Famous People Who Were Once College Dropouts

There is always a sea of reasons behind dropping out of college; it could be reasons ranging from disinterest in pursuing a certain course to finding something else that they think is worth their time and effort. Most of the times, people tend to develop the instincts of dropping out of college due to the lack of funds that will help them earn that degree they hope for. And if it isn’t the lack of money to keep them going the factor for dropout, it could either be a sudden and unexpected emergency that’s behind this pitfall. But according to a survey, one of the biggest known reasons for pupils to bid farewell to their dreams of achieving a degree is because of the lack of funds to repay their student loans. Most of them leave their homelands to get a hold of that degree that could probably change their lives. But the mere costs of survival and the heavy book expenses turns out to become their greatest nightmares, ultimately leading to dropping out of college. But somehow, dropping out of college proved to be a boon in the lives of many- some even turning out to become billionaires! Though their story is motivational, solely depending on dropping out of college to become rich isn’t the way to go! Famous people like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs are living proof that sometimes choosing to start something afresh by halting a college degree can turn out to be a successful plan. Here’s a detailed look into the lives of many others who turned out to be just fine even after dropping out of prestigious colleges!
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 1 
Bill Gates
(Co-Founder of Microssoft)
Bill Gates
242
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: October 28, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States

Leading American technologist, business leader and philanthropist, Bill Gates is the co-founder of the world’s largest software company, Microsoft. His passion for computers made him one of the richest in the world and through his charity foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he and his ex-wife, Melinda, use this money generously to help people world over live a better life.

 2 
Paul Allen
(Co-founder of Microsoft, Philanthropist)
Paul Allen
33
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: January 21, 1953
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Seattle
Died: October 15, 2018

Paul Allen was an American investor, business magnate, and philanthropist. He is credited with co-founding one of the most popular multinational technology companies in the world, Microsoft Corporation. Along with his philanthropic activities and ownership of several other companies and sporting clubs, Paul Allen had a major impact on sports, wildlife, education, arts, healthcare, community services, environmental conservation, and more.

 3 
Claire Danes
(Known for Her Performance in TV Series 'Homeland')
Claire Danes
27
Birthdate: April 12, 1979
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States

Claire Danes is best known for playing the role of a CIA agent in the popular television series Homeland, which ran from 2011 to 2020. However, her breakthrough role was as a 15-year-old in 1994-95 critically acclaimed television series, My So Called Life. She’s also acted in films like Terminator 3, The Hours, Les Miserables, Brokedown Palace and The Rainmaker.

 4 
Ryan Seacrest
(Radio Personality)
Ryan Seacrest
23
Birthdate: December 24, 1974
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dunwoody, Georgia, United States

Ryan Seacrest is an American television host, radio personality, and producer. He gained national recognition after hosting the popular singing competition TV series, American Idol. Also known for his humanitarian efforts, Seacrest established the Ryan Seacrest Foundation in 2010. He is also credited with producing a men's skincare line called Polished.

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 5 
Christopher Stapleton
(Named ‘Artist-Songwriter Of the Decade’ by ACM)
Christopher Stapleton
39
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: April 15, 1978
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lexington, Kentucky, United States

Five-time Grammy-winning country artist Chris Stapleton is best known for hits such as Parachute. He has also co-written tracks such as Kenny Chesney's Never Wanted Nothing More. Before going solo, he was part of the bands The SteelDrivers and The Jompson Brothers. His music blends country with bluegrass and soul.

 6 
Julian Assange
(Computer programmer)
Julian Assange
75
Birthdate: July 3, 1971
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Townsville, Australia

Julian Assange made headlines all over the world in 2010 when WikiLeaks, a non-profit organization founded by him, gained international attention after publishing leaks, such as the Afghanistan war logs and Iraq war logs. After dodging arrest for several years, he was finally arrested in 2019 and is currently imprisoned in HM Prison Belmarsh.

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 7 
Kevin Smith
(Filmmaker, Screenwriter)
Kevin Smith
25
Birthdate: August 2, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Red Bank, New Jersey, United States

Filmmaker, actor, and comedian Kevin Smith first came to prominence in the mid-1990s with his low-budget comedy film Clerks. His unique style of comedy appealed to the audience, and he was able to establish himself in Hollywood within a few years. He also operates a website, an online blog, and a comic book store. 

 8 
Kate Walsh
(Best Known for Her Role as ‘Dr. Addison Montgomery’ in TV Series ‘Grey's Anatomy’ and 'Private Practice')
Kate Walsh
20
Birthdate: October 13, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: San Jose, California, United States
Kate Walsh is best known as Dr. Addison Montgomery from Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice. Fans also loved her as Mrs. Baker from the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. Kate is also known for her political activism. She has also launched a beauty and lifestyle brand named Boyfriend LLC.
 9 
Bob Hoskins
(Actor)
Bob Hoskins
11
Birthdate: October 26, 1942
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bury St Edmunds, West Suffolk, England
Died: April 29, 2014
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
 10 
Henry Rollins
(Lead Vocalist of Los Angeles Hardcore Group 'Black Flag')
Henry Rollins
9
Birthdate: February 13, 1961
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

Henry Rollins is an American musician. Rollins is credited with forming the Rollins Band, which was active from 1987 to 2006. He is also credited with founding the publishing company and record label 2.13.61, Inc. Also a well-known activist, Henry Rollins has campaigned for various causes, including the promotion of peace movement and LGBT rights.

 11 
Jesse Metcalfe
(Actor)
Jesse Metcalfe
8
Birthdate: December 9, 1978
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Carmel Valley, California, United States
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 12 
Emily Wickersham
(Known for Her Role as 'Eleanor Bishop' on TV Series ‘NCIS')
Emily Wickersham
16
Birthdate: April 26, 1984
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kansas, United States

Emily Wickersham is an American actress known for playing Eleanor Bishop in the popular action police procedural TV series, NCIS. Wickersham dropped out of Muhlenberg College after attending the private liberal arts college for two years. She then started focusing on her acting career and went on to establish herself as a film and TV actress.

 13 
Russell Simmons
(Founder of the hip-hop music label Def Jam)
Russell Simmons
15
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: October 4, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Queens, New York, United States

Russell Simmons is a controversial American businessman who co-founded the hip-hop music label, 'Def Jam Recordings', and established the clothing line 'Phat Fashions'. He is noted for Harriet Tubman Sex Tape which generated a lot of heat in 2013. Simmons who calls himself a Christian yogi is accused of sexual assaults on several women. He has adopted veganism and advocates non-violence.

 14 
Kim Deal
(Singer)
Kim Deal
6
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: June 10, 1961
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio, USA
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
 15 
Ken Curtis
(Singer)
Ken Curtis
10
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: July 2, 1916
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lamar, Colorado, United States
Died: April 28, 1991
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 16 
Joel Osteen
(American Preacher & Televangelist)
Joel Osteen
56
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: March 5, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Houston

Joel Osteen is an American pastor, author, and televangelist. He is one of the most popular televangelists in the world, with his televised sermons being watched by millions of people every week in over 100 countries, including 10 million viewers in the US alone. In 2006, he was named in the 10 Most Fascinating People list published by Barbara Walters.

 17 
A. J. McLean
(Singer-Songwriter)
A. J. McLean
9
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: January 9, 1978
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: West Palm Beach, Florida, United States
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 18 
Jeff Probst
(Producer and Host of the U.S Reality Television Show ‘Survivor’)
Jeff Probst
7
Birthdate: November 4, 1961
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wichita, Kansas, United States

Famous as the host of two-decade-old American reality show Survivor, Jeff Probst is an award-winning television personality, particularly noted for his catch-phrase, "The tribe has spoken. It's time for you to go”. Celebrity Superfan Roundtable is another prominent TV show hosted by him. People magazine recognized him as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in 2001.

 19 
Rosie O'Donnell
(Comedian)
Rosie O'Donnell
20
Birthdate: March 21, 1962
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Commack, New York, United States
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
 20 
Bill Bailey
(Comedian)
Bill Bailey
2
Birthdate: January 13, 1965
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bath, Somerset, England
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
 21 
Ike Barinholtz
(Comedian)
Ike Barinholtz
7
Birthdate: February 18, 1977
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Height: 6'3" (190 cm)
 22 
Chris Messina
(Actor)
Chris Messina
4
Birthdate: August 11, 1974
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 23 
Mike Lookinland
6
Birthdate: December 19, 1960
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mount Pleasant, Utah, United States
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 24 
Denise Nicholas
12
Birthdate: July 12, 1944
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
 25 
Sharon Van Etten
(Singer)
Sharon Van Etten
1
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: February 26, 1981
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Belleville, New Jersey, USA
 26 
John Kricfalusi
(Canadian Voice Actor, Illustrator, Blogger, and Former Animator)
John Kricfalusi
5
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: September 9, 1955
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicoutimi, Quebec, Canada
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 27 
Scott Campbell
(Tattoo artist)
Scott Campbell
1
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: May 13, 1977
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Louisiana, United States
 28 
Miles Robbins
(Musician)
Miles Robbins
6
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: May 4, 1992
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Height: 6'1" (185 cm)
 29 
Isaac Hempstead Wright
(Actor)
Isaac Hempstead Wright
6
Birthdate: April 9, 1999
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Surrey, England, UK
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 30 
Jock Mahoney
(Actor)
Jock Mahoney
4
Birthdate: February 7, 1919
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died: December 14, 1989
Height: 6'4" (193 cm)
 31 
Donna Adamek
(American Tenpin Bowler)
Donna Adamek
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: February 1, 1957
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Duarte, California, United States
 32 
Greg Valentine
(American Retired Professional Wrestler)
Greg Valentine
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: September 20, 1951
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 33 
Brandon Vera
(Filipino-American Mixed Martial Artist)
Brandon Vera
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: October 10, 1977
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Norfolk, Virginia, United States

Born in the US to an Italian mother and a Filipino father, Brandon Vera, better known as The Truth, initially joined college on an athletic scholarship but dropped out to join the US Airforce soon. The black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has also appeared on shows such as Kamandag and Magpakailanman.

 34 
Shiori Kutsuna
(Actress, Model best known for her role as Ran Mori in Shinichi Kudo's Written Challenge)
Shiori Kutsuna
0
Birthdate: December 22, 1992
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Height: 5'2" (157 cm)
 35 
William Sanderson
(Actor)
William Sanderson
4
Birthdate: January 10, 1944
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 36 
Chris Barrie
(Actor and Impressionist Known for His Notable Performance in a Television Cartoon Show 'Spitting Image')
Chris Barrie
0
Birthdate: March 28, 1960
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hanover, Germany

Born to an armyman father, Chris Barrie worked as a grave filler after dropping out of college. He then got a break on a TV show. Best known for his portrayal of Arnold Rimmer in the series Red Dwarf, he also gained fame with the BBC sitcom The Brittas Empire.

 37 
Shane Douglas
(American Professional Wrestler)
Shane Douglas
6
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: November 21, 1964
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Height: 6'1" (185 cm)
 38 
Eike Batista
(Brazilian-German Entrepreneur and Former CEO of 'Ebx Group')
Eike Batista
0
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: November 3, 1956
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Governador Valadares, Brazil

Eike Batista is a Brazilian-German serial entrepreneur. He was once engaged in a quest to promote Brazil's infrastructure with large-scale projects, which eventually led to his company’s bankruptcy. Once the wealthiest person in Brazil, he lost millions of dollars due to business losses and debts. He is currently under arrest for bribing Rio de Janeiro governor Sérgio Cabral.  

 39 
Aparna Sen
(Filmmaker)
Aparna Sen
1
Birthdate: October 25, 1945
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India [now India]
 40 
Alex Ebert
(Singer)
Alex Ebert
2
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: May 12, 1978
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
 41 
Subaru Kimura
(German-Japanese Rapper and Actor)
Subaru Kimura
0
Birthdate: June 29, 1990
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Leipzig, Germany
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 42 
Kan Mukai
(Japanese Director, Screenwriter and Cinematographer Known for His Pioneering Work in the 'Pink Film' Genre)
Kan Mukai
0
Birthdate: October 16, 1937
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dalian, China
Died: June 9, 2008

Known as a pioneering filmmaker of the Japanese pink films, Kan Mukai had initially dropped out of an economics course to follow his passion of filmmaking. He helped launched the careers of many performers, such as the Roman Porno star Kazuko Shirakawa. He eventually lost his battle with cancer.

 43 
Cristeta Comerford
(Filipino-American Chef)
Cristeta Comerford
0
Listed In: Food Experts
Birthdate: October 27, 1962
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sampaloc, Manila, Philippines
 44 
Shahab Hosseini
(Iranian Actor, Director, and Producer)
Shahab Hosseini
22
Birthdate: February 3, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran

Shahab Hosseini is an Iranian actor, director, and producer. A critically acclaimed actor, Hosseini has received Best Actor awards at the Cannes Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, and Fajr Film Festival. Shahab Hosseini is also renowned for his association with the Oscar-winning director Asghar Farhadi.

 45 
Minoru Chiaki
(Japanese Actor Who Appeared in Eleven of Akira Kurosawa's Films)
Minoru Chiaki
0
Birthdate: April 28, 1917
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hokkaidō, Japan
Died: November 1, 1999

Minoru Chiaki was one of the most impactful Japanese character actors of his time. Though he initially studied economics and commerce, he later stepped into theater and soon graduated to films. A regular in Akira Kurosawa's films, he was known for his performances in movies such as Rashomon and Seven Samurai.

 46 
Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt
(Millionaire, Equestrian)
Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt
5
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: January 14, 1880
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Staten Island, New York City, New York, United States
Died: September 4, 1925
 47 
Roberto Cantoral
(Composer)
Roberto Cantoral
0
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: June 7, 1935
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ciudad Madero, Mexico
Died: August 7, 2010
 48 
Sergiusz Piasecki
0
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: April 1, 1901
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lyakhavichy
Died: September 12, 1964

Sergiusz Piasecki was a Polish writer who achieved widespread popularity during the mid-20th century. However, he couldn't achieve monetary success during 1920s and was forced to rob a suburban train near Wilno. He was subsequently imprisoned and the novel Lover of the Great Bear, which he wrote in prison, became the third most famous novel in the Second Polish Republic.

 49 
Esther Ouwehand
(Politician)
Esther Ouwehand
0
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: June 10, 1976
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Katwijk, Netherlands
 50 
Bill Briggs
(American Alpine Skier Who is the First to Ski the Grand Teton)
Bill Briggs
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: December 21, 1931
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Augusta, Maine, United States