Education August 25, 2017: Malia Obama officially moves in to Harvard University freshmen dorms




Malia Obama officially moves in to Harvard University freshmen dorms

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Photo: B Scott / @lovebscott Twitter

Former President Barack Obama’s eldest daughter Malia Obama officiallyjoined Harvard University’s Class of 2021. On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, Malia moved into Harvard’s freshmen dorms. The former president and first lady Michele Obama helped their daughter move into her dorm in Yards reserved for freshman. The move was low key, with Malia looking to fit in rather than outshine her fellow classmates. Former President Obama and First Lady Michelle were seen helping their daughter with boxes and leaving her dorm building after Malia was settled in. The president was spotted the same day at Harvest restaurant in Harvard Square.

Malia is Harvard legacy both the president and first lady attended Harvard Law School in the late 1980s and early 1990s, where the president made history as the first African American Harvard Law Review editor. The country’s most prestigious and oldest college was home to many famous alumni, including eight former presidents and a number presidential children including two that went on to become president, John Quincy Adams, and George W. Bush. Malia will hardly be the only famous Harvard freshmen on campus this year, actress Yara Shahidi is also attending, and even received a letter of recommendation from the former first lady. Shahidi stars in ABC’s “Black-ish” but deferred enrollment until 2018 while she films the spin off “Adult-ish.”

Last year, the Obamas said they did not press their daughter to attend an Ivy League university. Former President Obama relayed they told Malia, “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?” The president advised his daughter “not to stress too much” and reminded her “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.” In the end, Malia opted for the Ivy League crown jewel that tops national and international university rankings.

The former first daughter, 19 graduated high school in 2016 and was accepted that year but decided to take a gap year. In the past year, her father left office, her family moved out of the White House. In the fall, Malia went on a trip to Bolivia and Peru, the Boulder, Colo. company Where There Be Dragons that specializes in gap year and summer programs. Since her father left office, she interned at the Weinstein Company, attended the Sundance Film Festival, protested the Dakota Access pipeline project and vacationed in Aspen, Colorado. Malia then spent her summer on family vacations in Bali and Martha’s Vineyard and rocked out at Chicago’s Lollapalooza.

Malia has shown an interest in film, having had two other internships on television shows. In summer 2014, Malia was a production assistant for CBS’ now cancelled sci-fi series “Extant” starring Halle Berry, and in the summer of 2015, Malia interned on Lena Dunham’s HBO series Girls. Her interests are sparking speculation as to what her major or concentration would be while at Harvard.

Boston Globe reporter Steve Annear attempted to score an interview and approached Obama’s eldest daughter. Malia “declined” the interview, and explained “I can’t,” but as Annear recounted she “politely returned a handshake.” Tuesday, Aug. 22 was Harvard’s official move-in day for freshmen, but students who needed to were allowed “to move in a day early, based on travel schedules, athletic schedules, or other needs.” Freshmen orientations began on Tuesday, while classes start on Aug. 30. Annear was the only one who approached the former first daughter for her celebrity; instead, she appeared speaking with fellow freshmen.

Still, Twitter was filled with tweets from her classmates broadcasting Malia sightings and catching photos of her parents on campus. One student went overboard on Twitter with her excitement as she saw her brother chatting with Malia, posting a couple of tweets and a photo declaring “My brother and Malia are about to be besties,” facing a backlash the student deleted her tweets.

During Malia’s senior year, President Obama told Ellen DeGeneres, “Malia is more than ready to leave, but I’m not ready for her to leave.” When asked about speaking at her graduation, the then president replied, “Malia’s school asked if I wanted to speak at commencement and I said ‘Absolutely not.’ I’m going to be wearing dark glasses, sobbing.” Both the former president and first lady were spotted leaving Malia’s dorm wearing sunglasses although it was dark outside, attempting to cover their emotions at dropping off their first born at college.

Related: Malia Obama to join Harvard’s Class of 2021 in fall 2017 after gap year

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education August 10, 2017: Harvard University tops Forbes America’s Top College 2017 for the first time




By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

In their tenth annual ranking of America’s Top 100 Colleges 2018 Forbes finally crowned America’s most coveted and oldest university handing Harvard University their first top spot on the ranking. Wikipedia Commons

There is a new king on the top of Forbes Magazine national ranking of American colleges and universities. On August 2, 2017, Forbes released their tenth annual ranking of America’s Top 100 Colleges finally crowning America’s most coveted and oldest university, Harvard University in the top spot. This year’s top public school is the United States Naval Academy, while the University of California, Berkeley is the top public school non-military. The ranking heavily relies on return on investment with the subheading the 600+ schools worth the investment. The ranking looks at the top colleges but also includes separate lists for Top Public and Private Colleges as well as top colleges in the country’s four regions.

This year’s overall top three represents high school seniors’ university wish list with Harvard number one, followed by last year’s top college Stanford in second and Yale University in third. As Forbes pointed out, Harvard “is the gold standard of American higher education” and it finally “lives up to its reputation and tops the list as the best in the U.S.” Harvard does the best when it comes to the rubrics Forbes uses. Forbes indicates that 87% graduate” in four years and 97% in six years.” Harvard graduates have a “mid-career median salary of $123,000 and a median debt of some $7,500.”

The top ten radically changed from last year’s ranking with Ivy League and major prestigious research universities dominating. The nation’s most selective school Stanford drops from the top spot to second place. Yale moves three spots to the third position. Princeton University drops one place from third to fourth. Rounding out the top five is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which stagnates and remains at fifth. As for the rest the California Institute of Technology, Caltech moves up 33 spots to the top ten, placing in at sixth, as does the University of Pennsylvania into the top ten at seventh, and Duke University is also a new entry at eighth. Brown University is down one to nine while 2015 former top college Pomona moves down four from sixth to tenth.

Forbes also ranks separately, private and public colleges and the best amongst the country’s four regions, Northeast, South, Midwest, and West. The “gold standard” Harvard also tops the private colleges’ list, with “coveted” Stanford slipping to second place. As Forbes points out, Harvard and Stanford “are, undoubtedly, the two foremost universities in the country today and spar with each other for the finest students, professors and researchers.” Yale University is again third, followed by Princeton University in fourth, MIT in fifth and CalTech in sixth mirroring the top six in the overall top colleges ranking list. As for the rest of the top ten, the University of Pennsylvania is in seventh, followed by Duke University (8), Brown (9) and Pomona College in tenth.

The new top public school is the U.S. Naval Academy, beating the U.S. Military Academy, who has held the top spot since 2014, and now slips to second. The top non-military school is public university U.C. Berkeley at third. The public colleges top ten is divided almost evenly between military academies and flagship and research state schools. The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor move up to fourth place and surprisingly overtakes the University of Virginia, which slips to fifth. The U.S. Air Force Academy comes in at sixth falling three spots, the only military academy to do so. In seventh is the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, while eighth goes to the University of California-Los Angeles. In ninth is list newcomer the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, who last year was number 61. In tenth place is the “second oldest” college in the College of William and Mary.

The regional ranking with the highest median on “the overall FORBES Top Colleges list” is the Northeast where the Ivies reside. As Forbes highlights the region is “Home to many of the nation’s oldest and most renowned universities, the Northeast is an academic goldmine. The entire top ten is filled with Ivy League colleges and those Liberal Arts Colleges that belong to the little Ivies. Harvard is also perched atop the Northeast ranking, and with Stanford out of the mix, Yale moves up to second place, while Princeton moves up to third, followed by MIT in fourth and the University of Pennsylvania in fifth. Except for Williams College at the eighth spot, the rest of the top ten is filled with Ivies, Brown (6), Dartmouth College (7), Columbia University (9), and Cornell in tenth.

In the South, Duke University is again the top “Southern College,” after losing the title last year, by falling into second place. Four North Carolina schools in the top ten, but Virginia takes top honors with the most schools in the top 25. Duke is also the only southern school also appearing in the overall top ten. In second place is another private school, Rice University, “the Harvard of the South.” Another private school Vanderbilt University is in third. All three are in the overall top 30, with Rice at number 22 and Vanderbilt at 27. Private liberal arts college, Washington and Lee University is in fourth and Davidson College reaches the fifth spot. The University of Virginia comes in at sixth and is the top Southern public school and one of three in the top ten. As for the rest of the top ten, in seventh place is the College of William and Mary, in eighth is Wake Forest University. In the ninth spot is Emory University and in tenth place is the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

In the Midwest, the top college is the University of Chicago, who ranks at number 16 overall. It has been years since U of Chicago topped the Midwestern schools. Notre Dame University falls to second place after reigning the list in the past two years, Notre Dame is number 26 overall. The list represents a mix of top tier universities and liberal arts colleges, but the top ten only has two public schools represented. In third place is Northwestern University; followed by Washington University in St Louis in fourth and rounding out the top five is Carleton College. The highest-ranking public school is in sixth place with the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. In seventh place is Oberlin College, followed by Grinnell College (8) and Kenyon College (9). In tenth place is public school, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Stanford University dominates the Western schools, the country’s most selective university and most coveted tops the list by a long shot. The western rankings’ top three are all in the overall top ten, represent a mix of private, public top tier universities and private liberal arts, and STEM colleges. In second place is Caltech and Pomona College is third. In fourth place is Claremont McKenna College, and rounding out the top five is Harvey Mudd College. The top Western public school is the University of California, Berkeley at sixth place, followed by the topped ranked Western military college, the U.S. Air Force Academy in seventh. Scripps Colleges comes in the eighth spot, while University of Southern California (9) and the University of California, Los Angeles (10 complete the top ten.

In recent years, Liberal Arts Colleges dominated Forbes’s overall ranking, topping the list in 2014 with Williams College and in 2015 with Pomona College and keeping the top ten split with the Ivies up to last year. This year, only Pomona hangs on in the top ten, while the Ivies see the return to the spotlight along with the “highly selective private” universities. STEM and “research-oriented universities” are gaining in the ranking over Liberal Arts Colleges, notably with MIT and Caltech both entering the top ten. Military academies also do well in Forbes ranking with The U.S. Naval Academy surpassing usual top school the U.S. Military Academy for the last spot in the top 20. Forbes also notes bigger public universities are faring better than some of the smaller private schools. The Northeast “dominates” the top 25 with 17 colleges, while the West has five and the Midwest only has two colleges represented.

Forbes like US News weighs graduation and retention rates high in the listing’s methodology. Forbes grades each college on four categories “quality academics and student satisfaction, on-time graduation rates, low student debt and high earning potential and career success. These top ranking schools have the right combination of “age, location, endowment and low debt for students.” Like US News, Forbes is riding the wave of ranking the best value colleges, determining Return on Investment, ROI. Forbes worked with the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP) to determine “What are students getting out of college.”

Caroline Howard, “Digital Managing Editor, Forbes Media” commented on Forbes’ goals with the America’s Top Colleges ranking. Howard explained, “Before you become a college student, you need to think like a graduate. Our goal is to showcase the colleges and universities that deliver the best return on your education investment dollars: low student debt, on-time graduation, quality academics, high earning potential and career success.”

Forbes’s America’s Top Colleges’ overall top ten:
1. Harvard University (4)
2. Stanford University (1)
3. Yale University (6)
4. Princeton University (3)
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (5)
6. California Institute of Technology (39)
7. University of Pennsylvania
8. Duke University
9. Brown University (8)
10. Pomona College (7)

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.