Category:  Media Industry

Do You Really Need a Degree?



It is that time of year. Finals week. It is during this week that students across America wonder if all the hard work they do throughout the school year is really worth it. Every night at 3 AM when a student is rereading the same notes for the 100th time, cramming for their 8 AM course, that they wonder, “Would it really be so bad if I dropped out?”

Here are examples of people who have taken that risk and greatly exceeded all expectations:

Mark Zuckerberg: Mark attended Harvard before dropping out his sophomore year. It was during his years at Harvard that Zuckerberg was first referred to as a programming prodigy.  Today he is one of the richest people on the planet after he founded the popular social media website Facebook. In 2016, Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth is $35.7 billion.

Harrison Ford was too cool for school. He took classes at Ripon College, but never finished his degree. While at Ripon, Harrison Ford took one drama class. The one class had to be packed of secrets to success because today Ford is one of the more renowned actors in history. Having starred in some of the biggest movie franchises, such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and The Expendables, Ford has accumulated a $210 million net worth.

Lebron James, one of the best basketball players of all time, never attended university. Lebron first appeared in Sports Illustrated as a high school sophomore. In 2002, he began a petition for high school students to be eligible for the NBA draft. Most basketball players are drafted from a university. Ryan Jones stated that James was “the most hyped basketball player ever.” Today, Lebron James is worth $300 million.

Adele does not have a degree. But that does not stop her from crafting beautiful music. Without a degree, she still puts together well-formed and educated sentences better than some people with degrees. Adele published two songs immediately after graduating high school, leaving no time to attend college before jump starting her career. Adele began by posting her music on Myspace before signing with XL recordings in 2006. Adele’s latest album 25, sold over two million copies in North America in its first three days available in stores. After 10 years in the music industry, Adele is worth $32 million.

F. Scott Fitzgerald dropped out of Princeton. Fitzgerald concentrated too much on his art instead of his studies. Throughout his time at Princeton, Fitzgerald was a member of several literary clubs, and published several pieces of his work for profit before being put on academic probation. We have him to thank for the role Leonardo DiCaprio was born to play- The Great Gatsby. More than 25 million copies of the novel The Great Gatsby have been sold.

The number one TV host in daytime television, Ellen Degeneres, only enrolled in the University of New Orleans for one semester. Ellen made her first television appearance on The Tonight Show, starring Johnny Carson, in 1986. Now, Ellen has won 13 Emmys and 14 People’s Choice awards for her outstanding comedic talent. Ellen received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2012.

Ted Turner was expelled from Brown University. He exceeded expectations by later founding CNN, thereby creating the 24 hour news cycle. Today, Turner has so much money he donated $1 billion of his own fortune to the United Nations. However, like being thrown out of college, controversy has followed Turner throughout his professional career. He has earned nicknames such as “Captain Outrageous.”

Oprah Winfrey, once the richest woman in the world, obtained her fortunes without a college degree. Oprah received so many job offers while attending Tennessee State University that she did not feel the need to continue her studies. Since her college years, Oprah has switched from being the student to the teacher. Oprah mentors millions each year through her publications, outreach, and the schools that she has opened.

Steve Jobs did not obtain a degree from Reed College. He did however use some of the things he learned at Reed College when creating Apple. Jobs was forced to drop out of college due to financial constraints. Finances were not a problem for Jobs after he created Apple in 1976. When he died, Steve Jobs was worth $10.2 billion. Last year, Apple’s revenue was $233.715 billion.

Bill Gates has been recognized since 1995 as one of the wealthier people on Earth. In 1975, Bill Gates created Microsoft. Between 2009 and 2014, Gate’s income doubled to $82 billion. Gates has not taken his extravagant paycheck for granted. Both he and his wife have vowed to donate 95% of their fortune to charity. Bill Gates is one of the more successful people without a degree. Gates dropped out of Harvard in 1974.

Not only did Walt Disney not have a college degree, he did not have a high school diploma and still managed to make the world’s most profitable theme park. Walt Disney is the most nominated person in cinematic history. Throughout his life, Walt was nominated for 59 Oscars, winning 22. During his high school years, Walt attended the Academy of Fine Arts at night to hone his craft. Walt began his artistic career through commercial art before launching his own highly profitable company, with the creation of Mickey Mouse in 1928.

The most successful president in American history, Abraham Lincoln dropped out of school at the age of 12. Abe Lincoln said, “the best, cheapest, and quickest way to acquire a law degree is to read Commentaries on American Law. Abe Lincoln was a self-taught man.

The lesson here is, you do not need an advanced education to accomplish great things. But, it is helpful. Especially if you are not naturally as gifted as Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.

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