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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Associated Collegiate Press?
ACP is the oldest and largest national membership organization for college student journalists. Since 1921, we've offered our members resources to help their publications - newspapers, yearbooks, magazines, broadcast programs, and online publications - improve. More than 20,000 students are staffers at ACP member publications. Read more about the benefits of membership in ACP.

What is the relationship between ACP and NSPA?
ACP operates as a division of the National Scholastic Press Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides many of the same benefits of membership to high school publications as ACP does for colleges. ACP was formed as a separate division of NSPA in 1933. A single staff and board of directors does the work of both organizations.

Membership:

How does one become a member of ACP?
ACP memberships are by publication, not by school or adviser. To become a member, fill out the membership form (download PDF) and send it to us along with your payment. We happily accept purchase orders, checks and Visa/MasterCard.

What are the benefits of membership in ACP?
Members earn reduced rates at our conventions, eligibility to enter our contests, copies of useful publications, access to educational resources, and more. A full list of membership benefits is available here.

When will I receive my membership packet?
Membership packets are sent out once a month by our staff and are not sent until payment is received for membership, so you should receive your packet within 2-4 weeks of paying for a new membership.

I want more of the press cards/badges that came with my membership packet. Can I order more?
ACP press badgeholders available to order from our publications store.

How can I find out if my publication is a member of ACP, or when our membership expires?
You can check whether your publication is a member or when your membership expires using our online membership search. You can also use the membership search to find other ACP members in your region or find links (if available) to member publications' websites.

I want to join/renew for the upcoming school year (e.g. 2006-07), but the membership form on the ACP website has the previous school year (e.g. 2005-06) printed on it. Can I still use it?
Yes. Forms for the new school year come out in August each year. Memberships are always extended one year from the date we receive it or the current expiration date - whichever is later - regardless of the years printed on the form. Once a new form is available, please use it - the requested information or costs may change from year to year.

I don't wish to be a member of ACP at this time, but can I still be on your mailing list?
We send our mailings to members, recent members and, if applicable, past contest entrants and past convention attendees from the area of the convention being promoted. Our website is updated frequently - you can always find the latest information there (look for Form Central in the right column), often before it is available in print or by mail.

ACP's membership rates are based on school enrollment. What does that mean?
School enrollment refers to the total number of undergrad and graduate students who attend the school your publication represents.

My school isn't in the United States, but we produce student publications in English. Can I still become a member?
Certainly.

Contests/Critiques:

How can I enter ACP's contests?
ACP's contests are free and open to all current members. If your publication has never been a member or its membership has expired as of the contest deadline, you will be alerted that your entry will not be judged unless payment for membership is received. For current contest information and entry forms, see the contests page of our site. When submitting your entry, read the instructions carefully and be sure to include the required entry forms, other materials and payment, if necessary. Because there are limits on the number of entries in individual contests, ACP recommends deciding as a staff which students' works should be entered for the year.

Can I enter my school's news, feature, or specialty magazine in the Magazine Pacemaker contest?
Yes, the Magazine Pacemaker contest is open to feature, literary arts, or general audience magazines. The publication must have its own membership in ACP.

I'm submitting my publication for critique and I want to make sure the judge knows about our special circumstances, or that a particular problem/defect was caused by circumstances beyond our control. How can I do that?
You or a member of your staff is welcome to include a letter describing your special circumstances to make the judge aware of these issues. Include the letter along with your critique entry.

I submitted my critique on (any date). Where is it?
If you received a confirmation email that your critique entry was received, it is in the process of being evaluated. Critiques first wait at our office until a judge becomes available, then are shipped to the judge, and then shipped back to our office for review. This process usually takes between 10-16 weeks. If you didn't receive the confirmation email or it has been longer than the time indicated, contact our critique coordinator.

I entered one of your contests. How will I know if we've won?
ACP makes the results of contests available as soon as possible by posting them on our website immediately once they are announced. When Pacemaker finalists are announced, all contest entrants will receive an email with a link to the results on our website, and letters are sent to the finalists and winners. Convention Best of Show results and other awards announced at conventions are usually available from our website within hours of the close of the award ceremony.

If I entered a contest and didn't win, how can I be sure my entry was received?
ACP sends confirmation emails as soon as contest entries are processed. If you received the email, your publication was entered. Also, notification of the contest results being posted to our website is emailed to all those who entered the contest. If you do not receive these emails, contact us.

Who judges ACP's contests?
Judges are journalists or other professionals with media-related job experience and knowledge, sometimes from news organizations that co-sponsor a competition. They review the entries and decide the winners independently of ACP. Staff members of ACP provide general written guidelines to judges, but they do not have any other input or influence in the judging process.

I saw the entry forms (or results) from the Newspaper Pacemaker contests recently - where are the forms/results for yearbooks and magazines (or vice versa)?
The Pacemaker contest happens at different times of year for different media, so forms may not yet be available for your publication. Entries for Newspaper Pacemaker, Magazine Pacemaker and all individual, non-Pacemaker contests are accepted in the spring. Yearbooks and online publications enter the Pacemaker in the winter. All awards are announced at the fall National College Media Convention in late October or early November, but winter contest finalists are typically announced before the end of the school year, while spring contest finalists are announced near the beginning of the next academic year, about two months before the convention. Any forms currently available will be accessible under the Form Central heading in the right column of ACP's website pages.

I've won an award from ACP and I won't be at the convention to collect it. What will happen to my award certificate/plaque/trophy?
We will ship any unclaimed awards to the school within a few weeks of the end of the convention, but not in advance of it.

I want to find out if my publication won a Pacemaker award in a year before 1993 or 1995, and it isn't on your website. Can I find out?
Probably. Ask us - our database has Pacemaker information going back to 1960. Information about individual contest winners is not as readily available but can be researched if we are given enough lead time.

Conventions:

When can I get information about (any convention)?
A full registration booklet or brochure (with all the necessary forms) is mailed to members and past attendees about 2-3 months before each convention. For our fall national convention (held in conjunction with College Media Advisers), a smaller promotional brochure with hotel reservation forms is made available about six months in advance of the convention. You can always find these brochures on our website in PDF format, either on our conventions page or in the Form Central section in the right column of any ACP Web page. If you are unable to download the PDF files, contact us and we will mail you a copy of the brochure you are looking for. If the brochure is not yet available on our website, however, then we will not yet have printed copies available either.

Can I still register online even if I don't intend to pay with a credit card?
Absolutely. If you need to pay with a purchase order, just mail or fax the purchase order with a copy of the confirmation printed from your browser when your online registration was completed. If you wish to pay with a check, mail the check with a copy of your confirmation. The online registration form asks for check and purchase order numbers in the Payment section; if you don't yet have this information, select the Payment In Progress option, keeping in mind that the registrant, by completing the form, is responsible for full and prompt payment of all registration fees.

Can I still register online if my registration (and payment) needs to go through our business office?
The most common cause of registrations not being received by ACP in time for the convention is that they are sent directly to the school's accounting department for processing rather than directly to ACP. By registering online first, then forwarding the email confirmation (which contains a link to an online version of the registration confirmation) to your school's accounting department for processing and payment, you can bypass the administrative red tape and be sure we have your information in time to print namebadges and other registration materials for your group. Registering online is always the best way to ensure a trouble-free registration and check-in process. For recent conventions, about 85-90 percent of pre-registered delegates have been registered online.

How can I find a complete schedule for (any upcoming convention) with detailed session descriptions, times and locations?
About 1-3 weeks before most conventions, a complete program will be available for download from our website. If it's important that you obtain documentation of what an upcoming convention will be like (for your administration or business office, for example), contact us and we may be able to provide a PDF of a previous year's convention program that you might find useful, keeping in mind that all convention content is subject to change from one year to the next.

How can I be considered to speak or present a session at one of your conventions?
If you're interested in speaking or presenting at the fall National College Media Convention, contact College Media Advisers, which accepts speaker proposals for those conventions. To be considered as a speaker at our annual summer journalism workshops or other ACP conventions, contact us.

How can I arrange for an exhibit booth or find out about other opportunities to promote our product or service at one of your conventions?
ACP has several opportunities for sponsorship, exhibiting or advertising in conjunction with our conventions, which are among the largest gatherings of student journalists and publication advisers anywhere in the world. Visit our sponsorship page for more details.

Miscellaneous:

I need to talk to someone about a censorship, copyright, or other legal question for my publication.
We refer our members in need of legal advice to the Student Press Law Center. They provide information, advice, and legal advocacy for students and educators at no charge. We also have available here on our website a collection of "It's the Law" columns written for ACP by Mike Hiestand, legal consultant to the Student Press Law Center.

Will the press cards/badges included in my ACP membership packet get me special access to sports events, concerts, crime scenes, etc.?
The badges serve to clearly identify you as a member of the working press (as well as a staffer for an ACP member publication), but they do not grant you any greater degree of access than you would otherwise have as a member of the press.

I'm looking for a list of (or information about) all the college newspapers/yearbooks/publication editors/advisers in the United States. Can you help me?
Sorry, we don't research or keep statistics about all scholastic publications, only about our members, which is a fraction of all school publications in existence. If you are looking for a list of college publications, the Editor & Publisher International Year Book media directory contains a section covering college newspapers that may be helpful.

I'd like my staff to have examples of other student publications. Can you help me find some?

Our website offers ACP View: examples of recent work by member publications including design and photography. Visit often to find new examples of work by high school students across the country.

Most of our contests have galleries of the winning entries available on pages listing results of ACP's contests.

Also, all member publications receive a copy of our annual publication, The Pacemaker, which showcases top-quality work from publications across the country.

Can you help me distribute a press release about (any topic) to college newspapers all over the country?
No, but there are organizations listed in our Sourcebook that can help you. Look in the category "Student Press Syndicates, Publishers and Web Hosts."

How can I place an ad in student publications all across the country?
You can contact the organizations listed on the Advertising Placement page of our Sourcebook for help with this.

I'm looking for an extra copy of the 1974 (or any year) yearbook from Anytown High School/University, Anytown, USA. Can you sell me one?
No, we do not sell or publish yearbooks, and of the yearbooks we receive from our members for contests and critiques, we do not save any of them beyond one year (aside from contest winners, which we do not sell). Yearbook publishing companies also do not keep extra copies for sale of the books they print. We suggest you contact the school or search eBay or Google for companies on the Internet who specialize in this.

I'm looking for a price quote to have my yearbook or newspaper published by your company. Can you help me?
We are not a publishing company, but the Printers, Publishers & Photographers page of our Sourcebook offers many that would be interested in helping you.

I'm looking for a copy of (any textbook). Can I order one from you?
The few publications we publish and sell are available on our Store page. If you can't find what you're looking for there, you probably have us confused with another company.

I would like to get my book or writings published or reviewed. Can you help me?
No, we are not a publishing company and have no outlet for unsolicited writing submissions. We also do not publish book reviews in any form.

I'm looking for information about the Associated Press wire service.
ACP is not affiliated with the Associated Press wire service. You can find more information about AP at their website: http://www.ap.org.

I would like to be able to purchase a one-time selection of news/entertainment photos to run in the current events/year-in-review section of our yearbook. Do you know where I can find such a package?
MCT Campus offers special pricing for high school and college yearbooks that use its content subscription service. For more details, visit http://www.mctcampus.com/yearbooks.

Any other questions? Contact us.

Form Central

The latest forms and brochures in PDF format (requires Adobe Reader):

Contest Deadlines

Yearbook Pacemaker - Jan. 15, 2014

Online Pacemaker - Feb. 14, 2014

Newspaper Pacemaker - June 6, 2014

Magazine Pacemaker - June 6, 2014

Individual Awards (Story / Photo / Design / Reporter / Advertising / Cartooning) - June 6, 2014

ACP Contests/Critiques...

Upcoming Conventions

ACP Best of the Midwest College Newspaper Convention - Feb. 7-9, 2014, Minneapolis

ACP Midwinter National College Journalism Convention (Media+) - Feb. 27-Mar. 4, 2014, San Diego

ACP Summer Journalism Workshops - July, 2014, Minneapolis

ACP Conventions...