Before celebrities became household names and public figures, they were able to live ordinary lives like everyone else. They were able to go to parties, have fun with their friends, and just enjoy life without scrutiny from the public. Many of these celebrities were able to go to college to get a degree, which eventually led them to their careers in the entertainment industry or other prestigious careers they worked so hard to obtain.
Some celebrities were already famous and opted to go to school, just so they could have a degree to fall back on in case their entertainment careers tanked, or just to be able to say they were able to have that college experience like non-famous people. Some stars went to college and decided that the college life was just not meant for them, so they dropped out to chase their dreams. It all worked out for the better anyway, because they were able to sustain a career doing what they truly loved. It’s interesting to see how many of these stars looked during their college days. They were young, hopeful, and looking forward to whatever life was going to bring their way. Here's what these 25 celebrities looked like during their college days.
25 Troian Bellisario
Troian Bellisario is most notably known for her portrayal of Spencer Hastings on the long-running hit Freeform teen drama, Pretty Little Liars. Before becoming a well-known actress, and being chased around the fictional town of Rosewood, Troian attended the School of Dramatic Arts at the University of Southern California (U.S.C.). Troian graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. In this photo, Troian is acting in one of the many theatre plays she performed in while enrolled as a student at U.S.C.
24 Rob Kardashian
Much like his older sister Kourtney, Rob Kardashian decided to go to college. Rob attended the University of Sourhtern California Marshall School of Business and graduated in 2009. Rob is pictured with his a few of his siblings at his college graduation. Obtaining a business degree helped Rob come up with the idea of launching his own sock line, which he called Arthur George. U.S.C. was the same school Robert Kardashian, Sr. received his law degree. Rob wanted to make his late father proud by graduating from his alma mater.
23 J. Cole
J. Cole is currently one of the biggest names in Hip Hop. He’s an award-winning rapper and producer. Before J. Cole became a famous chart-topping artist, he was an ordinary college student. J. Cole attended St. John’s University in New York City with a major in business communications. The rapper graduated sum cum laude from the university in 2007. However, J. Cole didn’t officially receive his until 2015, due to the fact his degree was being withheld because he owed money for failing to return a library book. Here, the rapper is posing with his now wife, at a get together in college.
22 John Legend
John Legend is an award-winning singer, songwriter, producer, amongst many other things. The artist enrolled at the University of Pennslyvania when he was just 16-years-old, majoring in English with an emphasis on African American literature. During his time at UPenn, Legend was a member of a co-ed a capella choir called, Counterparts where he served as musical director and president. While in college, John Legend was able to play piano on Lauryn Hill’s hit song, Everything is Everything, after being introduced to the singer by a mutual friend.
21 Brooke Shields
Brooke Shields is a world-renowned actress and supermodel. Brooke was at the height of her career when she decided to take a break from acting and modeling to pursue a higher education immediately after graduating from high school. Brooke attended Princeton University where she majored in French Literature and minored in Italian. She received her bachelor's degree from the university in 1987. Brooke stated that taking a break from Hollywood and enrolling in college helped give her a confidence and reassurance of herself, that the entertainment industry just couldn’t do.
20 Hillary Clinton
Hillary Rodman Clinton attended Wellesley College where she majored in political science. While there, Hillary was a member of the Young Republicans Club and was also president of College Government Association. She even received one of the university's highest academic honor, a Durant Scholar. Hillary made history by being the first student to ever give a commencement speech at the university after being voted to do so by her classmates. After graduating with honors from Wellesley College in 1969, Hillary later enrolled and graduated from Yale Law School.
19 Tommy Lee Jones
Tommy Lee Jones is one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood. Before Tommy Lee Jones was an award-winning household name, he had a college career. Jones attended Harvard Unversity on a football scholarship where he was a star athlete and was an offensive guard. He was an English literature major and graduated in 1969. During his college years, Tommy Lee Jones’ roommate was Al Gore. The two spent their entire four years at Howard University together as roommates, and are still considered good friends.
18 Ian Harding
Fans of the Freeform series Pretty Little Liars grew to love Ian Harding, who portrayed the English teacher and one half of Ezria (hello Ezra and Aria fans), Ezra Fitz on the show for seven seasons. Ian attended Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama and graduated in 2009. Before Ian became widely known for his portrayal of Mr. Fitz, he was a college graduate looking for his big break in Hollywood. Pretty Little Liars was one of Ian Harding's first acting auditions for a major network right after college.
17 George H.W. Bush
George H. W. Bush was the 41st President of the United States. He is currently the oldest living president in the nation. After serving in the Navy during World War II, Bush went on to enroll at Yale University where he majored in economics and graduated in 1948. While at Yale, Bush was a first baseman on the baseball team, as well as team captain. The baseball team was able to make a few appearances the College World series, and Bush was even able to meet the baseball legend, Babe Ruth.
16 Dean Cain
Dean Cain is famously known for his role as Clark Kent and his alter ego, Superman on the 90s series, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Cain was on the football team at Princeton where he was able to set an NCAA record for having the most interceptions by anyone in one football season. Dean Cain and Brooke Shields became good friends and dated for nearly two years while they both were attending Princeton, she's pictured with him in this photo. He graduated from Princeton in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in History.
Rapper Saweetie recently gained notoriety after her hit single, ICY GRL became a viral sensation on social media. Before her newfound fame, Saweetie was an ordinary college student, that had hopes and dreams of somehow making it in the entertainment industry. She initially attended San Diego State University where she majored in communications. Two years later, Saweetie moved to Los Angeles and transferred to the University of Southern California where she obtained her bachelor's degree in business communications. Saweetie graduated from the university in 2016.
14 Patrick J. Adams
Patrick J. Adams starred as Mike Ross on the USA drama, Suits. Patrick attended the University of Southern California School of Dramatic Arts, where he obtained a degree in theater. During his time at the university, Patrick starred in various stage plays and productions, which he received various awards for his performances. One stage play, in particular, is where Patrick met his now wife and fellow actress, Troian Bellisario for the first time. Both Patrick and Troian were acting alongside one another in one the plays their university was producing.
13 Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of the United States. He attended a small college, Eureka College in 1932. where he majored in sociology and economics. While in college, Reagan was involved in a lot of actives. He was a member of both the football and swim teams. He was also a cheerleader and was elected president of the student body. While in college, Ronald Reagan became interested in theater, which ultimately led to his pursuit of a career in the entertainment industry before switching over to politics.
12 Dylan and Cole Sprouse
Siblings, Dylan and Cole Sprouse decided to take a break from the entertainment industry when their hit Disney Channel series, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and its spinoff, The Suite Life on Deck, ended in 2011. The Sprouse brothers both attended New York University. Dylan got his degree in video game design. Cole, who is now starring in the hit The CW series Riverdale, as Jughead Jones, majored in archeology. Both of the Sprouse brothers graduated in 2015.
11 Emma Watson
Actress Emma Watson decided to pursue higher education full time, while still working and filming various movies. Emma attended Brown University, where she majored in English literature and history. She also was able to study abroad during her junior year at Oxford University. At one point, Emma had to take a break from college for two semester due to her hectic filming schedule. It took Emma five years to receive her bachelor’s degree due to her brief break. She credits going to college with helping her keep in touch with her close friends and life outside of the spotlight.
10 Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne Johnson first became a household name under his professional wrestling moniker, The Rock. Now, he’s widely known as an actor and for his wide variety of action filled and family friendly, comedy movies. Dwayne Johnson was once a college athlete. He played football for the University of Miami, also known as the Miami Hurricanes, and helped the team win a national championship. Johnson graduated from the university in 1995, where he received a Bachelor’s of General Studies, majoring in both physiology and criminology.
9 Channing Tatum
Channing Tatum has appeared in a few franchise films such as Step Up, 21 Jump Street, and Magic Mike, which is loosely based on his life before acting. In high school, Tatum was a star athlete, excelling in track, baseball, soccer, and football, just to name a few. Before graduating from Tampa Catholic High School, Channing Tatum received a full athletic scholarship to Glenville State College. He attended the college for a brief moment before deciding to drop out. Not knowing his next move, Channing ended up doing odd jobs to make ends meet.
8 Adam Levine
Grammy award winner, and the frontman singer of Maroon 5, Adam Levine, formed his first musical band, Kara’s Flowers while still in high school. After high school, he decided to leave Los Angles, and move to New York to attend Five Towns College. Five Towns College was a school for music and the performing arts. Levine eventually dropped out of college and moved back home to Los Angles to pursue a music career with his Kara’s Flowers bandmates. He’s pictured here with Sara Bareilles during his college and Kara’s Flowers days.
7 Rachel McAdams
Rachel McAdams always had a passion for acting while growing up. She eventually joined the Original Kids Theatre in Ontario, where she was able to act in local plays. In high school, Rachel still had a love for acting and was starring in various productions, she would also often help produce local plays. After talking with one of her theatre teachers, Rachel enrolled at York University in Toronto and graduated in 2001 with a degree in theater. She went on to star in popular films such as Mean Girls, The Notebook, and The Time Traveler’s Wife.
6 Michael Strahan
For 15 years, Michael Strahan played professional football for the New York Giants. Now a retired athlete, Strahan is currently gracing television screens hosting ABC’s game show, The $100,000 Pyramid, Good Morning America, and a current football analyst for Fox Sports. Strahan attended Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas after receiving an athletic scholarship. During his time as a college football player, Michael Strahan won numerous athletic awards and was drafted in the second round of the NFL draft in 1993, after graduating from college.
5 Jodie Foster
Despite already having success as an actress at such a young age, Jodie Foster decided to go to college. She wanted to go to college to experience somewhat of a normal life away from the hectic world of acting. Jodie Foster went to Yale University where she decided to major in literature. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale in 1985. Jodie credits her time at Yale giving her a sense of normalcy, as she knew how hard the industry could be for child actors attempting to make the transition into adulthood.
4 Carrie Underwood
A few months after being crowned the winner of American Idol in the show’s fourth season, Carrie Underwood received her college degree. The country singer initially had to withdraw from Northeastern State University so that she could participate in the American Idol competition. This left three credits shy of being able to graduate. Underwood was majoring in mass communication with a journalism concentration. After becoming the Idol winner, the university decided to give Carrie the last three credits needed, citing her time on television was enough to fulfill the credits she needed. Carrie graduated magna cum laude with her bachelor's degree in 2006.
3 Barack Obama
Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States. After high school, Obama moved to Los Angels and attended Occidental College for two years. He later moved to New York to attend Columbia University where he got a degree in political science. A few years later, Obama enrolled in Harvard Law School, where he graduated magna cum laude back in 1991. While at Harvard, Obama was the president and editor of the Harvard Law Review. This photo is one of the many candid photos taken of the future President while he was attending Harvard Law.
2 Halle Berry
As a teenager, Halle Berry would often compete in local beauty pageants. She was even the first runner-up at the 1985 Miss U.S.A. pageant competition. After high school, Halle Berry enrolled in Cuyahoga Community College in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. She decided to major in broadcast journalism, with the hopes of one day becoming a news reporter. Eventually, she dropped out of college after decided to take another career path in the entertainment industry. Halle Berry moved to New York, began modeling, which later led to a career in acting.
1 Michelle Obama
Former First Lady Michelle Obama shared this throwback photo from her first day at Princeton University. Obama graduated cum laude in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and a minor in African American studies. She later attended Harvard Law School where she received her Juris Doctor degree in 1988. After Harvard, Michelle Obama began working at a law firm in Chicago where she eventually met her husband, Barack Obama. Michelle’s Obama’s college accomplishments made her the first First Lady in United States history to receive an undergraduate degree from an Ivy League university.