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Chelsea Clinton Will Attend Stanford University

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WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, April 30) -- One of the White House's most closely guarded secrets is out: Chelsea Clinton has decided where she'll go to college, and the winner is ... Stanford, the prestigious San Francisco Bay Area university.

An elated first lady Hillary Clinton spoke about Chelsea's pick at a Peace Corps event Wednesday morning, saying, "I'm just grateful this day has come." (288K wav sound)

With only one day to spare before the standard May 1 decision deadline, Mrs. Clinton's press office announced the choice in a terse, three-line statement which read: "The president and Mrs. Clinton announced today that their daughter Chelsea will enter Stanford University this fall as a member of the Class of 2001."

The decision process was understandably difficult as the first daughter, 17, had her pick of the nation's most elite schools. Other schools in contention were Brown, Harvard, Georgetown, Princeton, Wellesley and Yale.

President Bill Clinton points out that she didn't have a "bad choice."

"She had wonderful choices, she made her own decision," Clinton said. "Her mother and I are proud of her and support her." When asked what role he played, the president said, "None, except that I listened, asked questions, and attempted to have no influence whatever."

While being the child of the president of the United States certainly can't hurt an applicant's chances, Chelsea's scholastic record was also in demand. The Sidwell Friends School senior was one of only 15,000 students across the country to qualify as a National Merit semifinalist, a distinction based on her standardized test scores.


So far, Chelsea has spurned politics in favor of interest in a medical career. On CNN's "Larry King Live" show Tuesday night, Mrs. Clinton said Chelsea wants to be a doctor. "Right now she's very interested in medicine so that's something that she'll see whether she likes it when she goes to college," Mrs. Clinton said.

The Clintons have fiercely guarded their daughter's privacy since coming to Washington, but they could not quell the intense speculation that has raged for months over Chelsea's choice.


Some guessed that Harvard had an edge as Vice President Al Gore's two oldest daughters both picked the Cambridge institution. Second visits to Yale (where her parents met while attending law school) and Princeton seemed to give those two Ivy League schools an inside track as well.

The first lady hinted Tuesday night that Wellesley (where Hillary Clinton was an undergraduate) and Georgetown (where Bill Clinton was an undergraduate) had been ruled out because Chelsea wanted to "make her own mark in the world." Plus, Washington's Georgetown may have been considered too close to home. "I want to be her roommate," Chelsea's mom joked.(352K wav sound)

The choice of Stanford, located 3,000 miles away from the White House, surprised some for the opposite reason. Chelsea is extremely close to both of her parents, who have publicly mourned their only daughter's impending departure from the nest.

But Mrs. Clinton said this morning that Chelsea has promised to teach her and the president how to e-mail before she leaves. And the president rationalized, "Well, the planes run out there, and the phones work out there, and the e-mail works out there, so we'll be all right."

Chelsea's next challenge will be making the transition from her sheltered White House life of the past four years to the West Coast campus defined by sunny skies, palm trees and Spanish-styled architecture.

Stanford classrooms have seen their share of famous faces. Most recently, golf phenom Tiger Woods was enrolled until dropping out last summer to play professionally.

Stanford spokesman Terry Shepard insisted that the first daughter "will be, from our point of view and in every way possible, a regular Stanford student."

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