill. We're a group of experienced instructors who believe that by carefully designing classes and making them available online, we can guarantee better instruction at a lower cost. To ensure this, all our programs feature interactive webinars with premier instructors, specially designed course materials and metrics, individualized and in-depth feedback, and one-on-one personal coaching.

How exactly does it work?

You'll begin with one of your regular classes with a premier instructor, who will answer your and your peers' questions about an essential topic and tell you what you need to know, all from the comfort of your own home. These'll be group classes so that we can guarantee you will learn from the very best instructor to be teaching the topic. Each class is then followed with homework assignments, designed especially for your course to guide you through the material. You'll receive individualized feedback on each piece of your work. Instructors will be reachable before, during, and after class should you have a question about the material or about your feedback. Finally, if you opt for a drill package, you'll schedule one-on-one sessions throughout the program to practice your new skills with targeted drills. The class is fast-paced but tells you exactly what you need to know – in just a short amount of time, you'll have mastered a new debate skill!

Have to miss a class? Not to worry! All our classes are also recorded should you need it. Seats are always limited to ensure highest-quality instruction. Get the training you need – sign up now!

VC Academy Scholarship

Consistent with our mission, we want to make our programs accessible to all students, regardless of background. Both need-based and merit-based scholarships are available, especially for small schools. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you are interested in our scholarship program!