15 Really Successful People Who Don't Have A College Degree

Sometimes, the way people talk about it, you can get the impression that college is the be all and end all, and that if you don't have some sort of a qualification, you will go nowhere in life. But while having a college degree can make it easier to get a job sometimes, there are plenty of other ways to succeed. Just look at these people, who did just fine without one.


Bill Gates

The classic example of someone achieving without a college degree, Gates' dropped out of Harvard before he finished his course, and is now worth $76 billion. He's also given away $38 billion to charity, just in case you thought he was being selfish.


Mark Zuckerberg


Most people have some awareness of Zuckerberg's education because of the 2010 film The Social Network, and while it isn't entirely accurate, the fact that he didn't finish college is true to life. The Facebook founder is now worth an estimated $33.3 billion.


Coco Chanel

Probably the most famous fashion designer of all time, Chanel proved that having a talent for something and a desire to succeed can get you anywhere you want to go.



James Cameron

Cameron enrolled in a two year Physics course at Fullerton College in 1973, before switching to English, and then eventually dropping out a year later. Not exactly a model student, but when he's directed the two most successful films of all time in Avatar and Titanic, it's hard to complain.


Henry Ford


Although he didn't invent either the car or the production line, he improved on the two ideas so much that his Model T was the first really affordable car ever made, and brought driving to the masses. Adjusted for inflation, Ford's peak net worth was around $188 billion before his death in 1947.


John D. Rockefeller Sr.

But even Ford wasn't as rich as John D. Rockefeller. The richest American that has ever lived, again adjusted for inflation, Rockefeller was worth an estimated $340 billion. The founder or Standard Oil did take a ten week business course in his early career, but of course this is nowhere a full college degree.



Michael Dell

As a pre-med at the University of Austin, Texas, Michael Dell started his first business of buying and selling upgrades for PCs. He soon dropped out, and is now worth over $15 billion. I'm sure those first few months of studying medicine helped him though, right?


Whoopi Goldberg


Not only did Goldberg not go to college, she actually dropped out of high school. This didn't stop her succeeding, however, and she is one of only 12 people to have won "The Grand Slam of Show Business", which is to have won an Emmy, an Oscar, a Grammy and a Tony award in one's career. And she was the first African American to do so.


Will Smith

He was accepted into a pre-engineering course at MIT, but had no intention of going there, instead deciding to pursue his music career, and later acting. And thank god he did. What kind of world would it be without the Fresh Prince?



Steve Jobs

Jobs enrolled at and attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, for just six months before dropping out. Of course, he then went on to co-found both Apple computers and Pixar. So without him, we wouldn't have the iPhone, but even more importantly, we wouldn't have Toy Story.


Richard Branson


With dyslexia and a "poor academic performance", Branson only lasted in school until he was sixteen. Since then, he's probably the coolest billionaire in the world, pioneering space tourism and setting world records. He owns and lives on an island for god's sake.


Arash Ferdowsi

The founder of Dropbox "dropped" out of his final year at MIT (Get it? Dropbox? Dropped? I'll get my coat).



Debbi Fields

Not really that well known this side of the Atlantic, Debbi Fields started out by baking cookies, before becoming the founder of the Mrs. Fields snack food franchise in the United States. She has a net worth of $65 million. She really does take the biscuit.... Sorry that's the last one I swear.


Walt Disney


Disney dropped out of school when he was 16 to fight in the First World War, but was actually turned away because he was too young. But who cares about that. About 90% of my childhood memories are thanks to him.


Abraham Lincoln

If the 16th President of the United States of America can free the slaves without a college degree, then it just proves how little they can mean, as long as you work hard at whatever you do.


David Sweeney
Article written by
David has the most relevant qualifications of all of the writers at CollegeTimes, having just completed 3 years of an Electrical Engineering degree in UCD.
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