7 Successful People Who Finished High School Later In Life

Life can throw you some interesting curveballs, and when those curveballs come flying at you when you’re young, you’re a lot less likely to be able to handle them with the same poise as you could when you’re an adult. Rather than knocking that ball out of the park, it can knock you flat on your back. One of the unfortunate results of those life surprises is that young people struggling to stay on track end up dropping out of school. Life happens, and the struggles of your youth can still impact you today as an adult. 

But hold on! There’s good news for adults who had to drop out of school as teens. Plenty of successful people persevered and ended up earning their high school diploma or GED as adults. Because online classes at Excel High School are both flexible and affordable, you can be one of those success stories who persevered and worked for their future. You can earn your high school diploma while still living your daily life.  

If earning your high school diploma is a goal you’ve wanted to achieve on your road to success, then you’ll be in good company with these seven people who finished high school later in life.

Albert Einstein, Theoretical Physicist

Einstein is best known to some for his wild head of hair, but for others, he stands as a role model. He faced enormous conflict during his childhood, especially as a young Jewish boy growing up in Germany. Although he loved learning, he hated school, and when his family moved to Italy and then Switzerland, he struggled to pass entrance exams to continue his education. He didn’t give up, and after a couple of years, he returned to a special high school in Switzerland and earned his high school credits so that he could attend university.

Colonel Sanders, Founder of KFC

Harland Sanders is known for his crispy chicken and tasty biscuits, but he didn’t just land on that reputation by chance. He lived in a different era, and in the late 1800s when his father died, he was only 7 years old but responsible for helping to take care of his siblings. He eventually dropped out of school at age 12 and worked a variety of jobs before he found success. One thing always bothered him though: he hadn’t finished his high school diploma. Eventually, he signed up for distance learning courses and finished his high school courses that way, proving that if there’s a will, there is a way to achieve your goals.

Dave Thomas, Founder of Wendy’s

You might think that Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas’s greatest accomplishment is his bacon double cheeseburger, but for Thomas, he was proud of the fact that over 40 years after he dropped out of high school, he enrolled in classes and earned his GED. At the age of 69, he accomplished what he once thought was impossible after calling dropping out of high school the worst mistake he’d made in his life.

D.L. Hughley, Producer & Writer

D.L. Hughley is a successful entertainer and businessman, but his teen life led him to some rough days and being expelled from high school. Determined to make something of himself, he turned his back on his rougher lifestyle and returned to school to earn his GED. Never giving up, he earned his education, got a job with the LA Times, and eventually began hosting stand-up comedy programming. He is now a well-known entertainer, producer, and writer and a great role model for those who stumbled in their youth but are determined to earn their high school diploma now.

Chris Rock, Comedian

Christ Rock is nearly a household name today, but that might not have happened without his willpower and determination to constantly better himself in whatever ways he could. He dropped out of high school after facing repeated racism, and that led him to working a variety of jobs at fast-food chains before he went back to school. He finished school and is now known for his work on Saturday Night Live, his comedy specials, and his movie career.

Eminem, Rapper & Producer

Eminem is well-known for his way with words as one of the most famous and impactful rappers of all time. However, even his love of the English language couldn’t push him through 9th grade. He failed freshman year three times before he dropped out. But that always bothered him, even after years of success in the music industry. In 2012, Eminem hit the books and returned to school. He finished what he had started through the sheer determination that so many adults coming back to class have. 

Mark Wahlberg, Actor

Wahlberg dropped out of school when he was only 14 years old, and though he was somewhat successful in his early career as rapper “Marky Mark,” he really met his height of success as an actor later on. He was driven to succeed through hard work and determination. Like so many adults who made the decision to drop out at a young age, he had always wanted to earn his high school diploma. The same hard work and determination that drove him to success as an entertainer came into play when he enrolled in an online high school and graduated in June 2013.

About Excel High School

Excel High School is an accredited online school that offers adults who want to earn their high school diploma a fully-online, flexible, and self-paced program that fits around your schedule, with a support team to help you along the way. If you’re not already a student with Excel High School but would like to learn more, feel free to check out our programs on our website. Still have questions? Feel free to reach out to us by text at 952-465-3700 or call us at 800-620-3844. Our staff will be happy to answer any questions you have and guide you to the best program for your individual needs.

Ready to start your journey with Excel High School?

It's simple. Just click the button below and we will help you begin!