What was Obama's SAT score

Obama's oldest daughter : Malia is going to Harvard - where else is it going?


Malia Obama, just under 18 and still attending one of the most expensive private schools in Washington, has decided on a university - Harvard. That was news not only to the local media, but also to Spiegel Online. Why actually? Because “Harvard” and “Obama” are two global brands. Celebrity to the power of two: the “first” daughter and the first and oldest university in America, although it is now much more difficult to get a place at Stanford.

German universities and German politicians are not brands, with the possible exception of the Chancellor, who is now as world-famous as Franz, the “Kaiser”, Beckenbauer was once. But Angela Merkel has no children, and if she did, they might go to Göttingen. "Göttingen" used to be a global brand for natural scientists, but Hitler ruined them. Nobody in Germany knows (and nobody cares) which universities the children of our major politicians attend. We don't even know what their children are called.

Malia Obama, the first-born daughter of Barack and Michelle, has spent the past seven and a half years in the White House. She attended the exclusive Sidwell Friends School, which costs $ 37,000 a year in tuition. Like millions of other 12th graders, she spent her senior year passing her SATs or ACTs (standardized tests in math and English) with the highest possible score. She went to all kinds of colleges, mostly on the east coast, but also in California. There she questioned professors, sniffed in lecture halls and maybe also stopped by at a student party. She has collected her letters of recommendation and written the necessary essays.

After all, she submitted the applications at the end of 2015. Then it was a matter of waiting and waiting until April - a test of nerves for parents and children. Then what is in the mailbox? A “thin” or a “thick” letter, i.e. a rejection or an envelope full of forms and questionnaires. The refusals usually shock the ambitious parents even more than the children. But dreams depend on the dream school. Or great grief.

Not Stanford and not New York University

Malia Obama, it is said, is ambitious and a film fan. As a result, there was a lot of speculation that she would go to New York University. It shines with its famous Tisch School of the Arts, where Martin Scorcese and Spike Lee also learned the trade. Or maybe Stanford, where Chelsea, the daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton, studied.

Brown University in the state of Rhode Island was ruled out as a "party university" because someone posted a picture of Malia at a student party that showed her in the suspicious environment of beer bottles. George W. Bush's twin daughters, Barbara (Yale) and Jenna (Universiy of Texas), had bad experiences with beer and publicity at the age of 20. No presidential child wants to experience that a second time.

It has been out for a few days: The first daughter is going to Harvard.

The German reader probably thinks: Sure, number one in the world, what else? The German journalist knows: Sure, her parents' university. Both of these miss the American reality. On the one hand: not everyone wants to go to Harvard, see Chelsea Clinton. They wanted to be far away from Washington, and that was Stanford, 5000 kilometers away. On the other hand: Malia's parents were at Harvard, but “only” in law school. They earned their bachelor's degrees in Columbia (father) and Princeton (mother).

Only college counts for accolade in America

But the real educational nobility in America is rooted in college, the first four years that end with a B.A. degree. Which prompted the "New York Times" to use the ironic headline "First Daughter rebels, sort of ...". A presidential daughter like Malia Obama could easily afford this “revolt” at the highest level; she was famous enough herself. In addition, college, not law school or business school, is what counts for accolade. No wonder when you consider how brutally selective the access is. Only 4.7 percent make it to Stanford as an undergraduate, followed by Harvard with 5.2 and Yale with 6.3 percent.

Colleges play a different role in American life than German universities do in the lives of their German peers. This is due to the fact that American colleges are for the most part a real home; you live on campus, in an "extended family". With the exception of a few technical universities, the reputation and rank of the university do not play the all-important role in Germany. Germans apply for a subject where it is hardest in medicine and computer science. The chair counts more than the university. American students, on the other hand, rarely begin a subject; Medicine, law and business follow after the bachelor's degree. The best institutions are in constant competition for students and teachers.

Fame and ranking of a university also play a critical role after graduation. They nourish the loyalty of the alumni and thus the basis for a steady flow of donations, regardless of whether it is a state or a private university.

Study costs are growing faster than inflation

The money has to flow because study costs have been growing faster than inflation for decades. In the meantime, a year (with accommodation and food) in top institutions costs $ 60,000 - that's equivalent to a quarter of a million up to the B.A. Only the wealthy can afford that, which is why Stanford, Harvard and Co. exempt the less well-to-do from tuition fees and support 60 percent of the students in some way. The donations from the old finance the young and increase the foundation's capital.

Can the Obamas afford a quarter of a million? The president makes $ 400,000 before taxes. That's why the Obamas have been paying into a college fund for years, according to their tax returns. Mr. and Mrs. Obama only get really rich as privateers when, like the Clintons, they earn millions with books and lectures.

In turn, the systematically spread myth sounds cheap, according to which the prominent parents always insisted on their daughter not to pay attention to the big names when choosing a university. “Even if it's not a famous, exquisite university with a big name,” Barack Obama announced, “that doesn't mean you won't get a great education”.

Universities like Harvard are experienced in protecting celebrity children

Neither the daughter nor the population took this homely advice seriously. Malia is the child of two academic high-flyers. She chose the oldest and most famous American university not only because she did not want to follow the paths of her parents that led through Columbia and Princeton. At Harvard, the parents will also have had a say. Because: Such universities have the best experience with teasing and protecting children of powerful parents. Conversely, the Harvards and Stanfords get a fantastic PR profit with a president's daughter, which increases the demand for university places even further.

Malia got a delay to put in a gap year, a break between high school and college. Then her father will write his memoir, and Malia's mailing address will no longer be The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She will enjoy a "normal" first year of college.

This also saves her the spectacle that awaited Chelsea Clinton when she began her studies at Stanford. The President and First Lady appeared on campus with 200 reporters and countless guards. The Secret Service people, who also protect the president in life after office, will also accompany Malia at Harvard. The officers were very discreet at Chelsea.

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