Sterling Scholar Awards logo

Eligibility, Qualifications & General Measurement

The Sterling Scholar Awards are open to Utah High school seniors. Each school may nominate only one student in each of the fifteen categories. However, the school is not required to make an entry in every category to participate. A student may be nominated in only one category. PLEASE NOTE: the selection process and nomination of students is left to each high school, but the students must meet the Sterling Scholar Standards.

  • Sterling Scholar officials consider a high school senior if he/she will be graduating with the senior class at the end of the current school year.
  • High school seniors who attend college classes full or part-time or are classified as foreign exchange students are eligible for the Sterling Scholar Awards. However, the program is designed to recognize scholastic achievement in Utah public high schools.
  • To be selected as a Sterling Scholar nominee; students must have extraordinary scholarship scores as well as service in leadership and citizenship opportunities at their Utah public high school. It is up to each high school to determine if an individual has been in attendance enough to experience these leadership and citizenship opportunities.

Selection of winners and runner-ups will be made on the basis of Scholarship, Leadership, and Citizenship as demonstrated through activities and interests in an area of high school education characterized by one of the program categories.

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.

The general measurement will be defined and applied in this manner:

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.

· ACT score of 17 or above (if a student does not have a 17 or above they will not be considered for the Sterling Scholar program)

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) 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.


*SPECIAL NOTE: It is the intent of the sponsors that the above Sterling Scholar Awards judging criteria be based on high school and community experiences from the 9th through 12th grades. For this reason, no specific requirement—such as preparation of assignments or special art projects—is required. The sponsors wish to reward students for scholastic excellence over the course of their high school years—not for a special effort directed specifically toward the Sterling Scholar program.