Sterling Scholar

Sterling Scholar Qualifications & Judging

Applying  |  Descriptions  |  Qualifications  |  Deadlines

Who is Eligible?

The Sterling Scholar Awards are open to Utah public high school seniors. It is expected that each school will nominate one candidate in any of the 14 categories. Each school may nominate only one nominee in each of the 14 categories and a nominee may be nominated in only one category. The selection process and nomination of nominees as Sterling Scholar nominees is left entirely up to each high school. Sterling Scholar officials consider a nominee a high school senior if he/she will be graduating with the senior class during the year 2020.

High school seniors who attend college classes full or part-time or are classified as foreign exchange nominees are eligible for the Sterling Scholar Awards. However, the program is designed to recognize scholastic achievement in Utah public high schools. To be selected a Sterling Scholar nominee students must have extraordinary scholarship scores as well as service in leadership and community service/citizenship opportunities at their Utah public high school. It is up to each school to determine if an individual has been in attendance enough to experience these leadership and community service/citizenship opportunities. Each Sterling Scholar nominee’s entire school experience will be considered, although emphasis will be placed on the high school years. High school officials are urged to nominate scholars for categories in which the nominees are genuinely interested and qualified.

Judging & Qualifications

Each nominee will be required to submit a portfolio containing entry forms, a 3X5-inch photo, category-based showpiece items and other information. (Please see “Guidelines for Preparing Portfolios”). Judging will be based on portfolios, exhibits and personal interviews that demonstrate excellence in the following areas:

  • SCHOLARSHIP (20 points). A nominee’s overall GPA, difficulty of class schedule, standardized test scores such as ACT and SAT, class ranking and similar scholarship items attained during high school will be used to establish points for Scholarship.

  • CATEGORY SCHOLARSHIP (20 points). Emphasis is placed on the nominee’s ability and talent in their specific category. While judges seek evidence of growth and service in all activities, the nominee’s talent and aptitude within their category will receive particular emphasis in this judging phase.

  • LEADERSHIP (20 points). The qualities of leadership in Utah public high schools can be measured in part by the responsibilities placed on a nominee by his/her teachers and fellow nominees. However, evidence of positive influence with fellow nominees also shall be considered an indication of leadership.

  • COMMUNITY SERVICE/CITIZENSHIP (20 points). Each Sterling Scholar nominee should exhibit a record of high standards of citizenship throughout his/her high school years. Service to school, community or other organizations will be considered. The nominee’s attitude toward the acceptance of responsibility in contribution roles, as well as seeking out service opportunities will be especially important. Evidence of a long-term commitment to service will also receive particular attention.

  • INTERVIEW (20 points). Semifinalist and Finalist Judging. During the interview judges will evaluate the nominee’s ability to answer questions pertaining to their category. Body language, technical knowledge, communication skills, and plans for continued education in the category will all be included in the Interview point assessment.