Student FAQs


Frequently Asked Questions about the 2016 Speech Competition on Contemporary Issues

  1. Who can participate?

    EVERYONE!  All currently enrolled students at Bergen Community College are encouraged to enter the competition – full-time, part-time, in any major or area of concentration.  If you are enrolled at the College, you are eligible to enter.

  2. Can students who are not eligible under Federal regulations to receive financial aid enter the competition?  Can they win the competition? 
    •   Yes.  If you are enrolled at Bergen, you can participate in the Competition.  And if you are named one of the finalists, you can compete in the Awards Round for Best Speaker and will be recognized as one of the winners. 
    • While all enrolled students may participate, due to government regulations, only U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents with a permanent resident card (I-551 or I-551C) are eligible to receive Foundation awards.   

  3. What are the prizes?  When will they be awarded?
    • All students who participate will be honored at
      the Speech Competition Awards Ceremony on April 21st , 2016 and will
      receive a certificate of recognition and a letter commending their
    • The Bergen Community College Foundation is
      sponsoring a total of $3000 in awards.
    • Only U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents
      with a permanent resident card (I-551 or I-551C) are eligible to receive Foundation
  4. What if I’ve never taken a Speech Communication course?
    • That’s fine. It is not required that you take a COM 100 or COM 102 course to participate.  The competition is open to all Bergen students.   
    • There is a textbook on reserve in the library that has information on how to prepare a speech:  Essentials of Human Communication, 4th Custom Edition for Bergen Community College, by Joseph A. DeVito.  Chapters 11, 12, 13 and 14 detail how to prepare a speech to persuade.
    • There is material on the Speech Competition web site on how to prepare a speech, in the tab “Preparing your Speech.”  It has a summary of “Steps in Preparing a Speech” and a worksheet that you can use as you outline the main points of your speech. 
  5. What is the theme of the Speech Competition? 
    • The theme is “Contemporary Issues.”  You can speak about any topic of significance and relevance to the audience. Your speech should be 6 minutes long.
    • Students in the Judith K. Winn School of Honors are encouraged to adapt an honors project and present it at the Competition.
    • There are many academic projects across many disciplines that would make a good speech, from art and biology to philosophy and political science.  You may be working on an essay or a paper that you could modify into a persuasive speech.
    • You can view the speeches from last year’s finalists under the “Photo Gallery” tab.
  6. How do I sign up?    

    To register you need to fill out the online Student Registration Form (the link is in the “Sign Up” tab ) or you can pick up the form at the Department office, A-328A.   This form must be on completed in order to compete.  

  7. What is the deadline for registering?
    You have to sign up by Friday, April 1st, 2016.

  8. Will I get a confirmation that I’ve registered?
    Yes.  You will receive a confirmation by email from the Co-Directors of the Competition, Professor Gina Costa or Dr. Kathleen Williams.

  9. What’s involved in the competition?
    • The First Round of the Competition will be held on Thursday, April 7th from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. in the Main Building.
    • Come to the sign-in desk in the lobby of the Main Building, outside the Public Safety Office, between 12:00 and at 12:15 p.m. to sign in.  You will receive your room assignment, and a ballot sheet. 
    • The classrooms are clustered in the “L” wing.  There will be 5 or 6 students in each competition room, and there will be 3 judges from the faculty or college administration.
    • When you arrive at your classroom, fill out your ballot sheet (name, title of speech) and present it to the judge. 
    • Once all of the speakers and judges are present in a classroom, the competition can begin.  Everyone will be finished by 1:30 p.m., in time for 1:45 p.m. classes. 
    • Note that use of Power Point and other electronic visual aids is NOT permitted in the competition. 
    • Are you required to submit an outline of your speech to the judges? 
      No!  Unlike in Speech class, the judges will not collect your outline or notes.
    • After all speakers have finished, you will be asked to fill out an anonymous survey about your experience participating.  This will help us plan the next competition.
    • The Director of the Competition will tally the scores.  The top speakers will be notified and invited to compete in the Final Round the next week.
  10. The Final Round of the Competition: 
    Thursday, April 21st, 4:00 – 4:45 p.m.,  Main Building C-211
    • The top speakers from the first round will be the finalists in the awards round.
    • Finalists should arrive at 3:30 p.m.
    • There will be an audience at this round of competition.  All students who participated in the first round of the competition are invited to attend.   You are encouraged to invite your family, friends and fans.  Faculty members and college administrators will also be present.  We estimate that 75 -80 people will attend the awards round. 
    • After the students have presented their speeches, there will be a reception while the judges confer to determine the winners. 
  11. Awards Ceremony
    • Thursday, April 21st, 5:00p.m, Main Building, C-211
    • The winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony, which will follow immediately after the student speeches.
    • All students who participated in the speech competition will be presented with a certificate of recognition at the Awards Ceremony.
    • The Bergen Community College Foundation is sponsoring a total of $3,000 in awards for the Best Speakers.

    1st Place, $1,000
    2nd Place, $800
    3rd Place, $600
    4th Place, $400
    5th Place, $200

    Good luck! We hope you find the experience of participating in the Speech Competition to be intellectually challenging and rewarding. You can email us if you have additional questions.

    Gina Costa and Kathleen Williams,
    Co Directors of the Competition
    [email protected]