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8 Extremely Successful People Who Did Not Graduate From College

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Going to school, getting good grades, and finishing with a diploma used to be the widely accepted top formula for success. But today, many success stories prove that having formal education isn’t the only way to reach your dreams.

Sometimes, it takes more than a college degree to join the ranks of millionaires and billionaires. There’s vision, tenacity, passion, hard work, maybe even a bit of luck. Below, we list eight successful individuals who did not graduate college.

1. Richard Branson

Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Records, Virgin Mobile, and other Virgin brands, is said to be presently worth $5 billion. Not only did he not graduate college, he also didn’t complete high school. He was dyslexic and did not perform well in school, but that experience did not stop him from eventually building an empire. He believes education is important but that schools need to encourage and fund programs to help students become entrepreneurs.

2. Steve Jobs

At the time of his passing, Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, was worth $11 billion. You’ve probably heard or read about his story – how he dropped out of Reed College and started the Apple company in his garage. Today, Apple is a successful global brand.

3. Rachael Ray

TV personality, celebrity cook, author, and businesswoman Racheal Ray is reportedly worth $60 million today. She did not attend college and does not have any formal culinary training. Despite all that, she managed to launch several successful talk shows and programs, as well as bestselling cookbooks.

4. Kevin Rose

Source: Joi / Flickr

Kevin Rose is an online entrepreneur who co-founded Revision3, Pownce, Digg, and Milk. He attended the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, but he dropped out after two years. Today, he is the CEO of HODINKEE, a board member of the Tony Hawk Foundation, and an advisor to Google Ventures.

5. Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison, the co-founder and former CEO of Oracle Corporation, is currently worth $62.4 billion. He dropped out of two colleges but became a self-made multi-billionaire. He founded Software Development Laboratories (SDL) in 1977 along with two partners. This company eventually became Oracle Systems Corporation in 1982.

6. Dave Thomas

Source: Wendy’s

Dave Thomas, the founder and CEO of Wendy’s, was worth $99 million when he passed away in 2002 at 69 years old. He dropped out of high school and worked full time at the Hobby House Restaurant in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Even though he became successful without a college degree, the man still believed in the power of education. He obtained a GED in 1993. He was an education advocate, and he founded the Dave Thomas Education Center, which offers GED classes to young adults.

7. David Green

Source: YouTube

David Green, philanthropist and founder of Hobby Lobby, a chain of arts and crafts stores, is worth $6.4 billion today. He earned a high school diploma but decided to pass on college to start his own business. The entrepreneur built his brand at home in 1970 on a $600 loan. After two years, he opened his first retail store.

8. Michael Dell

Michael Dell, the founder of Dell computers, is worth $23.5 billion today. He dropped out of the University of Texas but went on to become the youngest CEO on the Fortune 500 list at the age of 27 in 1992. It was in his college dorm room that he started working on the foundations of Dell. He was once packaging and selling upgrades for personal computers.

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