• Praxis
  • Blog
  • 125 Successful People Who Didn’t Graduate College

Right now, you’re probably asking yourself, “Is college worth it?
I won’t sit here and say, “No, college is a scam and people who go to college are fools.”
Truthfully, there are a lot of good reasons people choose to go to college. For some, going to college is the right option.
But going to college isn’t the only option.
If it were the only option, then everyone who didn’t go to college would be a failure, right?

We know that isn’t true, because we’ve all heard the dropout-to-billionaire stories of tech geniuses like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg.
But are those guys one-in-a-million exceptions to the rule?
How realistic is it for someone to be successful without going to college?
We’ve done the research for you and compiled a list of 125 people who found success without a college degree.
Sure, some are Zuckerberg-level geniuses, but those aren’t the only names you’ll see.
You’ll also see a lot of people who found the right college alternative and worked hard to achieve success in a wide range of jobs:

  • Real estate entrepreneurs
  • Corporate managers and executives
  • Journalists
  • High-paid freelance writers
  • Motivational speakers
  • Marketing and video production consultants
  • TV personalities

And a whole lot more.

125 Successful People Who Didn’t Go to College

As you’re exploring the best option for your future, keep these 125 success stories in mind.

1. Ross Alex

Alex dropped out of college to become a real estate entrepreneur who’s now created two six-figure real estate businesses.

2. Yashar Ali

Ali is a journalist responsible for breaking some of the biggest news stories in recent years from the Fox News sexual harassment scandal to Harvey Weinstein, to the Russia investigation, but he never went to college.

3. Paul Allen

When you think of Microsoft, you probably don’t think of Paul Allen. But like Gates, Allen dropped out of college after two years to pursue computer programming. In fact, it was Allen who convinced Gates to leave Harvard.

4. Mary Kay Ash

Ash was the founder of Mary Kay, the multi-level cosmetics marketing company, which today has over $3.6 billion in revenue per year. Ash didn’t go to college because her family couldn’t afford to send her. Instead, she got married at 17 before getting divorced nearly 20 years later in 1953. After her divorce, she attended the University of Houston for a year before dropping out. In 1963, she formed Mary Kay Cosmetics.

5. Julian Assange

Assange is the founder of controversial media organization WikiLeaks. He attended Central Queensland University and the University of Melbourne in Australia but dropped out for moral reasons.
Julian Assange
Assange was obsessed with computer programming as a kid and used his self-developed expertise to become one of the world’s best hackers and most controversial figures.

6. Zachary Babcock

Babcock is the author of Prison To Promised Land, which talks about his five years in prison and how anyone can find happiness and fulfillment after addiction, loss, and other struggles. Today, he’s a motivational speaker, has a podcast, and runs a Facebook ad agency.

7. Cathal Berragan

Berragan is a college dropout who left school to start the social media marketing agency, Social Chain.

8. Patrick Bet-David

Bet-David‘s family immigrated to the United States at 10 as Iranian refugees. He joined the military after high school and then took a few traditional jobs at finance companies before being inspired to launch PHP Agency, an insurance sales, marketing, and distribution company, before the age of 30.
Patrick Bet-David
Bet-David is an Iranian immigrant and US Army veteran who worked a few traditional jobs after his military service ended before starting his own financial services company.

9. Gautam Bhargava

Bhargava is a high school dropout and the founder of peeyr.com, a peer education marketplace connecting students with peers for tutoring.

10. Chandler Bolt

Bolt dropped out of college in 2013 and is now the author of five best-selling books. He’s also the founder and CEO of Self-Publishing School.

11. Matt Boney

Boney attended Brown University and then had an idea for a new take on vacation rental packages. He dropped out, moved to Miami, and founded Daycation.

12. Richard Branson

Branson is a high school dropout and founder of Virgin Group, a multi-national venture capital company. Though extremely smart and hard-working, Branson struggled with dyslexia that made attending traditional educational institutions nearly impossible.

13 Travis Brodeen

Brodeen is the CTO of Newchip and was making $150,000 per year by age 19. He’s been involved in startups for 20 years and recently founded MVP Institute, a company that helps startups raise early-stage capital.

14. Mitchell Broderick (Praxis)

Broderick attended a local community college before deciding he wanted to take his life in a different direction. He dropped out and discovered Praxis, which helped him land a sales job for Advantage Media Group. Broderick thrived in the role, and after graduating from Praxis, he was promoted to VP of Business Development. Today, Broderick is the VP of Client Development at Platform, a real estate marketing agency.
Here’s what Mitchell had to say about his Praxis experience:
“Praxis isn’t something that contrarians do to be different for a year. They do it because it works. They get awesome jobs making great money.”

15. James Cameron

Cameron is one of the biggest names in film, directing movies like The Terminator, Aliens, Titanic, and Avatar. He enrolled in Fullerton College in 1973 to study physics before switching to English and ultimately dropping out in 1974.
James Cameron
Cameron got into film because he was blown away by Star Wars in 1977 and worked his way up from production assistant to model maker to art director before becoming the household name he is today.

16. Holly Cardew

Cardew is a college dropout who founded Pixc.com, which helps e-commerce stores optimize their products and images to increase online sales. She also foundedhttps://www.getvop.com/Vop, which makes your TikTok feed shoppable.

17. AJ Cartas

Cartas dropped out of college in 2015 to focus on social media marketing and has been running his own agency, Syzygy Social, since January 2020.

18. Pete Cashmore

Cashmore founded Mashable at age 19 without ever having gone to college. In 2017, Mashable was sold for nearly $50 million.

19. Tim Chermak

Chermak is a college dropout and a co-founder of Platform, a digital marketing agency for real estate professionals.

20. Mike Clum

Clum dropped out of college in 2011, bought a camera for $600, and started Clum Creative. At first, he cold-called companies asking if he could shoot videos for them. Nearly 10 years later, Clum Creative has grown to become a full-fledged video production company with over $3 million in annual sales.
Mike Clum
Clum started his successful video production company with a $600 camera and a lot of hustle.

21. Gabriel Conte

Conte is a YouTuber with 1.85 million subscribers. He dropped out of college to grow his channel and is now a full-time Youtuber.

22. Simon Cowell

Cowell dropped out of school at age 16 and took a job working in a mailroom. At 23, he started his own record label, Fanfare, and now he’s known as the tough-to-please American Idol critic.

23. Philip DeFranco

DeFranco is a YouTuber with 6.39 million subscribers. He dropped out of college to dedicate more time to his daily news channel, which covers political and controversial topics.

24. Ellen DeGeneres

DeGeneres dropped out of the University of New Orleans after just one semester, instead deciding to pursue stand-up comedy while working odd jobs to make ends meet. It took nearly 10 years, but DeGeneres finally caught her break on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

25. Michael Dell

Dell founded Dell Technologies after dropping out of the University of Texas after his freshman year at age 19. Today, he’s worth $38.4 billion.

26. John Paul DeJoria

DeJoria overcame a tough childhood to co-found John Paul Mitchell Systems in 1980 and Patron Tequila despite only having a high school diploma.
John Paul DeJoria
DeJoria is the co-founder of the Paul Mitchell hair products line and founder of Patron Spirits who was twice homeless and sold encyclopedias door-to-door while searching for success.

27. Barry Diller

Diller dropped out of UCLA to become the president of Paramount Pictures and CEO of Fox Studios before becoming the CEO of IAC, which owns Match.com and the Home Shopping Network, among other properties.

28. Jack Dorsey

Dorsey founded Twitter after dropping out of NYU.

29. Jake Ducey

Ducey is a three-time published author who’s given TED talks, toured with Vans Warped Tour, and has a YouTube channel with 601,000 subscribers.

30. Addison Rae Easterling

Easterling is a college dropout who left to pursue her TikTok influencer career (@addisonre) and later launched her own beauty label, ITEM Beauty.

31. Daniel Ek

Ek co-founded Spotify after dropping out of the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden just eight weeks into his engineering program. He became a millionaire at 23 and a billionaire at 35.

32. Jesse Elder

Elder didn’t finish high school, and today he’s a former MMA fighter-turned-entrepreneur who works as a mentor and life coach focusing on personal happiness.

33. Larry Ellison

Ellison dropped out of two colleges only to later become the founder of Oracle.

34. Rand Fishkin

Fishkin is the co-founder of Moz, one of the largest and most influential SEO companies in the world. Fishkin dropped out of the University of Washington in 2000 to work full-time at his mother’s marketing firm before launching the SEOmoz blog in 2004, which later became the company he co-founded.

35. Michael Fisk

Fisk skipped college and founded Photoboxx, an event-based photo activation company that released one of the first hashtag printers in the world.

36. Sam Forline

Forline dropped out of school and established Blue Collar Scholars in 2013 to hire college students to work in their communities. He’s largely responsible for the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge in his role as the Director of Organizations Against ALS.
Sam Forline
Forline is largely responsible for the success of the Ice bucket Challenge, which raised $115 million for the ALS Association.

37. Damien Foord

Foord is a college dropout and Air Force veteran who’s now a branding expert and Principal Strategist at Prismonde.

38. Brett Fox

Fox is a college dropout and a co-founder of Photzy.com, an online photography school.

39. Romacio Fulcher

Fulcher was a college dropout at 19 and became a self-made real estate millionaire by 25.

40. Joe Gagliese

Joe put his college degree on hold to co-found Viral Nation, an influencer marketing agency that’s helped clients like Ray Ligaya land sponsorships with brands like Sony and Tic Tac.

41. Sachet Gagwani

Gagwani enrolled in Radford University to study computer science but dropped out because he “didn’t learn anything new.” He founded an anonymous, social media geolocation app called Covertly and now runs a company called G Venture Group that performs various business services for its clients.

42. Bill Gates

Gates dropped out of Harvard after two years to co-found Microsoft with fellow dropout Paul Allen. Gates became a millionaire by age 26 and is worth $102 billion today.

43. David Geffen

Geffen co-founded DreamWorks after dropping out of three different colleges: Santa Monica City College, Brooklyn College, and the University of Texas.

44. Loren Gray

Gray gained fame on musical.ly (now TikTok) in 2015 while in 6th grade. Today, she has 20.1 million Instagram followers (@loren) and 48.4 million TikTok followers (@lorengray).

45. David Green

Green is the founder of Hobby Lobby who skipped college to start his own arts and crafts company with a $600 loan and an idea to make miniature picture frames. Today, he’s worth $7.6 billion.
David Green
Green started Hobby Lobby with a $600 loan and grew his business to over 900 stores and 43,000 employees in 47 states.

46. Micah Green

Green is a Cornell dropout who founded Maidbot, a housekeeping robot for hotels.

47. Nash Grier

Grier initially gained fame in high school through Vine, becoming the second most-followed user on the platform.

48. Maayan Gordon

Gordon is a college dropout, glass artist, TikTok sensation, and now owns Maayan Gordon Media where she’s a TikTok and LinkedIn coach.

49. Lucy Guo

Guo is a successful computer programmer who left Carnegie Mellon in 2014 after two years to pursue an internship with Facebook. Since dropping out, she’s held a variety of impressive positions, including Product Designer roles at Quora and Snapchat. In 2019, she founded her own investment firm, Backend Capital.

50. Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag

Haag is an eSports star and YouTuber with 3.26 million subscribers. He dropped out of college to dedicate more time to professional Call of Duty tournaments, which is how he gained much of his YouTube fame.
Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag
Haag was one of the best Call of Duty players of all-time and won $103,000 in 2011 alone, well before eSports reached its current levels of popularity.

51. A.J. Hakimi

Hakimi dropped out of college and hustled his way to a full-time income by buying and selling items on Craigslist. Today, he’s The Flipping Ninja.

52. Jake Heilbrunn

Heilbrunn dropped out of college to backpack Central America and then wrote Off The Beaten Trail. He’s now a social media strategist at Launchbox 365, which bridges the gap between managers and millennials in the workplace.

53. Randalyn Hill (Praxis)

Hill graduated high school at age 16 and wasn’t interested in the traditional college experience. Instead, she took a gap year, during which she discovered Praxis. Through Praxis, Hill landed a job at a coaching startup, Ama La Vida, where she honed her skills for 18 months before starting a career as a full-time marketing consultant at cre8tives.co. She’s also a podcast host on WanderBarn, an Indie podcast network.
Randalyn Hill (Praxis)
Hill used her Praxis experience to start her own thriving marketing agency, Cre8tives.co.

54. Lydia Hodgson (Praxis)

Hodgson was accepted to several colleges but was burned out from high school and unready to commit to more traditional schooling. Instead, she applied to Praxis and got a job in marketing and communications for a real estate company. Today, she’s a Project Manager and Customer Success Specialist for a tech company.

55. Mandi Holmes

Holmes is a college dropout who built She Can Coterie, a full-service business and marketing management agency for online, service-based women business owners.

56. Seth Hymes

Hymes is a college dropout who worked in various digital marketing roles before creating his own digital marketing course in 2016.

57. Steve Jobs

Jobs dropped out of Reed College after just 6 months because he couldn’t understand how the college experience would benefit him. He traveled for a few years before co-founding Apple Computers in 1976 with partners Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne.

58. Todd Jones

Jones was hired by Publix in 1980 as a bagger and worked his way up the company ranks for 36 years before being named CEO in 2016. He’s the first CEO in Publix’s history who isn’t a member of the founding family. Jones accomplished all of this with a strong work ethic and without a college degree.

59. Travis Kalanick

Kalanick co-founded Uber in 2009. Before that, he dropped out of UCLA in 1998 to work on a project called Scour, a peer-to-peer file sharing application, with his classmates. Scour went bankrupt in 2000, after which Kalanick co-founded Red Swoosh, another peer-to-peer file-sharing company, where he got into some legal hot water before the company was purchased by Akamai Technologies in 2007. In 2009, Kalanick got his major break when he co-founded Uber, the revolutionary ride-sharing app.
Travis Kalanick
Kalanick dropped out of UCLA in 1998 to work on various projects before becoming the co-founder of Uber in 2009.

60. David Karp

Karp founded Tumblr in 2007 and sold the company to Yahoo in 2013 for $1.1 billion. Karp was into HTML as a kid and got his first internship as an animation producer at age 14. He dropped out of high school to begin homeschool in 2015 and never even got his high school diploma.

61. Oliver Kenyon

Kenyon is a chef-turned-entrepreneur who quit his culinary career at age 25 to follow a self-directed path. Not only has he built and sold a seven-figure company, but he’s loved every minute of it.

62. Brodie Kern

Kern is a public speaker and serial entrepreneur who’s launched successful ventures in commercial real estate and the telecom industry. Today, he runs Wake Up Wealthy, a coaching company inspired by his own struggles with addiction.

63. Taylor King (Praxis)

King started his first business in high school – a tech repair service for friends, family, and classmates. He was always interested in tech and film, so he went to college to study filmmaking but dropped out when he discovered traditional college wasn’t for him. Then King discovered Praxis, who helped him find a job at a top advertising agency in New York. Today, King owns his own full-service creative agency, Created by TK.
Taylor King (Praxis)
King dropped out of college before he discovered Praxis, which gave him the experience he needed to start his own full-service creative agency, Created by TK.

64. Johanna Knapic (Praxis)

Knapic was dead-set on going to college but quickly realized how expensive college can be. She made the practical decision to attend a lower-cost local state school, but after one year she felt she needed more real-life experience. Knapic dropped out and discovered Praxis, who helped her get a job in a field she’s always loved: hospitality, real estate, and short-term rentals. Today, Knapic has moved up the ladder at that same company and now works to manage the company’s portfolio of short-term rental properties.

65. Jan Koum

Koum is the CEO and co-founder of WhatsApp, a mobile messaging app that was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $19.3 billion. He enrolled in San Jose State University in 1997 and got a job at Yahoo before dropping out shortly thereafter.

66. Ralph Lauren

Lauren is a famous clothing designer who studied business at Baruch College in Manhattan before dropping out to make his own way in the fashion industry.

67. Kristen Leanne

Leanne is a Youtuber with 622,000 subscribers. She dropped out of high school and now runs her popular beauty channel full-time.

68. Chino Lex

Lex is a college dropout who’s now a serial entrepreneur and mobile growth consultant. He got his start with sheer hard work by making ends meet as a full-time carpet cleaner while simultaneously launching 190 iPhone and Android apps in his spare time.

69. Mia Liang (Praxis)

Liang was homeschooled as a kid to make time for her first passion: dance. She graduated high school over a year early and started taking classes at a local community college, but the college culture wasn’t for her. Liang then discovered Praxis and immediately fell in love with its practical approach. Through Praxis, she landed an opportunity as a digital marketing apprentice in San Francisco. Now, she’s a full-time member of the SEO team at a San Francisco digital marketing agency.

70. John Mackey

Mackey is the founder of Whole Foods who spent a few years in the 1970s studying various subjects at both the University of Texas and Trinity College before dropping out to start his first health food store, Safer Way, in 1978.
John Mackey
Mackey raised $45,000 to start his first health food store, Safer Way, in 1978. His business grew to become the Whole Foods franchise we know today.

71. William McCanless

McCanless is a high school dropout who now thrives as a high-end copywriter.

72. Julia McCoy

McCoy dropped out of college to found several content marketing companies like Express Writers and Content Hacker.

73. Tara Michelle

Michelle is a YouTuber with 1.24 million subscribers. She dropped out of college when she discovered it wasn’t the right fit for her, and now she runs her channel full-time while covering travel, fashion, and makeup.

74. Tiffany Mikell

Mikell is a tech entrepreneur who dropped out of high school after her junior year because “college was boring.” She’s founded several companies, many of which give back to her community, and prefers self-directed learning to the traditional classroom experience.

75. Hayden Miyamoto

Miyamoto is a high school dropout who started his own web design business at 17. He discovered niche sites and built 3,000 of them, then launched NoHatDigital and Wired Investors to buy online businesses with unrealized potential.

76. Madelyn Moon

Moon is an author, podcast host, retreat leader, and life coach who’s been featured in HuffPost and other major publications. Through her multi-channel business, she shares lessons she’s learned by overcoming both her eating disorder and her overall lack of self-confidence.
Madelyn Moon
Moon struggled with her own emotions and now helps her clients with theirs.

77. Morgz

Morgz is a YouTuber with 11.4 million subscribers. He dropped out of high school at age 15 and has one of the most obscure, fastest-growing channels.

78. Matt Mullenweg

Mullenweg founded WordPress, a popular content management system that around 35% of websites on the internet use. Mullenweg attended the University of Houston but dropped out to found Automattic, the company behind WordPress and other major Internet brands.

79. Keshav Narula

Narula is a college dropout who launched Homeroom, an app designed to transform communication in the educational system. It’s just one of several apps Narula has successfully launched.

80. Casey Neistat

Neistat is a YouTuber with 12.2 million subscribers. He dropped out of high school during his sophomore year and now lives exclusively off of his YouTube income.

81. Jack Nickell

Nickell dropped out of the Illinois Institute of Art two years after co-founding Threadless, the innovative clothing design company.

82. Cheyenne Noelle

Noelle has built her own brand as a freelance writer and Sales Development Representative who’s achieved all of her personal success without a college degree.

83. Amancio Ortega

Ortega is a Spanish billionaire businessman who dropped out of school in 1948 at age 12 to help his family make ends meet by delivering shirts. Twenty-seven years later, Ortega opened the first Zara location, a clothing retail company that’s grown to over 1,500 stores around the world.

84. Jake Paul

Paul is a YouTuber with 20.2 million subscribers. He dropped out during his junior year of high school but is estimated to be worth $35 million.

85. Robert Pittman

Pittman has been the CEO of MTV, AOL, and iHeartMedia, the largest broadcaster in the United States, after dropping out of Millsaps College and landing his first job as a program director for an FM radio station.

86. Hannah Phillips (Praxis)

Phillips was homeschooled in high school, which is when she started her first business: HP Media, a digital media company. After high school, she applied to Praxis and was accepted, which led her to an apprenticeship at Flying Cork Media in her hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. That’s when HP Media took off, and Phillips decided to dedicate herself full-time to her company. Later, she co-founded Piper Creative, a digital marketing agency that helps brands tell their story through audio and video.
Hannah Phillips (Praxis)
Phillips discovered Praxis after high school and used her on-the-job learning to build her personal business to become the successful digital marketing agency it is today.

87. Wolfgang Puck

Puck owns 16 restaurants and 80 express bistros despite dropping out of high school at just 14 years old.

88. Bennett Quintard

Quintard co-founded Sieo – a company whose mission is to help startups succeed – while studying at Chapman University. In his second year, Quintard dropped out to focus on Sieo full-time.

89. Rachael Ray

Ray attended Pace University in New York to study literature and communications but dropped out to save money and reconsider her career goals. In the years since, she’s become an author, TV show host, and all-around successful businesswoman valued at $75 million.

90. Bretman Rock

Rock is a Filipino-American beauty influencer on Instagram (@bretmanrock) with 15.1 million followers. He was recognized as one of the 30 most influential teens of 2017 by TIME.

91. Kevin Rose

Rose has founded several major tech companies, most notably Digg, after dropping out of UNLV just two years into his computer science degree.

92. FaZe Rug

Rug is a YouTuber with 17 million subscribers. He dropped out of college during his freshman year to build his channel, which is heavy on comedy, challenges, and pranks.

93. Andrea Russett

Russett is a YouTuber with 2.99 million subscribers. She enrolled in an online course program after high school so she would have time to pursue her acting career. She dropped out of the program after six months and now makes a living off YouTube.

94. Katya Sarmiento

Sarmiento is a college dropout and the founder of ReachAndMakeMillions.com, which provides done-for-you tech services for successful, booked entrepreneurs who want to scale their businesses.
Katya Sarmiento
Sarmiento specializes in doing “all the boring stuff” so business owners can focus on what they do best.

95. Rob Schad

Schad had a college scholarship but decided to opt out to build his Amazon seller business, which reached $250,000 in annual revenue. Today, he’s a Marketplace Manager for Pangaea.

96. Andrew Schneck

Schneck is a self-starter to his core. He dropped out of college to co-found a healthcare business as he found college couldn’t keep up with his growing interests.

97. Richard Schulze

Schulze is the founder of Best Buy who got his start selling newspapers at age 11. He then joined the Air Force and returned to sell electronic components for his father before founding the company that would later become Best Buy.

98. Elisa Serrano (Praxis)

Serrano opted out of college after high school, instead choosing to work as an educator at a Montessori school. She then enrolled with Praxis where she landed an apprenticeship as a Sales Development Representative for VitusVet. Sales was a new experience for Serrano, giving her the opportunity to develop confidence, resilience, and self-discipline. She also improved immensely as a writer with Praxis, which landed her a job as a copywriter for Basic Invite, and today she’s an account manager at Thumbtack.

99. Braun Shedd

Shedd is a high school and college dropout who co-founded Actiview, a blind and deaf tech company, and has an impressive resume of software engineering credentials. He was even invited to speak at Stanford’s Business and Entrepreneurship class.

100. Michael Sitarzewski

Sitarzewski is a high school dropout and CEO of Epic Playground. His personal website is especially inspiring. “Life is one big experiment, so I experiment with things.”

101. Russell Simmons

Simmons is the co-founder of Def Jam Records. He initially went to City College of New York in the late 1970s where he got into hip hop but dropped out just a few credits shy of a sociology degree to make his way in the music industry.

102. Nicole Smartt

Smartt skipped college and went straight into the workforce as a receptionist. At age 25, she started her own marketing agency and was recently featured by Inc. magazine.

103. Kyla Smith

Smith is a college dropout who founded a $1.9 million clothing business, Evolve Fit Wear, without a loan.
Kyla Smith
Smith started out by selling her small inventory at local gyms and eventually grew to create her own brand, Evolve Fit Wear.

104. Rainesford Stauffer

Stauffer is a college dropout and now works as a full-time freelance writer who’s been published by Forbes, USA TODAY, and The Hill, among others. She’s also given two TEDx talks.

105. Tori Sterling

Sterling is a YouTuber with 478,000 subscribers. She dropped out of college and now runs her beauty channel full-time.

106. Patrick Stoddart

Stoddart founded RED Alerts at 17 to ease and enhance event scheduling and then founded Phone2Action, which helps nonprofits engage their followers to inspire action.

107. Zoe “Zoella” Sugg

Sugg is a YouTuber with 11.2 million subscribers. She chose to skip college due to severe anxiety and tried out several apprenticeships and other jobs before finding success with her beauty channel.

108. Dallas Swain

Swain is a high school dropout who today is a full-time maintenance contractor. Swain has succeeded by learning valuable trade skills.

109. Tom Szaky

Szaky is a Princeton dropout and the founder and CEO of TerraCycle. He left school in 2002 to start the company, which was named one of the seven world-changing companies to watch by Fortune.

110. John Tague

Tague skipped college and worked his way up to president of United Airlines before becoming the CEO of Hertz in 2014.

111. Dave Thomas

Thomas was the founder and CEO of Wendy’s and was responsible for those delicious, fresh-never-frozen square burgers. He dropped out of high school at age 15 to work full-time at Hobby House Restaurant.

112. Ted Turner

Turner is the founder of CNN and doesn’t have his college degree. But, unlike most others on this list, Turner didn’t drop out of college. He was expelled from Brown University after three years when it was discovered he was secretly living with his girlfriend.

113. Mehak Vohra

Vohra dropped out of Purdue and founded Jamocha Media, a digital marketing company that works with early-stage tech companies.
Mehak Vohra
Vohra’s company, Jamocha Media, specializes in building brand awareness on LinkedIn.

114. James Walpole (Praxis)

Walpole wanted something more entrepreneurial than what the traditional college experience offered. While exploring alternatives, he discovered Praxis, who helped him find an internship at an early-stage cryptocurrency tech company called BitPay. In just over a year, Walpole worked his way up from intern to manager of the company’s marketing department.

115. Stephen Warley

Warley is a college dropout who founded Life Skills That Matter in 2016 to “disrupt everything you’ve ever been taught about work.” He’s been self-employed since 2000 as a self-described Solopreneur coach.

116. Ty Warner

Ever hear of Beanie Babies? You can thank Warner for those as his company, Ty Inc., successfully created one of the largest toy crazes of all time. Warner went to Kalamazoo College in Michigan but dropped out after his first year.

117. Joey Wickham (Praxis)

Wickham graduated high school and knew college wasn’t for him. He spent years trying all sorts of things, from music to rural mission work to construction, looking for his calling. Then Wickham discovered Praxis and immediately knew this was the way he could develop the technical business skills he was missing. Praxis helped Wickham land an apprenticeship at a tech company. Today, he works as a successful account manager at a medical technology company.
Joey Wickham (Praxis)
Wickham spent years after high school trying to find his calling. Then he discovered Praxis and developed the technical skills he needed, and now Wickham works as a successful account manager for a medical technology company.

118. Evan Williams

Williams is the co-founder and former CEO of Twitter who attended the University of Nebraska for less than two years before dropping out in the mid-1990s to pursue his tech career independently.

119. Anna Wintour

Wintour is the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue who dropped out of finishing school in London at age 18. She got a job as a fashion assistant at Harper’s & Queen and worked her way up the ranks to arguably the very top, where she remains today.

120. Steve Wozniak

Wozniak was a college dropout when he, Jobs, and Wayne founded Apple Computers in 1976. Wozniak’s story is a little different, though. After two years at UC Berkeley, Wozniak couldn’t afford to attend anymore, and he had to drop out to make money to go back. Instead, the jobs he took led to Wozniak developing his own microcomputer, which went on to become the Apple I and was the entire inspiration for Apple Computers’ amazing success. In 1980, Apple decided to become a public company and sell shares of stock at an initial price of $22 per share, valuing Wozniak’s ownership share at over $87 million. Though he did return to UC Berkeley a few years later, graduating in 1986, he did it as a very wealthy man.

121. Nathan Zed

Zed is a YouTuber with 550,000 subscribers. He dropped out of college to focus on creating and promoting his channel’s videos, which deal with many of today’s prominent social issues.

122. Anthony Zhang

Zhang dropped out of college dropout in his junior year to launch EnvoyNow, a student-only, on-campus delivery app. He’s now the CEO of Vinovest where people can invest in different fine wines.

123. Diana Zitting (Praxis)

Zitting is the youngest person accepted to Praxis at age 17. She found a job at MailLift in just two months, and now she’s now a New Home Consultant for Schuber Mitchell Homes.

124. Cameron Zoub

Zoub is a high school dropout who got his GED to focus on his many entrepreneurial ventures. He raised $1.4 million from investors at age 18 and paid back every cent just one year later through several successful startups.

125. Mark Zuckerberg

Another Harvard dropout, Zuckerberg founded Facebook in his college dorm room and dropped out during his sophomore year to work on the project full-time. Today, he’s worth over $100 billion.

Choosing a College Alternative

If college truly is the only way to achieve success, then how do you explain these 125 people?

  • How did Patrick Bet-David, an Iranian immigrant with a high school diploma, become the owner of his own financial services agency?
  • How did Todd Jones go from checkout bagger to CEO of Publix without a college degree?
  • How did Praxis graduate James Walpole go straight from high school to tech company intern to Marketing Manager in just over a year?

Clearly, college isn’t the only alternative.
Choosing a College Alternative

Why Choose Praxis

We designed Praxis as a practical alternative to college. We wanted to give individuals who aren’t afraid of choosing their own path a way to enhance their skills and set themselves up for the world of work.
Praxis is an intensive 12-month program for those who want more than college. It’s for entrepreneurial young professionals who want real-world skills and a self-directed education experience all in one (faster and without debt). Plus, if you complete the bootcamp successfully, Praxis guarantees you land a full-time job offer at a growing company.
Praxis focuses on non-technical business roles. In other words, you don’t need to know how to code to succeed. Through the program, participants land roles in sales, marketing, customer success, and operations at growing companies. The awesome thing about starting your career at a growing business is that many of them tend to take a pretty flexible, non-linear approach to roles and promotions, so starting out in one position can lead to all kinds of interesting career opportunities you probably can’t even imagine right now.
You’ll be busy, but the time commitment is 10-15 hours per week, so it’s entirely possible to do the Bootcamp part of Praxis while holding down a job.
Praxis tuition costs $12,000, and 93% of Praxis participants graduate with a full-time job offer – with an average first-year income of $50K. Even better? You can expect to earn more than the cost of tuition within your first six months on the job. Plus, you also have the option to defer payment until after you land your job. And as a guarantee, if you’re not hired within six months of completing the bootcamp, you don’t pay a cent.
Ready to build your future? Hit the Apply button below to get started, or if you’d like to know more, read our Program Guide.