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Updated by Rajashri Venkatesh on Dec 02, 2014
Headline for Top 10 highly successful high school/college dropouts!
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Top 10 highly successful high school/college dropouts!

Here is a list of high school/college dropouts that made BIG success in their respective fields!

Richard Branson

Best known for his adventurous spirit and outrageous business tactics. He dropped out of school at the age of 16 to start his first successful business venture; Student Magazine, bought his own 79-acre Caribbean island when he was just 24 and he was knighted in 1999. He is the billionaire founder of the Virgin brand and its 360 companies. His companies include the famous Virgin Atlantic Airways.

Bill Gates

"In this business, by the time you realize you're in trouble, it's too late to save yourself. Unless you're running scared all the time, you're gone."

The world's best known billionaire, co-founded one of the world's largest software companies -- Microsoft.

Gates dropped out of Harvard in 1975. He took interest in computer programming since he was 13 years old.

Hailed as one of the chief architects of the personal computing revolution, he is also a great philanthropist donating billions of dollars to charity across the globe.

He has also been the worlds' richest from 1995 to 2009, excluding 2008 (when he was ranked third).

Peter Jackson

When he was 16, he dropped out of high school and started working as an apprentice engraver in a newspaper photography department. He kept living with his parents so he could save money for film-making supplies, which he soon used to begin production on what would become his first full-length film, Bad Taste. When you know that your future is film you don’t have a real need for the three Rs of "reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic."

Cameron Diaz

Turns out the actress wasn't just a "Bad Teacher," but she was a pretty poor student also. The longtime Hollywood starlet admits that school just wasn't her thing and left Long Beach Polytechnical High School after being offered a modeling contract.

David Karp

Developer of the exorbitantly successful blogging platform Tumblr, David Karp’s parents created an encouraging environment for him to feel comfortable enough to pursue his dreams, even if it meant dropping out of school. Karp attributes his desire to drop out not to crappy friends, or a lack of motivation/aptitude for school studies, his passion for computer science just wasn’t being satisfied at the Bronx High School of Science. He figured he could learn more on his own, and with his parents’ blessing he dropped out his sophomore year of high school at 15.

Catherine Zeta Jones

Most people who have an Oscar on their shelf wouldn't regret trading in their high school diploma for their Screen Actor's Guild card, and we bet this successful actress is one. Before pursuing a long marriage with fellow Hollywood star Michael Douglas, she pursuing her acting dreams on the British stage beginning with a revival of "42nd Street."

Jim Carrey

The comedic actor was not only a class clown, but a straight-A student as well. But times were tough for the young Canadian, who was forced to drop out to find a job to help support his family. He worked as a security guard and janitor before deciding to try his hand at comedy.

Johnny Depp

Born John Christopher Depp in Owensboro, Kentucky, on June 9, 1963, Johnny Depp was raised in Florida. He dropped out of school at age 15 in the hopes of becoming a rock musician.

Matt Mullenweg

Mullenweg dropped out of the University of Houston in 2004. Even then, he was so precocious that he didn bother with their computer classes. At 20, he had already developed the beginnings of WordPress and was fielding job offers from tech companies. He dropped out to work for CNET in San Francisco, with a promise that he could continue developing his side project 15 percent of the time.
He left to found Automattic, the company behind WordPress. WordPress alone gets 140 million visits a year with a staff of just 140, and all of Automattic’s sites see nearly half a billion visitors.

Ellen DeGeneres

Funny lady Ellen DeGeneres dropped out of the University of New Orleans after just one semester. Guess she got the last laugh after all.