Celebrities That Went Back to College

While going back to college can be difficult and time consuming, lots of people succeed at it. Advancing your career or changing career paths altogether are excellent reasons to go back to college. This list of celebrities that have gone back to college, often after working in their industry for years, is living proof that you can do it too!

Shakira – History of Civilization
Latin pop singer and Grammy Award Winner Shakira recently enrolled in a history of western civilization course at the University of California, Los Angeles. She reportedly wore a big backpack and hat, and even went by a different name so she would be less recognizable — that’s something not every college student struggles with.

Shaquille O’Neal – Business
O’Neal is a star both on the basketball court and in the classroom. The multiple award-winning NBA All-Star left school to pursue his athletic career, but promised his mother he would go back someday. In 2000 he graduated with his Bachelor’s in Business from Louisiana Sate University and in 2005 he earned his Master of Business Education from the University of Phoenix. O’Neal said he decided to go back to college after thinking about what he will do when he retires from basketball.

James Franco – English
Best known for his role in all three Spider-Man movies, actor James Franco went back to the University of California, Los Angeles to earn an honors degree in English in 2008. But he’s not stopping there. Franco is currently working toward his Master of Fine Arts in writing at Columbia University. Even Golden Globe winners earn degrees.

Michael Jordan – Geography
Michael Jordan left school to play basketball and became one of the most well-known players in the NBA. However, being an NBA champion, MVP, All-Star, and Slam Dunk Contest Winner multiple times wasn’t enough for Jordan. He went back to college at North Carolina-Chapel Hill and earned his degree in geography.

Steven Spielberg – Film
Everyone loves Jaws and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial but few people realize the man behind these movie successes earned his degree at the age of 55. Spielberg went back to college to earn his Bachelor of Arts from Cal State University’s film school even after a successful and busy career and after being awarded five honorary doctorates. If Spielberg can benefit from going back to college, so can you.

Sandra Bullock – Drama
Actress Sandra Bullock, who starred in movies like While You Were Sleeping and The Blind Side and has won an Oscar and Golden Globe, among several other awards, left East Carolina University in favor of acting. However, she later returned and earned her bachelor’s degree.

Brian May – Physics
Brian May, lead guitarist for Queen graduated from London’s Imperial College with honors in physics and mathematics. Impressively, after being in the music industry for 30 years, May went back to college and earned his Ph.D. in physics. He wrote his thesis on Interplanetary Dust and was invited back to the school as a visiting researcher to study astronomy.

If actors, athletes, and musicians can go back to college to earn their degree, so can you! What are you waiting for? Visit My Colleges and Careers for more information on finding the program that is right for you and how to get started.