7 college dropouts that are now multi-millionaires

Disclaimer: This blog is not proposing you pack up college to form your own tech-start up.


If you're reading this, then dropping out of college could be on your mind. If not, you probably just really want to be a millionaire. Fair play, me too.

Dropping out of college is more common than most people think. Did you know that 1 in 7 students in Australia drop out in their first year? That's over 27,000 students nationwide, not including the students who simply change course or institutions.

At TAFE NSW, we know that dropping out of college doesn't mean you're giving up; you're moving forward. This step forward could be taking a break from education to figure out what you want to study, a travel year, or even just a course change. Never ever feel guilty for parting ways with something that makes you unhappy.

As it's that time of year where students have the window to change course or drop out, some lighted-hearted reassurance is due to those of you in an emotional panic. At TAFE, we're very much aware that contrary to popular belief (and by popular I mean predominantly parents'), you're not in-fact packing in your studies to become a full-time couch potato.

Yes, we agree that a college degree can be an important gateway to employment; that's a given.

But does a college degree define someone's level of intelligence and talent?

Of course not!

Now, let's have a read about millionaire and even BILLIONAIRE college dropouts to make you feel a whole lot better about the situation.

Bill Gates


Richest man in the world, Bill Gates, dropped out of Harvard to focus on Microsoft full-time. Sure, he may have had the most intelligent computer software the world had ever seen up his sleeve, but still, he dropped out and still managed to be the world's biggest success. INSPO.

Mark Zuckerberg


Good ‘ol Mr. Zuckerberg. No introduction needed here. We only spend about a third of our day on his social platform liking, sharing and meme-lolling our lives away. Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard to move to Silicon Valley and start his Facebook empire. Worked out well for him, I imagine he's on a good enough wage these days.


college dropouts


Lady Gaga, real name Stefani Germanotta, clearly wasn't gaga about Uni (oh, lol), having dropped out of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Lady Gaga dropped out to focus on her music career full-time. Sometimes talent just can't wait.

Steve Jobs

college dropouts


Jobs is another extremely clever tech giant among our college dropouts. Jobs attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon. As he couldn't afford tuition, his time at Reed was cut short. Jobs later admitted that it was Reed's calligraphy course that inspired the beautiful typography of the first Apple Macintosh computer.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that's a key selling point for Reed's College today.

Ellen De Generes

college dropouts


Beloved talk show host and voice of the legendary, Dory, Ellen De Generes is a woman with many talents.

Ellen left the University of New Orleans after just one semester to work full-time at a law firm as well as doing stand-up on the side. Five years later she was touring nationally and named Showtime's Funniest Person in America. This is one dropout who never gave up on her dreams.


college dropouts


Oprah, aka, Toughest Woman in America, had a full scholarship to Tennessee State to study Communications. With only one credit left to graduate, Oprah found her calling and left to pursue her career in media. Oprah took a Chicago morning talk show from last place in ratings to first place in a matter of months – quite impressive, indeed.

13 years later, TSU invited her back to speak, however she felt it was important to graduate first. Oprah finished her coursework and got that last credit. Fair play!

Steven Spielberg

college dropouts


Spielberg – one of Hollywood's all-time-greats, unsurprisingly, comes with an equally great dropout story.

A self-made millionaire with Oscars, Emmys and honorary doctorates galore, Spielberg dropped out of college at 22 to accept a contract with Universal.

33 years and billions of dollars later, Spielberg felt that in all his achievements, the one thing that eluded him was a humble Bachelor's Degree. At 55, Spielberg proudly sat in a rented cap and gown at Cal State University at Long Beach among 500 other graduates, patiently waiting to receive his Bachelor's Degree in Film and Electronic Arts.

When his name was called, the college band struck up with theme tune from Indiana Jones, the movie trilogy he directed, and the audience applauded. Spielberg was overjoyed, saying, "The undergraduates really embraced me… and made me feel like I had been there for 33 years. I felt like John Belushi at the end of Animal House."


NEVER give up

So there you have it, college dropouts. Solid evidence that you can drop out of your course and still become one of the most successful individuals on the PLANET!

Wishing you the very best of luck in choosing a career path you love. You got this!

If you're determined to be qualified for your dream job sooner rather than later, check out TAFE NSW's 47 course areas and 1,200 courses from certificates and diplomas to degrees.

Find a career you love with TAFE NSW.


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