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25 Celebrities Who Dropped Out of College

Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks

Beloved actor Tom went to college for five years but dropped out before ever getting a degree. In his summers aways from California State University, he interned at the Great Lakes Theater Festival where he won several awards. After dropping out, he moved to New York to act. The rest is history.

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Lady GaGa

Lady GaGa

Super-star Lady Gaga was one of only 20 students in the nation to be offered early acceptance to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Here, she focused on singing and lyric writing before dropping out. After a year of formal education, she was ready to pursue her career in music. 

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Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres

Comedic icon Ellen DeGeneres attended the University of New Orleans for only one semester. After such a short time, she decided to pursue her passion. Ellen performed stand-up while working odd jobs until she hit it big. 

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Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt

The beautiful Brad Pitt attended the University of Missouri for several years while studying journalism. He was two weeks away from a degree when he dropped out of college. I guess when you’ve had enough, you’ve just had enough. 

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Amanda Seyfried

Amanda Seyfried

Perhaps the quickest to drop out on this list is Amanda Seyfried. She walked out of class on her first day at Fordham University and never looked back at formal education. This actress simply believes that “you can learn more on your own.” She also received an acting offer around the same time.

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Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods

After two years at Stanford University playing collegiate golf and studying economics, Tiger had enough. He dropped out to pursue his love of golf and became one of the richest professional athletes of all time. 

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Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher

Less than two years into his Biomechanical Engineering degree, Kutcher won the Fresh Faces of Iowa modeling contest. Afterwards, he dropped out of the University of Iowa and moved to New York. Here, he signed a contract with a modeling agency and soon began his career as a model/actor. 

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Mila Kunis

Mila Kunis

This beauty-queen actress attended college for less than a year. She took two classes at UCLA before transferring to Loyola, where she doesn’t recall ever attending a class. Kunis claims she had no idea what to major in and figured she’d be better off on her own making her career whatever she wanted it to be.

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Kanye West

Kanye West

Rap-god Kanye West had every intention of going to college, and even began classes at Chicago State University. However, after a year of formal education, he realized that college was doing nothing to help his career as a professional musician. So, he dropped out—much to the chagrin of his mother, who was a professor at CSU.  

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Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

Jobs attended Reed College as a full-time student for a measly six months before dropping out. Afterwards, he occasionally attended classes that interested him, trying his best to get educated for free. He felt guilty for spending his not-so-well-off parents’ money on classes that he didn’t care about and a degree he didn’t need. 

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Zooey Deschanel

Zooey Deschanel

This renaissance-woman must have been born with her skills, because she totally didn’t learn them in college. After only nine months at Northwestern University, she dropped out to pursue acting. 

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Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

This ultra-famous TV hostess never earned a college degree. Oprah attended Tennessee State University for less than three years. She then moved to Baltimore to take a gig as a co-anchor for WJZ-TV. 

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Bill Gates

Bill Gates

This programming billionaire attended Harvard. However, he only stayed for two years before dropping out to pursue a business idea. This big idea would later lead to his invention of Microsoft.

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John Mayer

John Mayer

Heart-throb musician John does not have a college degree. He was accepted to the Berkley College of Music, but only attended for two semesters before dropping out. He then moved to Atlanta and performed in coffee shops and clubs before making a name for himself. 

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Ben Stiller

Ben Stiller

Stiller stayed in school for nine months before getting impatient to begin his career as a professional actor. He left UCLA for the shining lights of New York City. In New York, Ben took independent acting classes and went to tons of auditions before landing his first role.

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Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg

This social media typhoon doesn’t even have a degree. He attended Harvard University and created many popular websites while he was there (ever heard of Facebook?). But after only two years, aka when he got the idea for Facebook, he dropped out to focus only on the site.

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Ryan Seacrest

Ryan Seacrest

Ryan Seacrest attended the University of Georgia for less than a full year. He had enough of books and classes and decided to drop out to pursue his love of broadcasting. 

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Natasha Bedingfield

Natasha Bedingfield

After only one year at the University of Greenwich, Natasha dropped out. She wanted to full-heartedly pursue her career as a singer. As for college homework, the rest of hers is still unwritten. 

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Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford

This Star Wars actor took and R2-D-Tour to success by dropping out of college. He attended Ripon College in Wisconsin and studied English, but never got a degree. He dropped out to put all his time into his acting career. 

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

JGL was practically famous from birth, but he decided to break away from kid acting to attend college. After less than four years at Columbia University, Joseph decided to drop out. He decided acting was his one true passion, and has been pursuing it ever since. 

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Channing Tatum

Channing Tatum

Small-town Channing went to a small-town college called Glenville State College on a football scholarship. After one year of living, eating, and breathing football, Tatum dropped out and went home to Tampa. He took a job framing houses, followed by several more odd jobs (including stripping) before he became a household name. 

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Mariska Hargitay

Mariska Hargitay

This famous TV detective attended UCLA for less than four years and never got her degree. At 18 years old, Mariska was crowned Miss Beverly Hills, and began receiving offers for small acting roles. She dropped out to pursue acting as a profession.

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Matt Damon

Matt Damon

This guy takes the cake for dropping out closest to his graduation day. Only a few days before getting his Harvard degree, Damon dropped out to take an acting role in Geronimo: An American Legend. Though he left early and abruptly, Matt is still very respected by the Harvard faculty, and has even received some rewards as an alumn. 

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Kevin Spacey

Kevin Spacey

Juilliard? Who drops out of Julliard? After only two years of school, Spacey said goodbye to the books and hello to the cameras. He dropped out to put all his effort into his acting career, and never looked back.

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Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren

The owner of POLO doesn’t have a business or fashion degree. He dropped out after only two semesters from Baruch College to join the U.S. Army. After returning from war, he started his fashion career as a salesman for Brooks Brothers. 

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