Celebrities Who Went to College

When we think of celebrities, we think of their accomplishments and their future projects, but how often do we think about how they got to where they are today? The truth is that some Hollywood celebrities have gotten real college degree before they became big names. Some of them took college degree courses related to their craft, while others studied fields of expertise that were completely far from their professions now. Here are a few celebrities who have gone to college to get college degrees:

John Legend

John Legend college graduation

This Academy Award-winning actor and singer was offered several scholarships from prestigious colleges and universities, like Harvard University, Georgetown University and Morehouse College. But, it was at the University of Pennsylvania where he studied English, focusing on African-American literature. While he was in college, he took responsibility as the musical director of a jazz/pop acapella group, the Counterparts.

Lady Gaga

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Lady Gaga, or Stafani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, has always been inclined toward the arts. She fueled her artistic desires at the New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she was actually granted an early admission. Only twenty persons in the entire world had the privilege to be admitted early into the university. Her college program allowed her to explore her music and songwriting skills, but she still decided to drop out eventually.


Madonna image

In high school, Madonna excelled in dance and performance, and that earned her a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan. In college, she took ballet lessons and was encouraged by her teacher to pursue a career in dance. But in 1977, she decided to drop out of college to move to New York so she could start a career.

Chris Martin

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Chris Martin’s university experience was unlike any other. It was where he met his first bandmate, Jonny Buckland. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University College London (UCL), and stayed at Ramsay Hall. Eventually, he graduated with honors in his Greek and Latin degree, as well as his studies in Ancient World Studies.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump image

The President of the United States would have joined the military if he hadn’t made the decision to follow in his father’s footsteps and enter real estate. He enrolled at Fordham University, where he was involved in sports activities like squash. Later on, he transferred to the Wharton School of Finance in Pennsylvania. In 1968, he earned his degree in Economics. His stay in college was filled with numerous business opportunities – he worked at his father’s real estate firm. It’s no surprise why Donald Trump has had major success in business.

Emma Watson

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Despite her acting success, Emma Watson still has the time to keep proving to us all that she’s a real Hermione Granger. Aside from constantly being an outspoken feminist and advocate for equality, in 2011 to 2014, she continued her education by studying at Brown University. There, she graduated with a degree in English Literature.

JK Rowling

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The author of Harry Potter attended the Wyedean Comprehensive School and College, but soon transferred to the University of Exeter in 1982. She originally studied French even though she wanted to take English Literature, but her parents believed that English Literature wouldn’t give her a stable future. It was in 1987 that she earned a degree in French and the Classics.

Meryl Streep

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After High School, Meryl Streep decided to enroll at a prestigious liberal arts university in the state of New York – Vassar College. There, she was admired for her impressive acting abilities, being able to copy accents and memorize lines easily. In 1971, she graduated cum laude. Streep pursued an MFA at Yale University School of Drama, all while she had to take odd jobs just to finance her schooling.

Kourtney Kardashian

Kourtney Kardashian graduation image

Contrary to popular belief, the Kardashian sisters aren’t just good at taking selfies. Kourtney Kardashian, part of the famous Kardashian sister trio, actually attended the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, before she enrolled at the University of Arizona after two years. Here, she majored in Theater Arts and took a minor in Spanish. She earned her Bachelor of Arts after two years, and was reported to have wanted to apply for a Master’s in Spanish as well as an online law degree.

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg graduation image

Despite being one of the world’s best film makers, it actually took Steven Spielberg thirty-five years to get his degree. He once attended California State University, Long Beach but decided to drop out. In 1994, he received an honorary degree from USC, but it was in 2002 that he finally finished his degree in Film Production and Electronic Arts.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah graduation image

Although things were rough when Oprah first started out, her skills as an orator earned her a spot at Tennessee State University. She was given a full scholarship, allowing her to study Communications. She was awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Harvard University and Duke University.

James Franco

James Franco image

In 2006, he started taking more course credits than normal per quarter, and eventually received his degree in English in 2008 with a GPA of 3.5. He continued his education by attending graduate school at Columbia University, taking a MFA writing program. He also simultaneously attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts for film making, Brooklyn College for fiction writing, and North Carolina’s Warren Wilson College for poetry. Now, he is a PhD student of English at Yale. It just goes to show that there’s no stopping James Franco from earning those degrees.

Ken Jeong

Ken Jeong image

He may seem obnoxious on television and film, but Ken Jeong actually holds a pretty serious title. In 1990, he graduated from Duke University and then proceeded to earn his M.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Before he became famous for his acting work, he actually worked as a doctor for several years. He is a licensed physician in California, and hasn’t completely traded his medical profession for show business just yet.