Successful People Who Didn't Attend College

College. It is a word that inspires fear in the minds of all youth who are bombarded with the necessity for it by their parents and society at large. We are all told that to be successful and to make a good living, college is a must. But is it? Success is a delicate formula of willpower, innovation, and skill. And sometimes college doesn’t need to be that make or break ingredient to determine our success. Take a look at the below people who managed to make themselves household names without ever completing any form of additional formal education.

Richard Branson

Not many people haven’t either heard of or interacted with the Virgin brand. From airlines to gyms, Virgin has its finger in almost every pie. No one would guess then that its founder, Richard Branson, never went to college. In fact, he did not even finish high school! Plagued with dyslexia and severe academic performance problems, Branson dropped out of school at the age of 16. Not only did he go on to follow his passion and vision to create a global brand (starting with his iconic Virgin Music brand), he went on to be worth well over $5 Billion!

Michael Dell

Few people know the name behind the PC super-brand Dell. However, it is the brainchild of one man. Michael Dell was in his first year of study at college when he decided that college wasn’t for him. And so, he spent his first year outlining the business brand that we would all come to know and love. Dell was founded when Michael was only 19 but has grown to international proportions. Michael now sits valued at an astonishing $20 Billion!

James Cameron

Avatar, Titanic and the Terminator are just a few of the films that we all get weak over! Cameron has set his name way up there in the list of our favorite filmmakers and with good reason. It’s hard to believe then that just before making films, Cameron was nothing more than a truck driver after dropping out of his Physics course at his local community college at the age of 20. After seeing the Star Wars movie, Cameron decided that that is what he wanted to do; make movies that made peoples’ jaws drop. He went on to do just that and now is worth $700 Million!

Jim Carrey

One of our times’ biggest names in comedy, Jim Carrey knows how to make you cry with laughter just by opening his mouth. Good thing that he can make us laugh though because Jim never attended any college and by his own admission, would be working at a steel mill if his showbiz career hadn’t panned out. Following his passion for performance arts and comedy was clearly the best move for him though considering that he is now an international household name. Being valued at $150 Million also doesn’t hurt much!

Steve Jobs

Apple is one of the biggest brands today! Is founder, Steve Jobs, is also known as a visionary and one of the forerunners of computing success, even though he dropped out of Reed College. Jobs went on to turn his vision for personal computing into one of the most iconic brands of the century and landed up with a cool net worth of over $10 Billion!


These five people are proof that even though college and higher education are a societal norm that is often imposed and sometimes even forced on us, it is much more than just a college graduation to turn somebody into a roaring success. It takes vision, determination, and a whole lot of hard work to achieve real success.