LinkedKey Competition Criteria 

Selection is based on a number of factors, including the type of tournament, the level of the student, their grade, competitiveness, tournaments attended et-cetera. Below I will list the criteria we use and why we chose them.

1.Type of Tournament

The first thing to keep in mind is selection for tournaments isn’t the same across the board. There are numerous tournaments in a given year, ranging from major competitive tournaments like Hart House or Harvard Worlds schools, as well as tournaments intended for junior or first time debaters like Northern or UCC pro am. 

    • For major competitive tournaments, we tend to prioritize competitiveness. I will list the criteria we consider for competitiveness as we go on, but its important to keep that in mind. 
    • For other tournaments, we take a variety of factors into consideration such as how many tournaments the student has attended, if they are prepared for tournaments yet et-cetera. Generally speaking we try to ensure that students who sign up for multiple tournaments get an opportunity to attend something.


Before describing some of the factors we consider under competitiveness, I should mention that in some circumstances we consider age/grade as well when considering who to attend students. There are one of two ways this plays into selection:

      • First is the grade 12 rule. Generally speaking, if we have a grade 12 that signs up to go to a tournament, we send them no matter what. The idea behind this rule is that if you are in grade 12, you will never have another opportunity to attend the tournaments you are signing up for.
      • The second consideration is, all else being equal (so if we have three students in level 4 advanced and one student in level 4, and have to come up with two teams) we would pair the two older students together as a tiebreaker. 

Again, it’s very important to note here that age is either used for the grade 12 rule, or as a tiebreaker. For competitive tournament selections we prioritize other criteria over age. 


There are several factors that go into determining a student’s competitiveness when looking at selections for tournaments. I will list them all below.

    • The first consideration is a student’s level. If you are a level 1, for all but the junior tournaments (and in some cases not even then) you would be unlikely to be selected to attend tournaments because you haven’t learned all the basics quite yet. If it was a tournament like Hart House, we would prioritize higher levels over younger ones, as the tournaments are the premier competitive events of the year and it’s a fair metric of distinguishing between students.
    • The second consideration is a student’s previous tournament accomplishments. Particularly in level 4 advanced and level 5, we have numerous students who are all quite talented, so as a means of distinguishing if we have a lot of students sign up, we look at their previous record as a debater at tournaments. 
    • The third consideration is teacher review and in class performance. This factor is only used if the other criteria are close, but can come into play in some circumstances.


When determining partners, it is important to note that students have two options during the sign-up process. They can sign up individually or they can sign up with a partner. 

    • It’s very important that students/parents are aware that signing up with a partner gives you no selection advantage during the process, and there is no guarantee your partner request will be awarded. 
    • The first part of our selection process is deciding which students, individually, we are selecting. After that is complete, and only then, do we consider team requests. If both students qualified, then we would respect their request to attend as a team. 
    • In the event a student did not sign up with a partner, we try to pair students first based on level, then on age, and finally considering previous experience as well as how compatible they think they’d be as teammates. 
    • It is important to remember that we are limited in who we assign as partners based on who signs up. Sometimes we get many level 5s and 4 advanceds, sometimes we don’t. It’s always hard to predict. 

5. Extenuating Circumstances

There is one additional factor that is considered during selection that all should be aware of: Namely, reliability

    • If a student has a history of withdrawing from tournaments at the last minute, not showing up on the day of the tournament, having to drop out because of severe internet issues on a consistent basis, these factors will influence selection decisions heavily
    • Ultimately we owe it to all our students to give them the best chance to compete, and it can be crushing to not be able to attend a tournament or have to debate by yourself due to circumstances outside of your control.