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10 ultra-successful millionaire and billionaire college dropouts

Bill Gates
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Bill Gates

Some of the wealthiest and most influential entrepreneurs in the world dropped out of college.

Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg all left college before they could collect their diplomas. Peter Thiel even encourages talented students to drop out of college by funding a scholarship that awards recipients with $100,000 if they quit.

This infographic, created by Funders and Founders designer Anna Vital, pinpoints the moments when some of the most successful millionaire and billionaire college dropouts decided higher ed wasn't for them.

While staying in school as long as possible is proven to increase your wealth and future job prospects, these 10 accomplished entrepreneurs bucked convention and still achieved success.

Michael Dell
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Michael Dell

Michael Dell

Michael Dell dropped out of University of Texas at Austin his freshman year at the age of 19. He would go on to found Dell Technologies and is now worth $20.9 billion.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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Steve Jobs

The founder of Apple left Reed College when he was just 19, reportedly because it was too much of a financial burden for his family. Despite his short tenure at Reed, Jobs still found his time there valuable. In a 2005 commencement speech at Stanford, he credited a Reed calligraphy course for providing the inspiration for the typography he used on the first Mac.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has claimed asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on accusations of rape.
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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has claimed asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on accusations of rape.

Julian Assange

Before he was a controversial computer hacker, Julian Assange studied mathematics at the University of Melbourne. The Aussie WikiLeaks founder showed early indications of his anti-establishment ideals when he dropped out at the age of 19 over objections to the practice of students working on computer projects for the Australian military.

Bill Gates
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Bill Gates

Bill Gates

Bill Gates attended Harvard for two years before leaving to build what would become Microsoft. The Harvard Crimson describes him as "Harvard's most successful dropout," and today he is the wealthiest person on the planet.

Evan Williams, co-founder of Medium and Twitter.
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Evan Williams, co-founder of Medium and Twitter.

Evan Williams

Evan Williams grew up in Clarks, Nebraska, where his family ran a farm. He attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln for three semesters before dropping out.

Williams was a freelance software programmer for Hewlett-Packard and Intel before landing a gig at Google. He later quit his job at Google to build Twitter, and became a billionaire.

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard, founded Facebook and became the 5th wealthiest man alive. According to the book "The Facebook Effect," it took him just five minutes to make the decision to quit college.

Larry Ellison
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Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison

Today, Larry Ellison is known as a software billionaire and founder of Oracle. When he was growing up, however, his adoptive parents encouraged him to be a doctor.

He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Chicago, but struggled with his medical courses and dropped out. Today he is worth over $55 billion.

Whatsapp CEO Jan Koum
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Whatsapp CEO Jan Koum

Jan Koum

Immigrant entrepreneur Jan Koum worked his way through college only to quit before graduating. He would go on to work for Yahoo, and then to invent the incredibly popular messaging application WhatsApp.

Travis Kalanick
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Travis Kalanick

Travis Kalanick

Before becoming the CEO and founder of Uber, Travis Kalanick studied computer engineering at UCLA. Kalanick decided to quit college just months before graduating to work for now-defunct peer-to-peer search engine Scour.

John Mackey
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John Mackey

John Mackey

John Mackey studied religion and philosophy at the University of Texas before dropping out, borrowing $45,000, and starting a health food store called SaferWay in downtown Austin. Mackey grew his business into what is now organic grocery behemoth Whole Foods.