First Lady Michelle Obama speaks during the "A Celebration Of Song: In Performance At The White House Student Workshop" event at the White House on October 14, 2015 in Washington, DC.
Kris Connor—Getty Images
By Sydney Scott / Essence
April 14, 2016

Malia and Sasha Obama have grown up right before out eyes, and we can’t believe 17-year-old Malia is headed to college this fall.

In the latest issue of Seventeen, Michelle Obama shares the advice she’s given her daughters on applying to college: do what’s best for you.

“The one thing I’ve been telling my daughters is that I don’t want them to choose a name. 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?”

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It’s advice that worked for the Princeton alum and Harvard Law grad when she was told by doubters that she was aiming too high.

“When it was time for me to apply to colleges there were some counselors who said, ‘Maybe, with Princeton, you’re reaching a little high and I thought, ‘You really don’t think I can do it?’ But here’s what I did: I decided to ignore the doubters. I plunged ahead and I got in. I went on to Harvard Law School and every step of the way I used those doubting voices as motivation.”

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The First Lady also said not to worry if you’re not sure what you want to do when you grow up, she admits, “I’m still asking myself that question!”

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