A worker with a high school diploma is twice as likely to be unemployed as a worker with a college degree. A worker holding a bachelor’s degree earned an average weekly salary of $1,053 in 2011, nearly double the $638 weekly salary for those with a high school education.


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  • Ted Turner

    Turner was expelled from Brown University after he was caught with a woman in his dorm room, which was against college regulations. He is now known as a wildly-successful businessman for founding CNN and TNT.

  • David Plouffe

    Plouffe left the University of Delaware in 1989 to pursue a full-time career in politics. He later went back and completed his full undergraduate degree in May 2010. He is known today as the senior advisor to President Barack Obama.

  • Ellen DeGeneres

    DeGeneres dropped out of the University of New Orleans, after one year of studying communications, to get her start as a stand-up comedian.

  • Tiger Woods

    Woods dropped out of Stanford University after two years to start a sports career as a professional golfer.

  • Mark Zuckerberg

    Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard University and moved to Palo Alto, Calif. to encourage the world to "share" through his revolutionary social network.

  • Russell Simmons

    Simmons left Manhattan City College a few credits shy of a degree in sociology. Then he formed <a href="http://www.notablebiographies.com/news/Sh-Z/Simmons-Russell.html#b" target="_hplink">Rush Management</a>, a management company for artists. Now, he is known for co-founding the pioneering hip-hop label Def Jam.

  • Brad Pitt

    Pitt dropped out of the journalism school at the University of Missouri with just two weeks before graduation. Today, he is basically photographed during every public second of his day. Together with his wife Angelina Jolie, Pitt supports the tabloid journalism industry by walking around with his children.

  • Natasha Bedingfield

    Bedingfield dropped out of the University of Greenwich after one year to focus on singing and songwriting. Her album, <em>Unwritten</em>, debuted at #1 in England.

  • Steve Jobs

    Jobs dropped out of Reed College in Portland, Oregon only after 6 months, but he did continue to audit classes. He was co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc.

  • Madonna

    Madonna dropped out of University of Michigan to pursue a career in dance. Today she is one of the world's top-selling female recording artists of all time according to <a href="http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news/2012/4/madonna-beats-elviss-no1-albums-record-as-mdna-tops-uk-chart/" target="_hplink">The Guinness Book of World Records. </a>

  • Pete Wentz

    Wentz dropped out of DePaul University, where he studied political science, one quarter shy of graduation to focus on his music career. Now he is known as the bassist and primary lyricist for the American rock band Fall Out Boy. He also started his own record label, launching Panic! At The Disco and many of the biggest bands on the Warped Tour as well as hit-makers Cobra Starship.

  • Kanye West

    West dropped out of Chicago State University to focus on his music career. He is now a famous rapper (and Kim Kardashian's boyfriend) and runs his own label, GOOD Music. Never one to shy away from his past or to dodge controversy, West owned his decision, calling his debut album <em>College Dropout</em>.

  • Oprah Winfrey

    Winfrey dropped out of Tennessee State University in 1972. Then she became anchor of WTFV-TV and focused on her career. She finished her degree in 1987. She is known for her successful self-titled talk show, her magazine, her own television channel and a leading global philanthropist.

  • Bill Gates

    Gates dropped out of Harvard after two years to found Microsoft with Paul Allen.

  • John Mayer

    Mayer dropped out of Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. after two semesters and moved to Atlanta with a friend to start a two-man band.

  • Ralph Lauren

    Lauren dropped out of Baruch College in New York after two semesters and served in the United States Army. Though he never attended fashion school, his brand is among the most visible in the world.

  • Lady Gaga

    Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (her legal name) dropped out of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts after her freshman year to shock the world and grow her legion of monsters.

  • John Lennon

    Lennon was expelled from Liverpool College of Arts before his final year. He went on to tour as the rhythm guitarist and singer for The Beatles, so the universe is probably better off that he didn't graduate.