Michelle Obama’s message for high school seniors fretting about their college prospects is simple: do your research, visit college campuses, sit in on classes, talk to professors, graduates and students, because picking a college in the end “is a very individual decision”.

She could just as well have been talking to her oldest daughter, Malia, who is expected to head off to College next year in the class of 2020.

The 17-year-old is among many US high school seniors anxiously taking standardized tests, submitting college applications, filling out relevant forms for financial aid and writing a number of essays all to a very tight deadline – then comes months of painful waiting for each student’s letter of acceptance from their dream school.

Malia has visited at least a dozen public and private schools, mostly on the East Coast. These schools include Princeton and Columbia, both the First Lady’s and the President’s respective alma maters.

Even the name ‘Obama’ presents the hopeful student with a clear advantage – what prestigious institution would ever say ‘no’ to the US President’s daughter?

Unlike most prospective students, whom Malia’s parents regularly encourage to pursue higher education, the President’s daughter will not have to worry about how she will pay back the funding for her education.

Having already visited a dozen different schools, including six of the eight distinguished Ivy Leagues, where will the Obama’s protégé choose to spend her further student years?

One thing we do know is that Barack Obama graduated from Political Science at Columbia University in 1983, and the First Lady graduated from Princeton University in 1985 with a degree in Sociology and African American Studies. Malia’s cousin, Leslie Robinson, is currently a sophomore forward on Princeton’s Women’s Basketball team.

With so many family roots embedded at Princeton, is this destined to be the school that gains Obama’s most precious investment?

Not necessarily, because Malia’s college tour has already included a host of top institutions, such as the University of California, Berkeley; Stanford; New York University; the University of Pennsylvania; Barnard; Tufts; Brown; Yale and Wesleyan.

The cost of tuition, alone, at these prominent institutions in between $40,000 and $50,000 for the current academic year – and that sum does not include the cost of room and board, books, other fees and expenses that are likely to push the cost of Malia’s university education close to one-quarter of a million dollars for the full four-years.

The Obama’s are already adept when it comes to hefty tuition bills, after sending Malia and her 14-year-old sister, Sasha, to the exclusive Sidwell Friends School in Washington for the past seven years. The current cost of tuition for one year at Sidwell School is $37,750.

After succumbing to his emotions the day Malia started her high school senior year, Barack Obama is gearing up for round two as his daughter prepares for university.

“I had to look away. I didn’t want to just be such a cry baby,” he said in September in Michigan while pushing for free community college. His daughter had just expressed how it was likely to be the last time her father would ever send her off for her first day of school. “It makes no sense. Michelle and I are way too young to have daughters who are almost both in college now. So as a parent, I was a little freaked out.”

Image via AP Images.

Liked this? Then you’ll love these…

Tuition-Free University of the People Sees Enrolment Grow Five-Fold

Three Rhodes Scholarships in One Year Makes History for University of Alberta