UIL Academics- Some Information


            With a nervous excitement in the room, everyone is watching the proctor dance around, looking quite funny. “You can steal these moves for prom, ya know!” she says, holding everyone’s attention to her, away from the papers on the desk. As she calls time, I look down, staring at the bright green paper in front of me. I slowly realize my dream is finally coming true; everything I’ve worked for is finally paying off. The countless prompts, the hours studying, it has all led to this. After three years, it’s my final UIL event.

            This year’s UIL Academics ended this past weekend, and is not something that many students participate in, mainly because they aren’t aware of it or all the events they could partake in. There are several different options, including journalism (my field), social studies, current events, math, science, literary criticism, ready writing, debate, etc. It’s not for everyone, but it’s certainly for some.

            All the advisors for these subjects are teachers from the school, and are extremely dedicated to their students. They will help you in every way they can, and push you to do your best. There are a few practice meets in November- February to help introduce you to the environment. The district meet is in March, and Mrs. Welch, the current UIL sponsor, does an excellent job of having plenty of snacks for students to enjoy. So even if you’re not sure if you would like UIL Academics, you can join for the food (and the FREE t-shirt). Just don’t tell anyone.

            The way UIL works is you first compete at the district level, which is made up of different high schools around the area, the same ones we compete against in sports. The way the events work depends on the subject; many are in a classroom setting, where you compete individually and silently. In others, you present your argument or piece (Debate and Oral Interpretation, specifically). Once you complete your event, judges will critique your work and your competitors.

The top six people will be announced, and the top three will move on to the regional meet. If you place 4-6, you are an alternate for regionals, so you still have a small chance to advance. I was an alternate (I placed 4th) at district for Headline Writing, and I ended up placing at state. The student who placed third had a scheduling conflict, so I competed at regionals instead. If the two other students would have been unable to complete, the students who placed fifth and sixth would have filled the spots. I then went on to place 2nd in Headline Writing at regionals, so I then advanced to state.

            UIL comes with some serious perks, including new friendships, food, and a better relationship with teachers. As with anything, to get the results you still have to practice and work hard, but it does pay off. Scholarships are offered for contestants that compete at the state level, and it truly is the best group of people.

            If you have any questions, feel free to comment and I’ll answer what I can. If you’re interested or at least slightly intrigued, you can ask Mrs. Welch for more information about UIL Academics for next year.