College Dropouts Who Became Successful

6 College Dropouts Who Became Successful

It’s an age-old question: do you need a college degree to be successful?

Many would immediately highlight the tremendous achievements of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs among others. It’s well-documented that both Gates and Jobs didn’t pursue formal education yet went on to become industry pioneers. 

And they did it during the nascent stages of the Internet. We live in a completely different world today thanks to technology.

You can get details on Spectrum internet prices in split seconds. That said, here is a list of people who dropped out of college to pursue their passion (and got to live their dream). 

Bill Gates 

The obvious number one pick on this list. His name has become synonymous with success. Gates was a computer prodigy.

He was only 15 when he developed a computer program with Paul Allen. The task earned him his first $20,000. Gates later dropped out of the prestigious Harward College where he was studying computer science and mathematics courses.

He went on to co-found Microsoft with Paul Allen. 

Gates has been consistently ranked in the list of wealthiest people compiled by Forbes.

He first appeared on the list in 1987. He has held the title of the “Richest Person in the World” for a record 19 times. As of 2021, Gates was ranked as the fourth richest person in the world. His net worth is currently estimated at $124 billion.

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Mark Zuckerberg 

Most successful businesses were founded in garages and dorm rooms.

Just ask Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos and Facebook’s Zuckerberg. The latter operated Facebook out of his dorm room in Harvard.

The social networking site was an instant hit after its launch on February 4, 2004. Zuckerberg stopped pursuing further education to focus on the platform. 

Today, Facebook is ranked as the number one social media platform with 2.7 billion users around the world.

As many as 72 companies are operating under the umbrella of Facebook. They include Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus; each valued in billions of dollars.

Zuckerberg’s own net worth is just shy of a hundred billion dollars.

Forbes has ranked him at the fifth spot, behind Gates, with a net worth of $97 billion. 

Steve Jobs 

Apple’s visionary had a net worth of about $10 billion at the time of his death in 2011.

Jobs graduated from Homestead High School in the early seventies. He, however, opted out of Reed College after six months.

His career prior to co-founding Apple included a stint with Atari as a computer game designer. 

Jobs’ job application (excuse the pun), which he submitted three years prior to launching Apple, went up for auction at RR Auction in 2018. An 18-year-old Jobs said at the time that he was skilled in “computer” and “calculator”.

He even misspelled Hewlett-Packard in his paperwork. In 1976, he co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak – and the rest is history. 

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Richard Branson 

Branson is a British entrepreneur with a knack for adventures.

As a child, he was told by his headmaster that Branson would either end up behind bars or become a millionaire.

Thankfully, he became a billionaire. Branson opted out of studies at the age of 16 to launch a publication called “Student”. The success of this youth-culture magazine enabled him to create Virgin, a mail-order record company. 

He co-founded the Virgin Group Limited with Nik Powell in February 1970.

Today, Virgin is a conglomerate of multinational ventures like Virgin Mobile, Virgin Atlantic Airways, and Virgin Records to name a few.

Branson is also a celebrated author with a net worth of $5.2 billion. 

James Cameron 

James Cameron is no stranger to cinephiles and even casual moviegoers.

He is the famed director behind blockbusters like “Terminator”, “Titanic” and “Avatar”. Plus, Rambo: First Blood Part II was also written by Cameron.

But the Oscar-winning producer and director was once a college dropout.  

Cameron worked as a truck driver in his early days before breaking into Hollywood in 1978. His first stint involved working for the now-defunct New World Pictures.

His first critical and commercial success came with The Terminator in 1984, and he has never looked back ever since. 

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Dana White 

In the word of the notorious Mcgregor: “Surprise, surprise, bleep!”

Despite being a two-time college dropout, White has worked odd jobs before setting his sights on becoming a global juggernaut during 2020.

He became the President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 2001 and has continued to serve the position to this day.

According to estimates, his net worth is $500 million.