START and COMPASS OF STUDIES – leading the way to university

Talent and motivation should be able to unfold regardless of social background and status. Current studies show, however, that young people from non-academic environments as well as children and teenagers with an immigrant background are often disadvantaged. Few pursue a university education. But it is precisely the diversity of different cultures and talents that enriches society. START and COMPASS OF STUDIES focus on these people. The support programs intrigue and stimulate young people and create new opportunities for them to pursue a higher level of education.

COMPASS OF STUDIES paves the way to a university education
Warm-up exercise for the Studies Navigator workshop
© COMPASS OF STUDIES / Anne Clausing

COMPASS OF STUDIES paves the way to a university education

High school and then what? After finishing school, many young people face the difficult question of what to do in the future. Many struggle deciding whether to pursue a university education or vocational training and wonder about support with their studies or training. COMPASS OF STUDIES helps young people plan their futures and shows them a wealth of opportunities that can lead to a university education.

Young people from non-academic environments often lack sufficient confidence to pursue a university education in spite of their diverse interests and abilities or they are uncertain about financing their studies. The COMPASS OF STUDIES initiative accompanies participants over a three-year period on their path to a university degree. The individual support and encouragement to pursue a higher level of education begins during their last two years of high school. Once admitted to university, the young adults continue to receive support during the first two semesters to ensure their successful start in the academic world.

COMPASS OF STUDIES, which was initiated in 2007 by the Deutsche Bank Foundation together with Foundation of German Business (Stiftung der deutschen Wirtschaft) and the Accenture Foundation, is one of Germany’s largest educational programs. In 2014, about 1,600 school children and young people will participate in the program in 30 locations. More than 1,000 young people have already benefitted from it.

More than 1,000 teenagers

have benefitted from the COMPASS OF STUDIES

95% of all START scholars

graduate from high school

“START has strengthened my trust in myself and made me more open to others. Since I’ve been in START, I tackle things with much more enthusiasm and motivation. START has shown me what a person can achieve with support.”

Anna Edamus

START – all clear for high school

Understanding immigration as an opportunity. For more than 10 years, START has been implementing this idea by supporting committed, high-performing school students with an immigrant background. START gives them the opportunity to develop their talents and potential over a period that extends from eighth grade through high school. The program, initiated by the nonprofit Hertie Foundation in 2002, has been further expanded in collaboration with Deutsche Bank and other partners. In the 2014/15 school year, START welcomed 150 new scholars from across Germany. In addition to a monthly book allowance and their own Internet-enabled computer, they benefit from the ideal individual support. They also participate in educational programs and workshops and can engage in regional events.
A highly attractive offer from the Deutsche Bank Foundation is opernSTART, a two-day workshop that takes place in a renowned theater or opera. The project, which is organized by the alumni and scholars of the “Academy Opera Today,” offers youth a look inside the world of opera.


START support diversity and engagement, for example through an exciting academy program.
© START-Stiftung / Jessica Schäfer

Im START-Seminar persönliche Stärken erkennen

Discovering personal strengths: START scholars learn how to use their personal potential.
© START-Stiftung / Dieter Roosen


START scholars look behind the scenes of famous theater and opera houses.
© Deutsche Bank Stiftung / Insa Hagemann

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