People Who Succeeded in Life Without a Formal College Education

Excelling in your chosen field also requires other traits that do not necessarily take a degree to develop.
by Mylene Mendoza   |  Dec 7, 2020
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College education is essential in forging our own career paths. Most jobs these days require applicants to have at least a bachelor's degree. Some even go as far as pursuing a master's degree to further deepen their knowledge on their field of focus.

While we're all aware of the important role formal education plays in accomplishing our career goals, there are also stories that show how a degree alone cannot ensure success. Excelling in your chosen field also requires dedication, hard work, perseverance, willingness to take risks, and other traits that do not necessarily take a degree to develop.

Below, we list down people who found success in their respective fields despite not graduating from college:

Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury is one of the most celebrated authors in the literary landscape. Some of his most recognizable works include Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. Unfortunately, the author couldn’t afford to go to college when he was younger. Instead, he made it a habit to drop by libraries as often as he could.  "I believe in libraries because most students don't have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression, and we had no money. I couldn't go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years," the author once said.

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Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey is the co-founder of Twitter, one of the most used social media apps in the world. Dorsey had briefly attended Missouri University of Science and Technology as a computer science major before transferring to New York University. He dropped out of school before completing his degree. Instead, he started his own company and came up with a concept for a site that would eventually become Twitter. He approached a Silicon Valley company to pitch the concept and worked on it for years with co-founders Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams.

Anna Wintour

Anna Wintour is the long-time editor in chief of Vogue Magazine and artistic director at Conde Nast. In an article on The Guardian, Wintour looked back at her career journey. At age 18, Wintour dropped out of school to pursue jobs in fashion. Her foray into the industry started when she landed a job as a fashion assistant at Harper’s & Queen despite her lack of credentials. She later on had several other jobs before becoming the fashion editor of New York Magazine. It was during her stint at that magazine that she caught the eye of Conde Nast’s editorial director, who gave her an offer to become American Vogue’s creative director.



PewdiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, is one of the most subscribed YouTubers. At the moment, his channel has 108 million subscribers. Kjellberg did go to college but decided to drop out shortly. Instead, he wanted to focus on growing his career on YouTube at a time when making videos wasn’t yet seen as a legit career option. He would work side jobs to financially support himself while working on his YouTube channel.

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Bobby Fischer

Bobby Fischer is a world renowned chess grandmaster. He is one of the inspos behind Beth Harmon’s character in Walter Tevis’ The Queen’s Gambit, the novel where the Netflix series is based on. At a young age, Fischer had already established himself as a master of the game, so much so that he opted to drop out of high school at age 16 to focus on playing chess.


Anne Curtis

Despite being enrolled at Griffith University in Australia, Anne Curtis had to let go of her education to pursue a career in show business. She once opened up about how one of her biggest insecurities was not finishing college. And even though she's very much happy with what she's doing now, it's still one of her dreams to graduate. 

Anne started out as a child actress under GMA. In 2004, she transferred networks and landed her first big break through ABS-CBN's teleserye Ang Kampanerang Kuba. After establishing her career as an actress, Anne ventured into entrepreneurship in 2017 when she started her own makeup line called BLK Cosmetics. 

Inka Magnaye

Inka, a voiceover artist known for her work with Philippine Airlines and Play FM, once opened up about not having a college degree. "I had to work VERY hard to get to where I am in my own industry," she shares. With a family full of VO artists, Inka started working as one at a young age. She later on landed gigs with big companies like PAL and caught everyone's hearts (and ears!) on social media. In 2020, Inka’s podcast Sleeping Pill with Inka was Spotify Philippines’ most streamed podcast in 2020.

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Mylene Mendoza
Candy Staff Writer
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