Pursuing your dreams is sometimes incompatible with finishing your education and getting a bachelor’s degree in your chosen field of study. Many stars simply followed their instincts and made it big without “wasting” a few extra years on their education.
While there are plenty of celebrities who never went to college, some, like Chris Pratt and Lady Gaga, dropped out after a single semester. Find out which big celebs didn’t even make it to their first day of college.
Even though she was very involved in her education in high school, Halle Berry ended up choosing the beauty pageant circuit over higher education. She was both class president and a newspaper editor in high school, but didn’t pursue her studies.
Luckily, things worked out just fine for Berry, who was the first African-American Miss World entrant in 1986 and the only black woman to win an Oscar for a leading role.
After getting an agent at the age of 14, Leonardo DiCaprio joined the list of celebrities who never went to college. In fact, he only got his college degree by studying on his own and with the help of a tutor. By the time he was 18, he had already starred as a recurring character in the ABC sitcom “Growing Pains” and had already been cast in his big screen debut, “This Boy’s Life”.
The celebrity cook also skipped college, and doesn’t have much formal training when it comes to cooking. After working in the food service industry for a while, Rachel Ray started teaching classes on cooking meals quickly. The initial success of her classes helped get on a local television station, which jumpstarted her career.
Some celebrities who never went to college found their calling very early on. Mariah Carey’s estranged husband Nick Cannon started doing stand-up on local cable access at the age of 11. By the time he graduated from high school, he was working as a warm-up comedian for Nickelodeon, and already appearing on “All That”.
After her mother died when she was only 12, Coco Chanel was sent to a convent where she remained until she was 18. Learning to sow proved a great skill for the influential designer, and she found work both as a seamstress and cabaret singer. Unlike many other celebrities on this list, Chanel never really got a chance to pursue higher education, but found her calling in fashion.
Michael J. Fox
After getting his first staring role in the Canadian series “Leo and Me”, Michael J. Fox already knew he was going to be an actor. When he turned 18, he dropped out of high school and moved to Los Angeles in order to purse his acting ambitions, becoming one of the celebrities who never went to college.
Diana Spencer was never really interested in her education. In fact, she dropped out of West Heath Girls’ School at the age of 16, and only attended a finishing school in Switzerland for a short while, before returning to the UK and working as a nanny. After getting engaged at the age of 19 with Prince Charles, she never looked back.
Another high school dropout who joined the ranks of celebrities who never went to college, Simon Cowell’s big break came when his father, an executing at EMI, hired him in the mail room. He then worked his way to the top, and found fame as a judge on the UK “Pop Idol”, before moving on to “American Idol”.
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While Tyra focused on her career in modeling and didn’t go to college, her ambitions made her return to her studies in 2012. She never really enrolled in college, but took the 9 week Owner/President Management Program (OPM) at Harvard Business School. Implying she was a “Harvard graduate” after little more than 2 months at the university earned her a lot of criticism.
Few celebrities who never went to college put a stop to their education altogether at the age of 15. Johnny Depp dropped out of school to pursue a musical career after his parents’ divorce, but eventually found his true calling in acting. While he did try to return to school, the principal advised him to pursue his dream.