Frequently Asked Questions



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 and send it to us along with your payment. We happily accept purchase orders, checks and Visa/MasterCard. You can also register for a membership online.

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 badges are 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.

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?


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 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.


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.


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 on our events 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?
Yes. 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.