Malia Obama is going to Harvard – but not right away President Barack Obama jokes with his daughter Malia Obama as they walk to board Air Force One from the Marine One helicopter Thursday, April 7, 2016, leaving Chicago en route to Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin/Susan Walsh)
Malia Obama is going to Harvard – but not right away
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President Barack Obama's daughter Malia will take a year off after graduating high school in June. Then she will attend Harvard University in 2017, the president and his wife said.
 
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 that student a degree.
 
Malia is the older of the Obamas' two daughters and is a 17-year-old senior at Sidwell Friends. It is an exclusive private school in the District of Columbia. The school also helped educate another first daughter, Chelsea Clinton, in the 1990s. Malia's younger sister, Sasha, 14, is a freshman at Sidwell. Malia is set to graduate high school in June. She turns 18 on the Fourth of July.
 
Obama has spoken publicly about dreading the day when Malia leaves for college. The decision for Malia to take a gap year could keep her closer to home as her family prepares for another major transition next year. They will leave the White House and return to normal 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.
 
The first lady has said Malia wants to be a filmmaker. Malia spent last summer in New York City. She was an intern on the set of HBO's "Girls," starring Lena Dunham. She spent the summer of 2014 in California. There, she worked as a production assistant on "Extant," a now-canceled CBS 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. He said 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. The president has spoken of his desire to be there for his kids. The bond between Obama and his children was readily apparent. He often has been 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.
 
"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.
 
The president is a 1983 graduate of Columbia University. Mrs. Obama graduated from Princeton in 1985. The president and first lady earned law degrees at Harvard.
 
Malia also checked out the University of California, Berkeley; Stanford; New York University; the University of Pennsylvania; Barnard; Tufts; Brown; Yale and Wesleyan.
 
She appears to have disregarded her parents' advice. The president and first lady have said college-bound students shouldn't limit themselves to just a handful of elite schools.
 
"The one thing I've been telling my daughters is that I don't want them to choose a name," Mrs. Obama said in an 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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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How might Malia spend her “gap” year?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (78)
  • ravend-bag
    5/03/2016 - 07:25 p.m.

    She will spend it with her family having as much time as they can until she lives. I felt sad for Barack Obama and he sounded so emotional. I never knew that it was that emotional, be put someday I will learn that is hard to let a child go, and think of Barack Obama.

  • ben0424-yyca-byo
    5/03/2016 - 08:22 p.m.

    Harvard is an amazing school. It has many famous alumni, and now Malia Obama is going to be one of them. Her parents both went there also, which might have been one reason she chose the school. It is interesting also that colleges give defer years. I probably would take it, if I was granted one, but it seems strange. Harvard is a great choice, and I am glad that Harvard will be getting another famous alumni.
    Critical Thinking Question Answer: Malia might spend her gap year settling in with her family and maybe going to other programs.

  • kayleeu-2-bar
    5/03/2016 - 09:16 p.m.

    Malia might spend her gap year doing film work,which is one of her passions. I think this because it was stated that,"She was an intern on the set of HBO's "Girls," starring Lena Dunham. She spent the summer of 2014 in California. There, she worked as a production assistant on "Extant," a now-canceled CBS sci-fi drama that starred Halle Berry." Since she spent so much time and effort in the summer with film, she might take that up in her gap year. Also like many other gap year people, she might take "one year to travel," or "spend time in another meaningful way."
    My opinion on this story is that I did not know that Obama's daughters were so old. Also Malia was born the same day as me!

  • simonak-3-bar
    5/03/2016 - 10:55 p.m.

    Malia might spend her "gap" year getting closer to her parents. In the text it states that after Obama will step-down as president, they will stay in Washington for a few more years. This means that Malia will be able to spend more time with her family.
    My opinion on this article is that it is not very interesting.

  • aliag-tar
    5/04/2016 - 09:19 a.m.

    I think she will spend her gap year at home with her family, so she extra time with her family before she leaves for collage again.

  • adrianal-tar
    5/04/2016 - 09:22 a.m.

    I think she will spend her gap year spending time with her family before she leaves.

  • 22pecarl-
    5/04/2016 - 09:31 a.m.

    Malia is a very pretty young woman and I think she is ready for college and she should go as soon as possible. President Obama is just not ready to let her go. I understand he is her father and his father wasn't there for him when he was a child and he doesn't want his kids to feel like he is not there for them because he is. He is always seen with his daughters because he loves them.

  • briannas-tar
    5/04/2016 - 10:18 a.m.

    What made you think about writing about this topic?

  • pipern-2-bar
    5/04/2016 - 04:11 p.m.

    Malia might spend her gap year closer to home and her family.It can also prepare her for a major transition next year."Obama has spoken publicly about dreading the day when Malia leaves for college. The decision for Malia to take a gap year could keep her closer to home as her family prepares for another major transition next year."(Paragraph 4) I like this article because I like Obama and I'm happy that his daughter has a good future in her hands.Harvard is one of the hardest schools to get into and the acceptance rate is 7.5%.

  • virginiam-2-bar
    5/04/2016 - 06:14 p.m.

    I think Malia Obama will spend her gap year with her family. This year will be the first year is 8 years that that her dad will not be president and her mom won't be First Lady, so she may want to spend this time with her family, considering they will no longer be so busy.

    I think it is a good idea to take a gap year between college and high school. It will give u time to think about what u want to major in in college and give you a break from school for a little while

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