The Private Maximilianium Foundation was founded in 1852 to support specially gifted students from all walks of life and goes back to King Max II. This year, Federico Ernst, a recent graduate of Kirchsen High School, is among the scholarship recipients.
SZ: Congratulations on your achievement! What does it feel like to be one of only eight graduates enrolled in all Bavarian high schools?
Federico Ernst: Honestly, I didn’t think I would be accepted. At first I was speechless when the letter suddenly arrived in the mailbox, until I realized that I had received the best scholarship in Germany. Of course I’m very happy about it!
So what will the scholarship be like?
Like other scholarships, I don’t get any money from the foundation. The goal of Maximilianium is to enable students to lead a “peaceful” life. These include free board and lodging, support for living abroad and a one-week joint trip to Europe. People usually live in the Maximilianium in Munich, which is also the seat of the Bavarian state parliament. But since it is currently being renovated, I and the new scholarship holders will move to the Schwabing student residence.
What requirements do you have to meet to be included in the application process?
You cannot apply on your own initiative. School management requires you to be nominated to the foundation, but the first requirement is the best graduation rate – it depends on how many points you have earned in total. So a 1.0 cut automatically is not enough. There are other requirements as well, for example in the Abitu test it only allows you to score twelve points once. Otherwise it should always be 13 or more.
What else were you asked?
After the school advised me, I still had to submit some documents. The most painful was a detailed and handwritten biography on paper. I sat there for a few hours because you can’t go wrong. I was also invited to a 30-minute election interview at Maximilianium.
What was that about?
You didn’t prepare for the interview and I don’t really know what to expect. Basically, it was about getting to know me. It is also amazing that so much was said about my seminar paper. I wrote about East-West immigration to Germany.
So what are you going to do with a scholarship in your pocket?
I will start studying law at LMU this year. I’ve only planned since high school, but I think it might be right for me. I have already gotten a good idea about it from a few lawyers in my area and I am also very interested in the subject.
After all, what was your favorite subject at school?
My favorite subjects were history, math and German. Throughout history, I have found the subjects covered in high school to be particularly interesting. Honestly, math wasn’t my best subject, but I like the logic behind it. We only had one good teacher in German, so the lessons were fun. I wasn’t really the best in the school until the eighth grade, but I got better every year and I’m glad to be one of only eight high school graduates to be accepted into the foundation.