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Celebrities in College: What the Stars Studied

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She certainly wasn’t the first celebrity to leave college early, but Harry Potter actress Emma Watson caused quite a stink when she left Brown University earlier this year. Now that her stint as Harry Potter’s brainy sidekick Hermione Granger has come to an end (the second and final half of the Potter franchise finale hit theaters last weekend) Watson is planning to enroll at Oxford University in England this fall to study English.

According to The Mirror, Brown has a transfer program which allows students to study abroad during their junior year, and Watson has already told the media that she may be returning to Brown for her senior year.

“Just to explain, I haven’t left Brown. I’m still enrolled at Brown, but I’m doing my third year abroad to study – at home,” the English star announced during a press conference.

Celebrities in College: Famous Alumni

The public’s fascination with Emma Watson and her collegiate career isn’t anything new. People are always wondering where today’s teen heartthrobs will go to college, or which university their favorite celebrity graduated from. To help satisfy your curiosity about celebrities in college, we’ve compiled some information about your favorite stars and where they went to school.

Natalie Portman: Harvard College

Well-known for her roles in the Star Wars trilogy, Where the Heart Is, and V for Vendetta, actress Natalie Portman also became the first Harvard graduate to win an Academy Award for Best Actress. Portman took home an Oscar for her portrayal of Nina in Black Swan earlier this year.

Portman’s professors remember her fondly. “It was very clear when she was a student that she is a very determined person and capable of focused effort over a sustained period,” former Harvard Psychology Professor and Dean of the Social Sciences Stephen M. Kosslyn, who worked with Portman when she was a research assistant in his lab, told The Harvard Crimson.

“I don’t care if [college] ruins my career,” Portman has reportedly said, according to Fox News. “I’d rather be smart than a movie star.” She graduated from Harvard College with a B.A. in psychology in 2003.

Carrie Underwood: Northeastern State University

Not only was crooner Carrie Underwood the first country singer to win American Idol, she’s a magna cum laude graduate. Underwood received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern State University in 2006.

According to People, Underwood withdrew from college three credits shy of graduating just before her Idol win. Unlike many celebs, Underwood did indeed return to school to finish her degree. She was among 1,800 Northwestern graduates to walk across the stage and accept their degrees that May.

Adam Sandler: New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts

Funnyman Adam Sandler, well-loved for his comedic roles in movies like The Wedding Singer, Billy Madison, The Waterboy, Big Daddy and 50 First Dates, attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He performed regularly in clubs and on campus during his stint at NYU, and graduated with a B.F.A. in 1991.

Oprah Winfrey: Tennessee State University

Television host and media mogul Oprah Winfrey’s The Oprah Winfrey Show is the highest-rated talk show in the history of television. She has even been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century; a fact that is believable considering her empire now includes a book club, publishing company, radio station, and television network.

One of the most influential women in the world, Oprah attended Tennessee State University on a full scholarship. She studied communication at Tennessee State and began co-anchoring the local evening news at age 19. Winfrey graduated with a degree in speech and drama in 1973.

David Letterman: Ball State University

Late night TV superstar David Letterman reportedly wanted to attend Indiana University but didn’t have the grades to make it. Instead, he enrolled at Ball state University in Muncie, Indiana and graduated from what was then known as the Department of Radio and Television in 1969.

On September 7, 2007, Ball State dedicated the David Letterman Communication and Media Building to help recognize the accomplishments of a distinguished alumnus. Letterman even started the Letterman Telecommunications Scholarship for full-time students majoring or minoring in telecommunications. Unlike many scholarships, grades are not a factor for consideration.


Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.

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