Malia Obama Will Attend Harvard University

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Malia Obama, the Obamas' eldest daughter, will attend Harvard College beginning in fall 2017. The White House announced the news after years of speculation about the 17 year-old's future.

“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. Malia will take a gap year before beginning school,” the White House said in a statement.

Students often take a gap year to travel and return to their academics refreshed and refocused. It is particularly popular among Harvard admits.

The President and First Lady have carefully protected Malia and younger sister, Sasha, from media scrutiny. Despite their visibility, the sisters are not media personalities though TIME named Malia one of the most influential teens in 2015.

Speculation about Malia's confirmed college choice began to swirl after Malia was spotted wearing a Harvard 2020 shirt on College Signing day at the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C..

Mrs. Obama told Seventeen magazine that she urges her daughters to consider their college decisions carefully.

"The one thing I’ve been telling my daughters is that I don’t want them to choose a name,” Michelle Obama told the magazine in an article published in April. “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?”

Harvard accepted only 5.2 percent of applicants this year, making this admissions cycle the most selective in its history.

Her parents might have some important insights into the Cambridge experiences. They both attended Harvard Law School.

Harvard College, however, has been a site of racial strife, according to students at the university. They launched the "I, too, am Harvard" campaign in 2014 to air their grievances.

She will graduate from the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. this year.

Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images