There's no doubt that the higher education system is in some ways flawed. A lot of this came to light recently in the wake of the college admissions scandal unearthed by the FBI, when it was revealed that many wealthy people were allegedly paying their kids' way into elite universities. The idea that the system is rigged in anyone's favor isn't a new or novel concept, and it brings up an opportunity to talk about something that often goes undiscussed: college is not right for everyone. But if you have a hard time believing that, consider that these seven celebrities who didn't graduate college and prove skipping an expensive degree can be the right move for some people.
The conversation being had in the aftermath of the scandal coming to light is mostly that people who come from privileged backgrounds have an unfair advantage, and that's absolutely not OK. But it's probably a good time to mention that if you have to cheat, lie, and pay your way into a school, maybe school is just not for you in the first place. And that's OK, too.
In fact, many successful people either didn't go to college or dropped out mid-way through, according to CNN. Perhaps part of the problem is the very pervasive idea that there is one, singular path to success, and it involves a higher education that will put most people in seriously deep debt.
Let's be clear, though: if you want to work in a profession like law or medicine, of course formal training is necessary, and we need to do the work of ensuring that all individuals have a fairer shot of getting in, and getting scholarships. However, it's not right for everyone, and these successful celebrities prove that's the case once and for all.
Alba graduated from high school in Claremont, California, and began taking classes at the Atlantic Theater Company in New York in the late 90s, according to The Oprah Magazine. In 2000, she got her first big break with a role in the series Dark Angel, and she went on to make a name for herself as an actress. Now, according to The Oprah Magazine, she's also the founder and chairperson of The Honest Company, which is valued at nearly $1 billion as of 2017.
DeGeneres graduated from high school in Atlanta in 1976, and began taking classes the next year at the University of New Orleans, majoring in — you guessed it — communications, as USA Today reported. She then dropped out in favor of working standup comedy gigs, according to USA Today, and in the years that followed, became one of the most famous television hosts in the world.
Kim Kardashian West
Though it's a little-known fact that her older sister, Kourtney Kardashian, actually has a B.A. in Theatre and Spanish from The University of Arizona, she and brother Rob Kardashian are the only ones of the clan who finished a degree, according to Bravo.
Kim Kardashian, on the other hand, only attended Pierce College for a short while, according to INSIDER, but that seems to be working out well for her, as she's become arguably the most famous — and second wealthiest — of the family.
Kylie Jenner, who was recently featured on the cover of Forbes as one of the world's youngest self-made billionaires, her makeup company, Kylie Cosmetics, has shifted her public persona from reality TV supporting character to businesswoman extraordinaire.
Sure, there's some debate about whether or not the "self-made" title is fair, but either way, many people come from privilege and wealth — her sisters, included — and not everyone is able to transform it into a billion dollar business, and all sans college degree.
As one of the most popular recording artists in the world, Queen Bey did not attend college, either. In fact, Beyoncé actually dropped out of high school when she was a teenager, according to Biography, in order to focus more on performing. The decision seemed to have paid off — big time.
After leaving school at the age of 16 to pursue a music deal with Def Jam in the United States (she was born in Barbados) Rihanna became a household name with her early 2000s hits. Today, she's a musician as well as a beauty line mogul, as Fenty Beauty hit stores just last year, and she also has a lingerie line, Savage X Fenty, according to The Oprah Magazine.
Though Katy Perry achieved massive success without ever having went to college as an undergrad, according to iHeartRadio, in an interview earlier this year, she talked about wanting to return for the sake of interest.
"A lot of people go who have already had success in their careers at 45, and they're like, 'Well, what the f**k do I do now?'" she said. "Anthropology, Astronomy, Egyptology, Comparative Religious Studies... I like the history of things. I like storytelling. I like philosophical studies and mystical studies. I love knowing about sacred geometry and stuff like that."
Maybe college wasn't necessary for her success, but it's always a valid option if that's what you're most interested in.