Succeeding as a Student

Embark on a journey to gain access to invaluable resources, mentorship, and a supportive community of like-minded peers. Being a Sterling Scholar instills a lifelong passion for learning and a commitment to excellence.


Become a Sterling Scholar

How it Works

Nomination Process

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 2014.


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.

Ultimately, selecting nominees is the responsibility of the school principal and not the Deseret News or KSL Broadcast Group. No specific method of selection is required, although the process outlined below provides an excellent opportunity to encourage scholarship. Accordingly, the opportunity to apply to the Sterling Scholar program should be open to as many nominees as possible.

For High School Coordinators

The Following Procedure is Encouraged to Determine Each School’s Sterling Scholar:

*PLEASE NOTE: The Deseret News and the KSL Broadcast Group do NOT take part in the selection of nominees. All questions must be directed to the school and NOT the Deseret News or KSL Broadcast Group. All inquiries must be handled by the school coordinator, principal or assistant principal, who is responsible for contacting the Sterling Scholar director for clarification (this includes parents, nominees, teachers, etc.).

How to Build a Portfolio

Preparing & Submitting

When a nominee has been entered into the system by the coordinator he/she will receive an email with their login information along with a temporary password (their individual email address is their unique User ID). The first portion of their portfolio contains their “Personal Information”, school transcripts and college entrance exam scores which have been entered by the school’s Sterling Scholar Coordinator.

Each nominee will begin preparing their portfolio with the upload of their “Letter of Recommendation”. For the remainder of your portfolio the acceptable file formats are .PDF, .TXT, .RTF, .JPG, .TIF, WAV, WMA, .MP4, .ACC, .MP3 and .MPG. External links to YouTube, Vimeo or other video sharing sites are the preferred path for videos. The nominee will have an opportunity to upload a supporting document within each section and more at the end of the portfolio.

Everything You Will Need

  • Letter of Recommendation: A letter of recommendation by any teacher/instructor should include the teacher’s assessment of the individual with specific reasons for the recommendation plus examples of evidence as to why “This is an outstanding nominee,” etc.
  • Category Scholarship Activities: The nominee will have the opportunity to list six different Category Scholarship Activities using 20 words or less.
  • Category Scholarship Activity Description: Choosing one of the above listed activities, the nominee will write in detail about that activity (in 500 words or less). They will also be able to upload a supporting document (e.g., a pdf of the actual award, a picture of nominee receiving award, or an external link to a video of the activity itself highlighting the nominee’s participation).
  • Leadership Activities and Community Service/Citizenship: The previous two screens will be duplicated for these two section list/essay requirements.
  • Unique Qualities (list & essay): Please describe two or three unique things about yourself while relating them to your competition category. The nominee should take this opportunity to relate the challenges they have had to overcome and describe any distinctive experiences they may have had and how they affected them.
  • Life Enrichment (essay): How do you think your involvement in this category will enrich your life? Attachments: This section of the portfolio is for the nominee to include examples of their work within their category.
  • Note: Each essay section will allow only 500 words maximum so it is recommended that the essay be written in Word®, making sure of the word count, and then copied to the essay screen.

Final Preparations

Upon completion of the portfolio each nominee will submit their completed document to their Sterling Scholar Coordinator. The program will ask the nominee to print out the portfolio. This is the nominee’s opportunity to make a hardcopy of their electronic portfolio. Uploaded documents and pictures will be embedded within the portfolio pdf. Any external links for video or audio files will be included as hyperlinks. The coordinator will be notified of the submission. It is recommended that the coordinator meet with the nominee to review the portfolio. If changes are suggested the coordinator may re-open the portfolio for the nominee to make those adjustments. The nominee will then, again, resubmit their portfolio.

When all portfolios have been completed and certified the Sterling Scholar Coordinator will submit them to the Deseret News/KSL Broadcast Group Sterling Scholar Award Program. Once that procedure has been done neither the nominee nor the coordinator will have access to the portfolios. Only the Sterling Scholar Director will be able to release the portfolios.

At some point after the award ceremony, all portfolios and judging documents will be deleted from the Sterling Scholar Award Program servers and documents will be unrecoverable. Coordinators will be notified of this date 10 days before the actual deletion so that Sterling Scholars may have the opportunity to print out their portfolio if they have not previously done so.

Sterling Scholar Benefits

Most colleges and universities in Utah offer financial assistance to top nominees in the Deseret News/KSL Broadcast Group Sterling Scholar Awards Program. Some are offered to winners only while other institutions may offer scholarships also to runners-up, and even others offer to finalists or even nominees in the program. Several are renewable based on the nominee’s grade point average. The following are participating educational institutions and their financial assistance for 2023 Sterling Scholars.

Note: Awards are listed as described by the institutions. Exact amounts are not included due to some changes in fee structures. Application must be made immediately; good for the 2018-2019 school year.

Sign the Release Form

We are excited to invite you to take the next step in your academic journey by applying to become a Sterling Scholar! This prestigious program offers you the opportunity to showcase your talents and accomplishments in various categories, from academics to the arts. To apply, we kindly request that you sign the release form provided, granting us permission to consider your achievements for this esteemed scholarship.