Winners in the final competition will be judged in the following manner:

  1. Scholarship: Scholarship consists of two sections: Overall Scholarship and Category Scholarship. A student’s overall GPA, difficulty of class schedule, test scores such as ACT, class ranking, etc. during school years, will be used to establish 25 points for Overall Scholarship. The other 25 points are awarded in Category Scholarship, which emphasizes the nominee’s ability and talent in their specific category. While judges will seek evidence of growth and service in all activities, the nominee’s talent and aptitude towards their category will receive particular emphasis.

  2. Leadership: The qualities of leadership in Utah high schools can be measured in part by the responsibilities placed on a student by his/her teachers and fellow students. However, evidence of positive and uplifting influence with fellow students will also be considered as an indication of leadership.

  3. Citizenship: 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 shall be considered. The nominee’s attitude toward and acceptance of responsibility in contributing 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.

Sterling Scholar programs in different areas of the state may vary due to the number of participating high schools. The smaller programs may utilize final judging only.

Three judges will work in each category. In the Southwest region, two judges will be selected from higher education faculties and one chosen by the Sterling Scholar staff from among Utah’s business and professional communities.

Judges in each category work together but independently of all other judges. There are no provisions to allocate or distribute winners or runners-up among the schools. Judges are instructed to select the most qualified in each category without regard to school affiliation.

Judging will be based on portfolios, exhibits, and personal interviews.


Formula for Judging

Judges will rate scholars on the following scale:

  • Scholarship 50 points(25 each for overall and Category Scholarship)
  • Leadership, 25 points
  • Citizenship, 25 points

View a copy of the Judges Worksheet in Word or PDF format.

To arrive at a composite score, judges will assign each scholar a rating from 0-50 on Scholarship and 0-25 each in Leadership and Citizenship, and then add the scores together.

Please note that many categories are broad in description , therefore it is very unlikely that each Sterling Scholar nominee will have experience in all areas listed within these descriptions.

While it is suggested judges use this formula, it is recommended that it be done with reason, prudence and wisdom. Total scores should not be disclosed. Finalists should not be ranked but arranged in alphabetical order. The two runners-up should be listed in alphabetical order, not according to the formula scores or rank.

Nominees’ portfolios will be available to judges several hours before interviews begin. It is recommended that judges first read the portfolios and assign preliminary scores. Following the 10-minute interviews, score sheets should be restudied and new values assigned. In this respect, each judge should work independently, but the selection of finalists, runners-up or winners is made as a panel of judges. Judges must not allow ties, co-winners, or additional finalists.

Supplies will be made available to judges for implementing the above formula. Judging sheets, scores and notes SHOULD NOT be disclosed to anyone at any time. All paperwork listing scores for individual scholars should be destroyed and results of competition should remain confidential until official announcements are made.