"Chance has been taking that big, bright spotlight that follows him around, and he's shining it on young people in our hometown of Chicago," Obama said in a video message.
The 17th annual BET Awards on Sunday night in Los Angeles, hosted by "Saturday Night Live" star Leslie Jones, included performances by chart-topping hip-hop and R&B artists, causing the hashtag #BETAwards to trend all night.
Shahidi has decided to attend former President Barack Obama's alma mater.
The former first lady wrote a letter of support for the teen actress.
Former first lady Michelle Obama, who has long been an advocate for education, has personally played a role in Yara Shahidi's pursuit of a college degree. Obama wrote a letter of recommendation for the young actress to include with her college applications.