10 People Who Prove College Isn’t Necessary to Be Successful in Life

1 October 2021

If You Think College Is Not Necessary to Succeed, You’re Probably Right. Here Are 10 Examples to Prove Your Point.

Getting a college education can be overrated. It’s expensive, it doesn’t always encourage critical thinking and many study something just for the sake of studying something.

While we’re not suggesting that you bail out of college, there are certain times where college hasn’t proven a necessity to succeed, as you will hear with these 10 People who prove College isn’t Necessary to be Successful in Life.

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It’s not necessary for you to read this article as there’s a fun video version of this text waiting for you:

With that done, let’s jump right into the article.


Anna Wintour

With a net worth of $50 million, it’s hard to imagine that this fashion mogul succeed without any college education.

Dame Anna Wintour has been editor-in-chief of Vogue since 1988, which publishes around 12-million magazines monthly and averages 1.2 million monthly online readers.

She attended North London Collegiate School, and that’s where her school education ended. Fortunately for Wintour, her father was a newspaper editor, making her journey through fashion publications a little smoother than would be the norm.

As she affirms, “I think my father really decided for me that I should work in fashion.” So huge credit to her father for helping her become the success she is today.


David Geffen

A big jump in figures from Anna Wintour to David Geffen, who sits with a cool $10.2 billion in his bank account. It’s thanks to Geffen that DreamWorks even exists, and he’s the guy behind Geffen Records.

So, where did he begin that set him up for a few billion in the bank? In the mailroom of William Morris, a talent agency who used to have Charlie Chaplin on their books.

Geffen didn’t want to chance not getting into college, so he applied to 3: Santa Monica City College, Brooklyn College, and the University of Texas, but didn’t study at any of them.

When applying for the job at William Morris, he lied and said he graduated from UCLA along with a forged letter to prove his story.  

There is a piece of him at UCLA, however, as he donated $5 million to the Westwood Playhouse, since renamed the “Geffen Playhouse.”


Addison Rae

She needs little introduction, and little education, because it hasn’t affected her rise to starry fame – Addison Rae is true testament to the quote by David Letterman, “Life experience is the best teacher.”

She was attending Louisiana State University where she studied sports broadcasting but decided to call it quits when her TikTok career was doing the exact opposite.

Rae has only been on TikTok a little over two years, and she rose to fame fast. Her net worth is around $5 million, and her first pop single – Obsessed – reached number 4 on the New Zealand Hot Singles and came in at 92 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

If you love TikTok, you’ll definitely be interested in reading, 10 Highest Earning Tiktokers of 2020.


Tyler Perry

He’s a multi-talented force to be reckoned with. He wears the cap of actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, producer, author, and songwriter and at an undisclosed date, he added GED to the list.

Perry dropped out of high school, which didn’t deter him in becoming a billionaire.

He was a carpenter’s apprentice after receiving his GED, or Graduate Equivalency Degree, and worked between 20 and 30 jobs before finding his calling which he credits to Oprah. Perry says it was Oprah that inspired his love for writing.

You can sample his writing by listening to his book, Don’t Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings

narrated by Perry himself. It’s available on Audible, and we’ve got a free download for you at alux.com/freebook.


Alicia Keys

She was only 12-years old when she started writing music and had her first record deal at sweet 16 – Alicia Keys is now worth around $150 million.

Juggling school and a music career is not easy, which is why Keys opted to leave Columbia University after attending for just a month and rather focus on her career. According to celebanswers.com, “The stress of balancing a burgeoning music career and juggling college classes proved too big a feat for the busy teenager.”

She does value the importance of an education, and as Keys once told JET Magazine, “I think school is important and I want to definitely go back, even if I have to do an internet college course”.

Speaking of internet courses, we wrote a video on exactly that for you – go check out 15 Most VALUABLE Learning Websites That Are FREE! You’ll want to sign up today!


Jan Koum

At just 45-years old, Jan Koum has amassed a fortune of $10.8 billion. Not bad for a guy who was born in the Ukraine, immigrated to the US when he was a teenager with just his mom, lost his dad and survived on the little money his mom made babysitting while he was a cleaner in a grocery store. His mom later succumbed to a long battle with cancer.

Now, if you ever needed an inspirational story – this is it.

Koum had an interest in programming since he was 18 and enrolled at San Jose State University. At the same time, he was working at Ernst & Young as a security tester – which is where he met Brian Acton.

Koum dropped out of university, later he worked for Yahoo and eventually he and Brian Acton went on to invent WhatsApp.


Will Smith

Aren’t you glad we’re not introducing Will Smith the engineer to you, and rather Will Smith, the actor and musician? Because, if Will Smith had accepted his admittance to a pre-engineering program at MIT – he may never have pursued his musical career which then spanned into so many other areas.

Will’s son Jaden seems to have similar sentiments. A few years ago, he went on a huge Twitter tirade, encouraging students to drop out of school.

According to Business Insider, Jaden tweeted “School Is The Tool To Brainwash The Youth.” He continued by saying, “If Newborn Babies Could Speak They’d Be The Most Intelligent Beings On The Planet” and concluded with “If Everybody In The World Dropped Out Of School We Would Have A Much More Intelligent Society.”

23-year-old Jaden Smith is worth $8 million, while his father is worth $350 million.


Pete Cashmore

Named as one of the most influential people in 2012 by Time, Pete Cashmore has a dozen more accolades to add to his resume.

This Scottish multi-millionaire is the CEO of Mashable which he founded when he was just 19. There’s no doubt that you’ve been on Mashable at some point, and as pointed out by the site “Pete has continued to push Mashable to evolve from a tech blog to a global media company built around technology.”

Mashable attracts more than 20-million unique monthly views. Cashmore had several medical complications that meant he took 2 years longer to finish high school and never attended college yet he still succeed.


Jessica Alba

“Success takes communication, collaboration and, sometimes, failure.” Note, Alba didn’t mention a college degree to succeed. That’s because a college degree doesn’t guarantee success, and she’s true testament to that.

Jessica Alba did graduate from high school, but according to California News Times, never enrolled in college or University. She took acting classes at the Atlantic Theatre Company in New York. Not only did she go on to pursue a successful acting career, but her company – The Honest Company – was valued at just under $1 billion.

She’s one of the richest self-made women in the US, but as she says, it wasn’t easy “People just saw me as a girl in a bikini in movies kicking butts. It took three-and-a-half years of lots of condescending nods.”


Dave Thomas

He may not be alive anymore, but his legacy lives on. Wendy’s, named after the first of his 5 children, was all thanks to Dave Thomas and the fact that he couldn’t find a decent hamburger to eat in Columbus, Ohio.

His life was incredibly interesting, but we start when he was 12 years old and got his first job at Regas Restaurant in Knoxville, Tennessee. His father moved often, and by 15 he was working at the Hobby House Restaurant in Fort Wayne, Indiana. When his father decided to move again, Thomas chose to stay behind and continue working. He dropped out of school and worked full-time at the restaurant. Decades later, he obtained his GED just like Tyler Perry did.

In time, Thomas worked closely with Colonel Sanders to bring KFC to town and make it profitable. In 1969 he opened the first Wendy’s and today, there are more than 6,500 Wendy’s where everything is “Deliciously Different.”


Aluxers, did you succeed in life without a college degree? If so, we’d love to hear what you’ve been up to, to create your success.