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7 Super Famous Celebrities Who Have Gotten Their Degrees through Online Classes
While some learners prefer to be in a physical classroom, there are a huge number of benefits to remote learning. Whether you are looking for more flexibility, more class options, or simply want to learn from the comfort of your own home, taking online classes are a great alternative to in-person school.
The long-held stigma against getting your degree from an online school has begun to fade as more and more people seek out options that allow them to get an education, without having to adjust their work and family schedules. Celebrities are particularly attracted to online classes, as it allows them to fit in an education around hectic work schedules and without having to deal with their celebrity status on a crowded campus. Here are 7 celebrities who got degrees through online classes:
Shaquille O’Neal – Shaq is one of the most famous NBA players in the country, having branched out from basketball to acting, sponsorships, and restaurant ownership. In order to pursue his dream of playing for the NBA, he dropped out of Louisiana State University. Having promised his mother that he would finish his degree, he got his Bachelor’s through LSU’s distance learning program. In 2005, he received an MBA from the University of Phoenix, having completed all of his classes online. Seven years later, he added a PhD of Education to his resume. The vast majority of his course hours for this degree were completed online. Just imagine that Shaq took his tests online!
Shaq has long professed that he never intended basketball to be his endgame. He always intended to get a “real job” (his words) when his basketball career was over. Fans of O’Neal have seen him evolve into a businessman and commentator, putting his online degrees to work.
Swizz Beatz – It may seem counterintuitive that Swizz Beatz, one of the most successful and well-known producers in the world, would feel the need to get a degree. But this Harvard alum felt that exact need. In 2017, Swizz Beatz entered the Owner/President Management program at Harvard Business School. This program is almost entirely online and designed specifically for CEOs and COOs who desire professional development but do not have the time or the need to attend a full MBA program.
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Swizz has long been a proponent for education, especially among black youth. He has worked with many schools to develop fellowships and residencies for music producers, to promote hip-hop education.
James Franco – Like Shaq, Franco dropped out of college in order to pursue his dream. During the mid-to-late 00’s, James Franco was busy writing, directing, and starring in dozens of movies. As busy as he was, it would have been impossible to go back to traditional school to complete his degree. Instead, he opted for UCLA’s extension program, which consists of online classes, night school, and weekend courses. Through this program, he finished his Bachelor’s.
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He then moved on to Columbia’s Writing Program, then NYU for filmmaking, the two more fiction writing degrees, before getting a PhD in English from Yale and another for Creative Writing from the University of Houston. Franco has even lent his talents to teaching online classes. He taught at UCLA and USC, specifically citing a desire to provide creative writing and filmmaking classes to people who could not actually afford to come to campus.
Marcia Cross – If you are a fan of Desperate Housewives, Melrose Place, or Seinfeld, you will recognize this redhead. From 1997 to 2003, as she was working on Seinfeld, Melrose Place, and Spin City, she was also working on a Master’s in Psychology from Antioch University. This would not have been possible if not for Antioch’s robust online program. Though she went on to star in Desperate Housewives and did not become a professional psychologist, Cross is a perfect example of how an online degree can benefit someone with a busy schedule.
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Hilary Duff – Before Harvard had any real online resources, they did have an online extension program. This proved to be the best option for Hilary Duff, who in 2005, wanted to continue her education, even as she was busy working on Lizzie McGuire for the Disney Channel, along with several other Disney properties. At the time, she faced quite a bit of backlash from her Harvard classmates, as she was technically attending Harvard, but not actually on campus. The decades have favored Duff, however, as Harvard now sponsors many online classes and extension programs.
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Steven Spielberg – Perhaps one of the most beloved and well-known modern directors, Spielberg is unlikely to have found time to finish his film production degree in person. When he dropped out in 1968 to start making moves, he likely never intended to finish that degree. In 2002, however, he finally graduated from California Statute University with a BA in Film Production and Electronic Arts. This was in the midst of filming Saving Private Ryan, AI, and Minority Report.
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The cofounder of DreamWorks was allowed to submit Schindler’s List instead of an actual capstone project in order to close out his degree.
Venus Williams – This international tennis star enrolled in a Business Administration program at Indiana University-East in order to better support her merchandising and clothing design businesses. While the school was careful to protect her identity during online classes, Williams actually revealed herself as an attendee of the school’s online program. Studying online enabled Williams to maintain her safety and privacy, without having to hide that she was getting an education.
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The challenges of traditional, in-person schooling that make it difficult for celebrities make it difficult for most learners, famous or not. Actors and athletes are not the only people who have busy lives but also want to get an education. Taking online classes and taking online tests to achieve online degrees in just about every discipline and in a format that would work for just about every learner. No matter your desired degree, consider the benefits of an online program!
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or the management of EconoTimes