President Obama’s oldest daughter Malia, 17, is set to graduate from high school this spring – a fact that the Commander in Chief would rather ignore.
“Malia’s school asked if I wanted to speak at commencement and I said no,” the president said Wednesday while speaking in Detroit. “I’m going to be wearing dark glasses… and I’m going to cry.”
Malia and her younger sister Sasha attend the private Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C.. Vice President Joe Biden’s grandchildren also attend the school.
“One piece of advice that I’ve given her is not to stress too much about having to get into one particular college,” Obama told a group of students in Iowa last fall. “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.”
Even with the President’s advice Malia has toured an impressive group of schools, including six of the eight Ivies – Brown, Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania – as well as New York University, Tufts, University of California, Berkeley, Stanford, Barnard and Wesleyan.
Malia has tried to stay under the radar during her college tours, despite the schools putting on their best show for the president’s daughter. To help Malia keep a low profile on the tours, First Lady Michelle Obama has opted to stay home for some of the trips.
“You want to have as informed a visit as possible, just like anyone else who is a college applicant,” Lisa Caputo, the press secretary to Hillary Clinton when the first lady’s daughter Chelsea was touring colleges in the late 1990s, told The New York Times. “You want to let them get a feel – what’s the vibe on campus – without being followed by a whole swarm of people.”
Before Malia heads off to college in the fall, the president has some advice for his daughter.
“The whole point is for you to push yourself out of your comfort level, meet people you haven’t met before, take classes that you hadn’t thought of before,” Obama said in Des Moines last fall. “Stretch yourself. Because this is the time to do it, when you’re young.”
But come the fall, the Father-in-Chief may need some advice himself.
The University of Southern California Dean of Students, Brian Harke, offers weepy parents – like the president – adjustment strategies, such as limiting phone calls and letting college students tackle their own problems.