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Malia Obama to Attend Harvard in 2017, Following 'Gap Year

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The first lady has said Malia wants to be a filmmaker.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — 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 Mrs. Obama announced today that their daughter Malia will attend Harvard University in the fall of 2017 as a member of the Class of 2021," said a short statement issued Sunday by first lady Michelle Obama's office. "Malia will take a gap year before beginning school."

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Some colleges endorse a "gap year" in which a student defers enrollment for a year to travel, pursue special projects or activities or work or spend time in other meaningful ways.

Malia, the eldest of the Obamas' two daughters, is a 17-year-old senior at Sidwell Friends, 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.

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.

Obama has spoken publicly about dreading the day when Malia leaves for college. He turned down an invitation to speak at her Sidwell graduation because he'll be too emotional.

"I'm going to be sitting there with dark glass, sobbing," he told Ellen DeGeneres during an appearance on her talk show.

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 on to Los Angeles and San Francisco, where the president attended fundraisers and played golf.

Malia visited at least a dozen public and private colleges during her search, mostly on the East Coast. Six of the eight Ivies were among them, including her parents' alma maters.

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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