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Obama may just want to cry, but Malia’s Harvard-bound

Everyone’s been wondering about what Malia Obama, the president and first lady’s 17-year-old daughter, is going to do after high school. She’s already made a splash in the entertainment industry, interning on both Lena Dunham’s HBO show Girls and working as a production assistant for Halle Berry’s CBS show Extant. So, of course, we’re curious about whether or not the first daughter might be a budding player in the entertainment world.

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Malia’s plans after high school just became a little clearer. The White House announced today that Malia is Harvard bound, like her mom and dad. Here’s where things get interesting: She’s going to take a gap year first, and her plans to fill out her year haven’t yet been announced. What will Malia get up to in her gap year? More television internships? Volunteer work? Only time will tell.

Before choosing Harvard, Malia visited about a dozen campuses, including Princeton. President Obama shared his fatherly advice about trying to find the perfect college with a group of high school students last year: “One piece of advice that I’ve given her is not to stress too much about having to get into one particular college,” he said. “Just because it’s not some name-brand, famous, fancy school doesn’t mean that you’re not going to get a great education there.” As things turned out, Malia’s going to the fanciest, most name-brand school you could imagine. However, President Obama’s second bit of advice is pretty relatable to anyone who’s ever dealt with applying to colleges:  “Keep your grades up until you get in, and after that, make sure you pass.”

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America’s gotten to know Malia a bit more than previous first daughters. We’ve seen the teen out and about doing everything from catching indie IFC films in the West Village to snapping Instagram photos with her friends at hip Manhattan restaurants. And Malia’s grown up pretty gracefully and comfortably in front of the cameras, with media outlets eagerly mapping the first daughter’s style evolution and declaring her a trendsetter in her own right. So, all eyes will be on Malia as she finds her way as an adult.

President Obama has been quite vocal about the fact that he is absolutely not ready for Malia to leave home. “As Michelle reminds me, our job is to prepare them not to need us,” he told Ellen Degeneres. “Both my daughters are wonderful people and Malia’s more than ready to leave, but I’m not ready for her to leave,” he added.

In fact, Obama said that the idea of Malia, whom he has described as his “best friend,” leaving home made him so emotional that he chose not to make a speech at her graduation from Washington’s Sidwell Friends School; he didn’t think he could handle it. “I’m going to be sitting there with dark glasses sobbing,” he said.

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He gives props to his wife, though, for raising such a strong daughter: “She’s just a really smart, capable person and she’s ready to make her own way.”

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