Succeeding as a Judge

Our program is in need of top-notch judges to help with our process. It is serious work, so we want students to have a good experience no matter the outcome. Become a Sterling Scholar judge today!


How to Be a Sterling Scholar Judge

Before the Interview

Sterling Scholar nominees are serious about their work. They put a great deal of time, energy, and care into their portfolio, which is a summary of their hard work in their category throughout their school career. We therefore want them to have a positive and successful experience no matter what the outcome.

To this end, we hope that you will take the time to carefully read each students’ portfolio. You will have two weeks to review their portfolios online before the actual interview so please do not quickly score their portfolios the night before. Give yourself time to fairly assess each student. It does not take special expertise to become an effective judge. It does, however, take energy and care as well as a positive and supportive outlook. It takes a willingness to “fine tune” your critical listening skills and apply them to the setting. We know that you will enjoy meeting these talented and motivated students who are the future leaders of our society. You can help prepare them to assume these leadership roles by helping them improve their communication skills. We are grateful to you for your time.

Interview Day

The day of the interview, you will be greeted at your assigned high school by Sterling Scholar representatives and be given a name tag. You will then be guided to the interview room (a high school classroom). Because of the high amount of students being interviewed, you only have 10 minutes to interview each student. Ten minutes pass quickly so it is helpful to determine early on how you will best use this time. It is sometimes advantageous to identify a judge who will lead the interview. This means the judge will open the door and greet the scholar, will briefly introduce each judge and then open with the first question. The “leaders” can rotate between each interview but identifying a leader cuts down possible time wasted.

The questions below are purely optional and we strongly encourage you to ask questions specific to the student’s unique portfolio, however, these questions can sometimes help break the ice.

  • Why do you want to be a Sterling Scholar?
  • What kind of things would you like to accomplish in your life?
  • Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
  • What is your proudest moment?
  • Tell us about a time you served others or performed community service.
  • How do you think your involvement in this category will enrich your life?
  • Specific questions on their area of emphasis e.g. say something in your language, explain your painting etc.

During the Interview

We require that each judge bring a laptop or iPad so that you can refer to the scholar’s portfolio during the interview. You will receive a wireless password so that you can access the internet at all times. You may also enter in the interview scores and even change the portfolio scores at any time before the close of the day. Every time you refresh the score page, you will notice that your score entries and those of the other judges next to you can quickly change the standing of the nominees.

After the Interview

At the end of the interview day, you will be asked to write down the names of the top five students and then you will all sign that paper and give it to the Sterling Scholar representatives. You will also be asked to turn in any papers you wrote on during the interview process.

Want to Be a Judge?

We value your inquiries and concerns about the Sterling Scholar program. Whether you're a student eager to participate, a parent with questions, or simply someone intrigued by our program, we welcome your inquiries. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us and share your thoughts, concerns, or suggestions. We look forward to hearing from you soon!