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23 Famous Dropouts Who Turned Out Just Fine

1. Funny lady Ellen DeGeneres dropped out of the University of New Orleans after just one semester. Guess she got the last laugh after all.


Image by Kevin Winter / Getty Images
 

2. Mark Zuckerberg left Harvard to invent that site you spend way too much time on.

 

3. Media mogul Russell Simmons dropped out of Manhattan City College just shy of finishing his sociology degree.


Image by Chad Buchanan / Getty Images
 

4. Brad Pitt was set to be a JOURNALIST when he dropped out of the University of Missouri two weeks before graduation.


Image by Jason Merritt / Getty Images
 

5. Ted Turner, the creator of the 24-hour news cycle, was expelled from Brown University after he was caught with a girl in his room. GASP!


Image by Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
 

6. Fierce songstress Natasha Bedingfield withdrew from the University of Greenwich after a year to focus on singing. Good choice.


Image by Rick Diamond / Getty Images
 

7. Steve Jobs dropped out of Reed College to become the father of all things Apple.


Image by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
 

Fun fact: Before Jobs left Reed College, he took a calligraphy class that later inspired him to include a wide range of fonts (vs. one standard text) on the first Macs. Thus, one could argue computers have fonts because of Steve Jobs.

8. OOOOPPPPPPPRRRRAAAAAAAAH dropped out of Tennessee State University and seems to be doing all right.


Image by Fredrick M. Brown / Getty Images
 

9. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to pursue his love of poetry. Just kidding, he founded Microsoft.

 

10. F. Scott Fitzgerald left Princeton University because of poor grades.


Image by Hulton Archive / Getty Images
 

11. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey dropped out of the University of Texas after seven years… It was probably time to leave at that point.


Image by Mark Wilson / Getty Images
 

12. John Mayer dropped out of Berklee College of Music, only to come back later and major in sex appeal.*


Image by Ethan Miller / Getty Images
 

*Fine, you got me — he didn’t actually major in sex appeal, but he might as well have.

13. Before YOLO, there was POLO. Ralph Lauren left Baruch College after two semesters to serve in the U.S. Army.


Image by Peter Michael Dills / Getty Images
 

Fun fact: Lauren never actually attended fashion school.

14. Lady Gaga dropped out of NYU after her freshman year, probably because she was busy plotting her world takeover.


Image by Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images
 

15. John Lennon was expelled from Liverpool College, so he joined a band.

 

16. Jim Carrey dropped out of high school at just 16. Alllrighty then!


Image by Hulton Archive / Getty Images
 

17. After failing every subject except English, Al Pacino dropped out of his New York high school to pursue acting.


Image by Fernando Leon / Getty Images
 

18. Wolfgang Puck quit school at the ripe young age of 14 to become a cooking apprentice at a hotel.


Image by Jason Merritt / Getty Images
 

19. Walt Disney dropped out of high school at 16, joined the Red Cross, and left for Europe.


Image by Hulton Archive / Getty Images
 

20. Tom Hanks left Sacramento State to intern full time at the Great Lakes Theater Festival. You can’t make that stuff up.


Image by Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images
 

21. Abraham Lincoln left school at 12 to help his family farm, and then he became THE PRESIDENT.


Image by National Archives
 

22. Tumblr kajillionaire David Karp dropped out of high school at 14 because his mom suggested he should focus on computers. Life lesson: LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER.


Image by Nadine Rupp / Getty Images
 

23. Coco Chanel left school at 18 to become one of the world’s most famous fashion designers. Ooh là là!


Image by Hulton Archive / Getty Images
 
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