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 before attending 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, the older of the Obamas' two daughters, is a 17-year-old senior at Sidwell Friends. It is an exclusive private school in the District of Columbia that 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 interning on the set of HBO's "Girls," starring Lena Dunham. She spent the summer of 2014 in California working 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, and 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, and 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 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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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How might Malia spend her “gap” year?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (24)
  • ryleighr-ter
    5/06/2016 - 02:44 p.m.

    Harvard is such an elite school and I've dreamed of attending since the third grade. It's really cool knowing that such important people go to schools like that too.

  • victoriak-ver
    5/07/2016 - 09:52 p.m.

    Malia might spend her "gap" year by doing projects, gain inspiration, or visiting other countries.

  • owenm-har
    5/09/2016 - 08:33 a.m.

    Malia might spend her "gap" year spending time with her mother and father, and even her sisters. Malia might spend her Summer in the streets of Washington with friends and family. Then I think Malia might study subjects she'll need to know before she goes back to school in 2017.

  • alexanderc-6-bar
    5/09/2016 - 06:57 p.m.

    Malia might spend her "gap" year interning at other film sets. In the middle of the article, it states,"Malia spent last summer in New York City interning on the set of HBO's 'Girls,' starring Lena Dunham. She spent the summer of 2014 in California working as a production assistant on 'Extant,' a now-canceled CBS sci-fi drama that starred Halle Berry" (paragraph 5). Since Malia has spent her free time working on television in the past, it is probable that she would also spend a full year interning at another filmography stage. Malia Obama might spend her gap year interning at another studio.

    I found this article sweet because I find the Obama family to be kind and sentimental, and, due to this article, it seems that my instincts were confirmed.

  • claires-ver
    5/09/2016 - 08:45 p.m.

    Malia Obama is taking a popular route by taking a gap year. I would love to take a gap year to travel the world. It's kind of money that she completely ignored her parents guidance.

  • brycec-ver
    5/12/2016 - 08:57 p.m.

    I thought that this article was somewhat interesting. Going to an Ivy league school would be so much fun.

  • maggiec-3-bar
    5/12/2016 - 10:39 p.m.

    I think Malia might spend her "gap" year traveling, working, or spending time with her family and friends. She is going to be attending Harvard University in 2017 and they encourage that their students take a "gap" year before attending to have time to travel, take on some kind of activity or project, or just have time for themselves. In paragraph four the article says "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." This shows that Malia will probably spend her time with her family and adjusting to life outside of the White House. Malia also wants to pursue filmmaking so she might want to work as an intern for a television show like she has in the past. This article was very interesting and I liked reading about how President Obama cares so much for his daughter. I'm excited to hear what Malia plans to do in her "gap" year and I hope she accomplishes a lot.

  • maxwellc-3-bar
    5/12/2016 - 11:29 p.m.

    Malia may spend her "gap" year pursuing her dreams as she interns for more interesting opportunities. She has already had internships at "HBO's "Girls," starring Lena Dunham. She spent the summer of 2014 in California working 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." She has many options and a long time to decide, so in the mean time, it is probable that she will continue gaining experience and wisdom.

  • jackw-4-bar
    5/13/2016 - 10:57 a.m.

    Malia will probably spend her Gap year traveling or spending time with her family. Barack will be out of office by then so she will have more time to spend with him after he has been stressed by being president. This article interested me because Harvard is a very elite school and I don't know why you would want to not go right away.

  • rociov-ver
    5/20/2016 - 09:20 a.m.

    It's nice that she's going to Harvard,anyone that goes is so lucky, and its nice that they let you take a year of before entering, to travel and have experiences around the world.

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