College is a confusing, overwhelming time. You figure out who you are and what you want to do as you struggle with midterms and Greek week. It’s a lot to balance, especially when you’re trying to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life. College is a more conventional way to deal with your future, most of the time. However, many people realize that it is not for them; and that’s more than good!
You don’t have to go to graduate school to succeed, and these celebrities prove it.
Did you know that according to a study, up to 40 percent of college students drop out of college each year?! True! many have found this out for themselves, as well as quite a few famous people you may not have known dropped out of college.
Some stayed for just one semester, while others had just weeks before leaving to pursue their artistic passion.
From legends like Stevie Nicks and Madonna to Oscar-winning actors like Anne Hathaway and Anna Paquin, there’s more than you might think.
See which celebrities dropped out of college below:
With only 12 credits to go, Matt Damon dropped out of Harvard to begin his acting career, rising to stardom in the 1997 film Geronimo: An American Legend.
Oprah dropped out of Tennessee State University after receiving offers to work in broadcast journalism.
Sofia Vergara studied dentistry at the National University of Colombia and continued her modeling career all the while. However, she left before her senior year to become a television presenter.
While shooting modern family, Ariel Winter enrolled at UCLA to potentially study law in 2016, but then it was postponed until 2017, and then by 2018, she decided to take an indefinite hiatus.
Both Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal attended Columbia University. He went on to study Eastern religions and philosophy, but dropped out after his sophomore year to play.
Two weeks before Brad Pitt graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism, he packed up and left for Hollywood; and the rest is history.
Eva Mendes studied marketing at California State University, Northridge for several semesters, but after being scouted by a talent manager, she decided to pursue acting.
Anne Hathaway was supposed to study English at Vassar and did it for a year, but dropped out to film The Princess Diaries. She later enrolled at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, but dropped out again to focus on her incredible acting career.
Before Ashton Kutcher was Ashton Kutcher, he studied biochemical engineering at the University of Iowa, but dropped out after a few semesters to pursue modeling and acting.
Lady Gaga was one of the few people who received early admission to New York University’s Tish School of the Arts, but she dropped out in her sophomore year to pursue her music career.
Jessica Biel dropped out of Tufts University after a few semesters to star in the remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacreand the rest is history.
Madonna received a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan, but dropped out after a year to pursue dance full-time.
Salma Hayek briefly attended the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico to study international relations, but left soon after to pursue acting.
Rachael Ray was supposed to get a degree at Pace University in literature and communications, but dropped out soon after and was hired as a food buyer in New York shortly after.
Ben Affleck stayed at the University of Vermont just to study Spanish for a few months before transferring to study Middle Eastern affairs at Occidental College. However, he dropped out after three semesters.
Tom Hanks originally went to Chabot College, but then transferred to California State University. He dropped out after a while to begin a three-year internship program at the Great Lakes Theater Festival in Ohio.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus dropped out of Northwestern University in her freshman year to take a job Saturday Night Live.
After one semester studying business at Baruch College in New York, Jennifer Lopez dropped out to pursue dancing and singing.
Zooey Deschanel spent less than a year at Northwestern University before deciding college wasn’t for her.
Kristen Bell was just a few credits away from graduating from the Tisch School of the Arts with her degree in musical theater. But she left to star in the Broadway musical The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
Emmy Rossum attended Columbia University for a time before dropping out to pursue her acting career.
Reese Witherspoon was set to study English literature at Stanford University, but dropped out her sophomore year to pursue acting, much to her mother’s chagrin.
Like many stars, Anna Paquin enrolled at Columbia University. However, she left otu after a year to pursue acting.
Soon after enrolling, Eddie Murphy dropped out of Nassau Community College in New York
After three years of studying at Oxford University, Kate Beckinsale decided to leave.
Bonnie Raitt dropped out of Harvard University before graduating high school to pursue a music career.
Stevie Nicks left her senior year at San Jose State to move to Los Angeles.
Lauryn Hill was at Columbia during The Fugees’ second album The result started climbing the charts. So during her sophomore year, she decided to drop out and focus on music.