Columbia Scholastic Press Association

CSPA is an international student press association, founded in 1925, whose goal is to unite student journalists and faculty advisers at schools and colleges through educational conferences, idea exchanges, textbooks, critiques and award programs.

What to Submit | FAQs

  Download Gold Circle Form for Print Newspaper and Magazines published 2016-2017
  Download Gold Circle Form for Digital Media and Yearbooks published during 2016-17




The Gold Circle Awards are available to members as part of the Regular Membership, Associate Membership or Basic Membership.

Entries should be from publications published and videos broadcast in English, and may be submitted by student writers, reporters, editors, artists, cartoonists, designers or photographers. Entries from colleges are judged separately from those of high schools or middle schools.

No materials submitted for judging will be returned.

What is the period of eligibility?

For print Newspaper, Magazine and Spring delivery Yearbook entries: Entries must have been published in a student magazine or newspaper at any time from June 11, 2016 through June 12, 2017.

For Summer/Fall delivery Yearbook or all Digital Media entries: Entries must have been published in a yearbook, or digital media publication at any time from October 11, 2016 through October 10, 2017.

When and how are winners announced?

CSPA dates its awards by the year in which they are given.

The newspaper and magazine winners will be announced on CSPA's web site in September and certificates sent to the schools in October 2017.

All digital media and yearbook winning entries will be announced on CSPA's web site in February 2018 and sent in the same month.

Which categories do we enter?

1. Enter as many individual entries in as many categories as you wish.

2. Select the category or categories you wish to enter and submit the total number of required materials. Carefully read the application form, entry rules and materials required (listed under Gold Circle Categories).

3. Entries that do not meet entry requirements will not be eligible for competition and will not be returned.

Can I send photocopies?

No, photocopies will be disqualified. All entries must be original tearsheets or pages from the printed publication or video that was broadcast.

How do verbal entries differ from visual ones?

Some categories are intended to judge verbal skills such as writing and editing. They require entries to be evaluated as a single entity, distinct from other elements published on that or related pages.

Other categories evaluate visual components of publishing such as design, art and photo accomplishment. These categories may need one or more full pages for the judges to consider as a structured unit.

Therefore, all categories have been designated either verbal or visual categories for the purpose of preparing entries for judging.

How do we prepare printed entries for mailing?

1. Verbal categories. Cut out the page from the original publication, tape the entry form on the back. (No paper clips or staples, please). Multiple-page entries: Take entry pages with the story and tape them together. If printed on both sides of a sheet, include each side separately, as two pages. Entry forms should be securely taped to the back of the actual entry in the upper left-hand corner (to match if pages are separated when they arrive at CSPA).

2. Visual categories. Submit full page or pages, as stipulated in the category description. Submit published tearsheets. Do not submit original artwork. Multiple page entries may be taped in series as they appear in the publication. No photocopies or partial pages will be accepted; we must have the actual printed entry as published. Entry forms should be securely taped to the reverse of the actual entry in the upper left-hand corner.

3. Online media categories: Print out the page of the entry and write clearly the entire web site address on the entry form. Tape the entry form on back of the print out page. ALL links must be live links on the Internet at time of judging during January 2017.

4. Video categories: Entries must be on standard DVD disc, one entry per DVD disc. Entry forms should be folded in half, facing out, and taped to the DVD disc container. In addition, DVD disc label on the tape should have the name of school and category number. No DVDs will be returned. For all categories (both verbal and visual entries): Entry blanks should be securely taped to the reverse of the actual entry in the upper left-hand corner.

Make as many clear photocopies of the Entry Form as needed. [CSPA TIP: Fill out the publication/school information on the original before making copies.] Each entry in each category needs a separate entry form filled out and taped to the back. Please complete the entry form neatly: print clearly with ink or use a program like Adobe Acrobat/Reader to complete the forms.

How do we pay for our entry fees?

Your publication must be have a CSPA membership to enter the Gold Circle Awards. Click here to find out more about the three different types of membership available.

The first 30 entries are part of your membership. (Hybrid members receive 60 free entries: 30 print plus 30 digital.) Each additional entry costs $8.95. Fees cover processing and judging expenses and are not refundable. Enclose Payment Form with a check or money order for the entry fee. One check should be submitted for multiple entries. Please do not send cash. Purchase orders from schools or colleges are acceptable for amounts of $50 or more.


What if we enter the wrong category?

If, in the opinion of the judges, entries have been entered in the wrong category, they may be redirected to the correct category. This does not apply to entries with incompletely filled-out entry forms. We will make reasonable efforts to include each entry in its proper category but we cannot be responsible for illegible handwriting, insufficient information, or incomplete or missing materials.

Do winning entries get published or viewed?

Some of the entries may be selected for reprinting as examples of superior student achievement either electronically or in printed form. Reprinting may occur on the Association's Web site, on its online magazine (Student Press Review) and/or in other CSPA publications.

Where do we send entries?

Please send all entries to the following address, regardless of shipper/carrier:

Gold Circle Awards
90 Morningside Drive, Suite B01
New York, NY 10027

Make checks payable in U.S. funds to Columbia Scholastic Press Association.

If you wish a receipt of your entry, use either Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested or send a stamped, self-addressed postcard enclosed with your entry.

Because of the large volume of entries, it is almost impossible to identify whether individual entries have arrived at or near the deadline date.

Who will be the judges?

Winners will be selected by panels of experts in journalism and journalism education selected by the CSPA.

What are the awards?

First Place Certificates will be given in each of the award categories in both divisions: middle/high school and college/university. In the unlikely case that the judges determine that no entry in a category is of award-winning caliber, no award will be given. Second and Third Place awards may also be given in the individual categories, at the discretion of the judges. In the case of a tie in any category, judges will choose a winner. If Second and Third Place choices have been made, judges may award a maximum of three Certificates of Merit to notable entries not selected for First, Second or Third Place.

What if we are sending entries from overseas schools?

Mark "No Commercial Value" on the front of packaged entries to speed processing through customs. Remit fees in U.S. funds.

How you prepare your entry is IMPORTANT!

Your entries will be opened, counted and processed at the CSPA offices. Then they will be sorted by categories, repackaged and sent to different judges across the country.

Remember to enter your information on your entry form legibly. This is where CSPA gets information to send you a confirmation of receipt of entries, official list of winners and certificate information for those entries that win.

Do not use paper clips or staples. Since there are over 10,000 entries, it is important for you to tape everything. It is also important to have your entries folded down to 8 1/2" x 11" so you have control of where the folds fall.