More often than not, you often hear about young celebrities, such as Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, talking about putting off college to focus on their careers. Even more surprising is when people are shocked that certain celebrities such as Miranda Cosgrove or Dakota Fanning decide to go to college. You can obviously tell the difference between which people are better role models, but the reason why it matters if celebrities choose to go to college or not for the general public is a more symbolic statement. For those who choose to pursue higher education, it sends the message that even though they have money and fame, their most valuable asset, time, is worth being spent at a university instead of being photographed partying at a club. Although we are not saying that going to college or university is the only way to prove that you can learn (see our Alternative Education section), it is an invaluable option for people who do have the income and means to go to university.
Here are three badass celebrities who put education as their top priority:
1. Natalie Portman
Probably one of the most famous celebrities who attended college, Natalie Portman graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in psychology and took graduate level courses at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. How serious was she about her studies? Natalie missed her own premiere of “Star Wars Episode 1”, in which she played Padmé Amidala, to study for her final exams. During the time of her studies, she only made two films, “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones” and a small role in “Cold Mountain.” When talking to the New York Post, she said, “I don’t care if college ruins my career. I’d rather be smart than a movie star.” You go girl.
2. James Franco
If you haven’t heard of James Franco and his education path, you are in for a trip. First enrolled in in UCLA in 1996, James dropped out his freshmen year to act, only to re-enroll in 2006. To make up for lost time, he had permission to take as many as 62 course credits per quarter (the normal limit is 19), acted, and graduated in June 2008 with a GPA of 3.5/4.0. If that doesn’t impress you, James then moved to New York and attended three graduate schools simultaneously: Columbia University’s MFA writing program, New York University’s Tisch School of Arts for filmmaking, and Brooklyn College for fiction writing. During this time, he was also in a low-residency writing program at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina for poetry. After receiving his MFA from Columbia in 2010, James became a PhD student at Yale University, attending classes at the Rhode Island School of Design.
How dedicated is James Franco to his studies? After hosting the 2011 Oscars with Anne Hathaway, James took a red-eye back to New Haven and was found at 9 AM the morning after the Oscars in a Starbucks, “hunched over a book and barely recognizable in a gray sweatshirt, but still wearing his tuxedo pants.” I’d say that’s pretty boss.
3. Emma Watson
The most recent celebrity on this list to attend college, Emma Watson shows her interest in academics, but probably not on the same level as her character, Hermione Granger. First enrolling in 2009, Emma decided to attend Brown University in the states because she was a fan of the “very open curriculum, [because] there aren’t any requirements.” This allowed her to take time off to promote the final “Harry Potter” film in 2011. During her time away for film, she clearly did not forget her studies and was a visitor student at Worcester College, Oxford University during that year. Over the summer, she took classes at New York University and returned to Brown this fall to finish her degree. She said in an interview with Glamour magazine that she “doesn’t talk about her time at Brown with the press because it is her personal experience.” Even attending college was a rebellion against fame, she says, and she states that she considers those experience to be “reality” in comparison to her time on screen.
How much does Emma love academics? Before she attending university, she was tutored up to five hours a day when filming and in 2006, scored eight A* and two A grades in her GCSE. Talk about brilliant.