5 famous people with online degrees

Achieving academic success online requires high levels of motivation and self-discipline, which may explain why a surprising number of celebrities possess online degrees.

Here are five A-list personalities who also received A-grades in their online studies, proving that students studying online can rest assured that they are in extremely star-studded company.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

As household names go, they don’t get much bigger than Arnold Schwarzenegger, and he has an impressive list of achievements to back up his fame. Not only has the former actor become a heavy-weight politician and governor of California, but he has also co-authored five books, and become a major player in the world of real-estate investment.

But as an Austrian immigrant to the USA, Arnie had to work his way up from the bottom, earning a degree in Business and International Economics from the University of Wisconsin via distance learning, whilst supporting himself through a number of jobs, all of which paved the way to his eventual global stardom.

Shaquille O’Neal

He may be one of the all-time greats on the basketball court, but O’Neal is the perfect example that brawn doesn’t have to come at the expense of brains. Although he was forced to drop out of Louisiana State University in order to play in the NBA, thanks to online learning, O’Neal now has a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State, an MBA from the University of Phoenix, and a PhD from Barry University to accompany his four NBA Championship rings, 2 Olympic gold medals, and even a platinum-selling album.

Hillary Duff

Perhaps best known for her roles on the Disney Channel show "Lizzie McGuire", "Cheaper by the Dozen", and "A Cinderella Story", Hillary Duff has already achieved an incredible amount is her short career so far, but her meteoric rise to fame is not only related to her work as an actor.

Having enrolled with Harvard to study online via their Extension School in 2005, Duff has taken advantage of her public profile and combined it with her newly-acquired business acumen to develop a successful clothing and perfume line, release 3 platinum albums, as well as publishing a novel.

Steven Spielberg

Like some of the other names on this list, Steven Spielberg was initially forced to drop out of university in order to pour all of his dedication and energy into his dream, which in his case was making movies. It was a gamble which, luckily for all of us, paid off, producing blockbuster films such as Jaws, ET, Schindler’s List and Jurassic Park, smashing box-office records, and netting him an estimated personal wealth of $3.3 billion.

However, thanks to the emergence of online education, Spielberg was finally able to get his degree in 2002, graduating with a BA in Film Production and Electronic Arts from California State University Long Beach. Fortunately, aspiring students nowadays are not forced to choose between their studies and chasing their dreams.

Nelson Mandela

Okay, so he didn’t actually get his degree online, but that just makes Mandela’s constant drive for self-betterment, in the face of unimaginable adversity, all the more inspiring. Nelson Mandela earned his bachelor’s degree through distance learning whilst working as a legal clerk in Johannesburg, corresponding with the University of South Africa via mail to submit assignments and receive feedback from his tutors.

Even when he was incarcerated for resisting the apartheid regime, the Nobel Peace Prize winner continued studying behind bars, and received a bachelor’s in Law from the University of London, before going on to become President following his eventual release after 27 years.

In the words of the great man himself: “Education is the most powerful weapon you can choose to change the world.”

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