32 Successful People Who Didn&039t Go to or Finish College
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College is often touted as the ultimate achievement in having a good job, career, and life in general. Although I did go to college, I didn’t go to college to write, which is clearly something I do full-time now! I also didn’t go to university to become a full-time teacher, but I did spend a couple of life-changing years in asia teaching esl in two countries and then online. Sure, I had to get a certificate, but it didn’t take long and didn’t require extra college work.
While college can help, and is necessary for certain careers, like being a doctor or a lawyer…not everyone needs college. Some people have gone to college but decided not to. finish it and continue attending to have successful careers. some lucrative fields just need a certificate or on-the-job training.
what are some jobs you don’t need a college education for?
You may be surprised at how many jobs you can have without a college degree. the following are just a few examples:
someone who starts and runs their own business. this can be in any industry, from a tech startup to a restaurant owner.
A successful salesperson can make a lot of money without a college degree.
3. skilled trades
There are many skilled trades that require training but not a college degree, such as electricians, plumbers, carpenters, etc.
3. real estate agent
With the right training, you can get your real estate license and start selling houses!
A recruiter is someone who finds and hires employees for a company. this is a great career if you are good at networking.
5. personal trainer
If you’re passionate about health and fitness, you can become a personal trainer without a college degree.
6. social media manager
With a little training, you can become a social media manager and help businesses grow their online presence. Familiarize yourself with the various platforms, marketing trends, and user behavior.
7. event planner
If you have a creative flair and love to organize events, then event planning may be the perfect career for you!
8. technical writer
If you have good writing skills and are familiar with a particular topic or industry, you can become a technical writer. you will most likely need some certification for certain positions.
9. website developer
Many web developers are self-taught and don’t have a college degree. there are tons of resources to learn how to code and build websites from scratch.
10. public relations specialist
A public relations specialist is responsible for creating and maintaining a positive image for their client. this can be done through various forms of communication such as social media, press releases, and events.
11. graphic designer
A graphic designer creates visual concepts, using computer software or by hand, to communicate ideas. you need to become an expert in various graphics programs. Many in this field are also self-taught, but some go to art or design schools.
A copywriter is responsible for writing advertorials, brochures, website content, and more. this is a great career for those with strong writing skills.
Do you have an eye for capturing a moment? if so, then photography could be the perfect career for you! You can start by taking classes or workshops. many photographers are self-taught.
Videography is a field similar to photography, but with video. If you have a passion for movies and videos, then this could be the perfect career for you. you can work for a company or be self-employed.
Perfect career if you have a knack for creating great mixes and getting people out of their seats and onto the dance floor.
A nutritionist helps people make healthy choices when it comes to their diet. this can be done through consultations, cooking classes, and more. You will need some education and certifications to become a nutritionist. a college degree is required for certain positions, but not all.
If you love to do your hair and get enough clients, you can be highly sought after. people often train with other stylists and start out as assistants.
16. personal shopper
A personal shopper is someone who helps clients find the perfect wardrobe.
17. makeup artist
A makeup artist is someone who applies makeup to their clients. this can be done for special occasions, photo shoots and more. many makeup artists are self-taught.
20. fashion designer
You don’t need a formal degree if you’re incredibly talented, but a school can help you make the leap to a professional position.
33 successful people who did not go to college
There are many successful people who didn’t go to college. college is not for everyone, and there are plenty of successful people who prove it. Here is a list of 33 successful people who never went to or finished college:
1. bill gates
As the co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates is one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. He dropped out of Harvard after two years to start Microsoft with his friend Paul Allen.
2. zuckerberg brand
Mark Zuckerberg is the founder and CEO of Facebook. He started programming when he was just a kid and developed Facebook while studying at Harvard. facebook has started a revolution in social networks and a new professional field.
steve jobs is the co-founder of apple and one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time. he dropped out of cane college after one semester.
4. richard branson
richard branson is the founder of the virgin group, which consists of more than 400 companies. he dropped out of school at age 16.
5. oprah winfrey
oprah winfrey is a media mogul, philanthropist, and one of the world’s most successful women. she dropped out of college after one semester to pursue a career in broadcasting. she later came back to finish her career long after she became a media mogul.
6. miguel dell
michael dell is the founder and CEO of dell technologies. he started the company while a student at the university of texas in austin. he dropped out of school to focus on his business full time.
7. larry ellison
Larry Ellison is co-founder and CEO of Oracle. He dropped out of the University of California, Berkeley after one semester.
8. sergey brin
Sergey Brin is the co-founder of Google. he started the company while studying at stanford university. he dropped out of school to focus on google full time.
9. hewlett invoice
bill hewlett and dave packard are the co-founders of hewlett-packard. they both dropped out of college to start the company.
10. jack dorsey
jack dorsey is co-founder and CEO of twitter and square. He dropped out of New York University after two years.
11. Evan Williams
Evan Williams is a co-founder of Twitter and a medium. He dropped out of the University of Nebraska after two years.
12. paul allen
Paul Allen is the co-founder of Microsoft. He dropped out of Washington State University after two years to start Microsoft with his friend Bill Gates.
13. karim with jaw
jawed karim is the co-founder of youtube. he started the company while studying at stanford university. he dropped out of school to focus on youtube full time.
14. reid hoffman
reid hoffman is the co-founder of linkedin. he started the company while studying at stanford university. he dropped out of school to focus on linkedin full time.
15. chris hughes
chris hughes is the co-founder of facebook. he started the company while studying at harvard university. he dropped out of school to focus on facebook full time.
16. drew houston
drew houston is the founder and CEO of dropbox. he founded the company while studying at mit. he dropped out of school to focus on dropbox full time.
17. brown tub
tina brown is the founder and CEO of tina brown live media. She dropped out of Oxford University after a year to start her career in journalism.
18. david karpe
david karp is the founder and CEO of tumblr. He dropped out of high school at the age of 15 and then took courses at the New York City Computer School.
19. michael bloomberg
michael bloomberg is the founder, chief executive officer and owner of bloomberg lp. He founded the company while studying at Johns Hopkins University. he dropped out of school to focus on his business full time.
20. cook scott
Scott Cook is co-founder and CEO of Intuit. he started the company while studying at stanford university. he dropped out of school to focus on intuit full time.
21. pierre omidyar
pierre omidyar is the founder and president of ebay. He started the company while studying at Tufts University. he dropped out of school to focus on ebay full time.
22. kobe bryant
the late basketball star kobe bryant did not go to college. The Charlotte Hornets drafted him fresh out of high school in 1996.
He studied dance at the University of Michigan for a short time before dropping out to pursue his music career.
He studied at Montclair State University for a short time before dropping out to pursue his acting career.
25. tom cruise
tom cruise didn’t go to college. he dropped out of high school at the age of 18 to pursue his acting career. He never took acting classes and landed his first role within six months of moving to New York City. he now produces his own movies.
26. jon hamm
The Mad Men actor didn’t even finish college. He dropped out of the University of Texas at Austin after two years.
27. richard wright
The renowned author of novels like “black boy” and “native son” never actually finished college. he went to college in 1918 but his mother’s health forced him to leave and get a job to help support the family.
28. zooey deschanel
The new actress didn’t go to college, but she did take some singing and acting classes at the University of Southern California.
29. tub turner
Lack of a college education didn’t stop Tina Turner from becoming one of the biggest names in music. Her talent and her hard work as a singer and performer earned her the title “Queen of Rock n Roll.”
The rapper did not go to college, but did attend George Westinghouse Vocational and Technical Education High School. he is now a billionaire
31. maya angelou
The author, poet, and civil rights activist did not go to college, but she did attend San Francisco Labor School, leaving briefly to become the city’s first black streetcar conductor. Her writing continues to inspire people around the world.
32. raquel lightning
The popular food personality didn’t go to college and has no formal culinary training, but people love her approachable style and down-to-earth personality.
final thoughts on successful people who didn’t go to college
Whether you’ve just graduated from high school and feel unsure about your next steps, or you’ve finished college and want something different from life, remember that there are many options and paths available to you. you. College is not the only path to a successful and fulfilling career or life.
You can also achieve great things through self-education, hard work and dedication. If you’re looking for some encouragement as an entrepreneur, check out our article on the 21 Best Business Podcasts for Entrepreneurs.