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



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 13, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

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 13, 2020 through October 12, 2021.

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 judged in October 2021 and announced on CSPA's web site in November and certificates sent to the schools in December 2021.

All digital media and yearbook winning entries will be judged in January 2021 announced on CSPA's web site in February 2022 and sent during the following 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 hard copies of our entries or photocopies?

Starting in 2018, we will no longer accept hard copies of entries. All entries will be digital and must be in a PDF format for print publications and working URLs from interactive school publication websites.

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 our entries for upload?

For News, Magazine and Yearbook categories.  

1. Include the COMPLETE page that your entry was printed as a PDF.

2. If your entry is a two page spread, please put your pages together as one page, it will give the judges the same reading experience as your audience.

3. If you are submitting multiple pages for one category please make one PDF.

For Digital Media categories.

1. Include working publication website link of your published video created by your staff.

2. Judges can only consider entries with a working publication website link.

How do we pay for our entry fees?

CSPA accepts checks and/or money orders as payment for extra Gold Circle entries. Purchase orders from schools or colleges are acceptable for amounts of $50 or more. Credit cards are not accepted at this time.

The first 30 entries are part of your membership. (Hybrid members receive 60 free entries.) Each additional entry costs $12.00. Fees cover processing and judging expenses and are not refundable.
With the new electronic submission system, an invoice will be sent to you via e-mail once you've surpassed your allotment of free entries.
IMPORTANT: CSPA does not require approval of your membership or immediate payment in order to submit Gold Circle entries; only that membership enrollment has been completed online.

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


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 and/or payments?

All entries will be accepted electronically as PDF files through our digital entry system. No hard-copy entries will be accepted.

If you submit additonal entries above the alloment provided as part of your membership (print and digital members receive 30 free entries; hybrids receive 60 free entries), the entry system will prepare and send an invoice for the additional entries via e-mail.

Make checks and/or money orders payable in U.S. funds to Columbia Scholastic Press Association.

Send all payments to:

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

CSPA does NOT currently accept credit cards.

IMPORTANT: CSPA does not require approval of your membership or immediate payment in order to submit Gold Circle entries; only that membership enrollment has been completed online.


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.


IMPORTANT: CSPA does not require approval of your membership or immediate payment in order to submit Gold Circle entries; only that membership enrollment has been completed online.