15 Celebrities Who Dropped Out of College

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A lot of celebrities have traded in the possibility of earning a diploma for a shot at fame and wealth in Hollywood. There isn’t a major in college that teaches people how to be celebrities after all. Some of these stars could have been something entirely different from their careers as entertainers, but it turns out that they were on a different path. Here are a few of them featured on our list!

(Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

"The Monuments Men" - Photocall

Matt Damon

Damon was enrolled in Harvard University from 1988 to 1992, but did not graduate even if he only needed 12 credits for his degree in English. He decided to skip the diploma to star in the film Geronimo. While the film did not propel him to stardom, Damon eventually hit it big with best friend Ben Affleck when they worked on Good Will Hunting.

(Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

EE British Academy Film Awards 2014 - Red Carpet Arrivals

Tom Hanks

Hanks decided that he loved interning too much, so he dropped out of Sacramento state to work full time at Great Lakes Theatre Festival. His internship lasted three years and it seems like the experience he learned in theatre production gave him the tools he needed to succeed in Hollywood.  He’s gone on to be one of the most successful actors in history and we have a feeling he’s got another Oscar in him yet.

(Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

The 40th Annual People's Choice Awards - Show

Ellen DeGeneres

The comedian and popular television star was actually enrolled at the University of New Orleans for one semester. She majored in communication studies during her time in college. However, she decided that it was not for her pursued other career options before becoming a star.  Oddly enough she wound up giving one of the more memorable commencement speeches at none other than Tulane University which happens to be in New Orleans.

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

EE British Academy Film Awards 2014 - Red Carpet Arrivals


Oprah secured a full scholarship to Tennessee State University and studied communication. However, she did not stay long since she dropped out. It turns out that she didn’t need a degree to achieve the success she has now.  Oprah’s one of it not the most successful women in the entertainment industry.  Her efforts in philanthropy and her effect on women around the world have gone unmatched by anyone else on television.

(Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

Premiere Of DisneyToon Studios' "The Pirate Fairy" - Arrivals

Natasha Bedingfield

The singer attended University of Greenwich for a year as Bedingfield pursued a degree in psychology. She dropped out to concentrate on singing and songwriting. It’s safe to say that she made a wise decision since she has a number of hits under her belt.  And we fully expect Natasha to be around for much much longer.  Perhaps she’ll go back and finish her degree even though she really doesn’t need to.

(Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Image

Lady Gaga Visits the SiriusXM Studios

Lady Gaga

Before this star became known as Lady Gaga, she was a student enrolled at New York University. She dropped out after her freshman year to pursue her music career. Additionally, she made a deal with her parents that she would go back to school if it didn’t work out. Thankfully, Gaga won’t need to return to school anytime soon.  Then again she could probably be a great teacher of music if she really wanted to be.

(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for SiriusXM

25th Annual Byron Bay Bluesfest 2014

John Mayer

Mayer was enrolled in the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. The singer stayed for two semesters until he decided to focus on his music career with a friend. While he parted ways with his friend, he was able to launch a successful solo career on his own.  Now he’s considered one of the better guitarists out there.  We’re sure that Berklee would be honored if Mayer stopped by to do a guest lecture for its students.

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First Annual Village Fete

Mariska Hargitay

Hargitay attended UCLA School of Theater Film and Television and was also a member of a sorority. She was not able to complete her degree since she left to pursue a career in acting. It took her a while to launch her career, but she eventually landed the lead role of Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU. She has been playing the role since 1999 and is considered one of the better TV actresses out there.

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Human Rights Watch Voices For Justice Dinner

Ashton Kutcher

Some people find it hard to believe that Kutcher was once studying biochemical engineering at the University of Iowa. He dropped out of college after winning a modeling competition to pursue a career in modeling and acting. He is also noted to be one of the most intelligent actors in Hollywood.  Kutcher’s known  for having invested his money wisely in venture capital projects in the technology space.

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Premiere Of Twentieth Century Fox And New Regency's "Runner Runner" - Red Carpet

Jessica Biel

Biel attended Tufts University from 2000 to 2002. Interestingly, she was already an actress with roles under her belt during this time like 7th Heaven. It seems that she had to prioritize her career over school since she started starring in more films after she left Tufts.  We haven’t heard if she’ll attempt to finish off her degree but we’d imagine that’s hardly a priority at this point in her career.

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Zooey Deschanel

The new girl attended Northwestern University for nine months before she decided college wasn’t her thing. It seemed to be a good choice since that helped her start her career early and land a role in 1999 for the film in Mumford. She is now a successful actress in Hollywood as evidenced her own show New Girl.  She’s also still getting movie roles and we expect her to be entertaining us for years to come.

(Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

'Lone Ranger' Japan Premiere

Armie Hammer

Hammer took college courses at Pasadena City College and University of California, Los Angeles. However, he never pursued a degree in the long run since he dropped out of high school. Everything turned out great for him especially since he was able to make it big when he portrayed both of the Winklevoss twins in the film The Social Network.  And now he’s on his way to be a leading man.

(Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

Premiere Of Walt Disney Animation Studios' "Frozen" - Red Carpet

Melissa Joan Hart

Before Hart was widely known as Clarissa and Sabrina, she attended New York University for two years. However, she decided to focus all her energies on acting when she started working on her iconic roles. She currently stars in a television show called Melissa & Joey and continues to stay relevant.   And let us never forget that she was that crazy year book girl in Can’t Hardly Wait.

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World Premiere Of Disney's "Maleficent" - Arrivals

Brad Pitt

The other half of Hollywood’s power couple once majored in journalism in the University of Missouri. Pitt decided to drop out even if graduation was approaching in two weeks. It seems like he didn’t want to waste time when it comes to following his dreams in film. It paid off since he is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.  It’s hard to believe that Pitt is in his 50s today.

(Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Lollipop Theater Network's Night Under The Stars Screening Of Twentieth Century Fox's "Rio 2" Hosted by Anne Hathaway - Arrivals

Anne Hathaway

Hathaway spent several semesters studying at Vassar College and New York University. She might not have completed her degree, but she credits enrolling in college one of her best decisions in life. She might have learned a thing or two that made her into the star she is today.  Hathaway is one of Hollywood’s leading ladies but we hope she does decide to finish off her degree.

(Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

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