10 Beautiful, Smart Celebrities Who Got a Scholarship to College

Most people don’t think of celebrities as academics, but the fact is that there are a number of well educated celebrities out there. Some of them were even promising enough to be given scholarships to pursue degrees in language, dance, acting, music, and even political science. Read on, and you’ll learn about ten celebrities who were smart and lucky enough to take advantage of scholarships.


  1. Hugh Grant: This British actor received scholarships for two different schools. First, the Latymer Upper School where he participated in academic competition and sports including cricket, rugby, and football. Then, he received the Galsworthy scholarship to New College, Oxford. Grant studied English literature at Oxford and graduated with Upper Second-Class Honours.

  2. Madonna: Madonna’s dance skills have served her from early on. At Rochester Adams High School, she was a straight-A student and a member of the cheerleading squad. She was awarded a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan, where she was taught ballet by Chris Flynn.

  3. Denzel Washington: Denzel Washington studied drama and journalism at Fordham University, earning a BA in 1977. While at Fordham, he enrolled in the Lincoln Center campus to study acting, and received a scholarship to attend the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. Denzel and his wife Pauletta now have the Pauletta and Denzel Washington Family Gifted Scholars Program in Neuroscience at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, which offers awards to students in the field of neuroscience.

  4. Jeri Ryan: Jeri Ryan graduated high school in 1986 as a National Merit Scholar, and received a scholarship to attend Northwest University. At Northwestern, she was a member of Alpha Phi. Jeri also participated in pageants, winning Miss Illinois and 3rd runner up at the Miss America Pageant. She received a BA in Theatre from Northwestern in 1990.

  5. Alicia Keys: Alicia Keys attended the Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan, where she graduated as valedictorian. She received a scholarship to Columbia University in New York. Now, Alicia has donated to Frum tha Ground Up, an organization that offers scholarships to students from Jacksonville, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Harlem in New York City.

  6. Sharon Stone: Growing up, Sharon Stone loved to read, and was awarded a scholarship to Edinboro University in Pennsylvania when she was just 15 yeas old. There, she studied creative writing and fine arts. Sharon is also a well known MENSA member.

  7. Thandie Newton: Thandie Newton says that she likes learning and did well in school. At 11, she earned a scholarship to go to the Arts Educational School, a performing arts boarding school in Tring, Herfordshire. Later, she studied anthropology at Cambridge University.

  8. Tom Cruise: Tom Cruise’s early life was tough, and he ended up in eight elementary schools and three high schools. He graduated from Glen Ridge High School in New Jersey, where he played as a linebacker on the football team. At one point, he attended a Franciscan seminary in Cincinnati on a church scholarship, studying priesthood for a year.

  9. Kristin Chenoweth: Kristin Chenoweth earned a full scholarship to study voice at Oklahoma City University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in musical theater. Later, she earned a master’s degree in opera performance. She also finished runner-up in the Miss Oklahoma pageant.

  10. Elizabeth Shue: While studying at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, Elizabeth Shue took on modeling and ad gigs, but was still able to complete her studies. She earned a scholarship to study political science at Harvard University and appeared in TV and movie projects including Adventures in Babysitting.

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