25 Former Child Stars Who Decided To "Be Normal" And Go To College (And Those Who Actually Graduated)

25 Former Child Stars Who Decided To "Be Normal" And Go To College (And Those Who Actually Graduated)

Since they've already spent years gaining experience in their chosen field, most child stars don't go to college or university. However, some decide to pause their careers so that they can have the "normal" experience of earning a degree (though not all of them finish it).

Woman taking notes in college
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Other people who got famous at a young age, and want to continue their education, keep working while also taking classes.

Here are 10 former child stars who took a break from fame to go to college:

1.Wanting to break free of the preconceived notions Hollywood had of her, 18-year-old Brooke Shields put her modeling and acting career on hold to attend Princeton University. She got her bachelor's degree in Romance languages and graduated with honors.

Brooke graduating
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2.After The Wonder Years ended, Danica McKellar took a break from acting to get her bachelor's degree because she wanted to find her value outside of the role that made her famous. She studied mathematics at UCLA, where she graduated summa cum laude.

A young Danica posing
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3.When Blossom ended, Mayim Bialik embarked on a 12-year break from acting to study neuroscience at UCLA. She earned both her bachelor's and her doctorate.

Close-up of Mayim smiling
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4.After wrapping The Suite Life on Deck, Cole Sprouse paused his acting career and earned his bachelor's from New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where he designed his own major.

Young Cole on the show
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He studied the application of geographical information systems and satellite imaging (which is essentially virtual cartography) to archeology.

5.Cole's brother, Dylan Sprouse, also enrolled at NYU's Gallatin School, where he earned his bachelor's in video game design.

Dylan on the show
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Both brothers graduated with honors.

6.After the last season of iCarly, Miranda Cosgrove attended the University of Southern California, where she earned a bachelor's degree in psychology.

Close-up of Miranda smiling on the show
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7.Joseph Gordon-Levitt temporarily quit acting because he wanted to try something outside of entertainment. At Columbia University, he studied history, literature, and French.

Close-up of a young Joseph
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However, he dropped out after downloading the editing software Final Cut Pro and teaching himself to edit videos.

8.Having already won an Oscar at 11, Anna Paquin was prepared to give up acting when she enrolled at Columbia at 18.

Close-up of Anna
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However, after a year of studying French and English literature, she dropped out to continue acting full time.

9.A few years after leaving Home Improvement, Jonathan Taylor Thomas left acting for academics. Starting in 2002, he spent two years studying history and philosophy at Harvard University and studied abroad at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

Close-up of young Jonathan
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A few years later, he enrolled in another Ivy, graduating from Columbia University's School of General Studies in 2010.

He never fully returned to acting, apart from several TV guest roles.

10.And finally, in 2010, Boy Meets World actor Danielle Fishel largely stepped away from the spotlight to earn her bachelor's in psychology from California State University, Fullerton.

Danielle on Girl Meets World
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She graduated before starring in Girl Meets World.

And now, here are 15 child stars who kept working while going to school:

11.Stranger Things actor Noah Schnapp is currently enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania, where he's studying business entrepreneurship and innovation at Wharton as a business major.

Closeup of Noah in Stranger Things
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12.Dakota Fanning studied film and the portrayal of women in film at NYU, but she "wasn't willing to sacrifice [her] career." She balanced her schoolwork with projects like Brimstone.

Close-up of Dakota
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13.While filming Sister, Sister, Tamera Mowry was a part-time student at Pepperdine University. Graduating with honors, she earned her bachelor’s in psychology, with an emphasis on abnormal childhood development.

Close-up of Tamara on the show
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14.Tamera's sister, Tia Mowry, was also a part-time Pepperdine student while shooting Sister, Sister. She, too, earned a bachelor's degree in psychology.

Close-up of Tia
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15.After high school, Natalie Portman went on to earn her bachelor's in psychology from Harvard. She balanced her studies with movies like Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace and Cold Mountain.

Close-up of Natalie in Star Wars
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16.Jungkook, who was only 15 when he joined BTS, earned a degree in broadcasting and entertainment from Global Cyber University.

Close-up of Jungkook
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He also received the President's Award, which is the school's highest honor.

17.When Wizards of Waverly Place ended, Jennifer Stone decided to study psychology, but after being diagnosed with diabetes, she switched to a nursing major instead. She earned an associate degree from Glendale Community College and her bachelor's from Azusa Pacific University, balancing her studies with movies like Santa Girl.

Close-up of Jennifer
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18.Yara Shahidi earned her bachelor's in African American studies from Harvard. She divided her time between classes, her TV series Grown-ish, and movies like The Sun Is Also a Star.

Close-up of Yara
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19.While filming Modern Family, Ariel Winter enrolled at UCLA, but she ended up dropping out because she overestimated how much she could take on at the time and wasn't able to get to a lot of her classes.

Ariel sitting on the floor on the show Modern Family
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20.While earning a bachelor's degree in English literature at Brown University, Emma Watson filmed the last two Harry Potter movies, The Bling Ring, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Close-up of Emma
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21.After Hannah Montana ended, Emily Osment continued acting and studied theater at Occidental College, but she dropped out after two years.

Close-up of Emily on Hannah Montana
Jordin Althaus / © Disney Channel / Courtesy Everett Collection

She went on to play main roles on Cleaners and Young and Hungry.

22.The same year 10 Things I Hate About You came out, Julia Stiles enrolled at Columbia. While earning her bachelor's in English literature, she starred in movies like Save the Last Dance and The Omen.

Julia sitting outside in the movie
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23.Thinking her acting career would be over at 18, Jodie Foster enrolled at Yale University. However, she kept making movies to pay for her bachelor's degree in literature.

Close-up of Jodie smiling
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She planned to go to grad school, but she changed her mind after winning an Oscar for The Accused.

24.While working on The View and then Raven's Home, Raven-Symoné studied fine arts at the Academy of Art University online. She earned both her associate and bachelor's degrees.

Raven smiling
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25.And finally, since Good Luck Charlie wrapped, Bridgit Mendler has been balancing her time between academics and entertainment. She earned her bachelor's in anthropology from the University of Southern California and her master's from MIT while also starring in shows like Undateable and Merry Happy Whatever.

Close-up of Bridgit
Fred Hayes / © Disney Channel / Courtesy Everett Collection

Currently, she's working toward two doctoral degrees: a PhD from the MIT Media Lab and a JD from Harvard Law School.