At VBI, our goal is to provide each student with the personal attention needed for them to get the most possible out of their camp experience. Every student that comes to VBI is different: they have distinct strengths, weaknesses, goals, and interests. We do everything possible to structure our program in a way that maximizes individualized instruction through one-on-one and small group work, and robust elective offerings. Meeting that goal starts with our better than 4:1 instructor-to-student ratio, which ensures that every debater who comes to VBI has access to consistent one-on-one and small group time with any instructor. This ratio is one of the keys that unlock the rest of our curriculum.

Instructor Elyssa Alfieri works with with a student one-on-one during some down time at VBI Philadelphia.

Instructor Elyssa Alfieri works with with a student one-on-one during some down time at VBI Philadelphia.

No other camp gives you the personal specific feedback or amazing staff ratio. The staff is diverse enough to cover any skills you want to improve on. Compared to other camps, VBI is more about what you want YOUR camp experience to be.
— Aimun Khan

As a result, VBI students are placed in labs of 8–12 students (ensuring no one gets lost in the crowd), get more rounds without time wasted while others debate, can find help at Socrates Hours without a long wait, and get one-on-one time with a mentor every day. 

Because of our limited lab size, instructors are able to spend more time on drills, small group discussions, and individual meetings, instead of lecturing to the entire group. At VBI, lab leaders get to know each student personally and tailor the lab's curriculum and assignments to the unique needs of each student. 

The mentorship program guarantees that every VBI debater has an instructor in their corner who makes sure they are getting the help and guidance they need. At the start of camp, each student is assigned a faculty mentor best suited to hep them pursue their interests, and improve their weaknesses. Each day, students meet with their mentor one-on-one to work on anything and everything they want to improve. 

Coming from a small town where debate is not prominent, it taught me the skills I will need to be successful both on the local and national level! The staff was incredible, and spent countless hours with me working on anything I needed. The individually tailored learning was what made camp especially great ... I never felt that I had to fight for time with staff ... No matter what the question was, there was someone on staff who had specialized in that during their debate career. I never had a question that someone couldn’t give me a great answer to!
— Rachel Gallagher
Socrates Hours at VBI Swarthmore

Socrates Hours at VBI Swarthmore

At Socrates Hours, students can access any instructor on staff for one-on-one or small group work. Being able to work personally with instructors beyond their lab leaders and mentors means that students branch out and gain exposure to unique ideas and perspectives. Socrates Hours is one of the many opportunities that VBI students have to take charge of their own camp experience, because whatever their interests, they will find an expert to work with in our large and diverse staff.