Celebrities Who Went To College
Claire Miles - July 22, 2020


By Shel Silverstein

Lester was given a magic wish
By the goblin who lives in the banyan tree,
And with his wish he wished for two more wishes-
So now instead of just one wish, he cleverly had three.
And with each one of these
He simply wished for three more wishes,
Which gave him three old wishes, plus nine new.
And with each of these twelve
He slyly wished for three more wishes,
Which added up to forty-six -- or is it fifty-two?
Well anyway, he used each wish
To wish for wishes 'til he had
Five billion, seven million, eighteen thousand thirty-four.
And then he spread them on the ground
And clapped his hands and danced around
And skipped and sang, and then sat down
And wished for more.
And more...and more...they multiplied
While other people smiled and cried
And loved and reached and touched and felt.
Lester sat amid his wealth
Stacked mountain-high like stacks of gold,
Sat and counted -- and grew old.
And then one Thursday night they found him
Dead -- with his wishes piled around him.
And they counted the lot and found that not
A single one was missing.
All shiny and new -- here, take a few
And think of Lester as you do.
In a world of apples and kisses and shoes
He wasted his wishes on wishing.

If we’re being honest with ourselves, it can be hard to imagine glamorous celebrities who walk the red carpet sitting in a lecture hall. But many Hollywood stars did actually go to college just like us! From Taylor Swift to Kim Kardashian, here are some celebrities who hit the books just like everybody else.  


Emma Watson


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Harry Potter fans know and love Emma Watson as Hermione Granger, the cleverest wizard in her class! But you may not have known that Watson is actually just as smart in real life. The actress graduated in 2014 with a degree in English literature, and she also took classes at Oxford University.



Lupita Nyong’o


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Talk about being successful! Lupita Nyong’o starred in “12 Years a Slave” before finishing a three-year degree in acting at the Ivy League school in 2012. She attended Hampshire College for her undergraduate degree.


Conan O’Brien


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The late-night talk show host and comedian Conan O’Brien was a student at Harvard. And not only that, he was the editor in chief of the Harvard Crimson, the student newspaper. O’Brien majored in American History and graduated in 1985.



James Franco


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So actually James Franco went to a lot of different colleges. First Franco went to the University of California at Los Angeles and dropped out before going back in 2008 and finishing his undergraduate degree. Franco attended New York University, Columbia University, Brooklyn College, and Yale University as a master’s student.


John Legend


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This might seem hard to believe but John Legend turned down a scholarship from Harvard to go to the University of Pennsylvania! Legend graduated in 1999 and served as president of a co-ed a capella group.



Mindy Kaling


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The comedian and actress majored in theater at Dartmouth University. Mindy Kaling also illustrated a daily comic for the student newspaper called “Badly Drawn Girl.” Kaling was an intern on Late Night with Conan O’Brien when she was 19 years old at Dartmouth. Kaling joined The Office when she was 24 years old and was the only woman on a staff of eight!


Natalie Portman


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Natalie Portman was a student at Syosset High School when she starred in “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.” After starring in Star Wars, Natalie Portman went to Harvard University. graduating in 2003 with a degree in psychology. And as if that wasn’t enough to brag about, Portman’s academic work has been published twice in scientific journals.



Matt Damon


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Okay, seems to us like a lot of celebrities attended Harvard University. Who knew? Matt Damon actually came up with the idea for “Good Will Hunting” while at Harvard. It actually makes a lot of sense then that the movie’s plot is about a gifted janitor at Cambridge school M.I.T. But Damon dropped out before graduating in 1992 to pursue acting. He did end up receiving an honorary degree in 2013, though.


Mayim Bialik


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The Big Bang Theory actress is apparently just as smart in real life as she portrays in the show! vThe actress received an undergraduate degree in 2000 in neuroscience with a minor in Hebrew and Jewish studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. And in 2007, Bialik was award a PhD in neuroscience at UCLA!



Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal

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Maggie Gyllenhaal graduated in 1998 from Columbia University while her brother dropped out his sophomore year at the same university to pursue his acting career.


Jessica Chastain


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Jessica Chastain attended Julliard in New York City because of a scholarship funded by Robin Williams, who had graduated in 1976. Chastain said she was concerned about being dropped from the prestigious program since she spent most of her time reading and watching movies. But she did end up graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2003!



Ken Jeong


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We all know Ken Jeong as a jokester from his days in the epic movie, Hangover. So it might be a little difficult to imagine hi as a licensed obstetrician! In 1990, Jeon graduated from Duke University and obtained his medical degree in 1995 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.