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Malia Obama to take gap year before entering Harvard in 2017

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    The White House announced Sunday, May 1, 2016, that Malia Obama will take a year off after high school and attend Harvard University in 2017.

WASHINGTON >> President Barack Obama’s daughter Malia will take a year off after graduating high school in June before enrolling at Harvard University in 2017, a year later than had been widely expected, the president and his wife said in a long-awaited announcement Sunday.

Harvard encourages admitted students to defer for one year to travel, pursue a special project or activity, work or spend time in another meaningful way. The student must not enroll in a program at another college that would grant the student a degree.

Malia, who turns 18 in July, is the elder of the Obamas’ two daughters. She is a senior at the exclusive Sidwell Friends school in the District of Columbia, which claims another first daughter, Chelsea Clinton, among its alumni.

Malia is set to graduate high school in June. Her sister, Sasha, 14, is a freshman at Sidwell.

Obama has talked about dreading the day when Malia leaves for college. Her decision to take a gap year could keep her closer to home as her family prepares for the major transition coming next year: leaving the White House and returning to private life. Obama plans to live in Washington for a few more years so Sasha can finish high school. The president and his wife, Michelle, still own a home in Chicago.

Gap years are more common in Europe and Australia than in the U.S., according to the Portland, Oregon-based American Gap Association. But a growing number of gap year programs suggest increasing popularity in the U.S.

“It’s definitely gaining momentum,” said Ethan Knight, the association’s executive director, citing increased interest from high school students. “Students go to college more satisfied and engaged, and universities often see these students become leaders on campus.”

The first lady has said Malia wants to be a filmmaker. She has interned on the set of HBO’s “Girls” and on a now-canceled network TV sci-fi drama that starred Halle Berry. Malia has also had internships at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington.

The president turned down an invitation to speak at Malia’s Sidwell graduation, saying he would be too emotional.

“I’m going to be sitting there with dark glasses, sobbing,” he told Ellen DeGeneres during an appearance on her talk show.

Obama grew up without his father, who was born in Kenya and is now deceased, and has spoken of his desire to be there for his kids. The bond between Obama and his children was readily apparent, as he often was seen holding hands with either daughter getting on or off the presidential aircraft or on the family’s walks through Lafayette Park to attend services at St. John’s Episcopal Church across from the White House.

Malia joined her father earlier this month on a three-day trip that started at the University of Chicago Law School, where he once taught constitutional law, to discuss his stalled nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court. From Chicago, they flew to Los Angeles and San Francisco, where the president attended fundraisers and played golf.

“Both of my daughters are wonderful people. Malia’s more than ready to leave but I’m not ready for her to leave,” Obama told DeGeneres. “She’s one of my best friends. It’s going to be hard for me not to have her around all the time, but she’s ready to go. She’s just a really smart, capable person, and she’s ready to make her own way.”

Malia visited at least a dozen public and private colleges during her search, mostly on the East Coast, except for Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley. Six of the eight Ivy League schools were among them, including Harvard, where her parents earned law degrees.

The president is a 1983 graduate of Columbia University, and Mrs. Obama graduated from Princeton in 1985.

By choosing Harvard, Malia seems to have disregarded her parents’ advice. Harvard confirmed Malia’s acceptance.

“The one thing I’ve been telling my daughters is that I don’t want them to choose a name,” Mrs. Obama said in a recent interview with Seventeen magazine. “I don’t want them to think, ‘Oh I should go to these top schools.’ We live in a country where there are thousands of amazing universities. So, the question is: What’s going to work for you?”

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  • She should work in a restaurant, so she can learn about tips. It really helped me in later life. It’ll also help her to learn about regular people.

      • Agree. SA prefers to post these type of stories instead of the continuous out of control theft, graft, corruption and incompetence in Hawaii. How about a follow up article of the pictures of all of the HART officials and demand all emails and communications through the freedeom of information act exactly all those who smothered the HECO powerline setback requirements and howmthat connects back to Kirk amd Grabby and anyone else. They knew about the proble, and they purposely hid this story from the public until the spent hundreds of millions more of taxpayer dollars before releasing the information when they could not hid anymore. HECO and Lau could have also siad something publicly much sooner but they too remained quiet. No skin off HECO’s nose as all of the power relocation work means HECO makes even MORE money from taxpayers and why the true cost will,be closer to $10 BILLION. Also the next foot to drop and HECO continues to remain silent is HECO has to build an entirely new fossil fuel generator to power the train bu they also are remaining silemt on at one as well. So instead SA decides to post this detailed atory about how Obma’s is taking a break from acceptance to Harvard. The daughter say she is interested in filmaking yet Harvard is NOT the premiere school for filmmaking rather some college in California that are backed by heavy hitters in the film industry like Spielberg or Luas.

  • What’s wrong with UH Manoa? Other than a shortage of soap for the showers, it’s a world-class institution of higher ed!

  • How many here actally believes she’s smart enough to qualify to attend Harvard ???
    If so… there’s a bridge in San Francisco for sale.

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